WeRelate talk:Watercooler/Archive 2007


Merging with other sites?

See new page project:mergers with other sites?

License change?

We are discussing possibly changing the license of the Wiki content on WeRelate. If you are interested, please read the background material at WeRelate:Licensing and participate in the discussion at WeRelate talk:Licensing.

Person and family wiki page format

See the WeRelate:Person and family wiki page format page

Pedigree page format

See WeRelate:Pedigree page format

Annotated Images

I just followed the latest "featured pages" from the home page and saw the McLean family portrait. That is very cool! Tim, you must tell us, how are the annotations done? (I looked at the "Images and Annotations Tutorial", but it doesn't yet discuss annotations.) --TomChatt 15:25, 2 January 2007 (MST)

Yes, it is a cool (and quite useful) feature. On the page that appears when you upload an image, there is a link a couple paragraphs underneath the image that says Edit/annotate image. Once you click that you're presented with three buttons above the picture that allow you to add or edit notes. When you click add notes a box appears that you can drag around the feature you wish to annotate, and then place whatever text you want in the textbox below. Works great for group photos. --Tim 16:23, 2 January 2007 (MST)
You can also add annotations after uploading by clicking on the Edit link on an Image: page. Then you get the three buttons above the picture that allow you to add or edit notes as Tim says. We're running a bit behind on the help pages, but we've just hired someone part-time to work on them so hopefully they'll improve soon.--Dallan 20:16, 2 January 2007 (MST)

Access to pages, ease of search

My ultimate goal here is to find collaborators, distant relatives who have information I don't, who can grow the tree in branches too distant to be worth my effort, and to share what I know with people who have common ancestors to me. To enable that, they need to stumble upon the pages I'm constructing. I'm wondering how likely that is. I've been hanging around for a couple months or more, and am familiar with how the site works, but I don't know an efficient way to get to my own pages, and I already know that they're there. Presently I use my watchlist to find the pages I've built, and before that I used the surname categories at the bottom of my user page. If two or three others had been writing pages with the same surnames as me, it might have become much more difficult to get to my pages through the surname categories.

If I envision myself someone new to this site, someone who wishes to learn more about their heritage but who has only a faint knowledge of a couple generations previous and some inhibition with computers, I think I'd be confused here and wouldn't find it a useful resource. My usual tactic with a site like ancestry or familysearch is to punch a surname I'm curious about plus maybe a couple other details into the search box that is the most prominent feature on the front page and see what is returned. If something matches I'm drawn in further. If there are no matches or any clear direction, I move on to another site.

For consideration and discussion, here are a couple possible changes to make the person pages here easier to access for searchers:

  • Move to the front page a simple search feature that only searches the person and family namespaces. Have the results drawn from the same database that provides the information displayed on the pedigree pages, so that people can discriminate between multiple similar names by seeing middle names, titles, event dates and event places.
  • At the bottom of my pages I see categories like McLean in Scotland | McLean in Canada. I'd think it would be more valuable to have categories in the small villages or towns than in the countries. But when I click on the categories for these places I don't see my people showing. When more people begin contributing it would be cool to look in the category for a small town and find a couple other contributors populating it. But McLean in Scotland just won't scale once more researchers begin adding people - there will be thousands of McLeans in Scotland.
  • If I look at the Rumgay in Scotland category, I see that Lauren has added something like 28 Andrew Rumgays, and that all the 15 or so that she has built pages for are listed with their index numbers. For someone new to the site looking for Andrew Rumgay this might seem overwhelming, and the numbers in the brackets won't mean anything or help them discriminate between Andrews. Is it possible to just list Andrew Rumgay once, with a count of how many are in the database, and to make it clickable to a table where additional information is drawn from the same database as the pedigree pages, displayed something like:
    • Andrew P Rumgay b.May 12, 1823 St. Andrews, Perthshire, Scotland d. Dec 25, 1899 Los Angeles, California, USA
    • Sir Andrew MacDonald Rumgay b.Jan 1, 1801 London, England d. Jan 10, 1840 Canada
    • etc

I don't know how wiki software works or what the restrictions are, so I might be suggesting approaches that are technologically difficult or impossible, or already considered and rejected. But it seems that a lot of information is able to be manipulated for the pedigree pages and some of the features on the edit pages, and a similar approach for search might be useful towards making the person pages more findable by others visiting the site.--Tim 19:41, 9 January 2007 (MST)

These are great ideas! We used to have a very simple web-search box on the main page, but I took it off because we wanted to emphasize the wiki aspects more. Once we get gedcom upload working, our next effort is to improve search. Our goal is to provide an Ancestry-like search interface to people/families in WeRelate (and webpages in general). So you'll be able to search for people by birthdates, death-places, name of spouse, etc. And search results will have separate fields for name, birth, death, etc. Once we get the new search working, it seems to make sense to put the search box back on the main page.
Regarding categories, once we get more people using the site and the categories start to get unweildly, we can move the categories down a level, say to the county level for Scotland. If that is still too large then we can move them to the town level. But we didn't want a bunch of empty categories to start with, so we kept them pretty high-level.
I'm not sure what you mean by your pages not showing up on the category pages. I just checked Category:McLean in Canada and Category:McLean in Scotland and they have a bunch of pages in them. Are you talking about the category pages we have for each place? We don't put person and family pages in the place categories because we want to leave place categories mainly for articles and sources. Would moving the surname-in-place categories to the county/town level eventually address this issue for you?
Regarding what shows up on a category list, changing this is a little more difficult. The easiest solution would be to implement something where if you "hovered" over a link to a person page for a second or two, you would see the name, birth, and death information about the person (similar for family pages). What would you think about that? Having said this, I'm expecting that once we get the improved search, search will become the principal method to find people rather than browsing the categories.--Dallan 10:34, 12 January 2007 (MST)
I may have been confused about where persons appear in categories. I had been thinking I'd seen them show in larger place categories, but I was probably thinking of Surname in Place categories. I didn't see the reason for them being placed in a large geographical category like a country or province, since there would soon be too many names at that level when more people begin adding data. But I could see it being useful if they showed in a smaller place like a parish or a village, especially since it's hard to discriminate between similar names without having to click through on each one. If you can change the level on which they show as the site becomes more used and the larger places more crowded, then that problem is solved. I was thinking that for smaller geographical areas it would be useful if there were a way to see at a couple clicks not only when people were working on the same surname, but when anyone was working in the same area at all. Someone once mentioned they liked the idea of being able to specify hospitals or cemeteries as places because they'd be able to see all the people born or buried in the same spot. I haven't previously uploaded any information or a gedcom onto the web, at someplace like Rootsweb, because I saw those as all too disconnected, with little possibility of anyone interested stumbling upon them, and then if they did, little opportunity to collaborate easily. This has much greater potential, but the pages have to be easy to find. I think I'd use search when I first came to a site like this, but after becoming acclimated I'd be more likely to click around to see what I could find, so the way the categories are displayed is at least as important as the search. --Tim 12:39, 12 January 2007 (MST)
We can move the surname-in-place categories down to lower-level places as the site grows. That's not a problem. The question is, for a place category would you like to see all of the people and families with any surname that link to that place (in addition to the articles and user pages and sources that link to the place), or do you think that adding people and families would clutter up the category list too much? I could go either way on this.--Dallan 13:38, 15 January 2007 (MST)
I'd like to be able to see all of the people associated with a given place, but I think having them in the Place category listing could definately get unwieldy. Would it be possible to have a subcategory like "People of Wherever" or "Residents of Wherever" that sorted to the top of the Place category listing to make it easy to find? --Lauren 07:19, 16 January 2007 (MST)
I agree that it could be unwieldy to have all the people and families listed, especially for large places. If it could be broken up, so that when you click on a place category there would be further categories for Persons, Families and Sources that you click through to see which one you're interested in, and then maybe the Persons and Families were presented as surnames that you'd click through to see the individuals, then that might make it more manageable for browsing. But I suspect this is probably difficult to do in this format. If every page has to be listed in the category page, so that every place page would end up with hundreds of listings for people, families and sources, then it's probably best leaving it how it is. --Tim 08:33, 16 January 2007 (MST)
Creating a "People of Wherever" category would be pretty easy to do, and having it appear as a sub-category of the Wherever place category should be do-able. I could similarly create "Families of Wherever" and "Sources of Wherever" categories and have them appear as sub-categories of the place category as well. Presenting people by clickable surname in the categories would be more difficult though. What do you think about having three subcategories of each place for people, families, and sources?
An issue here is what to do when a place is moved. The people and sources and families will continue to belong to the "People/Families/Sources of Wherever" category where wherever is the old (redirected) place name, and they won't show up in the categories for the new place name. One solution is to have a bot program periodically rename the places on people/family/source pages to the new place name. I have been planning on updating source pages this way already, but I'm not sure whether to do this for person and family pages because I don't know how well people would accept having their person and family pages changed by a bot. Maybe getting their pages listed in the new place categories would be worth it however.--Dallan 21:10, 17 January 2007 (MST)
I don't think I'd have any problem with a bot changing pages. In fact, I think it's preferable that the links be updated when places or sources are renamed into a more proper format. The only downside of this would be the sudden bombing of emails that would happen when several pages on your watchlist are updated at the same time. I'd like to see subcategories for places, allowing people to be place within them. The more pathways to making findable the pages people create the better. --Tim 13:54, 18 January 2007 (MST)

List which trees a page is in

I'm planning to show the trees (see WeRelate:Family Tree Explorer) a page appears in when you view the page, as a way to help people connect with the appropriate users when they view pages they come across in searches. Alternatively, I could list all users who are watching the page, which would also include people not using Family Tree Explorer, but might include "casual observers" as well. For those of you who have tried the Family Tree Explorer, is anyone planning on not using it, and instead continuing to create person and family pages the way you've been doing it?--Dallan 22:07, 30 January 2007 (MST)

LDSOSS added new link

As I was surfing today and came across LDSOSS a site for LDS Open Source projects I decided I would add a description (and link) for WeRelate to the list of open source projects. The description may not be the best so feel free to edit it. I am not really a marketing person.

Search for Surname, not Place Name

How do you find a surname that is also the name of many cities" Search for surname Stockton and get 903 entries. 901 are "templates" of cities. This is a HUGE problem on every website I've ever seen.


I agree this is a problem. We're working on a solution that we hope to be ready early in the Fall. Until then, you can select "Person (and Family)" from the Namespace box on the search screen (click on the "WeRelate" button if you don't see a Namespace box) to exclude other pages like place templates.--Dallan 08:45, 9 April 2007 (MDT)


See the "policy and principles" page project:categories and initially its Discussion page

Place page titles?

See the new page project:Place page titles

Wikipedia links - both to and from

From WP

This discussion has been moved. See the new page: project:links from Wikipedia


This discussion has been moved. See the new page: project:links to Wikipedia.

Showing living people

See project:living people and its talk page.

Surname in Place vs. Family and Person pages

On a different topic that still fits under this heading, why are county-based surname in place pages not on the category page for the surname for that state? For example, the Morrow in Warren County, Tennessee page does not appear on the Morrow in Tennessee [:Category:Morrow in Tennessee] Category page. Since all my Morrow people from Warren County have a link to the Morrow in Tennesse category on their page, it would be nice to be able to then find the nice story on the Warren County page. Conversely, the Morrow in Warren County page is supposed to be in the category for Morrow in Warren County [:Category:Morrow in Warren County, Tennessee] Or, at least my user page says so, but neither the surname in place page or the people who lived there show up on that page.--Amelia.Gerlicher 22:04, 13 February 2007 (MST)

Regarding why Morrow in Warren County, Tennessee doesn't appear in the Category:Morrow in Tennessee category, I filled in the surname and place fields at the top of the page with Morrow and Warren County, Tennessee, and it now appears in the proper category. Those fields are automatically filled in based upon the title for new pages, but we weren't doing that when this page was created last May.
Regarding why Morrow in Warren County, Tennessee doesn't appear on the Category:Morrow in Warren County, Tennessee category, this is a bug, which I'll fix tomorrow. I'll change how category links are generated on the user page so that when you say you're researching Morrow in Warren County, Tennessee, you get a link to the Category:Morrow in Tennessee category, not Category:Morrow in Warren County, Tennessee. As we get more content added to the site, I'll change the links on your user page and on the surname-in-place pages to be more specific - to link to categories at the county level instead of the state.
The other thing I need to do is list county categories as sub-categories of the state category. That's a bit more complicated and will take longer.--Dallan 20:44, 15 February 2007 (MST)
I've fixed the bug where the wrong categories were being generated on user pages. The categories will be corrected the next time you edit and save your user page.--Dallan 23:35, 16 February 2007 (MST)

Place Names

What's the genealogical protocol for place names? If someone is born in 1701, do we put the location as it was called then (Virginia Colony, etc.), or as it is called now? --Joeljkp 18:18, 2 January 2007 (MST)

I'm not much of a genealogist so I couldn't tell you what the standard is, but one thing you could do is enter the name of the place as it currently is (which you can select from the drop-down), followed by a bar(|), followed by the name of the place as it was when the record was created. For example, you could enter "Virginia, United States|Virginia Colony". Then when the person page is displayed you see "Virginia Colony" as the place, and clicking on it takes you to Place:Virginia, United States.--Dallan 20:16, 2 January 2007 (MST)
I just searched for placename of 'Overton County' in 'TN' and got no hits. But when I changed TN to Tennessee, I got lots of hits. Is it going to be required to spell out the state name or can the program learn the shortened form? --Janiejac 07:17, 8 April 2007 (MDT)
If you check the "Include alternate names" checkbox next to the place search fields, it should include Tennessee (and other alternate names listed for Place:Tennessee) when you search on TN.--Dallan 08:45, 9 April 2007 (MDT)
I'm wondering how WeRelate will handle unconventional place names, example; I have a location of death for Elizabeth Pomeroy in 1850 as "Hannah Bailey Jackson's home in Jane Lew, Lewis Co., (W)VA". Hannah Bailey Jackson was her daughter-in-law. Maybe all that info isn't necessary, but it's already in my genealogy program and if I upload it, how will the program handle it? Will I need to go in and manually edit this type of thing? And I'll be interested in knowing how you're going to handle folks that were born in Virginia in the area that later became West Virginia. I've been using (W)VA. I don't know if that's the proper way, but I figured it was self-explanatory.

--Janiejac 23:10, 18 April 2007 (MDT)

The GEDCOM upload program tries to match places in your GEDCOM with places in the place index. If it finds a match, it adds a link to the place in the place index. It doesn't change the text that you've entered. If it can't find a match (and in the above case it's unlikely to find one), it just leaves the place as-is. We don't currently have a lot of historical places in the place index. Eventually I'm thinking that we'll have both "Lewis, West Virginia" and "Lewis, Virginia" in the index, with a "see-also" link between the places that they are in fact the same.--Dallan 00:52, 19 April 2007 (MDT)

Watercooler as a blog

What do others think of turning the watercooler into a blog. I love the watercooler portion of this site. For some reason when I think of it though a blog just naturally comes to mind. I guess because of its informal nature and feeling of conversations going on. I would also like to just add the watercooler to my rss reader and be able to periodically checkup on what I have missed out on. That is my suggestion for the week. --Dlongmore 08:40, 16 March 2007 (MDT)

Did you know that you can subscribe to an RSS feed for any page? The feed is available from the "History" view. For example, here is the feed for this page.--Dallan 23:58, 27 March 2007 (MDT)
I just tried the RSS feed for the Watercooler and its great! I might suggest adding that little red RSS logo thingie to make it a little easier to spot. Found the RSS feed at the bottom of the page. --Knarrows 08:33, 10 April 2007 (MDT)
That's a good idea. I'll add that to the todo list as well.--Dallan 11:14, 10 April 2007 (MDT)
Or it could even be a forum. Perhaps that would make it easier to find the specific subjects. I'm having a hard time finding a section that I read yesterday and would like to add a comment, but haven't found it again. --Janiejac 07:28, 8 April 2007 (MDT)
A forum is an interesting idea. I'll have to figure out how much work that would be. In the meantime, I'm going to archive old topics so this page isn't so long.--Dallan 08:45, 9 April 2007 (MDT)
Dallan, the page is getting long again. ;o) What is frustrating is that I'll be reading a section of the Watercooler, want to try something out or look at something that is discussed, and all the site's links (Home, Create, Connect, etc.) are miles away at the top of the page. And if I scroll up there so I can right-click to open a different tab/window, I lose track of where I was in the Watercooler. Perhaps a blog-format would make navigation a bit simpler. And now--totally off the subject, but I'm not sure where to put this topic on this confusing page--it would be nice if the on-line help explained what the slider-triangles on the tree-part of the FTE do. I mean, I slide, boxes change sizes, info disappears, then reappears, but I don't have a clue what I'm doing and I have to fiddle around to get something that works right on one tree, then fiddle again on another tree. (I understand the radio-buttons that switch the direction of the tree...at which point the sliders seem to work differently, or at least affect my tree differently.)--KF-in-Georgia 20:13, 1 May 2007 (MDT)
I'm going to look into turning this page into a forum, but it will take awhile. In the meantime I've moved threads more than two weeks old into WeRelate:Watercooler/Archive 2007. Regarding the FTE slider boxes, I'll add an explanation of what they do to the FTE help page today. (They control the number of generations of ancestor and descendant generations that are displayed on the screen. If you're going to view more than just a few generations, it helps to make the FTE window wider, which you can do by dragging the bar that separates the FTE window from the webpage window all the way to the right.)--Dallan 09:38, 2 May 2007 (MDT)


Dallan, congratulations on completing the Gedcom Import test phase! Here is an issue I haven't seen discussed: what is the mechanism for merging people? As people enter their Gedcom files more and more instances of intersecting trees are gong to come up. Does WeRelate send e-mails to the originators asking them to work out the inevitable conflicts ? Does the older record prevail in case of irreconcilable differences ? Before we start soliciting more entries I think this should be made clear. Other improvements, some of which have been kicked around: I think a peoople search box should be available from the main page since this is going to be the first think people are likely to do when they reach the site. Also, adding a link to a random person or family page would give vistors an idea of what it will look like when they enter their own data. Finally a link to "recent additions" (of people or trees) might be worth considering. Again I am trying to think of ways to make the main page attractive enough to entice people at first sight. --CTfrog 09:59, 27 March 2007 (MDT)

Once we have a matching algorithm in place (see my comment just above this post), the next step will be to send out emails notifying people of possible matches and asking them if they want to merge the pages. If they agree, information from one page will be merged into the other page, and the one page will become a redirect to the other page. Merging will be voluntary, and people will be able to "unmerge" if they find out later that they really can't get along editing the same page. This will take a fair amount of time to implement and is currently planned for this Fall, at which time we'll check all of the submitted pages for possible matches and send out merge-invitation emails.
I like your suggstions for making the front page more enticing. I'll add them to the more near-term todo list.--Dallan 23:58, 27 March 2007 (MDT)
I've come across an imported tree that duplicates a lot of what I've been entering. Before your algorithm is ready, are there any suggestions on how to merge these? My idea was to copy everything into the lower-numbered version, making sure to keep everything intact from the other page. --Joeljkp 19:09, 24 April 2007 (MDT)
Yes, I think that if you want to merge pages now, you should copy the data (especially the links to people and family pages) from the newer page to the older page (which will be the lower-numbered version if the pages have the same title other than the version number), and then edit the newer page and enter just a single line in the big text box:
  1. redirect Person:older page title
This causes the newer page to redirect to the older page. As a courtesy, you should leave a message for the other people watching the pages to let them know what you plan to do and make sure that they agree that the pages should be merged.--Dallan 11:19, 25 April 2007 (MDT)

Deleting and watching pages

Several people who have uploaded GEDCOM files have wanted to delete the pages they uploaded and upload a revised GEDCOM. The problem is that currently you have to be an administrator to delete pages. But being able to delete a person or family page when you are the only person interested in that page seems like a valid thing to do. Because of this, I'm thinking of implementing two new features later this week, and I'd appreciate feedback:

  • Show all of the people who are "watching" a page at the bottom of the infobox on the right-hand side of the page. Anytime you edit a page you automatically watch the page unless you uncheck the "Watch this page" box above the "Save page" button.
  • Allow anyone to delete a Person, Family, Image, or MySource page so long as they are the only person watching the page. Pages for names, places, sources, and articles would still require an administrator to delete. Also, anyone could delete their own user pages. Administrators could undelete any page.

What do people think about this?--Dallan 23:58, 27 March 2007 (MDT)

Sounds like a reasonable solution. --Joeljkp 07:10, 28 March 2007 (MDT)
I just added a function to show who's watching various types of pages: people, families, images, names, places, sources, user pages, and articles. This will hopefully make it easier to see who else is interested in the same pages as you, and prepares us to allow people to delete pages so long as they're the only one watching, which I'll add over the weekend. (Administrators will be able to undelete any pages that are deleted accidentally.)--Dallan 16:38, 30 March 2007 (MDT)
I really like this feature! -Nathan 10:29, 9 April 2007 (MDT)

I wonder why anyone would care who is "watching". make a place to leave them a message or add a counter. Just because I look at an individual, etc., does not mean I want to "watch" it.

You can leave a message on the "Discussion" page of each page. To "Watch" really means "send me an email whenever this page is changed." People who choose to watch the page are typically those who have contributed to its contents.--Dallan 12:43, 9 April 2007 (MDT)

Goes to prove I'm too "genealogy" and not enough "Techie". Why "watch" and not plain english "send me an email" ? -- PJ

Because "Send me an email when this page has changed" doesn't all fit on an 800x600 screen :-). Perhaps I should have some text pop up when you hover over the buttons to explain better what they do.--Dallan 23:14, 9 April 2007 (MDT)

This raises the related question of whether there is a way to update records (including changes, add and deletes) from a GEDCOM upload vs having to delete the tree and then create it again. I am concerned that as relatives start adding info to my pages, I am going to lose their changes if I upload a new version of my GEDCOM.--Jgoldsti 15:31, 15 April 2007 (MDT)

We're going to start working on a "merge" function over the summer so that when you re-upload your GEDCOM, the system will match the new pages with the existing pages and update the existing pages if they've changed in the new version. If one of your cousins has updated the page on-line and you have also updated the page in your new GEDCOM, you will have a screen where you look at both sets of changes and determine which ones to keep. But if the page hasn't been updated by someone else since your last upload, then the page should be updated automatically.
Until we get this in place however, we're recommending that people delete their trees before re-uploading. If someone else has edited one of the pages in your tree, that page won't be deleted because they'll be watching the page and you can only delete person/family pages if you're the only person watching the page, but you will have to merge that page with the corresponding page in your newly-uploaded tree by hand (see Help:Merging pages). It's a less-than-ideal situation for now, but we expect it to be better by the end of the summer.--Dallan 11:41, 16 April 2007 (MDT)

Is there a way to improve performance after upload of a large GEDCOM?

I've found that it takes a long time for the pages (measured in hours over a 3Mb DSL line) to be cached back to my local machine after I have uploaded my GEDCOM (thousands of entries). I discovered that it has to cache the info back again after I deleted the old tree and uploaded a new GEDCOM to update a limited number of records. Is it possible to speed this up...hopefully for initial uploads and especially for updates. I realize that I could go into the online editor and make the updates, but this is painful compared to uploading the updated GEDCOM. By the way, I am very please with werelate! I was able to get started using it quickly and the capabilities are powerful...especially for a tool in beta test. I love the idea of being to upload images! Keep up the good work. - Jonathan 12:45 9 April 2007 (EDT)

You're right. There are three people who have recently uploaded GEDCOM's of more than 10,000 people (I think you're one of them), and they're all seeing similar performance problems. People with GEDCOM's of just 1-2,000 people don't have the same problem. Fixing performance problems for large GEDCOM's is on my high-priority list for this week. I'll post something here when I get it resolved. Thank you for your patience.--Dallan 12:43, 9 April 2007 (MDT)
I've made some modifications to the Family Tree Explorer so that performance should be significantly improved for large GEDCOM's. I'm able to download a 1000-person GEDCOM over a 256K DSL line in about 40 seconds. I expect that a 10,000 person GEDCOM should be downloadable in less than 10 minutes. (The initial open of a large tree will take awhile because the program is converting cached pages from the old format into the new format, but after that things should go much faster.) Please let me know if large GEDCOM's are still taking longer than 10-15 minutes to download.--Dallan 21:04, 18 April 2007 (MDT)

I deleted my old family tree and uploaded my large GEDCOM file earlier today to test performance. I opened the family tree creator a couple of hours after uploading the file and it has been showing "loading 0%" for over 30 minutes". I've tried clearing out my Internet explorer cache and updated Flash reader to the April 12, 2007 level and it has not helped. --Jgoldsti 12:54, 19 April 2007 (MDT)

I'll review this tomorrow morning. In the meantime, please don't delete your tree. I'm going to try loading it onto my computer and see if I can track down exactly what's happening.--Dallan 21:41, 19 April 2007 (MDT)
I made some additional improvements to performance today. I'm able to download your tree using a DSL line in less than a minute. (Clicking on "Find in tree" from the "Edit" menu or clicking on the "Index" tab and then selecting the "Person" or "Family" namespace requires downloading all pages in your tree, so you should expect that to take 10-15 minutes for large trees, but it's only necessary once, and not required at all if you never search your tree or select "Person" or "Family" from the Index view.)
I'm not sure if the changes I made today fixed the problem though. If you're still seeing "loading 0%" for a long time, in addition to clearing out the IE cache again, would you also clear out the Flash cache? To do this, launch the Family Tree Explorer and right-click somewhere inside it. Click on "Settings", then change the amount of disk you allow WeRelate to use all the way down to 0, then try loading your tree again. (Answer "yes" when you're asked if WeRelate can use your disk to cache data.) I've added some logging statements to the server so that I can tell if we're sending the data to you or not. If it still doesn't work after clearing out the Flash cache, would you let me know, and also let me know whether you're using a dial-up modem or DSL, and what version of IE you're using? Thanks.--Dallan 17:16, 20 April 2007 (MDT)

My tree loaded successfully today using both Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox with Windows XP SP2. Clearing the Flash cache seemed to help. --Jgoldsti 10:12, 21 April 2007 (MDT)

That's great news!--Dallan 10:48, 23 April 2007 (MDT)

Search functionality always accessible

One thing I have noticed that I bounce back an forth between is the article/person/whatever and search screens. I would find it very handy to have the search functionality always available somewhere. That is my two cents for today. --Dlongmore 13:54, 16 February 2007 (MST)

Yes. On my screen resolution atleast there is a space to the right of the logo. Perhaps a search/go to page box here. I've been missing the "type in a page name and go to it" functionality of a wiki, could we add it?--Bjwebb 03:04, 17 February 2007 (MST)
We could do that. It would have to be a single textbox that took you directly to a page if you entered the page's exact title, or did a keyword search on all WeRelate pages if you did not. How does that sound?--Dallan 14:57, 17 February 2007 (MST)
You bet - sound good to me! --Dlongmore 17 February 2007 (MST)
Yeah sounds good. Something like the Go/Search from the normal MediaWiki software would be good as it would make us wiki-users feel at home.--Bjwebb 08:12, 18 February 2007 (MST)


After appearing to have taken a break for awhile, attempts to spam the site are again happening regularly. I assume these attacks are performed by bots seeking out wiki sites. It's little difficulty to revert their attempts, but I wonder if they still realize a success since their links remain in the page histories, and may then still be found by some search engines. Is it a good idea to allow here page changes by unregistered posters? Not only does this open up the site to regular attack by spammers or vandals, but it also allows changes to pages by well-meaning, perhaps knowledgeable, people we then can't contact or verify. One of the most important goals of this site is to connect researchers. Anonymous page edits conflict with that goal. --Tim 09:27, 19 February 2007 (MST)

I've also been thinking about this lately. But I keep coming back to the same conclusion that you have - that since an important goal of this site is to connect researchers, requiring people to log in to edit pages detracts from that goal. I'll install a spambot that tries to automatically detect spam tomorrow to see if that helps.--Dallan 13:27, 19 February 2007 (MST)
Actually, I think we're making opposing points. I don't see the practical advantage of allowing anyone to post without being logged in. If someone makes a change to one of the pages I'm interested in, but either by design or oversight hasn't logged in, then all I can see when I check to see who made the change is an IP address, and that's pretty much meaningless in helping me make connections or to reach conclusions about the trustworthiness of the person who made the change. So I don't think we lose anything by requiring people to log in, but we might gain a little rigor, and it builds a wall against automated spammers.--Tim 13:44, 19 February 2007 (MST)
Ah, I didn't read your previous post carefully enough. The idea of requiring people to log in so that you can determine the trustworthiness of the person who made the change is an interesting point that I hadn't thought of before. What do others think?--Dallan 16:00, 19 February 2007 (MST)
Based upon the points made above I've changed the permissions so that you must be logged in to edit.--Dallan 22:33, 21 February 2007 (MST)
I maintain several MediaWiki installs, some open, some not, for a few groups and similar - we've seen bots that automatically register as well as people hand-registering (to get around CAPCHAs) and then turning a bot loose on Wikis they want to spam. Requiring logins helps (when it's politically feasible), but you really want to mix that with people policing (and blocking spam IPs) the wiki as well to prevent it completely. --Improv 21:29, 9 April 2007 (MDT)
We do exactly that. We monitor recent changes, especially from new users. We've seen a few users issuing spam as you say, but it has gone way down since requiring registration.--Dallan 23:14, 9 April 2007 (MDT)


I have to say I been using GENi and will probably use it for actually connecting people together. I also made a comment on the GENi blog about providing a link to WeRelate for storing all the biographical and research related information. So I could see myself entering indivduals without neccesarily being concerned about how they are linked together. I see the combination as being like bread and butter together. I will continue to experiment with the family tree explorer but so far it does not provide me as much as GENi.--Dlongmore 13:54, 15 February 2007 (MST)

What are the features of geni that people would like to see added to WeRelate?--Dallan 20:44, 15 February 2007 (MST)
I really like the way it displays family trees. If you could reach some partnership with Geni to use their tree display interface it would be great.
If we were to use their tree display, how would you suggest we display personal histories, sources, notes, and scanned images? Would you want a split-screen display showing the tree on the left and the wiki page for the selected individual on the right, or to use the full screen to display the tree and have the wiki pages pop up in separate windows?--Dallan 11:11, 16 February 2007 (MST)
My vote is to have them popup in a separate window. They currently have a feature to allow you a links to other systems. The only draw back is it takes several click-pause/click-pause to get from the tree to werelate. It would be really nice to just have something righton the tree that you would click and it would popup your werelate person page. --Dlongmore 13:54, 15 February 2007 (MST)
I would second the what Dlongmore says.--Bjwebb 12:50, 16 February 2007 (MST)
Even better would be a full partnership where Geni could hold information about all people in a tree (including living people) and WeRelate would show the tree, but with Living people named "Living".--Bjwebb 03:30, 16 February 2007 (MST)
I don't get it. While I haven't tried Geni beyond looking at its preview screenshots, it reminded me of email address collectors when I first looked at it a month ago. It looks like it's for attempting to find all your living relatives, to arrange picnics, coordinate jello salads. Totally different goal than what's here. Unless there's something to it that's not apparent from the screenshots I don't see what it has to offer as an interface that the trees here don't. The trees here hold a lot of information. They have the AJAX functionality that allows you to see extended families. They have the maps that allow you to see migration patterns. In the screenshots the Geni trees look candy coated toyish. Do I ever hate pink and blue to indicate gender. Your ancestors aren't babies, and gender is a minor data point. There's no reason I can see to adopt their path or develop a relationship. Compared to other interests, genealogy isn't well represented in new approaches to making connections on the internet. Hopefully there will be many varied approaches to serving the market.--Tim 16:11, 16 February 2007 (MST)
Let me explain how I actually use GENi. It is an introduction point. I do not enter anything other than there name and a picture and a link to WeRelate (thats it). You could almost consider as the bait and hook for WeRelate. Every person I have invited to GENi has responded very positively (except one). It has a very non intimidating interface. It appeals to the casual crowd. In that sense it maybe the first step to get them interested enough to look further at WeRelate. I will use it to help funnel people to WeRelate for the most part. Its also lots of fun.--Dlongmore 13:54, 15 February 2007 (MST)
I guess you do have some valid points, but their current ajax tree dispplay is much better than what we currently have. I can see now the different goals you point at - Geni is obviously targeted at helping connect living people, so mcuh so that the default option is living. But the AJAX IMO does look really good, are there any plans to develop something like that in the long term for WeRelate?--Bjwebb 03:02, 17 February 2007 (MST)
I'll try Geni out this morning, just to see how their interface differs. But I haven't wanted to be sending emails to relatives telling them to come join, so it hasn't previously had any attraction for me. If I don't invite anyone then everything I enter remains only accessible to me. I do believe that the future site that successfully encourages people to cooperatively research their genealogy will be a cross between the approach here and some of what GENi offers as a social networking site. An open, public, easily searchable record of ancestors combined with private networks of living individuals. For example, let's say I'd traced my genealogy back six generations on all my lines, found a couple living distant cousins to contribute information to the wiki, and wanted to show it to a 10-year-old niece who I thought might be interested. I'd be far more successful in interesting her if I could email her a link to her own place in the tree, so that she could look through her parents and grandparents back to the ancestors she never knew, rather than having to start with her great-great-grandmother. Through the distant relatives I'd met through our common interest in certain ancestors, my niece also might be able to see other youngsters in her network of living people because they're related (albeit distantly) to her, and that might seem cool to a kid. --Tim 07:31, 17 February 2007 (MST)
I agree with Tim - I don't see anything that GENi has that would be good for us, besides perhaps a pretty interface we could use for inspiration. I agree with the feeling that it would be cool to have more details on living individuals, and that could be accomplished here through some kind of permissions system or private pages rather than doing anything with GENi. WeRelate has totally different goals than GENi does, and I don't see much overlap there to play with. --Joeljkp 09:14, 17 February 2007 (MST)

I'm thinking about making the family tree explorer the full width of the screen. This would allow me to add new tree views that aren't as horizontally compact, like Geni's network view. We could then have detailed information about people and families appear in popup windows. What would people think about this?--Dallan 14:57, 17 February 2007 (MST)

Yes. The other thing with the current display at the moment is that it isn't very user friendly (just boxes next to each other) could you create some interface connected with lines.--Bjwebb 08:39, 18 February 2007 (MST)

The integration of living family networks with deceased ones is important but not something that could be addressed easily by WeRelate due to its reliance on the Wikipedia software, which doesn't support group-level permissions well. A partnership with a separate organization would likely be necessary, where one could copy pages for selected (deceased) individuals from your private website to WeRelate and establish a link so that updates on one site get propagated automatically to the other. I'll have to think more about this.--Dallan 14:57, 17 February 2007 (MST)

Help page revision

As some of you may have noticed, the project for revamping the WeRelate help pages is underway. By overhauling these pages, we hope to increase clarity, minimize redundancy, and facilitate learning. Our plan is to integrate the About pages, Help pages, and tutorials into a systemic, cross-referenced, stylistically uniform guide for WeRelate users. The first step toward achieving this is defining the purpose and content of these three "types" of help pages. Here are our first attempts at such a definition:

  • About pages:
    • Purpose: To provide a brief definition of WeRelate-specific items, along with a list of key functions and features. The first time that an item--say the Family Tree Explorer--is mentioned on a WeRelate page, the word would be hyperlinked to WeRelate:About Family Tree Explorer. Here the user would find basic information about the item, along with links to more specific, detailed assistance. A WeRelate About page could be compared to a dictionary entry for a WeRelate feature.
    • Content: A brief definition, a list of key features, a list of related pages (mainly the relevant help and tutorial pages), and, when appropriate, a brief, "Getting started" tutorial.
  • Help pages:
    • Purpose: To provide a more detailed explanation of WeRelate features, and to answer common user questions. If a user had difficulty using some aspect of WeRelate, he could follow a link to the appropriate help page, where he would likely find the answer to his difficulties in the FAQ, or be redirected to the relevant tutorial for step-by-step guidance through the task at hand. A WeRelate Help page could be compared to an encyclopedia article about a WeRelate feature.
    • Content: An FAQ beginning with "What is...?" and "How do I...?" questions, general information organized by topic, and a list of related pages (other Help pages and tutorials).
  • Tutorials:
    • Purpose: To walk the user through both the basic and complicated processes of WeRelate research and collaboration. If a user is ever unsure of the steps to take to use WeRelate, he would hopefully be linked to a tutorial providing simple, step-by-step guidance. The user could use the tutorial multiple times to practice different useful procedures. A WeRelate tutorial could be compared to a "Do it yourself" repair manual, a recipe, or assembly instructions.
    • Content: An introduction explaining how to use the tutorial, lessons related to a central subject, and a list of links that could represent the "next step" for the user.

To see these distinctions in practice, check out the first draft of the About, Help, and tutorial pages dealing with person pages:

If you think these pages succeed or fail in relation to these distinctions, or if you simply agree or disagree with the specifics of the proposed system, let me know. Respond on this page, or leave me a message on my User talk page.--Wrhelp 16:40, 15 March 2007 (MDT)

External link to "file://"

I thought I would give this a try using "file://" in an external link and it did not work. The reason I would like to refer to a local file is becuase I would like to be able to refer to some my living relatives histories (creating a werelate article for them is not a very good option in my opinion). I did some research on the possiblity of doing it at the help pages at Wikipedia]. It said that it can be enabled by doing the following.

"file://" does not work by default. If enabled it only works in MSIE. To enable it, add a $wgUrlProtocols entry to LocalSettings.php; see the $wgUrlProtocols in DefaultSettings.php for example. --Dlongmore 19:18, 17 March 2007 (MDT)
For everyone else viewing the page, the "file://" link would be broken. That doesn't seem like a great solution. I thought you were using Geni to store information about your living relatives? How about linking to a geni page (that would require a password to view) instead?--Dallan 23:58, 27 March 2007 (MDT)

Baptism on person pages

Can we get Baptism events sorted above Death events on person pages? Baptism events seem to be often used instead of birth events, so it makes sense to have it displayed above the associated death event (or other, later events). --Joeljkp 11:51, 18 March 2007 (MDT)

Christening events sort above death events on person pages currently, but not baptism events. Perhaps the system should sort all events by date when displaying them on person and family pages. What do people think?--Dallan 23:58, 27 March 2007 (MDT)
Well, the issue with baptism goes further than that. I use baptism events rather than christening events simply because my sources specifically say "baptism," so I comply to keep consistency. The problem is with sorting on the person pages, but also with displaying the date in FTE, on relatives' pages, etc. Christening events show up, but baptisms don't. Since the two are basically synonyms, can you create one as basically an alias of the other, so they behave the same in every way? --Joeljkp 19:11, 29 March 2007 (MDT)
I see what you're saying. There's a fair amount of effort involved and I don't think I'll do it right away (unless others ask for it as well) but I will add it to the todo list.--Dallan 13:45, 30 March 2007 (MDT)
In the meantime, Dallan, I think it's a great idea to sort facts chronologically by date. Jillaine 11:14, 8 July 2007 (MDT)

Improving efficiency for manual addition of people/families

I find myself adding lots of people and families manually (rather than by uploading GEDCOMs), and I keep noticing things that could be improved to help out with that process. I'll add them here as I think of them. --Joeljkp 07:19, 21 March 2007 (MDT)

  1. When working with families, I add the names of all the children at once, then create their pages later. Before I do that, they show up as red links on the appropriate family page. I click on these links to add birthdates, etc. for the child. It seems natural that when clicking on a nonexistent child link to add the initial info, it should be prefilled with the name and "child of" family. Without this just means extra time spent adding the name (again) and linking to the family (again).
  2. When adding several people at once, it seems natural to work through by adding a person, the families for that person, then clicking on the resulting links to add new people and families, etc. If various parts of this tree already exist in the system, the user is not alerted to this, leading naturally to the creation of duplicate entries. It would be great if, say, when adding children to a family, the user was alerted to possible matches already in the system.
Pre-filling the child page with the name of the child and the "child of" family should be happening, but it looks like it's broken. I'll fix it tomorrow. Regarding being alerted to possible matches, I agree this is important. It's going to take some time to implement. I hope to have it completed this Fall.--Dallan 23:58, 27 March 2007 (MDT)
Pre-filling the child page is fixed.--Dallan 12:08, 28 March 2007 (MDT)
Works great! --Joeljkp 20:20, 28 March 2007 (MDT)
I too am in the process of manually entering persons/families and was wondering if there is a way to search for the "red links" to those pages that need created? --Ronni 05:25, 13 April 2007 (MDT)
Not at present. I'll add it to the todo list. In the meantime, if you click on the "pedigree map" icon in the upper right-hand corner of a person or family page, you can see the people in someone's pedigree chart who are missing (have red links).--Dallan 14:44, 13 April 2007 (MDT)


Congratulations on the great article in the Fort Wayne News-Sentinal! --Joeljkp 18:22, 5 April 2007 (MDT)

Thank-you! Traffic has doubled since the announcement. Exciting times are ahead!--Dallan 23:59, 6 April 2007 (MDT)

Longitude and Latitude Links

I think it might be helpful if the longitude and latitude entry on a place page were a link to a google map of that location. I stumbled across a place cited in my family tree, and I didn't know where in the world it was located. Luckily I thought of clicking on the wikipedia link for the article, which had a nice map.

-Nathan 15:20, 8 April 2007 (MDT)

Reserving titles when moving person and family pages

In the case where a user is moving a person and family page title to one that already exists, it would be nice if WeRelate suggested an ID number that could be used in lieu of the ID number from the old title. For example, if I wanted to move the title Nathan Powell (1) to Nathaniel Powell, and the person page Nathaniel Powell (1) already existed, the system would reserve and suggest Nathaniel Powell (2) as the new title. -Nathan 13:22, 10 April 2007 (MDT)

Just leave off the ID number in the title you want to move the page to (e.g., "Person:Nathaniel Powell"). The system will assign a unique ID number for you and move the page to that title (e.g., "Person:Nathaniel Powell (2)").--Dallan 18:05, 10 April 2007 (MDT)

Initial Impressions

The help pages and tutorials don't seem hard to understand when I read/listen to them, but I seem to run into situations they don't deal with. Unfortunately I don't keep notes because part of being confused is not knowing exactly what I'm confused about (and some are things that I have since managed to figure out).

What is most confusing at watercooler is that I have to hit "edit" and edit this page in order to respond to these questions. It needs to be super-easy to leave responses and comments here of all places.

Is page creation hard to understand? It depends on the type of page. I find it much easier to create an article than to accomplish things in inputting new genealogical data. I'm beginning to think there are several things going on here at once -- the wiki thing (community-wide editable text) and the FTE thing (another way of viewing genealogical data). Then there's the genealogically-targeted web searching thing. I find FTE beautiful in view, but I have a terrible time making it work. I also have a feeling that "source" means more than one thing. As a genealogist, it's telling people where my information came from. But somehow it also involves werelate "crawling" the internet. What's that about?

Search functions are somewhat confusing. The concept of "namespace" was new to me, but using it certainly helps in getting the kind of results desired. Even so, results often seem to include a lot of places where my search term ("Illinois")just happens to be mentioned in the course of something quite different. Of course all kinds of searches do that, not just here!

The tabs are a language of their own. I just punch them and see what comes up.

Some other specifics:

I just learned that there are "types" of places. Maybe I skipped a tutorial but that was news to me and I'm not sure what the possible types are, or how one decides which type a given place is. I understand the point -- a useable wiki cannot have half of the entries about Guggisberg, Canton Bern Switzerland, a village, and the other half about Guggisberg, Canton Bern Switzerland, an inhabited place. (I love the way this works when inputting personal genealogical data.)

The same standardization project with regard to sources really has me puzzled and frustrated (because it seems so important). I'm not clear on the distinction between Mysources and community sources (and I think others are too, some have all their sources as mysources). I don't seem to be able to use sources in articles the same way as I use them in inputting data. Standardizing relatively straightforward community sources, like Stiles' History of Ancient Windsor, Connecticut, looks really hard, and census data make even that look easy. At least with census data I can imagine a standard template: 1900 US Census Illinois Grundy County Morris, but then we need a roll number as well as a page number for the big places. TMG allows users to distinguish for each source between the general name and the citation specific details, but with censuses everyone carves that out differently. I prefer to make each year/county a separate source but many other solutions are equally reasonable.

I hope this doesn't sound whiny and I'm sure some of it is stupid (=easily avoidable with more patience). It's a noble project and the right way to go and I want to make it work. --Hh219 05:35, 15 April 2007 (MDT)

First of all, I really appreciate your comments. We'll be making changes in the next 2-3 weeks that should address several of these comments specifically.
Regarding place types, the types come from the Source:Getty Vocabulary Program. They seem to use several different types. Sometimes the type appears in the title of a place when two places have the same name but different types. (Of course in some of those situations the two places are really the same place, in which case let me know and I'll merge them.)
Regarding sources, it's a difficult problem. I like the idea of someday having a comprehensive, searchable index of genealogical sources, which is why it's included. However, in its current state it is not very easy to find sources because of the standardization problems you mention. One possible solution could be to add a "reviewed" checkbox to each of the source pages, work with people to determine what the standardized title for a set of sources (e.g., census sources) should look like, then automatically (or semi-automatically) rename the pages and check the "reviewed" checkbox for as many sources as possible. Unreviewed sources would remain in the database and would be searchable, but wouldn't appear in the drop-down list when you're entering a source. If anyone is interested in discussing ideas for improving the source index, please add comments to WeRelate talk:Sources. I know that some people have been working on standardizing sources already for Source talk:Scotland, Old parochial registers.
MySource's are "personal sources", which means that they're for information that is of more personal interest than public interest, like a birth certificate in your possession. The reason for MySource's is so that the general "Source" index doesn't get cluttered with a lot of sources that aren't of public interest. In particular, the system creates MySource's from GEDCOM files because we don't know which sources in a GEDCOM are of public interest. We'll try to make this distinction clearer in the future.
--Dallan 11:41, 16 April 2007 (MDT)

I have been with WeRelate for a few weeks now and it does require a learning curve. I would agree that if it doesn't become easier many people will not make use of it. That said I LOVE many things about this site. I have never been comfortable with sending in gedcom files; my work is in constant change and I keep some things in a gedcom and some in free form notes on web pages etc. WeRelate allows me to combine the power of linked family groups with plenty of space for notes that are easy to add and I can add or delete any time at any computer. It does seem a bit clunky in places but you expect that with a new kind of software. It takes people using it; reworking it; growing with it to fine tune an experiment. I think that is exciting.

I think the faqs are good but I really wish there was a search engine for them or for directions of "how to". Signatures are an example. I read how to do it but I cannot refind the directions and must be looking right at the section but can't locate it.

I also suspect a message board would get more traffic than the wiki by users. I know this is wiki based but I think communication this way, back and forth, seems awkward to many of us.

I don't think the person vs. family pages are real intuitive. I had a friend go look at some of my pages and she didn't understand to look at both the person and family view for more information. I don't know the answer to that. It makes sense if you know how it works but for people just visiting they don't necessarily get it.

Other than that the only thing I find really lacking is indexing. I work with large clusters of people; the neighbors; the inlaws; anyone who shows up in my path when I am researching. This means I need a really good index by surname of both married and maiden name. The index you get when you click on the family tree just doesn't work for me. In lieu of that I think I am going to build separate web pages (housed elsewhere) that index my WeRelate pages. That way I can have tidy indexes and even annotate the index entries ie

Walker, Cornelius - son of James & Mary; husband of Julia Armstrong.

I would not expect WeRelate to generate something that cool but it WOULD be nice if it would do an alpha list that a person could print out. I don't know how to sign my name so that it helps find me


Thank-you! Those are good suggestions.
  • I'll add a search form for the help pages on the main help contents page. (In the meantime, you can click on the "Connect" tab, then click on the "Namespace:" drop-down list and select "Help", then enter the terms you want to search for in "Keywords:".)
  • I've also thought about the message board idea. I'm going to see if I can change how the discussion pages work to get them to behave more like message boards in the upcoming weeks, but if that doesn't work I'll be integrating some traditional forum software.
  • I agree that the person vs. family page distinction isn't very intuitive. It seems necessary in order to make the "everything is a page" concept of a wiki work for genealogy. I'm interested in suggestions in presenting it more intuitively.
  • Regarding indexing, that's an interesting thought. One thing you can do is open your tree in the Family Tree Explorer, then click on the "Index" tab, then select the "Person" namespace, where you can sort everyone in your tree by surname, birthdate, deathdate, etc. But it won't let you annotate the index entries as you mention. Another thing you could do is create your index as a "Personal Research Page". Click on the "MyRelate" tab, then the "Edit Profile" button, enter the name of the page you want to create (e.g., "My tree index") in the box under "Personal Research Pages" and press "Save page" to save your profile. Then click on the red "My tree index" link and press "Edit" to create the page. You could then add lines to your page like:
  • I'll add generating a personal research page with an alpha list of people in your tree as a feature request for the family tree explorer. I'm also going to make it possible to add people to your tree even when the family tree explorer is not open.
--Dallan 11:19, 25 April 2007 (MDT)

There's one navigation issue that tends to make the site a bit more confusing than I think it needs to be. If I'm on an individual's page, I can't get to that person's spouse or child or mother or father with a single click. If I want the spouse, I have to click on the husband-and-wife page, then click to the spouse. If I want a child, I have to do the same thing. And if I want mother or father, I have to go to the father-and-mother page, then click to whichever parent I wanted. It would be heavenly to be able to get to places with one click. Maybe, make the father-and-mother link be three separate links: click the father's name and go to him, click the mother's name and go to her, and click the "and" to go to the parents' page. The same could happen with the husband-and-wife page: if I click "and" I go to the couple's page, but clicking either name would take me to that individual (meaning that if I were on the wife's page and clicked her name, I wouldn't go anywhere). And if it were possible to list children--maybe run in, separated by commas, rather than listing down the page if the comma-format would make it easier...and don't list dates and stuff--that would be heavenly. I think it might be frustrating, and a bit confusing to new users, that they can't get from a husband to a wife or to a child or to a parent with a single click. And for people with slow-loading dial-up, that extra click to get from one person to another might be too time-consuming to be borne. I realize that with the color coding--existing links are in blue--it might not be obvious that someone is looking at three different links until they mouse-over and see an underline that breaks on either side of "and", but I almost intuitively click on the dad's name if that's where I want to go, anyway. Just an idea...--KF-in-Georgia 22:09, 6 May 2007 (MDT)

I agree here about showing children on individual person pages. This may have the drawback of making the family pages less obviously useful or necessary for newcomers, but it would allow you to see all the children a given person has produced, something that right now is split amongst all the family pages the person is a member of. --Joeljkp 07:25, 7 May 2007 (MDT)
I'll add this to the to-do list. As long as we're happy with showing just the page titles of parents, spouses, and children on the Person page, it's not too difficult. If we must also show full names, birthdates, etc., (like we do on Family pages) then it gets complex. You can also open up the Family Tree Explorer to navigate among several generations in a tree, but I agree that having the links right on the Person page would be more convenient.--Dallan 10:37, 8 May 2007 (MDT)
I tried navigating using the Family Tree Explorer. If you open it enough generations to see spouses of the children you're editing, you still can't get to those spouses with a single click. If you click the spouse, it opens up the Family page, not the spouse you were aiming at...or so I discovered when I put Clarence's obit on the family page when I was aiming to put it on his page. (grin) I got it fixed, but it does seem silly that there's no way to get from husband to wife (or vice versa) with a single click. (I know you can use the FTE Index to navigate, but that's no fun when half your family members have the same given name.) (By the way, the FTE-click that takes you to the Family page is great when it's time to add kids to the tree. I've no problem with that. I'm just still searching for a single-click way to get from husband to wife.)--KF-in-Georgia 10:20, 9 May 2007 (MDT)
That's a good point - I hadn't realized that. We'll add spouse (and father, mother, and children) to the person page in the next few months. (It will take some effort, but it's do-able.)--Dallan 20:35, 9 May 2007 (MDT)

Can it be possible to upload a file or spreadsheet to a personal research page? I have some typed Family Group Sheets that were created using a spreadsheet. It would be great if these could somehow be uploaded to my personal research pages and then made searchable. If that is not possible, could I enter this info in the Family Tree Explorer even though these folks are not related or connected to each other?--Janiejac 16:19, 26 June 2007 (MDT)

At present you can upload only images and GEDCOM files. Uploading and indexing PDF files is on the ToDo list. Spreadsheets are a little more difficult to index, but it's do'able if people want it. Another alternative is to create wiki pages for them - check out the updated Create tab - or you could create them in the family tree explorer even though they're unrelated to others in your tree (you could create a new tree for them if you want). Finally, I'm working on a "digital library" addition to WeRelate that would allow people to upload, index, and preserve source documents that don't need to be community-editable. The digital library will likely be in test mode for awhile though.--Dallan 22:03, 26 June 2007 (MDT)

I think your site is too complicated & too high tech for the average older user. It is NOT simple!!! I think putting a file on Ancestry.com is much easier. Your 13 min. video just confuses you more. It is very involved. Both my file & my husband's file have each almost 11,000 names & many hundreds of pictures which I would put on your site if there weren't so many steps required.

Thank you for writing down your impressions. You're right - the site is starting out being too high-tech but we're in the process of making it easier to use. We're interested in hearing people's ideas of how to make the site simpler.--Dallan 14:48, 7 April 2007 (MDT)
I have to agree with the earlier post; it certainly is not user friendly yet. I couldn't get through the video. These eyes just couldn't see the fine print of the video and the speaker skimmed over info way too fast. Can you put making a new tutorial video on higher priority? I tried to read the text tutorial . . and copied this from it: "Example research guide - For an example of a research guide, please see [[Colorado research guide|]]." Why not make the 'Colorado research guide' a link to it? I haven't yet figured out how to search for it. --Janiejac 14:39, 10 April 2007 (MDT)
I agree we have a ways to go on usability. I do appreciate the feedback. We've started working on several new tutorials, each covering one topic from the current tutorial but more slowly and in more detail. They'll hopefully be out by the end of next week. We'll make the screen larger this time. Also, I fixed the link to the Colorado Research Guide; thanks for pointing that out. By the way, if you want to search for something on WeRelate, click on the "Connect" tab (which we'll probably rename to Search), then enter what you want to search for (like "Colorado research guide" in the Keywords field).--Dallan 18:05, 10 April 2007 (MDT)
I'm a new user myself and quite frankly I'm simply amazed and impressed at what the site can do! After just a couple of days of tinkering, the site is becoming easier for me to use. I'm very excited about being here and looking forward to future collaborations with fellow researchers. --Knarrows 03:39, 10 April 2007 (MDT)

I am amazed at the sheer volume of copywritten sources you have downloaded, I'm sure, without permission! Both personal, Ancestry and Rootsweb copywritten web pages are included here: Genforum, FTM home pages, etc. Yet, you tell "users" not to post copywritten information??? -- PJ

I believe you're referring to the Web search. Just like google, our crawler crawls web pages at Ancestry, Rootsweb, Genforum, and several million other web pages in order to make them searchable. Also just like google, we obey the robot exclusion protocol so that if people do not want their web pages to be searchable on WeRelate they can exclude our bot from crawling their site.--Dallan 23:14, 9 April 2007 (MDT)

My initial impression is that the site is extreamly dificult to navigate thru. When I go to a person I expect to see almost everything about that person in one view. ie Spouses listed in order of marriage, children listed in birth order, tags in order. Instead, I found spouses off to the side in random order, children not listed. Look at TMG and copy there page. It will be more useful to the user.

There are two types of pages in a tree: Person pages and Family pages. Person pages show information about a single individual, including links to the Families they are a member of (as a child or spouse). Clicking on a family link takes you to a Family page where you see information about the family, including marriage and children. It would be pretty easy to list the families a person is a spouse of in order by marriage date on the Person's page; I'll add that to the todo list. But if you want to see information about both a person and their spouses and children on the same page, click on the "pedigree map" icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, which will give you a 5-generation pedigree chart.--Dallan 11:14, 10 April 2007 (MDT)

This site is not user friendly at all. The design is in dire need of a makeover and the navigation is so bad I would think that Magellan would have trouble finding his way around. Also the blatant copyright violations on this website needs to be addressed.

If you will point out specific violations along with a source of the copyrighted material, we will look into it.--sq 20:35, 17 April 2007 (MDT)

I'm a newbie, and I'm working my way through how to make WeRelate work. Yeah, it's a bit confusing, but every new software set-up takes users a while to figure out. I don't have Wiki experience, so I have the general Wiki learning-curve to negotiate, as well as this site's specifics. A couple of quick questions: ??? Is it possible to rename images once they're uploaded? I'm ready to concede that "7287909-R1-037-17_2.jpg" is not the most useful file name. ??? And is it possible to rename a family tree? I didn't realize the site would tack "family tree" onto the name I entered, so I've got the "Hoss Family Tree family tree"; I'd like to eliminate the redundancy. Thanks.--KF-in-Georgia 21:28, 29 April 2007 (MDT)

Regarding renaming images, unfortunately you can't rename them. (I'll add that to my to-do list.) You need to re-upload the image using the name you want, and then leave me a message and I'll delete the old image. Regarding renaming trees, I'll add this as an option in the "File" menu in the Family Tree Explorer today or tomorrow.--Dallan 10:18, 30 April 2007 (MDT)
Thanks. I've renamed the tree. --KF-in-Georgia 16:03, 3 May 2007 (MDT)

Is there someplace specific to ask newbie questions? I have a question about editing a source page, but when I go to help on sources, my question does not fit any of the topics and I don't know how to add a topic. --Janiejac 06:01, 16 June 2007 (MDT)

You can ask your question here if you like. To add a new topic btw, type == New Topic == just the way you see it there changing NEW TOPIC to the appropriate text of course. Another way to do it is, when editing, there is a row of buttons at the top of the edit window. Click on the big A and that will give you same thing. :) --Ronni 06:45, 16 June 2007 (MDT)

Frustration! I decided to try the put something in my new personal research page; typed it in, previewed it and it didn't look just right, so I went to help formatting to learn how to fix it and when I went right back to it, the page had expired and I have to type it all over again. I wasn't in help but a minute, the pg should not have expired that quickly! I guess this is going to be a newbie problem! Thinking about it, I could have avoided this by saving it even though it didn't look right; then I could have come back to edit it. Call it learning frustrations!--Janiejac 10:29, 20 June 2007 (MDT)

The problem is with your browser. Some browsers cache the page and some do not. We will make the help screen open up in a new window in the next few weeks. Until then, (if you have mozilla or a browser that will allow it) open up a second window (control left click on the help tab). Sorry for the inconvenience.--sq 14:15, 22 June 2007 (MDT)
The other solution to this frustration is to press the "F5" key and "Retry" whereupon the page always comes back for me, which might be less confusing than opening up another window. --Dquass 18:43, 23 June 2007 (MDT)

Where do I go to change my email address? It seems like I ought to be able to do that from my profile page but ? I don't find the place on the site map.--Janiejac 08:48, 17 June 2007 (MDT)

On your main User Page, click on Preferences (it's at the end of the green tab bar at the top of the page). In addition to email addy, there are a bunch of things you can change. Btw, click on MY RELATE (it's on the blue bar on top of every page) to get to your user page real quick. --Ronni 09:19, 17 June 2007 (MDT)

This has got to be the MOST confusing website I've ever seen. "Click edit" and get a screen full of instructions? How about threaded messages with headings, dates, etc that can be read, followed, and "begin new topic" like we've used for years? "Watercooler" does not contain messages I can read. I have to go the archives first? Why? Waste of time and effort.

In an email I got from you, there was a link to Andrew Jackson Stockton (2). When I clicked that link, there was a message saying there was an answer, which turned out to be the Welcome screen! What a waste of time. I do not understand how to navigate this mess. Perhaps I've used Rootsweb too long, but I see nothing here that is better. "Wiki" appears to be a new "postem". I don't like all the clicks to find notes and sources for an individual. Too much like FTM. Put it on one screen. On other sites message boards, the kindest words I could find about WeRelate is "Lame". Amazing thing just happened! I scrolled down the page to delete more instructions and found MESSAGES! WOW. Why aren't the on a "board" so I can click on them and read them? Now that I accidentally found it, I completely agree with "initial Impressions". Actually most people find Rootsweb easier to use than Ancestry, but either one is easier to use that this. You are reinventing the wheel instead of making it roll faster. Any thing that takes more than one screen of basic instructions is too complicated for me. Have fun. I'll check back next year, if you're still here.

I'm sorry the website is confusing to you. We continue to make it easier to use, and welcome user feedback. There is not a commercial company with a large number of employees behind this website. It is mostly volunteer-driven. Receiving constructive feedback helps us improve the site for others. To address your specific points:
  • Other wiki's use a "watercooler" wiki page where people can edit the page to enter new topics. We decided to adopt this feedback model for WeRelate. Earlier today someone suggested that we use a forum instead. That seems like a good idea, so I've added it to the list of new feature requests.
  • Watercooler archive pages are just a way to preserve old (inactive) topics so that people can still read them but they don't take up space on the main watercooler page.
  • The page Person:Andrew Stockton (2) was deleted by the contributing user. In the email I believe I suggested that you contact the contributing user to ask why they deleted the page. People are allowed to delete pages they have created so long as no one else is watching the page.
  • I'm sorry you did not have a good experience. Although the site is perhaps not as easy to use as other sites right now, it is still in beta and is improving each day. I do expect we will be here next year.--Dallan 12:43, 9 April 2007 (MDT)

I did contact the user, who was surprised that it was still there. She thought she had deleted her entire gedcom. Your answer to leaving the name there was "in case she changes her mind". It will be there till doomsday if she doesn't? -- PJ

We can't promise deleted pages will be there forever. We will purge them periodically. But deleted pages will stop showing up in search results within 24 hours after being deleted.--Dallan 11:14, 10 April 2007 (MDT)

I haven't been back here in months because of the same reason - the website is horribly designed. VERY confusing. I am not a designer so unfortunately cannot help resolving this. But as an end-user, I know confusing and bad design when I see it. I will continue to check in periodically because I applaud any efforts to do what you are trying to do. But you have a tough road ahead to get WeRelate to be more meaningful, useful, and attractive to users in general... Trish Lewis 12:10, 14 April 2007 (CDT)

I'm finding it a steep learning curve, but in fairness this site is much more ambitious than worldconnect or ancestry. To non-designers like me, it's not obvious how much non-intuitive approaches are required by the task, and how much they aren't. For instance, I couldn't find any way to add a comment here than to "edit" this section, which wasn't what I wanted to do at all. Blog comment sections are much more intuitive than this feature seems to be. On the other hand, we're creatures of habit. I'm remembering how difficult it was for me to figure out how to use the first Family Tree Maker program I had, and later the Master Genealogist. Right now I'm having a terrible time with sources here, but I still think some forbearance by both users and designers is in order. --Hh219 11:20, 14 April 2007 (MDT)

We are working on some new ideas to improve useability. You should see them in about 3 weeks.--sq 21:20, 14 April 2007 (MDT)
Update, it will be more likely the end of this month.--Dallan 10:37, 8 May 2007 (MDT)

I agree, it is confusing at first and takes perserverance. I was anxious to get started and did not spend as much time as I should have reading the help files. Initially I had to leave the Family Tree Explorer turned off while I created some wiki pages for my tree. It is difficult to learn these two (explorer and wiki) new things at the same time. Now I have it back on and am adding the created pages to it. I see now it is a helpful way to be able to see all your tree pages at once and navigate.

That's an interesting point. Perhaps we should emphasize creating pages first outside the Family Tree Explorer so that just introducing one concept at a time is introduced.--Dallan 22:57, 14 April 2007 (MDT)

I got very frustrated at first when I ended up with 5 Edgar Ligons. I know mine is the only one here so far. I wish I could change my Edgar Ligon(5) back to the Edgar Ligon(1).

You can actually, go to your Person:Edgar Ligon (5) page, click on the "Move" button, and rename the page to "Person:Edgar Ligon (1)".--Dallan 22:57, 14 April 2007 (MDT)

Thanks!--Debbie V. 16:17, 15 April 2007 (MDT)

Anyway, I love WeRelate and hope to help out as much as possible once I have a clue. To answer some of the above questions

  • There are a lot of help pages and tutorials. Are they difficult to understand? - No, but they seem to be here and there, you have to look around a bit. I have to admit I like being able to get personal help on Dallan's discussion page.
I'm always happy to help -- it helps me understand where we need to improve. We're still in beta and are working to make the site better. We also just set up a Skype public chat channel for immediate response to questions (the link is on the home page).--Dallan 22:57, 14 April 2007 (MDT)
  • What specifically is confusing? - how the wiki and family tree explorer work together, how to check if your source is already available, when I search for something it is not clear by the results what I am looking at, just a jumble of internet addresses and so forth,
The source index is not as easy to use as it should be. I need to figure out how to make it easier to use.--Dallan 22:57, 14 April 2007 (MDT)
See an on-going discussion at WeRelate talk:Sources.--Dallan 10:37, 8 May 2007 (MDT)
  • What should the site do that it doesn't? - no answer
  • Is page creation hard to understand? Any ideas on how to make it easier? - Having fields to fill in makes it easy.
  • WeRelate searches many different indices, are these search functions confusing? - Yes. I get confused by the results when I search.
I wonder if one problem is that we really have two separate search functions: search within WeRelate (which we call "Connect"), and a google-like search of the Web (which is called "Web"). I'm wondering about changing the "Connect" tab to "Search" and moving the "Web" tab to another website altogether.--Dallan 22:57, 14 April 2007 (MDT)
  • Do the tabs make sense to you? - I think in time they will :) For instance, the Connect Tab is really a Search Tab. I am not really sure what the Research Tab is for yet. You might want to flip the purpose of the page boxes to the left hand side, this is where my eyes always to first. The Wiki tab page is an interesting behind the scenes look at what is happening.--Debbie V. 21:43, 14 April 2007 (MDT)

Is there a way to improve performance after upload of a large GEDCOM?

I'm interested in this too, because I would want to be able to update my (large) GEDCOM in bulk here, rather than enter individual entries that I've already entered in my own database program at home.--Hh219 10:00, 13 April 2007 (MDT)

What would you consider "large"? I uploaded ~5000 and it didn't take that long. I did get up and get a drink from the fridge while it loaded, but, c'mon, it's 5000 people.--Brad Patrick 10:22, 13 April 2007 (MDT)

I don't know -- earlier in this thread (if this still is the same thread, I'm a confused newbie on this site) mention was made of GEDCOMs in five figures; mine's around 32,000 right now if I uploaded the whole thing.--Hh219 10:28, 13 April 2007 (MDT)

The upload of a 10,000 user file did not take that long....the problem was that it took 1+ hours for the file to be ready to use and then it took multiple hours when I first opened the GEDCOM my computer....it kept on bringing up messages asking me to let it expand the cache. I made a couple of updates to the GEDCOM and found out that I had to delete the old tree and create a new one to get the updates in via upload.....and then had the same challenges. The good news is that I understand from one of the staff of werelate that they are working on improving performance....the site is in beta test...and this is the type of stuff you shake out in beta test. Overall, I'm very impressed with how well it works, and am really excited to see it improve and grow over time. --Jgoldsti 12:44, 13 April 2007 (MDT)

Yes, uploading isn't bad; it's the download. Navigating and editing your new tree works fine, but when you search it or select People or Families in the Index view, it caches all the pages in your tree onto your hard disk, which currently takes way too long. We're working on it. :-).--Dallan 13:51, 13 April 2007 (MDT)
I posted a notice on the main watercooler page, but I thought I would post it here as well since this discussion is also about GEDCOM performance. I made some changes to the Family Tree Explorer today that should significantly improve download performance for large GEDCOM's. Specifically, when you click on the "Index" tab and select the "Person" or "Family" namespace, or when you select "Find in Tree" from the "Edit" menu, the wait time should be reduced significantly. My 1000 person GEDCOM downloaded in less than a minute. If you're still seeing long wait times, would you please let me know?--Dallan 21:41, 18 April 2007 (MDT)

Help in adding html type link

Can you link to an outside page from your profile using a small image? I know the html code. Here is an example of that code, but I have not uploaded an image or anything. I want to get it right before I decide. <a href="http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~familytwigs/"><img src="noname.gif" width="40" height="60" alt=""></a> That would make an image clickable without any text showing in html. I know images have [[ ]] in Wiki. I am not very fluent yet in Wiki:o)
Thank you.
FamilyTwigs [Sheri]

The code below is as close as I can come to solving your interesting question.


--Dquass 01:53, 23 July 2007 (MDT)

There isn't a good way to do this unfortunately. Another possibility is to enter the URL in the text of the Image page. Someone clicking on the image would be taken to the Image page, where they would see the URL to click on.--Dallan 22:34, 23 July 2007 (MDT)

I gave it a try. You can at least control where the [1] link is. It is not too bad. Thank you for responding. Strange that some html works and some don't.
Thank you!
FamilyTwigs [Sheri] Sorry I didn't see about the date.
FamilyTwigs [Sheri]- Twigs 09:20, 24 July 2007 (MDT) -

Feedback request

I thought I might ask for some specific feedback:

  • Are the help pages and tutorials difficult to understand?
  • What is most confusing?
  • What should the site do that it doesn't?
  • Is page creation hard to understand? Any ideas on how to make it easier?
  • WeRelate searches many different indices, are these search functions confusing?
  • Do the tabs make sense to you?


Lots of great comments, thank you! Old comments archived at WeRelate:Watercooler/Archive 2007. Please make your new comments here.

I'm not familiar with how a Wiki works and get confused easily. Slowly but surely I think I'm catching on. The best impression I've gotten is how quickly I got help when I asked for it. I think this is a great project. Hope I'm up to the challenge. --Caseycatnip

Initial impressions

I tried to have a friend to be able to see my go relate file. I was on the telephone with him guiding him on how to get into my file. As his screen didn't look like mine it became impossible for him to get into my file. It was a very confusing approach for me to be able to share my file with him. I finally went to another computer and entered my wife as a new user so that I could see what he saw. One of the major problems was that you ask the new person to choose a defult person and then you make him click on a box that I don't see on my screen as the original creator of the file. When I gave him the file name and he entered it a message came back to him that the file wasn't found. It was in the data base because I had it open. The way that we got to it was I gave him my user name and he put it in to come up with the name of the file. When he clicked on it he could get into the name I gave him and then was able to get the pedegree chart up but couldn't get into the left hand window. I couldn't help him as my window wasn't the same as his.

When he put a name in my data base it took him to the person in my data base but didn't open up my complete file for him to view.

I don't know the purpose of having someone choose a new default person before entering the data base. Why not just use the one that I created then if I am on the telephone with a cousin we are seeing the same screen.

There needs to be a simpler way to get to a persons database so that I can email an invitation to a cousin and have him/her be able to view my data without a long learning curve to get there. Many genealogists are older people without basic computer skills and are turned off if they have to think to use the software. I suggest that when you click on Open you ask for the file name and the soft ware takes you the that data base and opens it as it was created. They can then move to the area that is of interest to them by you requesting they put their name that they are interested in. I would be glad to discuss this with you. My email address is arthur@harkmarketing.com

--Helen40 05:45, 9 July 2007 (MDT)Arthur Whittaker

You make a good point. I've struggled with this, but maybe I'm being too paranoid. I've been concerned that people would often make themselves the root (e.g., create a Person page for themselves and title it "Living SURNAME"), and that if someone else opened the tree and saw who you had set as the root and guessed that if it was a living person it was probably you, then they would know things about you like your mother's maiden name. There are two ways around this:
  1. Allow anyone who opens your tree to see who you have set as the root. Unless you have put your full name and address on your user page, they probably won't be able to track you down (unless you have a really rare name like Dallan Quass). I've removed mother's maiden name as an identifying key phrase from my bank accounts, but others may not have. Perhaps disallowing strangers to see the "root" person you have selected when they open your tree is unnecessary.
  2. Create an "email this tree" button that would allow you to email a link to your family tree to anyone you know, where if they clicked on the link it would open your tree and position them at the root person, exactly the same as if you opened the tree. So others opening your tree wouldn't be taken to your root person, but someone you emailed the link to would be taken to your root person.
I think we should do the second one for sure. The question is, what about the first? What do others think?--Dallan 15:43, 9 July 2007 (MDT)
Instructions for Arthur's cousins to open his family tree have been moved to User talk:Azion.

Global Search and Replace

User Kopuru suggested the incorporation of a global search and replace function for user trees/pages within WeRelate. For example, if the uploaded GEDCOM contains a lot of abbreviations, such as NZ for New Zealand, is there a way for a user to execute a search and replace on just "their" person pages or family trees, for example?--Kittydoc 16:42, 17 April 2007 (MDT)

You can search for text in all the pages in your tree by launching the Family Tree Explorer, opening your tree if it's not already open, clicking on the "Edit" menu, then clicking on "Find in Tree". There isn't a search-and-replace function though. I'll add that to the todo list.--Dallan 23:39, 17 April 2007 (MDT)

Place Names and Linking to them

Do the "alternate names" for places have any effect on a link to that place? For example, on Person:Matilda Debolt (1) there is a reference to "Reading Twp, Perry, Ohio, United States." On the Place:Perry, Ohio, United States page, Reading is listed as a township and it has "Reading Twp" as an alternate name. However, the link on Matilda's page doesn't link to it. I've been entering a few people manually to get a feel for the site before I upload a GEDCOM. My GEDCOM is full of "Twp" and "Co" entries. Does this mean that they will not be linked to the place page? --Ajcrow 09:07, 20 April 2007 (MDT)

It should, but changes to the place index don't affect place-matching (or show up in searches) until the next day. I see you just added Place:Reading, Perry, Ohio, United States today (thank you!), so I'll verify that "Reading Twp" does indeed start matching tomorrow morning.
Having said this, our place-matching algorithm isn't as good as it should be. In particular, it needs to be better about matching abbreviations like Twp and Co. We're planning on improving it the Summer and then trying to re-match all of the places in uploaded pages that we haven't been able to match yet. So hopefully most of the places that don't match now will get matched by the end of the Summer.--Dallan 17:33, 20 April 2007 (MDT)

FTE link next to family file

I LOVE the new link to FTE next to the Family Trees on my homepage. Great idea! Thank you so much.
What about moving the family files up to the top of the sidebar?--Debbie V. 11:47, 3 May 2007 (MDT)

Thanks. I can move the trees up to the top of the sidebar if nobody has any objections.--Dallan 15:39, 3 May 2007 (MDT)
This is a big help to me - thanks!--Debbie V. 11:26, 8 July 2007 (MDT)

New features blog

I've decided to take up blogging again. I'm going to use my blog to report on the new software features we're adding to WeRelate so people can comment on what they like / don't like about the new features. I've also decided to post the ToDo list of feature requests at User:Dallan/WeRelate ToDo List so that people can comment on which features they'd like to see added sooner rather than later.--Dallan 15:39, 3 May 2007 (MDT)

Sources Online

I was pleasantly surprised to notice that a few of the source books were available as digital versions on-line! Is there a way to tag those sources so that when doing a search one can immediately see which of them are available? A simple asterisk would be enough. Is the ultimate goal to digitize all the sources ? That would be great, although the task seems overwhelming.--CTfrog 06:17, 7 May 2007 (MDT)

See an ongoing discussion at WeRelate talk:Sources. If we start tracking "locations" for sources, then we can add location as a search criteria. I should add that it is not WeRelate's goal to digitize sources; there are already a number of wonderful efforts in that area. Our goal is just to index them so that people can find them more easily.--Dallan 10:37, 8 May 2007 (MDT)

Welcome message changes

Is it worth putting on the welcome message the suggestion for new users to post their username url as part of their signature of their email messages. Another way to get more users, perhaps? Can we do more with the welcome message in this way, perhaps--Kopuru 14:05, 12 May 2007 (MDT)

That's a great idea! As an administrator you can edit the welcome message. Feel free to add this.--Dallan 10:59, 14 May 2007 (MDT)

Pedigree Display & Multiple Trees

I've put in multiple trees for different branches of the family. If someone is in the generation where branches merge, that person is in both trees. A couple of thoughts/comments:

  • It would be nice if a person's page showed what trees they were included in. As it stands now, I'm not seeing anyplace where that information appears on the person's page. It's not included under What links here, and it's not included anywhere else on the page.
  • The pedigree for someone in both trees does not display correctly. My cousin John Ross (13) is in both the Ross and the Dunn trees. But the only pedigree that shows for him is the one formed from the Ross tree; it truncates all the information on John's grandmother's side of the family (the Dunn tree). Even if I have the Dunn tree open and display John's pedigree, the pedigree still dead-ends at Mary Dunn and does not show her parents.

I could consolidate all my people into a single tree. That wouldn't be hard, and then I wouldn't need a listing on a person's page that indicates which tree someone's in. But that wouldn't help with the problem of the pedigree display. If I ever manage to connect my tree to someone else's tree here on the site, then I'll again have an individual who is in two trees. Shouldn't the pedigree reflect the information from both trees?--KF-in-Georgia 07:51, 15 May 2007 (MDT)

Hopefully by tomorrow I'll have a new feature in place where you can press a button on a page to view (and change) what tree(s) it is in. I'm also going to be changing the "Who's watching this page" section to "Trees" - what trees this page belongs to.
Regarding John Ross's grandmother not appearing on the pedigree, this is a bug (thank-you for pointing this out!). I went ahead and manually added Mary's parents to Family:John Ross and Mary Dunn (1), which fixes John's pedigree, but her parents should have been copied to this page automatically. I haven't seen this before. I'll look into it tomorrow.--Dallan 21:09, 15 May 2007 (MDT)
It turns out that when you edit a family page and add a child to the family, and the child's page is already linked to a spouse family page, then the child's newly-added parents are not copied onto to the spouse family page. I've fixed this problem on my machine, but I'm in the middle of another change that is due out tomorrow so the fix won't be put on the website until then. Also, we'll identify existing pages with this problem and correct them over the next few days so everything should be fixed by the end of the week.--Dallan 11:49, 16 May 2007 (MDT)

Helping People Who have Signed up but have done Nothing Since

Is it worth going back to new users who have done nothing since signing up? Finding out why?

--Kopuru 20:09, 17 May 2007 (MDT)

Personally, I believe this type of follow-up is important and should be done. On average, I only see small number of users adding or editing person and family pages each day.--Kittydoc 14:36, 18 May 2007 (MDT)
Its sort of like retention, keeping people here and coming back to here for their history. Very important to decide what would be in the followup email....--Kopuru 15:10, 18 May 2007 (MDT)
Perhaps different e-mails: one "we-miss-you" for people who have created a couple of pages, then vanished; another "can-we-help-you-get-started?" for people who joined and bailed out without creating any pages. And be sure to give people a couple of weeks before the e-mail; someone might join--directed here from another site or someone's recommendation--then need a weekend or two to find enough time to get to work.--KF-in-Georgia 16:55, 18 May 2007 (MDT)
I like those suggestions, KF. I don't think I would feel like I was being pestered if I got either of those e-mails. Once. --Hh219 18:56, 18 May 2007 (MDT)
I agree - we need to prompt these people to come back. I've been thinking about sending out a newsletter to all users, although we could target inactive users with different types of messages as well -- I like that. But I also agree with User:Hh219; I don't think we can do this more than once or twice. I think many people who have registered and not done anything since haven't done anything because they find the site too difficult to use. If we ask people to come back before the site has become significantly easier to use, most probably won't because we haven't addressed their problem. I'd like to spend the next couple of months making the website easier to use before sending out these messages. What do people think about waiting?--Dallan 21:07, 20 May 2007 (MDT)
I like the idea of waiting. --Debbie V. 07:01, 21 May 2007 (MDT)

Permanent Link

What is a Permanent Link (the item at the bottom of a Person page and probably on other pages)? I just clicked the link--thinking I'd get something like a "permanent" URL for a page (I was trying to get a link I could e-mail someone for one of the pages I've done). Instead, something happened, but I'm not sure what. I can't find the topic in the Help pages.--KF-in-Georgia 18:25, 19 May 2007 (MDT)

What you get is a permanent link to the specific version of the page you are looking at -- a link that will always take you to this version, regardless of whether the page has been edited in the future. I'll make sure this information is added to the help pages.--Dallan 21:07, 20 May 2007 (MDT)

European place names

Nordheim, Hesse, Germany as a place name shows up as Nordheim, Hesse in the placename holder. Is that the way it's supposed to appear? Are we handling European countries (and possibly other countries) differently than we do the U.S.? For instance, Acol, Kent, England is listed as Acol, Kent whereas Fairfield, Connecticut, United States gets the whole shabang. Are these just areas that need fixing or is that how European place names are used? --Ronni 18:42, 19 May 2007 (MDT)

Yes, these are areas that need fixing. We'll be renaming places in non-US countries to their full place-name, as we have for US places, in the latter half of June / first part of July. We'll also automatically update all references to these places, so you don't need to worry about putting "Nordheim, Hesse" in the place field -- we'll update it when we rename the place pages.
As you look at place pages, if you notice levels in the hierarchy that ought not to be included in the full place-name, please let me know. For example, the regions in England (e.g., Place:West Midlands, England should probably not be included in a full place-name of a town inside the region. We need to omit these places from the hierarchy before we rename the places to their full place-names.--Dallan 21:07, 20 May 2007 (MDT)

Policy question on place page content

We recently had a contribution to Place:Christmas Cove, Lincoln, Maine, United States that I'd like to use to spark a conversation on the type of content we'd like on Place pages. Is experiential/descriptive content permissable? Should we allow only genealogical/historical content? What do people think?--Dallan 21:07, 20 May 2007 (MDT)

Experiential/descriptive content? I suppose, as long as it's clearly distinguished from the genealogical and historical stuff we're more likely to need. But I'm not convinced this even qualifies as experiential/descriptive, because of its relentlessly promotional nature. It reads like an ad. Nobody's experience of anything is that one-dimensional. I'm not sue what the "wiki way" is for dealing with it, but a flood of this sort of material would make the site less useful to us and less credible to newcomers. --Hh219 21:24, 20 May 2007 (MDT)
I agree with Hh219 regarding the usefulness of such material to WeRelate's purposes. As to how to handle such pages in the future, perhaps a "vote" of sorts among the users on its discussion page as to whether it should be kept, completely rewritten or deleted altogether, depending on the circumstances? --Ronni 22:55, 20 May 2007 (MDT)
I am not that wiki knowledgeable myself, but I believe the idea is that WeRelate is a user-monitored community. So if we find that something is definitely inappropriate we can edit it out with an explanation. If another person feels we have edited out too much, then a discussion can begin. That's what it's all about - interaction. When we create pages or edit exisitng pages that are not locked, we EXPECT that someone will eventually come along and join with us in creating something more. A synthesis.
As far as the Christmas Cove page, I agree it is advertising and should be edited.
Is there a sample Place page with an outline of type of information to be included? Obviously, History would be one section. What about subheadings like Political History (including things like boundaries), Business/Commercial/Industrial/Agricultural History, Religious History, Educational History, etc. What about a Cemeteries section? I am looking forward to contributing to Place pages for my family history. --Debbie V. 06:58, 21 May 2007 (MDT)
I agree that the Christmas Cove text is very subjective and it reads like an ad. In the writer's defense, though: there is not a single commercial establishment referred to by name. Sailingspain may be a member of the town's Chamber of Commerce--or just a sailing enthusiast as the user-name implies--but the text doesn't quite fall into the category of the usual advertisement. On the other hand, does Sailingspain have any genealogy-related pages here? That might be an indicator of whether the site's being spammed by advertising; is the user posting "proper" pages to the site?--KF-in-Georgia 08:27, 21 May 2007 (MDT)
From the discussion it sounds like our policy should be to allow objective descriptive text about places. Regarding an example, although we have a number of pages with historical text this is the first page I've noticed with a lot of descriptive text, so we don't really have a good example to show people. Based upon the lack of commercial establishments mentioned in the posting, I belive User:Sailingspain is simply an enthusiastic user who really likes Christmas Cove. (I know how new users feel whenever I post something on Wikipedia and wonder if I'm following all of their policies.) I appreciate their post because it's given us a concrete example to have this discussion around. I'm going to tell them I appreciate their post and ask them to edit it to make it more objective.--Dallan 09:46, 22 May 2007 (MDT)
Dallan, did you ever ask them? And did they edit it? I just read it, and um, it still reads VERY much like a promotional brochure to me, and inappropriate for a genealogy wiki. -- Jillaine 22:36, 7 July 2007 (MDT)
I asked them but they didn't respond. So I edited it (quickly), but I probably didn't go far enough. Would you mind re-editing it and making it less "promotional"? Thanks.--Dallan 15:43, 9 July 2007 (MDT)
Done! (you might be sorry you asked me! there's hardly anything left!) If I knew more about the historical / genealogical relevance of this town, I could have added more. Jillaine 20:12, 9 July 2007 (MDT)

Another question: remove pages from trees?

Up to this point we have allowed any type of page to be added to family trees. However, once we get GEDCOM export working, only Person, Family, MySource, Source, and Image pages will be included in exported GEDCOM files. There are currently a small number of User pages and Place pages and Articles in family trees. Most likely these pages were added (automatically) when the owner of the tree edited the page while the Family Tree Explorer was running. But it's also possible that the tree owners added them on purpose. I'm considering removing non Person/Family/MySource/Source/Image pages from family trees so that all pages in family trees will be exportable in the future in GEDCOM files. What do people think - would you rather be able to add any type of page to a family tree (as has been possible up to now)?--Dallan 21:07, 20 May 2007 (MDT)

I'd like for it to be possible to add all the pages to the tree. If they don't export, that's fine. But if I write an article about one of my families--say, about the history of a grist mill my ancestors operated--wouldn't it make sense for the article to be in the tree with those ancestors?--KF-in-Georgia 08:30, 21 May 2007 (MDT)
Same here. I'd like to be able to add them to the tree. I'm starting to think of the FTE is my little "notebook", attaching various pages of interest to the trees. I don't know one way or the other how I feel about exporting those pages though. --Ronni 08:40, 24 May 2007 (MDT)
Ok, I'll put them back in, probably this weekend. They just won't be included in GEDCOM export because GEDCOM isn't able to include them.--Dallan 08:48, 24 May 2007 (MDT)
Dallan, this is kinda what I was trying to get at in my email to the listserv. Now that I've uploaded a GEDCOM and created some topical pages, I can see that these pages are linked to my tree when I edit that page. There's somewhere else where I've seen that the page is linked to my tree (but now I can't find it!-- oh here it is; it shows up if I click "list" from my user page for the family tree in question). But how does anyone else know that this page is linked to my tree? There's nothing on the page to indicate that it's connected to one of my trees. See Betz_in_Buffalo,_Erie,_New_York,_United_States as an example of a page I'm working on (yes, I know it's too long; I'm working on that, but that's a separate topic; if you want to advise, please do so there). While I did select the box saying "Connect this to jillaine's tree", I see nothing on either the tree or the page that indicates the link. Please advise. Thanks. Jillaine 12:12, 8 July 2007 (MDT)
People will see that you're watching the page, but they won't know which of your trees it is in unless they "list" the pages in your tree (from your user page), or they "Launch the Family Tree Explorer" on your tree (also from your user page). We're using the fact that you're watching the page as the indicator to others of your interest/involvement in the page, not the specific tree (if any) it belongs to. Tree membership is mainly for GEDCOM import, GEDCOM export once we get that working, and for the Family Tree Explorer. Having said that, if you want to know which of your trees the page is in, you can hover your mouse over the "Tree -" button and you should see a little tooltip with the name of your tree. Does that make sense? I could be talked into listing the tree(s) your page is in underneath your name in the infobox on the right-hand side of the screen if people thought it would be useful. (BTW, I don't think your page is too long -- it looks like it has a lot of good information in it.)--Dallan 15:43, 9 July 2007 (MDT)

Using Reference Footnotes

I'm trying to use reference footnotes on a person page, e.g. John Case and it's not working right. The references don't show up at the bottom. In addition, the sources (S1, S2, etc) aren't showing up now as well. Although I saw it done on a place page, apparently it's not something we can do on Person or Family pages? --Ronni 08:37, 24 May 2007 (MDT)

It looks like the problem was the last ref tag wasn't closed. I added a closing ref tag and the page looks good now.--Dallan 08:48, 24 May 2007 (MDT)
Well color me embarrassed! LOL. Thanks Dallan! --Ronni 11:21, 24 May 2007 (MDT)

Interwiki links

Are there interwiki links in place to Wikipedia?

Just type wikipedia: for the namespace; e.g., wikipedia:Main page.--Dallan 21:35, 27 May 2007 (MDT)
Nice - thanks Dlongmore 16:53, 28 May 2007 (MDT)

Maximum GEDCOM size?

I tried uploading my updated GEDCOM today and got an error message that it exceeded the maximum allowed size. My GEDCOM is about 7.9MB due to adding in info on collateral lines and more info on family members. I got around the limit by breaking the file down into two files (and not uploading collateral lines). Can you let me know what is the max GEDCOM file size and whether there are any plans to allow larger files? --Jgoldsti 14:05, 6 June 2007 (MDT)

We set the maximum size at 5MB, but this is rather arbitrary and could be increased. We didn´t want people with really large GEDCOM´s to have a bad experience with slow performance in a couple of functions of the Family Tree Explorer: when searching their trees or listing people or families in the index view, the Family Tree Explorer needs to cache all pages in the tree onto the local hard disk, which can take some time for large trees (especially over a slow connection). If you don´t mind slow performance for those two functions, let me know and I´ll increase the limit for you. Otherwise, if it´s not too much trouble to split the file into smaller files, that works as well.--Dallan 18:38, 6 June 2007 (MDT)

OK, it makes sense to keep performance better. I don't mind splitting the file up....that way different sets of relatives do not suffer from poor performance when trying to access the part of the file that they are interested in. --Jgoldsti 07:03, 7 June 2007 (MDT)

Saving page problems anyone?

Is anyone noticing that after creating or editing a page and then saving the changes, that it looks like all the changes have disappeared? I just created a new source page and after saving it, it looked like nothing was there and even said this page does not exist. Knowing I hadn't screwed up (not this time anyway :)), I viewed the recent change log and there it was. I clicked on it and all was well. I then wanted to redirect a page to the new page, and it did the same thing again. It even said the new page didn't exist. But again, in the recent change log, everything is fine and I can click on the pages ok. It did this to me yesterday and I didn't think too much of it, other than my heart sank because I thought I had lost all my changes. And perhaps it's just me and my browser, but I did want to check and see if anyone else is experiencing this. Both times that this has happened, has been with source pages. Don't know if that would make a difference or not. Thanks! --Ronni 05:03, 9 June 2007 (MDT)

Hi Ronni. No such problems for me. I wonder if somehow a setting on your browser was changed, and it is not automatically updating pages for you?--Kittydoc 07:05, 9 June 2007 (MDT)
Well, I just created a new page and the problem didn't occur, so it's making me look like an idiot yet again! lol... Thanks Mary. :) --Ronni 08:29, 9 June 2007 (MDT)
It might also be a caching bug. I'll try creating some source pages on the test system to see if I can duplicate it. If it happens again please let me know.--Dallan 16:22, 11 June 2007 (MDT)

Suggestion for Person and Family Pages

I've read most of the earlier posts and complaints and requests re: the Family pages. Didn't see this suggestion (sorry if I missed it):

I think you might make a lot of people feel more comfortable here if they saw a family page that looked familiar to them. Perhaps a page laid out something like this (with better formatting):

Husband Name
Birth Date & Place
Death Date & Place
Marriage Date & Place Wife's name
Birth Date & Place
Death Date & Place


(Example) Jillaine Smith21 Jan 1959 Long Beach, CAPhilip Bogdonoff 17 June 1995 Ithaca, NYliving

etc. etc. Additional fact information about the family could be listed below the tables. Narrative could follow BELOW all the facts. $.03 Jillaine 11:57, 8 July 2007 (MDT)

So you're suggesting that the infobox for families be wider, to allow information about the husband and wife appear side-by-side like in most desktop genealogy programs. And vital info on the children also to appear in a wide table. (We don't currently propagate marriage info for children onto the family page for technical reasons, but we could certainly display birth & death.) It would mean that the family history would appear below the infobox unless you had a rather wide monitor (or maybe it always appears below the infobox. This is certainly do-able. What do others think?--Dallan 15:43, 9 July 2007 (MDT)
Not necessarily suggesting wider (note my caveat "with better formatting"). The overall point is to make the page look more like a family page. Birth and death of children would be sufficient. You might also look at GenWikia's person template for ideas. And I guess the other question is: how much do you allow users to modify the look of the pages and how much do you control what they can and cannot change? Jillaine 14:39, 10 July 2007 (MDT)
Displaying husband and wife side-by-side would necessitate making the infobox wider I think. I'll take a look at wikia and see what's possible. Regarding customizing your pages, you can customize anything outside of the infobox. Customizing the infobox is also possible, but it requires writing your own cascading style sheet (CSS) page. I've turned this off because I didn't think anyone would be interested in doing this, but I can turn it back on if people want it. Later this year I plan to develop different "skins" (pre-built CSS pages) that people could choose from to give the pages a different look.--Dallan 13:21, 11 July 2007 (MDT)

When Search Results Display Multiple Versions of Same Person or Family

I have a suggestion regarding searching for multiple versions of the same person or family. If you come across a person page for John Doe (10), for example, then there are nine other pages out there with the same name. I would like to quickly see if any of them are my John Doe. In order to do that now, there are a few steps I have to go through to bring up the list of nominees. Ideally, what I would like to do is simply click on either the name "John Doe" or the "(10)" at the top of the person (or family) page and have the search done for me automatically. Even more ideally (though I'll take what I can get :)) is have the search results pop up in another window only because I don't like leaving the page I'm working on. What do you think? --Ronni

That sounds like a good idea. It would be pretty easy to display a list of all person pages starting with "John Doe", just like you get now when you enter "Person:John Doe" in the "Go to / Add page" dialog box, but I don't think that's what you want, since you'd then have to visit every page in order to see if it is similar to your John Doe. A better alternative could be to display a search results screen listing all of the John Doe's, with birth/death information listed under each search result. But in order to do that I need to overhaul the WeRelate search functionality, which is high priority on the ToDo list right now. How about if I wait until the search functionality is overhauled, and then add a link from each person page to a search result screen listing all pages for that name?--Dallan 10:19, 14 June 2007 (MDT)
Oh wow, that sounds great Dallan! Thanks! --Ronni 12:32, 14 June 2007 (MDT)
While I am really coming to prefer WeRelate over Genealogy Wikia, one thing I really like (okay, two) that they've got going over there is:
  1. Their format for names as "FirstName LastName (bbbb-dddd)" is, I think, far superior than "FirstName LastName (10)"
  2. They have a variety of pre-existing templates that you can use when creating pages. Particularly helpful to keep consistency on place pages, for example. And would also provide a nice format for the narrative section of Person pages.
My $.02. -- Jillaine 22:43, 7 July 2007 (MDT)
Thanks for the ideas, Jillaine. I like templates also, and I really like the idea of using some genealogically meaningful "handle" to distinguish people with the same name. But then what's the backup for those inevitable people for whom I have no dates, or only approximate dates, or (worst of all) wildly inconsistent dates? And if my dates turn out to be wrong, is there an easy way to change the title of the person page? These aren't rhetorical questions, I really would like to make this idea work. --Hh219 10:11, 8 July 2007 (MDT)
My take on this is that the dates should be pulled from the respective fields on the page for display purposes only (in searches, category pages, etc.), and that the index number should still be part of the actual page title. --BenHannigan 10:56, 8 July 2007 (MD
I've gone back and forth on whether we should include more information in the page titles. It comes down to the points Hh219 raises. Renaming a page isn't a big deal, but it's a significant enough change that you wouldn't want the system to do it automatically when a birth or death year was changed on the page. You'd need to remind people to rename the page themselves. But that introduces additional complexity. I like BenHannigan's suggestion of including the birth and death years in searches and category listings. That wouldn't be too hard, and I'll be overhauling both search and categories later this Summer so it would be a good time to add that in. What would people think about that? Where else besides search results and category listings would having birth and death years be particularly useful?--Dallan 15:43, 9 July 2007 (MDT)
Regarding templates, I like this idea, and they would be easy to include. Do you (or anyone else) have specific suggestions? Pointers to templates on Wikia or mock-ups of what you'd like to see would be useful.--Dallan 15:43, 9 July 2007 (MDT)
While we're on the subject of page titles, can anything be done so that it does not matter whether a name or any of its parts are capitalized? As it is now, "John Smith" is different than "John SMITH" or "JOHN SMITH." These are distinctions without a real difference. Also, I also like the idea of adding a date range (at least the years) to the person page titles.--Kittydoc 16:25, 11 July 2007 (MDT)
Nope, unfortunately the Wikipedia software is case-sensitive.--Dallan 20:50, 11 July 2007 (MDT)

Sorting events on Person and Family Pages

I think it would be great if we could be able to move events and sources up and down on our person or family pages. This way if I find a new alternate birth I can have it show up right under the original one instead of at the bottom. Same with census records etc. --Debbie V. 11:42, 8 July 2007 (MDT)

Currently we display the four "main" events (birth, christening, death, burial) first, followed by any other events in the order they appear on the "Edit" screen. Some people have asked that we automatically sort the events by date. But an alternative listed above is to make it easy to move events up and down on the edit screen so that you can display events in the order that you want - regardless of date. We'd need to choose whether we wanted events sorted automatically be date, or whether people wanted to manually control the order of events. We can go either way (but not both); what do people think?--Dallan 15:43, 9 July 2007 (MDT)

Search results order

I've been away for a few weeks and came back and gave a search for Franklin, Illinois - to see if anyone had uploaded any new data. Is there any way to sort the results by date so that I don't look over results I've already seen?--Debbie V. 11:07, 14 June 2007 (MDT)

I plan to overhaul the search function this summer; I'll see if I can get results sorted by date. I agree it makes sense.--Dallan 22:03, 26 June 2007 (MDT)

Users deleting their trees

Well, I'm a little upset, although I don't know if I have a right be or not, nevertheless, the feelings are still there... I have spent several weeks on one particular family in Connecticut, adding sources, correcting data, reformatting, tidying up, etc, all the while being careful to include or consider data that was already in place, in other words, trying to be respectful of others' work. This morning I log on to find that one of the Users whose tree is (was) intermingled with mine (and currently I know of about 5 of us on WeRelate who have intermingling trees for this family) has deleted her tree. She uploaded it, she can delete it. I understand that. The problem is that now several pages of my tree have gaps in them, i.e., the spouses are no longer children of a family for instance, or they have had their marriages deleted, etc. They are orphaned pages in some instances. I was working my way through each family and apparently hadn't come to the other family pages to add them to my tree or watch them to keep them from being deleted. Lesson learned. --Ronni 07:05, 9 July 2007 (MDT)

Argh. I'm sorry about that. It looks like I need to write a "show me the pages that are related to people in my tree but that I haven't added to my tree" function. I'll add that to this month's Todo list.--Dallan 15:43, 9 July 2007 (MDT)

So does this mean that even if you add someone from another tree to your tree, if they delete the person it is deleted from your tree as well? --Debbie V. 12:05, 9 July 2007 (MDT)

No, if you add the page to your tree or if you just watch the page it doesn't get deleted. The problem is that it's not currently easy to figure out who's not in your tree but should be.--Dallan 15:43, 9 July 2007 (MDT)
Emphasize that you have to WATCH them on their PERSON page. A scenario where you have a nice big family of 10 children and a set of parents where you are watching the family page will get obliterated unless you go in and watch each individual PERSON page as well. The family of 10 shrank to one child with the parents because I hadn't gone in yet and watched all the siblings pages (9 pages) and their spouses pages (another 9+ pages) and their childrens pages (another 30+ pages) and their children's children's pages (many plus pages). That was a lot of pages to go through and individually set the WATCH button. I didn't added them to my tree yet for various reasons. Once the delete key was hit, they were gone regardless that I was watching them on the orginal Family page with their parents. --Ronni 21:53, 9 July 2007 (MDT)
Good point. So the "list of people/families that are related to people/families in my tree but that I haven't added to my tree" function needs to have a "select all" button. I can add this as a new view in the Family Tree Explorer.--Dallan 22:45, 9 July 2007 (MDT)
Thank you very much :) --Ronni 00:00, 10 July 2007 (MDT)

Cemeteries as Places

Moved discussion to its own page

Cemetery transcriptions

Moved with Cemeteries as Places discussion

Better Search Functionality

  1. Really need keyword search in both trees and pages.
  2. Also, when you display a list of someone's surnames from their tree, they're alphabetized by first name. Blech. More often than not, I need to see things by SURNAME more than first name.
  3. Offer me the ability to search by surname-- within a tree, within pages.
  4. Offer me the ability (as Worldconnect does) to exclude my own tree from the search results. I want to search for who else is researching, for example, DOOLITTLE. But I don't want to wade through tons of my own person and family pages.


Jillaine 14:42, 10 July 2007 (MDT)

Regarding keyword search over all the pages in your tree, you can do that by launching the Family Tree Explorer, then opening your tree and selecting "Find in tree" from the "Edit" menu. You can also sort by surname (or birthdate or deathdate) using the Family Tree Explorer. Click on the "index" tab (4th tab in the list of tabs about 2 inches from the top of the screen), select "People" from the Namespace field (you'll have to wait while the program caches all of the pages in your tree onto your hard drive but it only does this once -- choose ok if you're asked about using disk space), then click on any column to sort by that column. I know, we need to create a video tutorial for the Family Tree Explorer. Most of the tree-related features are found there.
Regarding surname search, that will be part of what we do when we overhaul the search function next month. The ability to exclude your own tree is an interesting idea that I hadn't thought of before. I'll add it to the Todo list.
--Dallan 13:21, 11 July 2007 (MDT)

Source Committee

A source committee is being formed to help standardize the sources. We are in need of volunteers. If interested, please give us your input at WeRelate_talk:Source Committee. We only have about a month to come up with some standardization rules or formats at which time Dallan will be writing a program to move the "old sources" over to the "new sources." Thanks! --Ronni 01:12, 14 July 2007 (MDT)

New User Functionality/Intermingling trees=

Hi! I'm a new user which just came over from the Genealogy Wikia, (It was the GEDCOM import)... The only problem I am having is that I can't seem to easily find out if any people on my tree intermingle with other trees... I can see that some must intermingle (When you have John Jacob Jinglheimer Shmidt (10)... I can only guess it's out there somewhere) I just uploaded some 1500 records, do I have to type each one in individually to find out if there are duplicates? Is there an existing article that I couldn't find (I'm a little baffled by the Article search function... do I need to type in a surname for the article? Is there a surname for articles?) on how to find intermingled articles?.

Now, should I find the linked articles, and, confirming that they are indeed the same person, add my information to their page, and then delete my pages (Correcting the links so they go to the right pages)? I mean, it seems like it would be better to only have one instance of JJJS (Wouldn't it be cool to really have someone named that? :D), rather than 10, hard to find records... each with their own little tidbit of data on the man...

Provided I did this, what happens if the person who originally made JJJS decides to pull that page? Is there some way to keep the page around if more than one person has edited it? I'd hate to have (As I've seen in previous notes on this page) holes suddenly develop in my tree... Thanks! Aabh 08:38, 18 July 2007 (MDT)

As long as you're "watching" the Person or Family page, it won't be deleted if the original contributor removes their GEDCOM.--Dallan 13:35, 21 July 2007 (MDT)
Here's the situation in actual function: I have an Andrew Finley (6), I have no other Andrew Finley's in my tree, so I must presume there are 5 other Andrew Finley's somewhere on this site... Well, I'd love to see their data, their information, etc... see if they are the same fellow I have... but when I go to the search function of the Wiki and type in Andrew Finley I get "No articles match that title"... which is odd, since I know there is at least one (The one that I created). Now, the instructions on the "Add a page" page says "Be sure to add a ( number ) after the name." But do I have to search for Andrey Finley (5), then Andrew Finley (4), and so on for each one of the Andrew Finleys? (Note: I tried that, it didn't find any records that matched that, either) If that's the case, I can see it'd be a lot easier to simply throw the GEDCOM up here and leave it... Erm... now that I've said that, there is some chatter about fixing the search functions... are they broken? If so, I retract this complaint (As I have faith you will fix this in time, and all is good. :) ), I would, however, like an easy way to find people... the site is really easy to use, the problem is that I feel it holds my hand a little too much, and when I need to do something a little wierd (Though I can't see why looking for the other 5 Andrew Finleys is wierd), it seems to be very difficult trying to figure out which path to take...
My guess is that you're searching just WeRelate:Articles, which are pages like research guides and shared research pages. Person and Family pages are different "namespaces", and don't show up if you're searching just articles. Ronni talks about how to search all pages on WeRelate below.--Dallan 13:35, 21 July 2007 (MDT)
The way I see it, there really is a very few functions that are constantly performed here: Finding an individual for research, and maintaining your family tree... and though the latter is rather impressively done, it seems the former is a lot harder to do... is there a place where I can search the Wiki ala Wikipedia.org (Where I type in "Andrew Finley" and it gives me close matches)? I must be doing something wrong... can you help? Aabh 09:32, 18 July 2007 (MDT)
Hi Aabh, I only have a few minutes, so let me address your search issue real quick on finding the five other Andrew Finleys. Go to the WIKI tab, then click on Go To / Add Page which will take you to a page where you can search the various name spaces. Change the name space to PERSON and type Andrew Finley (without the number) and all the Andrew Finley's on WR should pop up. Also, Dallan is working on a merge function for finding duplicates and possible matches between trees which will make the process much easier. Welcome to WeRelate btw! :) --Ronni 09:48, 18 July 2007 (MDT)
As an alternative to changing the namespace to Person, you can leave the namespace alone and start the title with "Person:", e.g., "Person:Andrew Finley". (That's what I do.)--Dallan 13:35, 21 July 2007 (MDT)
WooHoo! That works! Thanks Ronni! :D And thank you for the welcome as well! :D Well, I spent 2 hours this morning discovering interesting problems with my Uploaded GEDCOM (Duplicate records... I wonder what my sister was doing making duplicate records? The fact that it removed the information on all of the living people from my tree... which means the data will be destroyed should I replace my current tree with a downloaded version of this websites GEDCOM, and so on), I also spent a good two hours researching about six people on my tree for duplication on other trees... I hate to say it, but the fact that there is a 4 step process to get to the search function is a major hinderance when you are working on massive amounts of data... Many times I'd hit search and discover I hadn't set the drop down to "Person" and so I got no hits at all... sometimes after I had decided that the (2) was an error on my tree and there was no (1)... is the database segmented? Why can't I just go to a Database-wide search for a record? What if someone has written an article that sheds light on a person? What if there is a Family page, but not an individual page (No, I have no idea why that would happen, either... but anything is possible, I guess)? It means that for every person I really want to thoroughly research (Which, I would guess, would be most everyone on my tree, There is no such thing as too much data in Genealogy... :D), I would have to go through a 12 step process (Recovering Genealogist :D), first setting the search for Person, then Article, then Family (To be sure)... Is there any way to search the entire database for Andrew Finley and see what pops up? Aabh 03:02, 19 July 2007 (MDT)
Yes. Click on WEB and from that page you can search the Web or just WeRelate by filling in various fields. One of the problems though with the results is that you aren't very descriptive. The entire search functionality of WR is being worked on I believe, so many of the issues you are having are already being addressed. One other thing. The numbers after the name in Person and Family pages may not always mean there are that many people by that name on WR. If a page gets deleted the number for that person is not reused. As a result John Doe (13) may be the only John Doe on the site. Hope this helps! :) --Ronni 01:42, 20 July 2007 (MDT)
Also, you can set the Namespace field to "Person (and family)" to search just person and family records. If you click on the "Connect" tab instead of the "Web" tab, you don't have to remember to click on the WeRelate button, since searching all of WeRelate is the default search in the Connect tab. I'm going to rename the "Connect" tab to "Search", which is a much better label, next week.
I agree that finding matches is very important. And manually searching for possible matches to everyone in your tree is tedious in the extreme. That's what computers are supposed to do -- take care of the tedious tasks and let us do the fun stuff. When we launched the site initially we had a lot of people say in essence, "cool idea, but it's too hard to navigate and create pages". So we decided to focus on creation and navigation first (e.g., we added GEDCOM upload in February and the Family Tree Explorer around the same time). Since then it's been continued refinement on creation and navigation. We'll be posting some additional changes in the next few weeks, then in September turn attention to the search side. We'll overhaul the current search function, allow people to re-upload their GEDCOM's without first deleting them, and add match+merge functions. GEDCOM re-upload will identify the changes between this version and the previously-uploaded version of your GEDCOM and make those changes to your pages. The match function will notify you when the system finds other pages that are likely matches to your pages, and the merge function will provide a screen where you can select which pieces of information from the to-be-merged pages to include onto the merged page. (In the meantime, if you find matches yourself and want to merge them, see Help:Merging pages. But personally I'd wait for the match+merge functions to be written this Fall.)--Dallan 13:35, 21 July 2007 (MDT)

What happened to the old discussions [30 July 2007]

We added forum-like features to all talk pages. Specifically we added a last-posting date to the header of each topic, a "new topic" button in the menu bar and an "add comment" button next to each topic. This should help people find, read and add comments for particular topics, especially on pages with many topics such as the Watercooler. In addition, we plan to add a mailing list in the near future.

It was necessary to archive old discussions at WeRelate:Watercooler/Archive 2007.


I really like the new format. I love the 'MyRelate' page. So much nicer and easier to get to what you want. I like the new Family Tree page. I hadn't been able to figure out how to just add images without editing a certain page. I am really happy with that improvement. The one page upload/edit is great! You guys have had a busy weekend.
Thank you!!
I like the blog too. [Sheri] - Twigs 09:30, 30 July 2007 (MDT) -

Links to new Watercooler; Search vs. Web tabs [31 July 2007]

I think we need some links from the "main pages" of WeRelate to the new WeRelate talk:Watercooler. It's harder to find than the old Watercooler, which had links on several different pages.

Also, does WeRelate really need both the "Search" and "Web" tabs, when a user can choose either the WWW or just WeRelate (by using a simple radio button) when executing a search from either location? Perhaps combining these into a single "Search" page would be more intuitive and easier to use.

Most of the changes appear positive. I'm still playing around with them!

Mary--Kittydoc 12:42, 30 July 2007 (MDT)

I put the watercooler link back on the WeRelate:Wiki page, which is the only place I can think of where it was removed. I agree that the "Web" tab is redundant; however, I think we need the separate page for now to give us room to let people know that web search is experimental and has some bugs. I've been thinking about removing it later this Fall though.--Dallan 14:56, 30 July 2007 (MDT)

Thanks, Dallan! Sounds good.  :-)--Kittydoc 11:41, 31 July 2007 (MDT)

Changes [19 August 2007]

Wow! The look of the site is great. Nice visual changes. I like all of the changes on WeRelate. Much easier to navigate.
This week you all have been busy. Thanks!
- Twigs 10:09, 4 August 2007 (MDT) -

Thanks! It has been a very busy week.--Dallan 17:08, 5 August 2007 (MDT)

I second the motion. The revised site looks more professional. I am still adjusting to having the Person/Family pages mirrored, though (text on the right, data on the left).  :-)

Mary--Kittydoc 12:11, 7 August 2007 (MDT)

I agree with Mary. The site *does* have a more professional, clean look. I especially like the new WeRelate logo. And like Mary, I'm having to adjust to the data being on the opposite of the page. :) All in all guys, very nice job!--Ronni 23:51, 7 August 2007 (MDT)

I'll agree, the new look is great!! But I'd sure like the blue menu bar across the top to stay on the screen and not scroll out of sight. Any way to make that bar stay put?

And I thought I used to be able to get to my tree from 'My Relate' button. It's not there any more and I miss it. Now I have to do a search to find it. In fact, when I learn how this works, I hope to upload several trees. It would be nice if they would all be listed in a box on the 'My Relate' page.--Janiejac 14:48, 12 August 2007 (EDT)

From your 'My Relate' page, click on 'View your profile' to find your trees. I agree. I liked it better when they were on the 'My Relate' page since I don't often 'View my profile'. :) --Ronni 22:12, 12 August 2007 (EDT)

You can also access your trees from the Family Tree tab. The Family Tree tab lets you add /go to pages and links to your trees are at the bottom of the page. Hope this helps. :D--sq 22:29, 12 August 2007 (EDT)

Thanks for letting me know how to find my tree without doing a search. But I shouldn't have had to ask. I do like the new layout, but I think it would be more user friendly and would eliminate a click if my tree(s) were listed on the page 'My Relate'. Also to help be more user friendly, the tree listing at the bottom of the page on 'Family Tree should be moved to a position on the page that shows when you open the page. The first impression one gets when opening that page is that it is for editing or uploading a tree. I clicked back out of it not thinking to scroll down. So if the powers that be can make that blue bar stay put and make my tree more visible, I'll be a happy camper. Thanks again folks for helping me learn my way around. --Janiejac 23:38, 12 August 2007 (EDT)
I agree with Janie on moving the "manage trees" at the bottom of the page up to the top or one side. I, too, didn't see it at first. --Debbie V. 12:50, 13 August 2007 (EDT)

Thanks for the comments. I agree that putting the data on the left takes some getting used to. It's in preparation for putting genealogy ads on the right, which we need to do to pay for hosting costs. Janiejac, the blue menu bar shouldn't be scrolling off the screen -- that's a bug. Can you tell me which operating system and browser you're using, and give me a specific URL that it's breaking on? I'll see if I can redesign the Family Tree screen to make the trees visible without scrolling.--Dallan 11:54, 18 August 2007 (EDT)

Dallan, My operating system is Windows XP and I have looked at WeRelate using IE, Mozilla and AOL. That blue bar scrolls up and out of site on every page. No need of a specific page - it's all the pages; not just Family Tree pages! It's all the menu items; Home, Search, Web, Family Tree, Wiki etc. Navigation would be much easier if that blue menu bar would stay visible. --Janiejac 23:22, 18 August 2007 (EDT)

At first I thought you were talking about the items in the menu bar scrolling off to the right, but I think what you're really saying is that the entire menu bar scrolls off the top of the screen when you scroll the page down. The solution to that (to use frames) has problems of its own, because then every page on the site would appear to have the same URL (the URL of the frame). I'm sorry there's not a better solution. I'm planning to redo one of the worst offenders - the "Family Tree" tab page - so that more of its contents appear without scrolling.--Dallan 11:04, 24 August 2007 (EDT)

Searching WeRelate [18 August 2007]

I'm still trying to figure out how this works. The following note is on my user page:

Center Baptist Church Cemetery, Wilkes County, North Carolina
The following folks are buried there:
Carl Andrew Jackson 17 Jun 1896 - 1 Mar 1981 Sgt U. S. Army WWI
Viola Elledge Jackson 19 Apr 1899 - 5 Aug 1968
She is probably daughter of Joseph A. Elledge and Margarette ____ Elledge
Another daughter is probably Alverty Elledge 22 Oct 1888 - 21 Apr 1901
This is probably a son: John C. Elledge 8 Dec 1892 - 19 Oct 1965

When I searched for Carl Jackson in North Carolina, the result was not a listing for Carl, but was a listing showing the name Viola Elledge Jackson. Someone looking for Carl and not knowing his wife's name would not bother to click on that result. Why wasn't there a result showing for Carl? --Janiejac 13:20, 7 August 2007 (MDT)

If you were searching the web: (First keep in mind that this function is still in beta and is only searching 6,000,000 webpages) The search engine looks for word Carl within two words of Jackson, so if Carl comes up in close proximity to Viola Elledge Jackson, that result will appear in the results list. The search engine will only indicate that "Carl," "Jackson" and "North Carolina" appear close together. This is what google does. However, we search genealogy sites and not random pages. The same is true if you are searching WeRelate, but it will only search in the namespace you indicate, i.e. "Person". Hope this helps. :)--sq 21:44, 7 August 2007 (MDT)

Sorry, I forgot to mention I was searching WeRelate, not Google. I searched for Carl Jackson, location North Carolina and in Name Space left it as 'all'. It just seemed to me that a result of Viola Elledge Jackson was not a logical result when searching for Carl. Carl's name was closer to the word North Carolina than Viola was. But when I tried again adding Carl's middle name, the search result contained a listing for him. In the first case, in order to benefit from the search, the viewer would need to know Carl's wife's name; in the second case, the viewer would need to know his middle name. I just thought the search engine should pick up just Carl Jackson in North Carolina and wondered if some kind of refinement was needed. It picked up Viola, why not Carl? Maybe I'm just being picky? --Janiejac 06:15, 8 August 2007 (MDT)

Of course, you're using the term "logical" in its usual sense (agrees with me), rather than its technical sense (corresponds to the rules).

In WeRelate, the namespaces have a particular meaning and the Search window intends to use those meanings when you fill in those boxes. For example, the box labeled "Given name" and the box labeled "Surname" are certain predefined fields in WeRelate, whereas in your "User" page, the name "Carl Andrew Jackson" is not in those fields. You are using the Search form in WeRelate as though it were a free form in Google, which it is not.

I hope that this clarifies the Search function in WeRelate. If you are hoping that someone using WeRelate would collaborate on your research re: Carl Jackson in North Carolina, then you should create a Person page for Carl [Given name] Jackson [Surname] buried in North Carolina [Place].--Dquass 09:56, 10 August 2007 (EDT)

I'm sorry but I'm still confused. Sounds like you are saying WeRelate will not search research notes; only for individuals or families that are in the Family Tree with person, family and place pages. Do I understand that correctly? I sure was hoping my research notes could be searched. And it seemed to search the note; the resulting list returned Viola's name, but not Carl's name. I had not searched for Viola, just for Carl. Neither of these names are on a person page; just in the note. --Janiejac 00:50, 18 August 2007 (EDT)
I'm mostly trying to point out how to make the most efficient use of WeRelate capabilities, in terms of collaboration, instead of burying information that you want to share on a sub-page of your User page. As you have observed and commented on, all pages are susceptible to searching. Your Research Log for a person or family could easily (and more beneficially) be posted on a person or family page.
If you do a "Search" for "Carl" (in the Given name: box) "Jackson" (in the Surname: box) with "User" (in the Namespace: box), you will quickly find your note in your "User:Janiejac/Other Misc Bits and Pieces North Carolina" page. If you leave the Namespace: box blank, but put "North Carolina" in the Keywords: box, you will also find it, along with these comments in the Watercooler. If you also leave the Keywords: box blank, you will still find it. You will find your note even if you put "Jackson" in the Given name: box and "Carl" in the Surname: box and "Carolina" in the Keywords: box and "User" in the Namespace: box. Even if you leave the Given name: box blank and the Surname: box blank, but put "Carl Jackson Carolina" in the Keywords: box, you will still find it, although you will have to wait a long time.
The question is, which of those approaches would someone use if they were searching for information about a Carl Jackson in North Carolina? The basic problem for the person searching is that in your note, the word "Carl" is not in a Given name: box, nor is the word "Jackson" in a Surname box, nor is the word "North Carolina" in a Place: box. --Dquass 02:10, 18 August 2007 (EDT)

I'm very excited about the Web search feature. Are you planning to include personal/family sites with genealogical/historical information on them? If so, how do we submit those sites - and how can we format the pages to support your web crawler?--Moultriecreek 11:24, 18 August 2007 (EDT)

Sorry for not responding earlier -- I've been travelling. I just did a search for Carl Jackson in North Carolina and I think I see what you're saying. The search result summary for the page you've created is

North Carolina The following folks ... S. Army WWI Viola Elledge Jackson

This is a problem with how the search result is being summarized. The first match on the page is "North Carolina"; the last match on the page is "Jackson" (Viola's surname). Carl Jackson also matches, but between North Carolina and Viola Jackson. The result summarizer starts by including everything on the page from the first match to the last match, and then omits the stuff in the middle until the summary is approximately 80 characters long. So Carl Jackson got omitted from the summary because he was between North Carolina and Viola Jackson. I'm redoing search this Fall; I'll see what I can do so that the summarizer doesn't omit matches in the middle.

Regarding the Web search feature, if you add a link to your website on your Profile page (click on the MyRelate tab, then on "Edit" or "Create" in the "Profile & Messages" section, then type the URL in the text of your profile), the crawler will crawl it. You probably don't need to worry about formatting; we're training the crawler to understand most genealogical page formats.--Dallan 11:54, 18 August 2007 (EDT)

Marriage bonds [8 August 2007]

Dallan, would it be possible to have "Marriage bond" added as a marriage event? When that is the source of a date and place for me, I'm never quite comfortable fitting it in to one of the existing marriage events. I've noticed that some others list "bond" in the description field for a marriage to denote this, but since there are so many other permutations of marriage events possible (license, banns, etc.), why not add "Marriage bond," too? Just a thought!

Mary--Kittydoc 17:40, 8 August 2007 (MDT)

Yes; I'll add it when I return from FGS.--Dallan 11:54, 18 August 2007 (EDT)

Personal Research Page [16 August 2007]

Where is the edit box labeled "Personal research pages" on the edit profile page?

--Beth 09:28, 12 August 2007 (EDT)

I *think* that's been changed to "New User Page" on the "My Relate" page in the "User Pages" box. --Ronni 22:17, 12 August 2007 (EDT)

Am I supposed to change my user page to the new user page? If so how? I did find the button add on the Family Tree Explorer menu, that says you can add a Personal Research page. I have not tried yet. Thanks. --Beth 01:29, 16 August 2007 (EDT)

No. The "New User Page" button is for adding a new "Personal Research Page" , which is what I thought you were wanting to do. I'm sorry if I misunderstood the question. The Personal Research Pages that you already have in existence should be listed right above that in the User Page box or you can see them listed in the right sidebar from your User profile page as you mentioned. To edit one of your Personal pages, just click on it. --Ronni 03:35, 16 August 2007 (EDT)

Thanks Ronni, you understood the question; I just did not understand the answer. Now I do; use the new user page. There should be instructions on the new user page that indicate what pages to add here for users. --Beth 07:24, 16 August 2007 (EDT)

Ronni's right -- Personal Research Pages are now called User Pages (shorter and simpler since they're in the User namespace). But the help still needs to be updated. We'll add help tips (blue question marks that you can hover your mouse over to get help) to MyRelate next week.--Dallan 11:54, 18 August 2007 (EDT)

Degredation of data [17 August 2007]

So now we have a problem, my sister and I... We just received a very valuable book which traces the Stewart Family back through to the Bible. We want to enter this data here... but she can't access "MY" family tree because it's mine... and the interface is such that she can't even begin to figure out where to start (She has logged in as well, but she's not very Wiki-saavy, and she's in Maryland, I'm in Ibaraki Japan... so helping her is a little difficult.

She wants to just continue working on the GEDCOM... but we can't reupload it without creating duplicates of all 3500 records that already exist... So we really should do it here... but the book is in Maryland, and not here (And deciding which of the 7 King James' to tie into is a little difficult).

So, we were talking of downloading the GEDCOM from here (When that functionality is added), but we noticed about 100 records have been destroyed by this site (By replacing the first name with "Living" and deleting all data under the person, some of them were born in 1300 and have been destroyed because we simply had no death date).

I'm concerned. Is the data for the "Living" people permanently destroyed? Or is it hiding somewhere? If it's permanently destroyed... I hate to be blunt, but that needs to be disabled. It's one thing to protect privacy, it's another completely to destroy Genealogical records... errors made here will populate for hundreds of years.

Now... lastly; how do I remove my entire family tree so that I might reupload my entire family tree when my sister (Who can't get in here easily) updates our GEDCOM on MyFamily?

Having spent many years as a data analyst, I am very concerned about the condition of the data. Genealogy records are as sensitive as financial records for a large company; errors propegate maddingly, and effectively render the data useless. And removing the names and data from all "Living" people (Whether living or not) will change forever (Read: remove) those people from our GEDCOMS. Some of that data was pretty hard researched for it to get culled because of a little modern "Sensibility".

Just a little concern,

---Guy Davis (Aabh) Aabh 22:27, 14 August 2007 (EDT)

Hi Guy... I'm sorry no one has responded to your concerns. I actually held off from responding, hoping someone with more knowledge in this area would chime in. Unfortunately, it appears you're stuck with me for now. :)

1) As to why your sister can not access your data, I have no idea. I've seen questions like this before and quite frankly, it puzzles me. If someone, anyone, even your sister, wants to edit a page in your family tree they can do so as long as they have a user acct here. Again, I'm sorry, I'm not able to help with this particular question. I just don't understand the problem, I reckon. :)

2) WR does not destroy records. When something is deleted, it's "hidden" as you say. Dallan can always retrieve it if it needs to be retrieved.

3) The names in your GEDCOM being changed to LIVING is for privacy reasons, yes. I believe it's set for people without a death date who are under 110 years of age. Those folks will be considered LIVING with their names and data hidden. As to someone in your database who was born in 1300 being "destroyed," I'm not sure what happened there. I don't know if Dallan's program looks at the birth date and then calculates them as being dead or alive, or whether the program looks at flags in your GEDCOM as to whether the person is LIVING or not. In some cases, I don't have any dates for names in my database, but they weren't set to LIVING when I uploaded my GEDCOM to WR because my genealogy program had the LIVING flag set to NO which WR respected. A little preparation on the part of the user before uploading their GEDCOM online is usually necessary.

4) Your comment... "errors made here will populate for hundreds of years" ... is what WeRelate is trying to improve in the world of genealogy. Errors made *anywhere* on the internet will populate for years to come. By uploading our data here, allowing others to edit and source it, "bad" info can be acknowledged and corrections made. But again, let me reassure you that records are NOT being destroyed by WR. If something is deleted, it can always be retrieved if there is a legitimate reason to do so.

5) To remove your tree from WeRelate, one way (and there are probably others) is to use the Family Tree Explorer (FTE) and under FILE use DELETE TREE for the one you are wanting to remove.

Again, let me apologize Guy for taking a couple of days to respond and even then I'm afraid I wasn't able to help much, especially with regards to your sister not being able to access your family pages. To me, if she is wanting to edit someone that you have uploaded, she just goes to that page and edits it assuming she has logged in to WR. But there must be something more going on that I'm just not getting. :) --Ronni 05:53, 17 August 2007 (EDT)

Another comment after Ronni's encouragement:

After "working" with a few friends who were not very "Wiki-saavy" and appreciating what that might mean, I am offering the following simple comments (without intent to insult) for your sister. If your sister wanted to make specific corrections or additions to your Davis Family Tree (even without launching FTE), she would use the following steps;
First, sign in to WeRelate by navigating to www.werelate.org and clicking on the "Sign in" link at the top right and typing in her Username and Password and clicking on the "Log in" box, [your sister will then see her username in red at the top right next to the red "Sign out" link]
Second, go to your User page by clicking on the blue "Wiki" link near the top, and clicking on "Go to / Add page" over on the left, and putting "User" (instead of "(Main)") in the "Namespace:" box (by clicking on the tiny down arrow triangle to the right of the box and highlighting "User" near the top of the list that drops down, and clicking on it), and typing "Aabh" in the "Title:" box (because Aabh is your Username), and clicking on the "Go to page" button, [your sister should now see your picture in front of the chalk board]
Third, bring up the desired Person page by moving her cursor over to the left (under the bolded "Family Tree(s)", which is under the blue "Profile"), and clicking on "(list)" to the right of "Davis Family Tree", and clicking on any person in the list (for example, "Person:Aaron Butler (1)") that she would want to edit, [Following this example, your sister should now see in bold "Person:Aaron Butler (1)" at the top of Aaron's "Person page". She could make changes to Aaron's data and scroll down to the text box under "Personal History" and type in a note for you (or anyone else) about why she made those changes.],
Last, click on the "Edit" button near the top in order to make changes or additions to that selected person's data. She would just scroll down and click on "Cancel" to avoid making any changes to Aaron's data. Or, if (for example) she wanted to add Aaron's wife, she could also click on the blue "Aaron Butler and Unknown" link under "Spouse of family" (one of the relationship links under the underlined blue "Person Information" over on the left).

In reality, instead of clicking on "(list)", your sister will want to click on the blue "(launch FTE)" link and open your Davis Family Tree.

Instead of swapping GEDCOM files back and forth (or especially deleting and reuploading modified GEDCOM files), using WeRelate is a much easier approach to what you and your sister want to do, i.e., collaborating on making a record of family data and conducting future family history research.

Dallan is at the Allen County Public Library booth at the FGS conference in Fort Wayne and Solvieg is busy packing for their move to MN. I hope this will be helpful to your sister if you copy and e-mail it to her.--Dquass 11:29, 17 August 2007 (EDT)

Another way your sister can work on the same tree as you is if you go to the Family Tree tab, scroll down to see your tree at the bottom of the page, and click on the "Share" link next to your tree name. This emails her a link to your tree. She clicks on the link to open your tree in the Family Tree Explorer. Once she has registered, she can save your tree as her own (so her tree will include the same pages as yours) by clicking on "File" menu of the Family Tree Explorer, then clicking on "Save As".

Regarding living people, we purposely omit data about living people due to privacy concerns. So anyone born less than 110 years ago without death or burial information has a page created with just their surname and gender. We do preserve uploaded GEDCOM's (but not publically accessible because they might contain living information), so if you have lost the GEDCOM you uploaded and would like us to mail you a copy, please let me know.--Dallan 11:54, 18 August 2007 (EDT)

Formatting links and namespace [17 August 2007]

When I format text to create an internal link; I type the namespace:name. This works but I would prefer that the namespace not appear in my article. --Beth 07:38, 16 August 2007 (EDT)

  • Use the "pipe trick" to hide the namespace prefix.
John Duletski is actually [[Person:John Duletski (1)|]] — MrDolomite • Talk 17:20, 17 August 2007 (EDT)

Thanks, I missed the pipe on the formatting page. --Beth 19:51, 17 August 2007 (EDT)

Navigating other users pages with Family Tree Explorer - Why should I upload their tree [17 August 2007]

When I added an article to a Talk page of another user, I found that I needed to open Family Tree Explorer to obtain the information necessary to create internal links; i.e. the individual's name and index number. If you do not open FTE then navigating is difficult.

When I opened FTE, before the index was loaded, a screen appeared that said I should add this tree to my tree. Not what it said exactly, but that was my interpretation. I did not add the tree to mine and the index still opened.

But why this screen? I am not related to this user's family, and do not need to add this tree to mine.

Slightly confused. --Beth 07:46, 16 August 2007 (EDT)

Have you since tried to open another tree to view that message again? I just tried it and the message I got was not asking me to upload the tree, but was simply explaining how I could view/navigate the tree by picking a person as the primary starting point and then viewing descendants or ancestors from that starting point. --Ronni 20:26, 17 August 2007 (EDT)

There's another message that comes up sometimes: "You need to first copy this tree to your own tree (click on File, then Save As)". When I wrote it, I assumed you would be opening up someone else's tree because you wanted to work together with them on the tree. I'll change it to something like "If you want to work together with user name on this tree, you can save this tree as your own by clicking on File, then on Save As". Thanks for pointing out the confusion.--Dallan 12:16, 18 August 2007 (EDT)

Special:Categories [17 August 2007]

Hmm, maybe it is just my computer, but the Special:Categories page does not look correct. direct link. In Firefox, numbers are falling off the left side of the browser, and in Internet Explorer the numbers are not shown at all, only the period. — MrDolomite • Talk 17:28, 17 August 2007 (EDT)

I have the same results as you do with IE 7. No numbers shown. --Beth 19:54, 17 August 2007 (EDT)

Same problem here with Firefox. --Ronni 20:11, 17 August 2007 (EDT)

Thank-you for pointing this out! I'll fix it early next week.--Dallan 12:16, 18 August 2007 (EDT)

Add comment versus edit topic [17 August 2007]

You add a comment. Use edit topic when you actually make changes in the text entered by someone else. Is this correct? --Beth 19:58, 17 August 2007 (EDT)

Hmmm... I don't know that there are any "rules" regarding this Beth. I use either one interchangeably, though I tend to use edit topic if I'm wanting to be reminded of the text of the previous message.--Ronni 20:17, 17 August 2007 (EDT)

Children Order entered on Family page problem [22 August 2007]

I added children on the family page by selecting "add new person page". I entered the children in birth order, oldest child to youngest and saved the changes. On Robert Coker and Elizabeth Unknown the children are listed in a totally random order. Will this correct itself when I enter the birth dates on the person pages? --Beth 20:30, 21 August 2007 (EDT)

Yes, it should put them in birth order once the dates are added. --Ronni 04:36, 22 August 2007 (EDT)

Embed Google Maps? [30 August 2007]

Google maps can be embedded into a web page or blog. I've seen some wiki pages do this as well. Is that feature available here? --Ronni 04:35, 22 August 2007 (EDT)

Google maps are used in two places:

  1. A "Pedi-Map" button at the top of every Person and Family page shows a 5-generation pedigree chart and underneath it a google map showing the events of everyone in the 5-generation chart (example).
  2. When you search sources (click on the "Wiki" menu item at the top of the page, then on the "Sources" link), you can click on the "Map" button to see the locations covered by the sources displayed on a google map.--Dallan 11:04, 24 August 2007 (EDT)

WOW! That is really COOL!

But I haven't been able to make it work.

I have a 3-generation family posted, and I can see the graphic family when I click on the hourglass icon. I can't see the descendant or pedigree views at all. If make someone in the nearest generation the main person and click on the pedigree icon, I get a sort of ouline thing -- I can click on twisty triangles to show and hide the names, but I'm not seeing a nice pedigree chart.

I clicked on Wiki and Search and the map button, but nothing happened.

Is there something I'm missing?--FlutterBy 22:50, 27 August 2007 (EDT)

Ah! I found the Pedi-Map on the right side. Still clicking on Wiki, search, and map did nothing.

Does the website see the sources I upload from RootsMagic, or does it want sources added directly into the WeRelate pages?--FlutterBy 23:21, 27 August 2007 (EDT)

I'm so glad no one responded yet.

Even though it said nothing was found, when I scrolled down, there was the map!

Cool!--FlutterBy 23:25, 27 August 2007 (EDT)

Love, Love, Love the Pedi-Map!! Great feature!

- Twigs 13:08, 30 August 2007 (EDT) -

Use of images from Ancestry [24 August 2007]

The applicable usage information from Ancestry.

Limited Use LICENSE You are licensed to use the Content only for personal or professional family history research, and may download Content only as search results relevant to that research. The download of the whole or significant portions of any work or database is prohibited. Resale of a work or database or portion thereof, except as specific results relevant to specific research for an individual, is prohibited. Online or other republication of Content is prohibited except as unique data elements that are part of a unique family history or genealogy.

From the limited use license, my take is one is allowed to display a copy of the entire image or images online relevant to personal or professional research, but prohibited from downloading or posting online whole or significant portions of the database.

I would select Copyright, Fair use for ancestry images, correct? And can you create a template from the above paragraph to select when one uploads an image from Ancestry and everyone can use this one template as a standard from Ancestry? --Beth 21:09, 22 August 2007 (EDT)

I hadn't read their license that carefully before. From what you've posted, it does appear (to this non-lawyer) that you have the ability to post images on-line so long as they're relevant to your specific family history. So you would list Ancestry (The Generations Network actually) as the copyright holder, select "Fair Use" as the type of the license, and include the paragraph that you've written above describing their license in the text of the page. I'll add a new template for Ancestry (similar to the current one for the Denver Public Library) next week, after I've talked with others to make sure that we're reading their license correctly. Thank-you for pointing this out. If this is true, that's very generous of them.--Dallan 11:04, 24 August 2007 (EDT)

Macintosh troubles [24 August 2007]

I have logged in and uploaded a gedcom.

However, when I tried to move around the tree I'd uploaded, I couldn't do anything but turn the tree to the left or the right. The nice little tabs that appeared on the tutorial and tour did not appear.

I tried Safari and FireFox. Firefox was a little better, but all I could do was turn the tree.

I'm running 10.4.6.

Suggestions?--Flutter8y 20:47, 23 August 2007 (EDT)

I assume you're talking about the using the Family Tree Explorer, right? You should be able to (a) move the sliders on the top back and forth to show more/fewer generations, or (b) right-click on anyone in your tree to make them the new "primary person" (root) of the tree. If those things don't work, please let me know. (We plan to create a new video just for the Family Tree Explorer sometime in the next 2-3 weeks.)--Dallan 11:04, 24 August 2007 (EDT)

Newby question [27 August 2007]

I'd like to change my user name. Is it possible? How do I do it?

Thanks!--Flutter8y 13:59, 24 August 2007 (EDT)

You can't do it yourself (it requires an administrator), but I'd be happy to do it. Just tell me what name you'd like to change it to.--Dallan 14:38, 25 August 2007 (EDT)


You're a gem. My apologies for the extra work for you.

Please change the 8 to a B -- so instead of Flutter8y I'll be FlutterBy.

Thank you!!!

Peggy--Flutter8y 14:43, 25 August 2007 (EDT)

No problem; it takes only a minute. I don't do it very often, so please let me know if something doesn't work for you.--Dallan 15:03, 25 August 2007 (EDT)

Hm. I am still learning how to navigate around the site.

I click on the Family Tree tab and then on the Launch FT? beside the family tree I'd uploaded. It used to come up with the nice graphic family tree on the left. However, now the only thing I see is a list of our notes to each other.


Peggy--FlutterBy 15:30, 25 August 2007 (EDT)

I should be more clear.

What do I do to see the graphic family tree again?--FlutterBy 15:33, 25 August 2007 (EDT)

Ok, now I understand what you're talking about. Whenever a change is made to a page in your family tree, the page is added to a list of "changed pages" in the Family Tree Explorer, and when you open your tree in the Family Tree Explorer, this list is shown as the default view. There are two things you can do:

  • For each page in the list, click on the "Acknowledge changes" button - a button with a black arrow pointing left that appears just below the menu. This is your way of telling the program that you've seen the change.
  • Or, if you don't want to bother acknowledging the changes, you can just switch the view to the graphical view of your tree by clicking on the "Pedigree and Descendents" tab -- a tab that has a tree with roots on it about two inches below the menu.

--Dallan 14:08, 27 August 2007 (EDT)

Thanks, Dallan.

Is there a newsletter with updates as new features become available? I'm looking forward to being able to link trees with other people and download trees. It seems like I read that these are coming in the future.

Thanks again.--FlutterBy 15:13, 27 August 2007 (EDT)

Yes, both GEDCOM export and linking your trees with others' trees are expected by the end of the year. We send out a newsletter periodically (3-4 times a year). We'll definitely this in the newsletter once we have it working.--Dallan 16:25, 27 August 2007 (EDT)

Managing Research Guides [25 September 2007]

I've been working on the Florida Research Guide and noticed that the "Places" field tries to create a new page for each city/town I typed into the field. Since there are already Place articles for these locations, I tried without luck to create links to the existing place pages. Can you give me some guidance on how to do this?

Hello. Can you give an example of a place you are trying to link to and the format you used? I tried adding a couple of places in Florida and didn't have any trouble, so perhaps it's just a matter of how it's being entered. BTW, love your blog. It's one of my favs. :) -- Ronni
I first entered "St. Augustine" in the Places field and it wants to create a Place:St. Augustine page when you click on it in the normal (not editing) view. I would like to have cities displayed normally - St. Augustine, Miami, Tampa, etc. - on the research guide page, but link to the (correctly named) page already on WeRelate (Place:St. Augustine, St. Johns, Florida, United States). I tried putting a link into the Places field, but that didn't work - could be I just wasn't using the right format. The only solution I saw was creating the Place:St._Augustine page and putting a redirect to the appropriate page. That seems like a waste of resources to me. (Thanks for the compliment. I'm glad you like it.) --Moultriecreek 05:18, 23 September 2007 (EDT)
Oh, you're wanting just the city name. Makes sense and looks tidy as well. :) The pipe ("|") doesn't work in that area I just found out. Don't know if that's by design or a bug. Dallan will have to chime in here before we know where to go from here. Sorry couldn't help you out Moultri. --Ronni 08:03, 23 September 2007 (EDT)

Also, is it okay to create research guides for ethnic or religious groups - like Hugenots or Seminoles or whatever? --Moultriecreek 11:55, 22 September 2007 (EDT)

Sure is! :) --Ronni 02:15, 23 September 2007 (EDT)
I fixed the bug where you couldn't use a bar(|) with places in research guides. So you can enter "St. Augustine, St. Johns, Florida, United States|St. Augustine" to link to the St. Augustine place page but display just "St. Augustine". (I just made this change to the Florida Research Guide.) I also fixed a bug in auto-completion so if you enter part of the place title and pause for a few seconds, as long as the title you're entering is the last line of the edit box, the place drop-down list should show up more consistently now. Thanks for everything you're doing! Let me know if you run into any other problems.--Dallan 13:30, 25 September 2007 (EDT)

Attaching documents to people [2 September 2007]

I have uploaded a famly tree. I'd like to post some old letters between family members that are archived in a university library.

It seems like 'talk' isn't the right place to put them. Is there some sort of page I can attach to one of the people in the tree that will allow others to see these letters?--FlutterBy 17:43, 28 August 2007 (EDT)

I have another question about posting the letters. A description of the letters is already online at the university website. I had thought I'd paste a link to the description with my transcription. The donor placed no restriction on the use of the letters. Is there any problem posting that link on WeRelate?--FlutterBy 17:41, 29 August 2007 (EDT)

You can find the tutorials here. [1] I took someone else's advice and printed them out and I do refer to them a lot. At the top of the page you can see your blue bar; go to FamilyTree and there you can add a page or anything you like to your tree. I hope I have been of some help.

- Twigs 12:42, 30 August 2007 (EDT) -

Perfect! Thank you!--FlutterBy 13:56, 30 August 2007 (EDT)

No problem with posting the link on WeRelate. You could also create a Source page containing your transcription if you wanted: click on Wiki in the blue menu bar, then on "Sources", then in the "Community Sources" section enter a title for the source (in "author, title" format) and click on the "Add new page" button.--Dallan 17:53, 2 September 2007 (EDT)

Linking to Individuals or Families [3 September 2007]

Can someone tell me if a link to an individual from (my) website will stay stable even if I add to the tree? I would like to add the links on my pages to offer people the opportunity to change/add to my work directly. So if I link to an individual will it remain linked to that individual? This is an exciting interactive way to research. I've been thinking about this for a while. No email, no post ems. Real direct interaction. If the links remain stable, this is possible, right? - Twigs 12:58, 30 August 2007 (EDT) -

Hi Twigs, if you wish to make a link from your own website to a page on WeRelate, I think the best thing to do is to use the "Permanent link" link. Scroll down toward the bottom of the page you'd like to link to, and you should see a few items in blue, including "What links here" and "Permanent link". If you're using Internet Explorer, you can put your mouse over "Permanent link", right-click, then select "Copy shortcut". Then in the other window where you're updating your own website, you can paste in the link. Other browsers probably have a similar feature.--TomChatt 02:43, 31 August 2007 (EDT)

Thank you!! - Twigs 10:07, 31 August 2007 (EDT) -

There are two types of links. A "permanent link" links to a particular version of a page, so if the page is edited later, the permanent link will take you to the old version of the page before the edit. Alternatively, if you want to always link to the current version of the page so that if the page is edited you'll be taken to the latest version, you can just use the URL at the top of the page. Even if the page is later renamed, a "redirect" is left at the old URL that automatically forwards people to the new page title, so people will still be able to see the current version of the page you've linked to.--Dallan 17:53, 2 September 2007 (EDT)

Thanks Dallan! I needed to link to the latest version. I'll just use the URL like any other link then. Can't wait to get them set up. I am hoping for some 'gen-action'!  :o) - Twigs 12:12, 3 September 2007 (EDT) -

--- GEN-ACTION? what a cool term! Yes. Bring it on. --Debbie V. 13:10, 3 September 2007 (EDT)

FTE suggestion [2 October 2007]

Now that I've been using FTE more heavily, and have at least one tree with a few hundred persons in it, I've become aware of a small feature that would be great to add. In the tree views, there is a very handy feature that shows me a pop-up of info about a person or family when I hover my mouse over their block in the tree. This is very handy especially where the blocks become too small for the info to fit in the display - I can just hover over even the skinniest blocks to figure out who is who. I find I would like to have the same feature when using the "list" format instead of the "tree" format, but it is not there. When listing a big tree, all I can see is "John Smith (1)", "John Smith (2)", "John Smith (3)", and so on. If there were a similar hover feature on the list display, I could hover over these and quickly figure out which one is "John Smith (b.1826 NYC d.1876 Newark)". As it is now, I have to click into each one to find the one I want. Seems like it should be easy to do, since you've already got the hover-handler code on the tree display, and just need to hook the same handler into the list display. Thanks!--TomChatt 02:53, 31 August 2007 (EDT)

I think that will be pretty easy to do. I'll add it to the todo list for this week.--Dallan 17:53, 2 September 2007 (EDT)

It took me awhile, but I finally got that feature in the index. (Once I got started I just kept on adding features that I'd been meaning to add.) Sorry for the delay; I hope you like the other new features.--Dallan 22:42, 2 October 2007 (EDT)

Searching for Person and Family pages [2 September 2007]

Here's another place where I'd like to suggest improvements. Searching for Person or Family pages is currently not as useful as it could be, especially if you are searching for a name that has multiple pages in WeRelate. For example, if I search for George Chatt, I get this:

Person:George Chatt (2) - Genealogy
... person> George" surname="Chatt"/> M ...
Person:George Chatt (1) - Genealogy
... person> George" surname="Chatt"/> M ...

I understand technically why I am seeing this, but it's not very helpful in quickly getting to the "right" George. In the special case of Person page searches, it would be great to display the vital dates/places, rather than the search engine's notion of context.

Longer term, it would also be useful to provide a more specialized/refined search form for Person and Family pages, adding things like optional date ranges for vital dates. (All the fields one typically finds on the "Search Person" functions at familysearch.org, ancestry.com, etc.) When WeRelate builds up to the point where we've got potentially hundreds of pages with the same name (eg. John Smith), this will become important.

(I appreciate that this one is probably a chunk of work, but thought I'd put it on the growing list. :-)) Thanks!--TomChatt 03:11, 31 August 2007 (EDT)

Yes, search is going to be completely redone this Fall, for exactly the reasons you outline.--Dallan 17:53, 2 September 2007 (EDT)

What happens when you delete a tree [21 September 2007]

I just got a change email on this page: Family:Nicholas Rockwood and Jane Adams (1) I noticed that all the children's names were suddenly in red. What's happened is that the person who uploaded the "Rockwood" side of this tree has deleted their tree. So while the children's info is available on the family page, clicking on any of them shows that there is no info.

1. Not the best user experience. I was confused even though I understand what is supposed to happen when you delete a tree and what the red name means.

2. What happens if that deletion was part of the process of re-uploading? The reason this particular page didn't get deleted is that it's the merged version that several other people like me are watching. The user is going to lose all the info we added and create a whole new slew of duplicates if she re-uploads.

I'm not sure what to suggest, but the first things that come to mind are to not permit deletions of children who are on a watched family page and to warn people that X number of people in their tree will not be deleted because they have been edited/watched by others and that they therefore should not re-upload those people (until merge gets going). --Amelia.Gerlicher 12:14, 8 September 2007 (EDT)

This happened to me not too long ago Amelia. Not only was I initially confused about what had happened, but I was also devastated to lose all the family data that I was interested in. When I connected into the other user's tree, it was a major connection, with many pages to be added to my own tree. I had not "watched" all of them yet, because 1) there were a lot of pages and 2) there was no easy way to see which ones I needed to watch without a lot of clicking and viewing of each page.

Another problem I came across last week was that several pages had been redirected to another page because of a merge. When that happens, the user whose page has been redirected is not automatically added to the watch list of the page they were redirected to. They have to do that themselves. Some time later, the user whose page they were redirected to deleted their tree, so now the redirected pages lead to nowhere. Also, the user who had their page redirected is possibly not even aware that that particular family page has been deleted. So my suggestion in this case is that when a page is redirected, any users watching that page would automatically be added to the watch list of the page they were redirected to thus preventing it from being deleted. --Ronni 03:50, 9 September 2007 (EDT)

I restored all of the child pages that were deleted. What we need is a screen that lists everyone that is not in your tree that is linked-to by someone in your tree, that lets you to add those people and (optionally) their ancestors and/or descendants to your tree and watch them. I'll put this on the ToDo list for October. Until this is working, I'll respond to any requests for undeletions, including undeleting children of watched families. And later this week I'll change the software so that when someone deletes a tree they'll get a message on their talk page listing the pages that weren't deleted because other people are watching them. I'm hopeful that by the end of October we'll have a new procedure for re-uploading GEDCOM's that won't require you to delete the original GEDCOM first -- you'll select the old GEDCOM to replace with your new GEDCOM and the system will determined what changed and incorporate your changes into the existing pages.

The redirection problem is a good point. I hadn't thought of that case. I'll fix it this week so that from now on when a page is redirected, everyone watching the redirected page will also watch the redirected-to page (and the redirected-to page will be added to their trees).--Dallan 15:35, 10 September 2007 (EDT)

I love the combined watching when pages are redirected - that would be great. Since I now know that adding people to my tree makes a difference, I'll do that too.

Do you have a timeline on when a merge process will be available? I've been editing my New England lines, most of which are already on the site...2, 3 or 4 times... and while I can merge them by hand, but that can get kind of complicated over multiple generations, and if it's going to be automated in the foreseeable future, I can direct my efforts elsewhere.--Amelia.Gerlicher 11:47, 11 September 2007 (EDT)

The plan is to make it available in December, probably toward the end of the month. Merging will be simpler if you can wait until then. (But I'm going to get the watch of redirected-to pages working later this week.)--Dallan 22:46, 11 September 2007 (EDT)

From now on, if you edit a page and turn it into a redirect, everyone watching that page will start watching the redirect target page (and the target will be added to their tree). Also, I've updated everyone's trees and watchlists so that if you're watching a redirected page, you're now watching the redirect target as well (and the target has been added to your tree). Hopefully this helps to address the problem until we get merge working.--Dallan 19:39, 21 September 2007 (EDT)

Collaboration [29 September 2007]

I want to collaborate with my cousin as we work together on our tree, and have a couple of questions:
1. Do you plan to have a merge capability so that if I continue to use my own genealogy software after I've uploaded to WeRelate, can I do another upload of my updated program without creating a lot of duplicates? Or must all future work be done on the WeRelate site after the initial upload?
2. Do you have a time frame in mind for providing for downloading the tree back to my computer after work has been done on the tree at WeRelate?
3. When you build the ability to download a GEDCOM file, will anyone be able to download the whole tree or only those the author designates?

My cousin and I are currently passing the file back and forth with only one of us able to input to the tree at a time. This does allow us to stay synchronized but has the problem of not being able to work on the tree while the other one has it. Neither one of us is 'wiki oriented' so we will have quite a learning curve, but the ability to share the work with others is very attractive.--Janiejac 16:34, 8 September 2007 (EDT)

Good questions.

  1. By the end of October we hope to have a GEDCOM re-upload function where you'll select the old GEDCOM that you want to update with a new GEDCOM, and the system will determine what changed between the two GEDCOM's and update the pages accordingly.
  2. We should have GEDCOM download working by the end of the year.
  3. I hadn't thought about that before. I suppose I lean toward allowing anyone to download the GEDCOM unless people have concerns otherwise.

At present, both you and your cousin can start working on the same tree if

  1. you email your cousin a link to your tree (click on the Family Tree menu item, then click on the "share" link next to your tree), and
  2. your cousin clicks on the link in the email to open the tree in the Family Tree Explorer, and then saves the tree as his/her own (clicks on File, then Save As in the Family Tree Explorer menu).

--Dallan 15:35, 10 September 2007 (EDT)

Video Interview with Dick Eastman [13 September 2007]

There is a video interview at Dick Eastman's blog. He is one that I read regularly. Anything new goes through him first :o)

WeRelate: Video Interview with Dick Eastman--Twigs 11:41, 9 September 2007 (EDT)

All those great reviews appear to be keeping you guys busy! WOW! Congrats!!

Images are disappearing? [21 September 2007]

I'm confused about what is happening with my Images. The image seems to disappear from the Image page when I edit it. For instance, I just added some text to this page [2] and the image disappeared. what is going on?--Debbie V. 16:04, 9 September 2007 (EDT)

I think I found the image here [3] Maybe if you 'Edit' and add a link to the image it will show? Perhaps if you add text you have to add a link? I still have my 'learners permit', so I am most likely wrong. But maybe........ :o)--Twigs 21:59, 9 September 2007 (EDT)

This is very odd. I got the image to appear again, but things are clearly not working right. I'll work on this bug right away.

In case you're interested, pages are "cached" in WeRelate to improve performance. When this image page was cached, the cache didn't include a link to the actual image for some reason - a bug. I got the image to re-appear by purging the cache, which can be done by clicking on Edit, then going to the URL line of the browser and replacing "action=edit" with "action=purge".--Dallan 15:35, 10 September 2007 (EDT)

I got a similar bug. When I clicked on my image thumbnail, I got the full image but my text description was truncated. When I trimmed down the text, my full image no longer loads. I haven't tried to figure out your "action=purge" thing yet, but this is a definite "bug". Users shouldn't have to resort to obscure "tricks". Rossnixon 23:54, 14 September 2007 (EDT)
The next day, my image is now working. And the text truncation depends how I wide I drag my frame. Rossnixon 16:48, 15 September 2007 (EDT)
I just experienced this too, just as described. After editing an image, it no longer appears on the Image page. I think Dallan has diagnosed it correctly, as the "action=purge" workaround seems to clear it up. TomChatt 21:48, 16 September 2007 (EDT)

The server load problems due to the increased traffic we've experienced starting last week got me sidetracked on this, but I hope to get to it today. I'll post another message when it's fixed.--Dallan 13:04, 18 September 2007 (EDT)

Finally got this bug fixed. Any images that still aren't showing up should start showing up tomorrow when the cache is cleared out tonight.--Dallan 19:39, 21 September 2007 (EDT)

"Not in tree" [11 September 2007]

The youngest family in the gedcom I uploaded is Jacob and Melissa Bender. Their 7 children are listed, but when I click on their daughter, Mary, the box on top of the tree section says "Not in tree."

I can click on Mary, see her person page, her husband's person page. I've uploaded photos for Mary and her husband.

I've run into troubles now trying to add children for Mary and her husband because Mary is 'Not in tree."

How can I get Mary into the tree?--FlutterBy 14:28, 11 September 2007 (EDT)

I just figured it out.

I LOVE this site!--FlutterBy 15:32, 11 September 2007 (EDT)

A couple of searching thoughts [13 September 2007]

Would these ideas be easy or outrageously difficult to implement?

  • being able to exclude one's own stuff when searching?
  • being able to tell whose stuff it is when you've found something? (e.g. by grouping results by originator)

--Hh219 11:54, 12 September 2007 (EDT)

  • Yes, you'll be able to exclude your own trees, or search in just your own (or someone else's) trees.
  • Grouping results by user is a really interesting idea. It definitely possible. Here's a question though: earlier someone else asked if we could sort results by date, so that pages added/edited later would appear before pages added/edited earlier in the results list. I don't think we can do both, so we'll have to choose between grouping by user and sorting by date. Anyone prefer one way over the other?--Dallan 13:58, 13 September 2007 (EDT)
    • Looking forward to excluding my own trees upon searcing. I like sorting by date better than by user as you can instantly see the new pages added since your last search. --Debbie V. 14:05, 13 September 2007 (EDT)

Upload troubles [13 September 2007]

I had a tree for my grandfather and wanted to add the information from the tree for my grandmother.

I uploaded a gedcom and added it to my grandfather's tree.

However, I have multiple pages for my grandparents, and they aren't linked like they should be.

I have looked through the help pages and can't find an answer. If it is there, maybe someone could point to the pages.--FlutterBy 12:22, 12 September 2007 (EDT)

Can you list the titles of two pages that ought to be linked? Then I or someone else could edit those pages as an example.--Dallan 13:58, 13 September 2007 (EDT)

Name Fields, no symbols? [18 September 2007]

Hi, Great Site!

I just found WeRelate through my Rootsweb Newsletter & so far it's going well. My question is for the name fields, is there a particular reason why WeRelate uses "Unknown" as a surname? I personally prefer using [--?--] for either a given name or surname that I haven't discovered, yet. This way there's no confusion as to what this person's name is or is not when someone else is looking. I have actually seen entire trees where the documented surname is Unk or Unknown because the newbie researchers were not aware that it was intended as a [blank] space. I know that this particular issue is a hot one for many researchers, for example my mom prefers to leaves the name field empty altogether if she doesn't have the correct information and I prefer to have the fields filled, with either the true name or [--?--].

I'm wondering if maybe no symbols are allowed in the name fields so that there's no HTML included?

Thanks again for the great site!--HawkEcho 16:57, 14 September 2007 (EDT)

I also have seen [--?--] recommended for unknown surnames, and have started using it. I think this is a standard that is recommended by the "professionals". Rossnixon 01:54, 15 September 2007 (EDT)

A few characters aren't allowed in titles because they mess up the wiki link syntax (or cause other problems): <>[]{}|#+. Other than these, any other character should be allowable. We've used "Unknown" as a default unknown name convention, but you could use --?-- (without the []'s) if you wanted.--Dallan 13:04, 18 September 2007 (EDT)

Map locations - alias? [22 September 2007]

Newbie here. I just uploaded my gedcom and have a minor map problem. I use "NZ" in my file to refer to "New Zealand". Is it possible for the site admins to add NZ as an alias of New Zealand? If not, how do I do a "search & replace" of my data. I suppose I could edit my gedcom file and upload it again... but can this be done online? Rossnixon 23:55, 14 September 2007 (EDT)

It looks like NZ was added as an abbreviation back in May, so that's not the problem. Person:Eveline Sandbrook (1) for example has Hunterville pointing to the right place. There are two problems that I can see:

(OK, I didn't know I could edit 'places' till now. Have fixed Auckland lat/long. Actually, I have the lat/long of all NZ placenames on my GIS program at work. I will see if I can export them to an html table. Rossnixon 07:56, 21 September 2007 (EDT))
That would be great!--Dallan 19:39, 21 September 2007 (EDT)

Later this year we have on the schedule to improve the place-matcher, then re-run it over all of the existing person and family pages to see if we can match more places that weren't matched the first time.--Dallan 13:04, 18 September 2007 (EDT)

Copyright for photos in family collection [25 September 2007]


Me again, the Chicago photo queen, hah hah. I have an enormous photo collection inherited from my family as the family genealogist. Some I know the artist (my grandfather or great-grandfather), but many I do not, as they go back even farther, even though (except for the darn school photo) most are of our family.

So how do I specify copyright for images like that? Do I own the copyright as the photos are in my possession (and grandfather and great-grandfather long dead?) Or what? None have ever to my knowledge been published or otherwise copyrighted by someone else, and I have no desire to copyright them, just to share them with other interested people.

There really should be specifics about family photo collections in the Wiki page about copyright and how to specify when uploading images.

Cheers, Lelani--Larris 00:05, 25 September 2007 (EDT)

I use this one: Low-resolution copy of a unique historical photograph

I have tons of photos too. This is the only one that fits.--Twigs 10:09, 25 September 2007 (EDT)

I believe that the copyright owner is the person who took the picture or the organization that employed them, even if they're dead / out of business. This is unfortunate, because many of these "orphan works" (see http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/ ) are in danger of being lost or inaccessible if we can't get them online. Brewster Kahle, one of my heroes, is championing this cause but it's slow going (see http://www.news.com/Fighting-to-protect-copyright-orphans/2008-1025_3-6154860.html ). In the meantime, I second what Twigs said. I'll add this to the image licensing help page.--Dallan 13:30, 25 September 2007 (EDT)

Sort of OT: How to map several people in one place at one time [2 October 2007]

All part of this project I am engaged in - I have now gone back through the 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses to locate actual street addresses for my chicago school kids (mostly to try to see roughly where the school itself may have been). And have converted to modern addresses also (Chicago changed street numbering for E-W streets in 1909, making it a pain). I'd like to use the google (or other) map feature that uses "pins" to show all the kids locations down to street addresses in a single census year, but have no idea how to do that.

Can I do it here? Or is there another place I can do it? I'm not yet up to learning all the code etc. necessary to stick the Google API somewhere on my own web site to try to do it...

Ideas welcome (if I can manage it, here or elsewhere, I'll link it back to my evolving thing here on all these kids).

Cheers, Lelani--Larris 02:07, 27 September 2007 (EDT)

That's an interesting question. You can't do it here at present, and I'm not sure of any other website where you could do it. Do you know the latitude and longitude for these locations? If so, perhaps we could come up with an extension that would show a list of (page title, latitude, longitude) entries on a google map. A volunteer has just begun re-doing the maps feature, so it would be a good time to add this.--Dallan 13:44, 27 September 2007 (EDT)

Never mind, I figured it out - you can do it with Google Maps if you sign up for an account (free) and create a map in "My Maps." You can save as many locations as you want and add other content as well. See 1900 Riverdale map for my first attempt at a map of where all "my" kids lived in 1900. Note that the street addresses are actually those for 1910, as Chicago did a major street renumbering (E-W) in 1908 or 1909.

Cheers, Lelani--Larris 00:24, 29 September 2007 (EDT)

That's very cool!--Dallan 22:42, 2 October 2007 (EDT)

Photo problem [11 October 2007]

The Google ads messed up a photo I had on my user page. I had it to the right. I have done that to other pages so I am sure they have been messed up too. I did not know that Ads were going to be added.

Is there a way to find out if anyone is watching any of my pages without checking each one?--Twigs 08:56, 4 October 2007 (EDT)

Sorry about that; it should be fixed now. (You might have to force a refresh of the page -- hold down the control key while clicking on the reload button in Firefox or the shift key I believe while clicking on reload in IE.) Please let me know if you notice any other problems caused by the ads.

The best way to see who else is watching your pages is by viewing your "Network". Click on "My Relate" at the top of the screen, then on "View network", then on the number under "Watched pages in common" to see exactly which pages you're both watching.--Dallan 10:19, 4 October 2007 (EDT)

Thank you! It's fine now.

BTW, love the new Family Tree Explorer features!--Twigs 16:35, 11 October 2007 (EDT)

Person page name formatting [15 October 2007]

A couple of questions about how people are using the name fields on the Person page. I just recently had a few persons who had something to go in the "title suffix" field, like "M.D." and "Esq.". I noticed that when it shows up on the page, there's no comma between the surname and the title suffix. So I get "John Smith Esq." and "John Smith M.D.". It seems like there ought to be a comma between. If I put it into the suffix field explicitly, I get "John Smith , Esq." which isn't quite right either. I thinking that most suffixes would want a comma there. Anybody else used the suffix field and have any thoughts?

Also, in looking around, I've noticed that some people are capitalizing surnames, and I've started doing that too. I've seen it done in some genealogy journals and forums, and it's helpful to demarcate which pieces of the name are the surname (which is not always obvious). For instance, "Vincent VAN GOGH", "Pieter TEN EYCK". Anybody else using this convention? I'm wondering if that will create any unexpected problems with searching or other functions. Is the searching case-insensitive? In some of the fields where there is auto-completion, it seems like sometimes it is case-sensitive and sometimes it isn't.

---TomChatt 23:41, 8 October 2007 (EDT)

Good point on suffixes. I just changed the software so that suffixes are prefixed by a comma. Regarding capitalizing surnames, searching is not case-sensitive, but linking is. So you could find a page titled "Vincent VAN GOGH" page by searching for "Vincent Van Gogh", but if you were editing a Family page and wanted to add Vincent as a child, you would have to enter "Vincent VAN GOGH". The auto-completion fields are case-sensitive. It should be fine if you want to enter surnames in all caps. In fact, see the proposal below.--Dallan 17:47, 15 October 2007 (EDT)

Military organizations [9 November 2007]

I imported a gedcom, which had military organizations (for example, Civil War regiment) as facts (ie, not in the notes fields). These have been converted to places in We Relate. Is there a preferred way to have military organizations? I couldn't find any templates for regiments or units. Is "place" the best way to do it? Any suggestions? Thanks!--Mwhitehead68 20:33, 16 September 2007 (EDT)

You could enter them as a "Military" event, and put the name of the organization in the "Description" column. (The description field for events is part of the GEDCOM standard, but not all genealogy programs support it. So if you're uploading a GEDCOM file from a genealogy program that doesn't support the "description" field for events, they end up being entered as places.)--Dallan 13:04, 18 September 2007 (EDT)

I think what you really want to do with military organizations (in my case, civil war regiments) is make it a redirection to wikipedia. Even if all you do is create a wikipedia stub, it's a start. For units from the civil war, there are defined standard stubs for pretty much all of them, even if they havn't been fleshed out.--Jrm03063 23:09, 8 November 2007 (EST)

That's a great idea. You could enter [[wikipedia:title of the article]] in the description field to link to wikipedia if you wanted.--Dallan 11:29, 16 November 2007 (EST)

Proposal to change Person/Family page titles to put surnames in ALL-CAPS [9 November 2007]

What would people think about changing the page-title convention for Person and Family pages to

  • optionally include middle names if people want to include them,
  • list the surname in ALL-CAPS?

For example, a Person page title might be "Vincent Willem VAN GOGH", and a Family page title might be "Theodorus VAN GOGH and Anna Cornelia CARBENTUS".


  • People could include middle names in page titles, and the system would be able to automatically determine which part of the title represented the given name(s) and which represented the surname, so that when you click on a Person page to create it, the correct part of the title would go into the given name field and the correct part would go into the surname field.
  • It would be easier to distinguish surnames from given names in lists of page titles.


  • Although searching is not case-sensitive, linking is. When new pages are created in GEDCOM uploads or when you click on the "Add new Person page" link when editing a family or the "Add new Family page" link when editing a person, the system can automatically create a page title with an all-caps surname. But when linking to an existing Person or Family page, you would need to be sure to enter the surname in all-caps yourself.
  • We would probably want to rename the existing Person and Family page titles to be consistent with the new title format. This would probably take a week, which would delay working on the upcoming match & merge function. (Alternatively we could postpone renaming existing pages until after the match & merge is complete.)

--Dallan 17:47, 15 October 2007 (EDT)

I am agnostic on the proposal (as long as the existing pages are automatically changed), but would much rather have match and merge first. --Amelia.Gerlicher 21:48, 15 October 2007 (EDT)

I spent a lot of time purging my files of caps. I have not found it to be helpful. I suppose you can pick out the surnames quickly if you are name collecting. It really made a mess of a book I put together. Took about a year to get most changed to normal, and I still run into one I missed once in a while.--Twigs 22:20, 16 October 2007 (EDT)

Capitalizing is very time consuming and makes use of material for normal publications extremely cumbersome. Its only use is in scanning lists of names but we now have wonderful search engines to do the lists scanning for us. Let is get back to surnames as they appear in normal documents. If people want middle names then add a separate box for middle names.--Wrcummins 17:05, 24 October 2007 (EDT)

Maybe the ideal is to have it be "normal" mixed case in the actual data, but have a preference or option as to how you'd like it displayed. Though I like the upper case on some displays, I don't think it should be embedded in the actual data or in page names.

I also agree with Amelia that other things on the "to-do list" seem more important than this. :-) --TomChatt 22:56, 24 October 2007 (EDT)

Well... I'd have to say, as long as it doesn't come back down into a GEDCOM for download, I guess I am ambivilant to it... but I don't think I want any family tree printed or any offline work suffering from all caps... Aabh 23:54, 8 November 2007 (EST)

How to handle extensive info on person/family page [30 October 2007]

What's the best way to deal with a person or family page that starts to get lengthy from documentation or articles written to it? Where and how should additional pages be added? --Ronni 23:54, 28 October 2007 (EDT)

I think it's okay to have a fairly lengthy article on a person page, especially if you use the multi-level section headings to break it up. You automatically get a mini-table-of-contents near the top of the page if you use sections. Here's an example of a fairly lengthy page that I've done. Some things can be put into separate MySource pages. For example, on that same page, I refer to a Revolutionary War pension application that included some very lengthy narrative accounts of war experiences. I transcribed all of that onto a separate MySource page called MySource:William_Crolius_-_Revolutionary_War_pension_application. But if you really need to break a specific person or family page into multiple pages, we should ask Dallan what he thinks about sub-pages. On other wikis I've worked on, you could create "sub-pages" by using the full name of the main page, followed by a slash character '/', followed by a subpage name. For instance, Person:William_Dobbs_(1)/Revolutionary_War_details. But we'd want our CTO to say whether that would work, or if it might break other functionality. (Will search work correctly? What happens if that page gets renamed/redirected? Etc.) --TomChatt 02:29, 29 October 2007 (EDT)

How do you do this? '....if you use the multi-level section headings to break it up. You automatically get a mini-table-of-contents near the top of the page if you use sections.' Does it do it itself if you use headings?--Twigs 12:45, 29 October 2007 (EDT)

Tom's suggestions about using section headers to break up the information or putting source information in MySource's are both terrific. As suspected though, subpages don't work on Person or Family pages (for a variety of reasons, including not getting renamed when the main page gets renamed).

The table of contents is added automatically if you have four or more section headings on a page. Otherwise, you can add a table of contents to any page by adding __TOC__ on a line by itself where you want the table of contents to appear. --Dallan 21:55, 29 October 2007 (EDT)

Thank you, Dallan.--Twigs 13:15, 30 October 2007 (EDT)

Importing from Wikipedia? [1 November 2007]

Hi all. How do we tell WeRelate to import text from Wikipedia (e.g. to fill in a Place page)? --Joeljkp 11:42, 30 October 2007 (EDT)

This should be part of the help pages. I just added the answer to the place help page.--Dallan 10:46, 1 November 2007 (EDT)

Obituary Copyright Customs [8 November 2007]

This is sort of a newbie question, so please bear with me. I'm wondering about obituary copyright customs, and conventions about how they would apply in an open forum like this. While I wouldn't think that anyone would try to enforce an obituary copyright, particularly if it was appropriately quoted and cited, it's a publication like any other so it's presumably an issue. If I obtain permission, I would think that a source citation would be required as a condition (even if it were not a condition of good scholarship). Would I be inadvertantly stripping the publisher's citation-requirement copyright by submitting it as GFDL?--Jrm03063 13:04, 7 November 2007 (EST)

That's a good question. For obituaries published in the US before 1923 it's not an issue. For other obituaries I'm not sure. You could include just the facts, or excerpts from the obituary. Or you could upload an image of the obituary and select one of the "fair use" licenses.--Dallan 18:47, 8 November 2007 (EST)

Indexing [9 November 2007]

I am wondering how others are handling databases with various groups of people without being able to index in WeRelate by surname?

This is the only thing I am having a real problem with. I collect not just the family but the allied families and the neighbors or people seen with the core family. It means I need to see quickly if a surname is in my file and how often and in what context I have seen it.

In a genealogy program you just look at the index which is by surname. Unless I am missing something in WeRelate the index I find is by given name. I thought I would circumvent the problem by making my own index on a seperate web page and this WORKS but I forget to add people to it which defeats the purpose. Am I missing something obvious or have others come up with a better way to get a handle on this?--MizLiv 11:27, 9 November 2007 (EST)

I would just add the pages to my tree, and have only one tree. (There is a "Tree +" link in the top right corner, second menu line of each page.) You can store as many unconnected trees as you like in one tree file. Then bookmark the root(s) of unconnected lines so you can instantly flip between ancillary lines. They would automatically be indexed and you could see the frequency at a glance on the Family Tree Explorer index screen (little button with horizontal lines about midway above the tree window in the Family Tree Explorer).  :-)--sq 12:21, 9 November 2007 (EST)

It's a little inconvenient, but with the Family Tree Explorer you can get a list of people by surname. Launch the Family Tree Explorer on your tree, then select the Index view (click on the last tab in the row of tabs about two inches below the top of the screen), then change the "Namespace" from "All pages" to "People". the resulting list should be sorted by surname.

Having said that, there are two things on the todo list that will address this problem in the future. The first is the ability to search just pages in your own tree(s), which should be in place around the end of this month. The second is the ability in the Family Tree Explorer to automatically create "user pages" that list the people/families in your tree in different ways, like you mention above, but this isn't scheduled until next year.--Dallan 11:29, 16 November 2007 (EST)

Images and links to them [10 November 2007]

I have not yet tried the uploading images thingy (love my technical terminology!). I just uploaded my first image. And I successfully have linked it to a person... now the question is:

If I delete my gedcom, and then re-upload an updated file, will that link "re-assert" itself once the new gedcom is uploaded, or will I have to go find all the broken links? How does that work? (I know you are working on creating an easier way to update gedcoms, but I just found a lot of new information and wanted to upload the new file now, showing that stuff)--Msscarlet1957 20:16, 9 November 2007 (EST)

If you upload a new gedcom, the link will be lost. A new gedcom won't overwrite the old one, so you're right, you'll have to delete the old one and then upload the new one. Not something I would recommend right now. I would wait for the merge function thingy :) that Dallan is working on.

one more question, can we somehow position the photo on the page. Currently there is the big long list of sources.. then the photo... then the list of notes... I would prefer to have photos at the top and the other stuff to follow --Msscarlet1957 22:22, 9 November 2007 (EST)

Yep, you can position photos on the page by first taking them out of the "Image field" and putting a link on the page by using a "pipe" such as [[Image:Example.jpg|right]]. Right and Left work, maybe center as well. Haven't tried that one. Also, if you have a lot of pictures included on a page, you can arrange them in a gallery. Try this:

I'm sure there are other tricks as well. --Ronni 02:16, 10 November 2007 (EST)
Well it does not see to work just right for me. I tried [[Image:Example.jpg|right]] and the word "Right" now appears in red letters, see my page at Person:Phillip Heller (1) and up at the top right of the photo you can see where the word "right" appears.--Msscarlet1957 07:33, 10 November 2007 (EST)
You forgot to add the word "Image" in front of the *.jpg portion. The picture that was showing up there was the one that you had entered in the Images portion of the Person Page (where you can upload, add captions, source IDs, etc). I went ahead and fixed it for you, to show you what I mean. (Hope you don't mind.) I also changed it from "right" to "center." Because there is no text on the page, the picture was going along side the list of sources you had when positioned to the right. Change it back to "right" and you'll see what I mean.

OK, I see what you mean! Got it, thanks for all your help, the learning curve is very great for this site, there are just so many options available, but I see such great potential for collaboration, I am hanging in there and trying to learn. I have a LOT of spare time, but worry that folks with only a few minutes a day would shy from using it. I wish I had ideas on helping making it easier. One thing I love is how quickly my questions get answered, that really helps cut down on frustration. I appreciate that immensely! --Msscarlet1957 10:05, 10 November 2007 (EST)

Images Not Showing [17 November 2007]

Perhaps I am just rushing but the images I uploaded and connected to this morning aren't showing. I have checked and rechecked the links, so perhaps it is just real busy or someone is tinkering. If so, forgive me. Here is one of the places: http://werelate.org/wiki/User:Familytwigs/Brock_Family--Twigs 12:53, 12 November 2007 (EST)

The above addy is a page that kept coming up yesterday as my user page for my new GEDCOM. I created a user page in the same way I did with my other files. It is here: http://werelate.org/wiki/User:Familytwigs/Brock_Family What happened? Why did the wrong one come up? Also I went to the pages with the new photos this morning and did an edit just removing the links to the photos and putting them back on. It worked and the photos are showing now.--Twigs 16:17, 13 November 2007 (EST)

This one's got me stumped. I looked at the User:Familytwigs/Brock Family page and in doing a "diff" between your latest version that works and your previous version that did not, the system is showing that the "jpg" part of your image link changed between the two versions. But they look like the same characters to me. Did this happen only on the Brock Family page, or on other pages as well? What operating system and browser are you using?--Dallan 11:29, 16 November 2007 (EST)

So far it is. I had uploaded 3 photos and created the User page for my newly uploaded GEDCOM. 2 of the photos wouldn't show for about a day. Just the text link. The one on the Brock page showed, but it just depended on which page? I don't know how it happened. The 2 photos that didn't show just popped in finally. I have Vista. I have had it since June 2007. So I have uploaded before in it. I thought I might be losing my mind. One minute it was there.....the next, gone.  :o) Then I realized they were 2 different pages. I thought perhaps because it was busy. Great mystery.--Twigs 12:34, 17 November 2007 (EST)

It's not because the system is busy. (And you're not losing your mind. :-) There's a bug there somewhere; I just haven't been able to find it yet. Please let me know if it happens again. Images should show up right away after they're uploaded.--Dallan 22:36, 17 November 2007 (EST)

Merging Individuals [16 November 2007]

Newbie question here: How does one merge individuals? Do I have to use a different PAF program to tie different gedcom files together in final form before I upload here? I imagine there would be some way to replace all of the links to a particular person to refer to the preferred individual page. However, it would be nice to be able to keep the different sources referenced in each gedcom file. It would be easier to just erase duplicative or non-preferred information from an automatically "merged" individual page.

Thanks for any advice and the collaboration on the site. I have been looking for a wiki like this because it seems the most logical way to organize family history research.--Joevans3 14:27, 13 November 2007 (EST)

Merging individuals is possible right now and a few people have done it by updating links as you suggest, but my recommendation is to wait a few months. We're working on a match function that will automatically find trees that likely overlap with yours and list likely-duplicate pages in them. We'll also have a merge function that will update links and copy non-duplicative information from the page being merged into the page being kept. I originally anticipated that match+merge would be ready by the end of this year, but cleaning up the place database (which is needed for good matching) is taking longer than anticipated. The match+merge functions should be ready first quarter next year.--Dallan 11:29, 16 November 2007 (EST)

Searching places [16 November 2007]

Could someone tell me how to block a location search from my surname search? My surname is Camden, I am tired of Camden County, NC or GA, Camden County NJ, NY, AR, MO, and the like, I would just like to see my surname come up when I do a surname search.--Lodusky 16:11, 14 November 2007 (EST)

There's not a good way to do that right now unfortunately. The best approach right now is to use the Category:Camden surname category. (There's a link to the surname category at the bottom of any person page with that surname.) We'll be re-doing search over the next 2-3 weeks to make a number of improvements:

  1. field-based search so that when you search on Camden as a surname it only matches pages with Camden as a surname,
  2. ability to search just pages in your tree(s) or to exclude pages already in your tree(s),
  3. pages get indexed and become searchable within a few minutes (less then 30) of their being edited instead of having to wait overnight for them to be searchable.

--Dallan 11:29, 16 November 2007 (EST)

U.S. census images adding [18 December 2007]

I have a census page from the 1820 U. S. census, Walton County, Georgia ready to upload that enumerates Robert Coker, in my tree, on this census page. I have managed to reduce the entire image to the required size for WeRelate.

My vision for this census page is to have the page shared by all researchers that have a family enumerated on the same page. I have not discovered a method to do this in WeRelate. I can share the source, but how about the image? --Beth 20:11, 27 August 2007 (EDT)

What a fantastic idea. I am now fantasizing about transcribed census pages with the names hyperlinked to WeRelate pages. Someday, maybe in my lifetime? A girl can dream.--Debbie V. 14:35, 30 August 2007 (EDT)

How about uploading the image, then putting a link to the image in the text of the source page?--Dallan 17:53, 2 September 2007 (EDT)

I'm not quite getting this - do I upload a census page as an Image, include a transcription if I like, then link the Image to my family so that my family appears under "what links here"? You didn't mean to make a Source page out of one census image did you --Debbie V. 20:47, 2 September 2007 (EDT)

I'd upload the census page as an image, then create or edit a source page for the census. On the source page I'd add a link to the census image followed by your transcription. When you come to people in your family in the transcription, enter them as links to your person pages. For example, User:Martygrant has been doing some pretty interesting things with source transcriptions (just a single surname, but I really like the format). Check out for example MySource:Martygrant/Dugger1850CensusMS. You could also edit your family and/or person pages and link them to the source page by adding a new source and typing "Source:" followed by the source page title in the Source Title field.--Dallan 10:45, 5 September 2007 (EDT)

I've captured a number of census page images that I'm interested in while on "ancestry.com". I wasn't expecting to do anything with them except retain them for my individual research, but I was wondering what the copyright situation of such materials would be. Can they assert a copyright to those images? Somehow claiming that they are the "photographer"? If such a copyright can be asserted, how does a citizen get a copy of a census page that is not encumbered by a private copyright?--Jrm03063 15:22, 5 November 2007 (EST)

Whether an organization can claim copyright on images they take of public-domain documents is an interesting question, and one that hasn't been decided definitively in the United States yet. If you're interested, here's a link to a summary of an interesting court case. Rather than try to decide whether or not the images are copyrightable, Ancestry has a very reasonable limited use license, which states in part that "Online or other republication of Content is prohibited except as unique data elements that are part of a unique family history or genealogy." The way I read this, so long as you only upload images that pertain to your specific family tree, you can do so. I've added a new "Ancestry.com" option toward the bottom of the list of licenses to select from when you upload an image, so you can select that license if you want.--Dallan 10:36, 6 November 2007 (EST)

Interesting. I was wondering a similar thing, when using the wonderful UK historical-geographical resource [4]. The site contains many online entries taken from late 19th century gazetteers (Groome and Bartholomew). When showing an entry from the gazetteer, it will show that the source is an 1882 gazetteer, and then will assert a 2004 copyright for "Gazetteer of Scotland". It seems surprising that someone can assert a copyright for a quotation from a 120+ year old source. Perhaps British copyright law is different in the "statute of limitations" for copyright? In any case, it made me hesitate to copy that material into WeRelate place pages, even though I could probably go to the library and find the 19th century gazetteer to directly copy from, and I wouldn't have hesitated to do that. --TomChatt 00:46, 7 November 2007 (EST)

I'm not sure about British copyright law. But I believe that while the format and presentation of a set of facts can be copyrighted, the facts themselves can't be copyrighted unless some creativity was used in the determination of which facts to include in the set. Don't know if that helps.--Dallan 18:47, 8 November 2007 (EST)

Thanks to everyone for responding about the census image, but I am terrible on constructing tables, templates etc. If some kind soul can create templates for the different U. S. census years that would be fantastic.

For the time being may I just enter the information without using a table? Will not look great but will have the information.

I still would prefer to link to the actual image. Saves time in transcribing and also eliminates transcription errors. --Beth 10:57, 14 December 2007 (EST)

Hello everyone. Feeling dumb this morning. I have uploaded the 1850 census page as an image. I created a source page for this census page. On the source page how do I add a link to the census image? --Beth 08:26, 18 December 2007 (EST)

In the text box for the source page, try adding [[Image:Robert & Elizabeth Coker household in 1850 census in Murray County part 2.jpg|500px]]. This will generate a 500-pixel wide image. Let us know if you have any other questions!--Dallan 16:45, 18 December 2007 (EST)

Should WeRelate allow downloading GEDCOM's? [16 November 2007]

Discussion moved to WeRelate talk:Merging and downloading trees

Duplicate Sources, GEDCOM upload, etc. [4 December 2007]

Hi All,

Newbie here, exploring for the specific purpose of making available a genealogical "study" (hah hah) of a photo of a Chicago school in 1903 that was part of a family collection, that I did for fun and to be sure nobody was related to me (nobody was).

So over the past couple of days I've uploaded 30+ small GEDCOMs (most of the kids weren't related to each other) and now am started trying to clean up, link, organize, etc.

Problem is, it seems that every single instance of a source in the GEDCOM, even though many are identical, appears as a separate source in my "mysource" list, AND as a separate source on a single person page even if referencing more than one event (rather than just showing S1 in 4 places for the 1900 census). Is there anyway to do an automatic merge of duplicates, both within and across all my trees, rather than laboriously doing this manually (arg)? It's just that so many sources clutter the page, and waste space IMHO.

Also, most of these should be public sources, not "mysources", and many may exist here already. Any way again to do an automatic merge and/or conversion of selected mysources to regular sources without doing it all manually?

See Person:Anton Brechinski (1) for an example of multiple duplicate sources, multiply that by 37 kids and roughly a generation in each direction for each kid and you'll see what I'm dealing with. ALL of this research was done using census and other public data as I started only with the names of the kids (on the back of the photo), the year and location of the photo, and a guess as to how old they were, and went from there.

If there is such a thing, please tell me - I've looked through the help files. If there isn't such a thing, I'd strongly advise it go on the "to develop" list, as eventually (if this experience goes well) I'm thinking about putting my own tree on here, which is huge and extended and the sources would bury me if I had to manually merge and clean them up.

More soon, I am sure!

Cheers, Lelani--Larris 00:01, 25 September 2007 (EDT)

Hi, I checked Person:Anton Brechinski (1) and I see what you mean. Part of the problem is that the GEDCOM file repeats the source information in the text field of each citation rather than including it just once in the source record, and since we keep the GEDCOM content as best as we can we repeat it as well. The other part of the problem is that as you point out, if the citation information is exactly the same for two citations on a page, it would be better if we created just one citation. I'll add that to the "todo" list. Once we get that working however, you'll have to delete and then re-upload your GEDCOM's to take advantage of it.

The good news is that there is actually just one "mysource" page created for each of your sources, even if the source appears in more than one of your GEDCOM's. You can verify this by clicking on "My Relate" in the main menu, then on the "View contributions" link, then changing the Namespace to "MySource" and pressing the "Go" button.

Matching GEDCOM sources with public sources is something that's been requested before, and is on the "todo" list. The biggest challenge is the sparseness of information in many source records. So I think we can recommend matches to public source pages (it's on the schedule for early next year, after match+merge for people and families, which is this year). But I don't think we'll be able to match public sources fully automatically. In the meantime, if you do find a public source that matches your "mysource", you can "redirect" your mysource to that public source by editing your mysource page and entering

#redirect [[Source:title of source page]]

For example, I just redirected MySource:Larris/South Dakota Marriages, 1905-1949 to Source:Ancestry.com - Search South Dakota Marriages, 1905-1949. (Titles of public source pages need to be improved -- there's a discussion going on about this at WeRelate talk:Source Committee.)

Pretty cool project you're doing!--Dallan 13:30, 25 September 2007 (EDT)

I have a similar problem going on as well and I am trying to figure out how to tackle it. My question is, if I do manually redirect my "MySource" items to the public "Source" items.. will that work across the board on all my Gedcoms? I too have many different Gedcom's uploaded. and will that redirect work when I "re-upload" the Gedcoms when it comes time to updated them? I have been working with my Census sources.. and was treating them as "duplicate" and thus catagorizing them and "remove" and putting the page they match in the text part... guess that was the wrong way to handle it I have a difficult time navigating to finding help on specific questions using this Wiki but I am trying, and wandering around... There are just SO many pages, it gets overwhelming --Msscarlet1957 10:14, 13 October 2007 (EDT)

PS I was just looking for a redirect for my SSDI at Ancestry.com (Social Security Death Index) and wow there are many of those in each person's "MySource"; There really does need to be a way to somehow redirect those "easily" ha ha! One more question, I just finished changing my "remove"s to "redirects" and at the bottom it shows all my Gedcoms with a checkmark in the box next to them, so all seems to be fine and dandy, but now if I upload a totally different file, not currently on the list, will those redirect's work for the same sources? (seems the more I stir it the muddier it gets!) --Msscarlet1957 11:05, 13 October 2007 (EDT)

It will work so long as the mysource has exactly the same title in each of your GEDCOM's. In that case, the mysource page is shared across your GEDCOM's. If you do redirect your mysources to sources, please don't re-upload your GEDCOM until we get the re-upload function in place next month. Currently you'd have to delete your old GEDCOM, which would delete your mysources that weren't also being referenced in by your other GEDCOM's. By the end of next month you'll be able to upload your updated GEDCOM and the system will figure out the changes you've made and apply them.

Regarding putting the page in the text part of the mysource, to prepare mysources to link to sources, you're right that you'll need to put the page number (and anything else that's specific to the particular person or family you found on the source) in the source citation on the Person page. Most desktop genealogy applications have a concept of a source citation and also a "master source". If you put person/family-specific details in the source citation and leave them out of the "master source", then they'll automatically appear on the person/family page (and not on the mysource page) when the GEDCOM is uploaded.

I just added a "search" box to the main Help index. Thanks for the suggestion. Hope this makes help pages easier to find. (Part of the issue is that there are probably many questions that are not well-answered on the help pages. If you come across one of these, please let me know.)

I'm planning to separate searching sources vs mysources in the near future. You're right -- there are a lot of duplicate mysources! Someday we'll need to have a match function between mysources and sources, but it will be after the Person and Family match & merge function.

Up to now, mysources in a newly-uploaded GEDCOM would overwrite whatever changes you had previously made on-line to those pages. But I just changed the software so that a mysource in a newly-uploaded GEDCOM with exactly the same title as an existing mysource won't overwrite the existing mysource. So any changes you've made to the existing mysource (like redirecting it to a source) will be preserved.

--Dallan 17:47, 15 October 2007 (EDT)

I would have thought that the right way to handle individuals in the GEDCOM, is to have a source record that describes werelate and what a person record is. That would be cited for every person and each person would have an associated note that points at that particular person page.

One other thing - GEDCOM import/export should be as close to symmetric as possible. Any gedcom that is emitted, ought to also be able to be read back to reproduce the werelate state (with the limitations of GEDCOM). Perhaps even better still, maybe the appropriate werelate source citation, when seen on import, can be used by werelate to recognize that we're seeing a person we already know of. I can imagine that someone would download a GEDCOM, work with it, then upload it, recognizing and adding only changes....??? But even if we don't do anything really smart on reading back our own GEDCOM, we should at least correctly recreate our own state.--Jrm03063 13:39, 16 November 2007 (EST)

A huge amount of my initial effort on werelate has been tidying up due to issues with the ancestry.com GEDCOM format. In particular, as others have oberved, they have a habit of duplicating source information for a given person. Typically, I get three copies of every source (with their associated notes duplicated as well). While cleaning that up has been a character building exercise, I don't think it's realistic to expect most folks will do that. It's also not realistic to expect ancestry.com to clean up their GEDCOM format (really, I tried). Some trivial smarts to look for duplicated sources with duplicated notes would clean up the huge majority of defects (+90%).

This also reminds me - I think there was some out loud thinking about automatic merging based on larger numbers of sources. Considering the duplication of sources in ancestry.com's gedcom, source count could yield a poor guess.--Jrm03063 16:19, 29 November 2007 (EST)

Both good points. Merging duplicate MySource's is on the todo list, right after GEDCOM export, early next year.--Dallan 16:08, 4 December 2007 (EST)

Merging trees? [21 November 2007]

Discussion moved to WeRelate talk:Merging and downloading trees
Don't forget to add the new page to your Watchlist everyone! :) --Ronni 03:35, 21 November 2007 (EST)

Person Events [9 December 2007]

For the "person" page events column (left-hand-side), is there a good reason for these to >>not<< automatically appear in sort-by-date order? I know for sanity-sake birth and death probably need a consistent location, but the rest strike me as more intuitively presented by date. If there >>is<< a good reason to preserve whatever order the user may implicitly create when he enters events, it would be nice to have tools that allow for the explicit re-ordering of events. Something safer than copy, paste, delete, etc...--Jrm03063 12:59, 26 November 2007 (EST)

You're right, we need to order events by date. It's on my todo list. (We've talked previously about letting people sort events manually, but it's difficult to do this and do automatic sorting at the same time, and I think more people want automatic sorting than manual.) One exception is that it might be a good idea to not automatically sort children's birthdates on the Family page, as we are doing now, but list children in the order they appear in the Family page. I don't know; I need to do some research and see how well children are ordered in GEDCOM files.--Dallan 16:57, 27 November 2007 (EST)

I can tell you a little about children's birth dates in GEDCOM (I went a few rounds with ancestry.com "support" on it...). The PAF windows freeware respects the order it finds in the GEDCOM, but warns you if the birth order disagrees with that sequence. You then have to manually go through each family and fix the sort order if that's what you want. "ancestry.com" generates a GEDCOM that emits children in the order of their creation - even if you later discover earlier and later children (and even though it's web display correctly orders them on DOB, AND it provides no way short of deleting the family and re-entering it to fix the sort order). For purposes of generating a GEDCOM, especially if the interface presents them in birth-date sort order, you just have to carry that convention through to GEDCOM generation. If you don't then you need to give the user a way to work with both a date sorted list and an arbitrary sort list. I think you wind up creating pointless work for yourself and the user. If there's some birth order discrepancy that the user wants to keep track of, put it in the text for the family or maybe a note of some kind.--Jrm03063 17:23, 27 November 2007 (EST)

Thanks for sharing this! (Saved me a lot of trouble trying to figure it out :-). It sounds like we should order children by date of birth (or christening in the case where there is no birth date) then, and we'll preserve that order in GEDCOM export.--Dallan 16:08, 4 December 2007 (EST)

Among the things that we might want to sort, what about sources? This is less cut and dried than events, since a source can document multiple events at different times. If sources are automatically sorted, I think it should be based on their date attribute. If they are not, it would be really nice to offer a way to explicitly reorder them. Perhaps remove becomes remove, up arrow, and down arrow, where the up arrow means to swap the entry with the entry above and down means to swap the entry with the entry below. It's a drag to have census records in arbitrary sequence.--Jrm03063 15:28, 5 December 2007 (EST)

Sources seems like something we probably want to let people sort manually (e.g., up arrow, down arrow) rather than trying to sort them automatically.--Dallan 21:45, 9 December 2007 (EST)

A Few Ideas [4 December 2007]

  1. It would be helpful to be able to just do a search on your watch list, although if everything on your watch list gets automatically put into one of your trees I guess it would not be necessary. Is that the case?
  2. I think it would make things easier for me and other uses if all name entry boxes would separate given/last names to avoid confusion and extra work.
  3. It would help if the search function put the name of the page as first priority when it lists results (i.e. if you search "Clara Clark", all 3 Clara Clark pages show up before the other pages that contain those words scattered throughout do). Brannon
YES! Bill 21:53, 27 November 2007 (EST)
Note, it would be convenient to have this as the principle return for searches done with the in the text box at the top of the page (with the magnifying lens icon). However, putting quotes around the name in the search box does give this effect. Also, there's a more precise search form that allows you to pinpoint things a bit better---its the "Search" tab in the banner above between "Home" and "Web". Bill 18:11, 2 December 2007 (EST)

We're getting ready to re-do search later this week and next, so it's a great time to talk about this.

  • Every page in your tree(s) is automatically included in your watchlist, but your watchlist can also include other pages (like this watercooler page) that aren't in any of your trees. In the new search I thought I would include an option to search only pages in your watchlist or to exclude pages in your watchlist from search, probably along the lines of adding "watchlist:Brannon" or "-watchlist:Brannon" in the keywords line.
  • Which name entry boxes are you talking about? If the ones on the Person and Family edit pages, what should we do when someone wants to enter the title of an existing person/family page that already has an index number assigned to it, where we show the drop-down list of matching pages from your watchlist?
  • In the new search I'm planning on making a distinction between entering "Clara Clark" in the given and surname boxes vs. "Clara Clark" in the keywords box, which distinction isn't really being made right now. If you use the given and surname boxes, search results will include only pages with Clara listed as a given name and Clark listed as a surname (Person pages for Clara Clark and Family pages with Clara Clark as a wife or child). If you use the keyword box, then you'll get results with Clara Clark listed anywhere on the page. In both cases the results would be listed in order of last edit, so that the most-recently edited pages would show up first. People have asked for this ordering so they can tell right away if there are any new pages matching the search. How does this sound? One issue is that searches done using the search text box at the top of every page would be the imprecise keyword searches that you get presently, although we could add a help tip on the search results page to tell people that for more precise results they may want to repeat the search using the name and place boxes.

--Dallan 16:08, 4 December 2007 (EST)

Example of a Genealogy Place Locator [4 December 2007]

Have you seen this web site?

Ontario Locator

It makes a clear distinction between a geographic place and a political place or municipality.

The dictionary of terms is also helpful

Dictionary of terms used in Ontario Locator

Interesting. Thxs Peter --PeterP 21:57, 28 November 2007 (EST)

I hadn't seen those links before -- thanks! I have to admit that in creating a place index for the whole world, I am not personally extremely knowledgeable about any country in particular. The countries where we have the best place indexes are the ones where one or two people have "adopted" the country and are making it better. I'm hoping that over time more countries will be adopted. Canada is open for adoption by the way :-). You can take a look at this page to see how places in Canada will be organized after the upcoming place renaming later this week. It could still use work, but I think it's better than it was a couple of months ago.

By the way, searching for places right now is a mess. It should be much better after we redo search next week.--Dallan 16:08, 4 December 2007 (EST)

Featured articles, persons and families [10 December 2007]

I would like to see us have a front page similar to Wikipedia in that we showcase articles, person and family pages. When a potential new member visits the home page of WeRelate they should be able to click on the featured article and immediately see some of the excellent work people are doing here. We could perhaps have a link to a Featured Article, another one to a Featured Person/Family and another to a Featured Image. Changing it every day wouldn't be practical for us I don't think, but showcasing these for a couple of weeks at a time might be good. I don't know how Wikipedia picks their featured articles, but here we could perhaps put our nominees on a page and WeRelate picks from those? Or maybe this has to be done manually? In any case, are others interested? --Ronni 12:35, 1 December 2007 (EST)

We used to feature pages last year (see WeRelate:Featured pages, which lists the pages that were featured) but stopped because I found that I wasn't changing the page very often. I'd love to see it start up again; I've seen some terrific pages recently. I believe Wikipedia's process for determining featured pages is at least two steps: pages are nominated for "featured page" status, and then there's a vote. How about if we have a WeRelate:Featured page nominations page that anyone could add nominations to, and also have one or two people responsible for selecting a new featured page every week or two? When we get larger we can turn this into a voting committee, but for now perhaps one or two people could do a good job. What do you think? Would either of you be interested in taking this on?--Dallan 16:08, 4 December 2007 (EST)

Sure, I'd be interested Dallan. WeRelate:Featured pages will be the main page for this with links coming from the main page? Or is there a way to provide a little "snippet view" from the main page with a link to see "more" on the Feature Page. How you want to do it? I thought I saw someone else joining the project, but I don't see their message now. In any case, a couple of pages have already been added to the nomination page, so we're good to go as I have a few in mind I would like to nominate as well. --Ronni 12:59, 6 December 2007 (EST)

Thanks! I'll make a place on the main page so that we can add a snippet from the featured page on the main page. Jrm03063 has also expressed an interest in this; I'll let you two choose which of the pages on WeRelate:Featured page nominations to feature and how often to change the page.--Dallan 21:54, 9 December 2007 (EST)

I'll offer my opinion on pages to choose in the future, but having nominated three pages of my own, I'ld rather not be one "the deciders" for the moment. Since I didn't see a flood of nominations, I thought I should jump over to being a nominator...--Jrm03063 11:16, 10 December 2007 (EST)

pdf source upload [5 December 2007]

I have a couple of source documents that are freely available from the Epsom (New Hampshire) Historical Association. Older versions of these are noted as sources available on LDS microfilm, but these are versions current as of 2004. Better still, they're searchable pdf. I've created source pages for them - the Epsom Cemetery Book and Epsom Cemetery Index. Presumably, folks can run around the historical association site and find the ".pdf", but that's a hassle. What I'ld really like to do is to put the actual ".pdf" on werelate. Not expanded, but uploaded like an image and linkable from within text. Click to expand and open, etc. I know this is possible with some wikis, so I figured it should be possible for werelate. Have we got a way to do this yet?--Jrm03063 15:01, 3 December 2007 (EST)

What is the date of publication of these documents? Bill 15:28, 3 December 2007 (EST)

They were revised as of 2004, but the Historical Association makes them available freely. I'll seek an explicit sign-off, but that seems a different question than how to upload...?--Jrm03063 15:51, 3 December 2007 (EST)

Just getting a clarification. I'm interested in what Dallan will have to say on the subject. However, it's one thing to allow people to place materials on their web sites, with or without permission, and another to explicitly give permission to post something where the copyright will be removed. Bill 15:58, 3 December 2007 (EST)

About March/April/May next year we will launch a "digital library", built using DSpace that will serve as a counterpart to the wiki. The digital library is the next big project after match+merge. While anyone can edit material in the wiki and the wiki license is open-content, material in the digital library will generally not be editable by others, and the uploader can select a more restrictive license (e.g., ok to display on WeRelate but not elsewhere, or ok for non-commercial use only). You'll be able to upload PDF's, Word documents, scanned document images, photos, etc. This should make it possible for people to upload source material that is impossible or difficult to add to the wiki. Items uploaded to the library will be searchable alongside pages in the wiki, and we'll make it easy to link from wiki pages to library items. We're beginning to talk with genealogical organizations about setting up their own "communities" within the library where they control the content that is uploaded into their community, and we'll have a "general" community as well.

While it's not too much work to modify the software to accept PDF files (and sound files -- see below) in the wiki, I don't think there's much value in allowing others to edit or overwrite these generally-read-only files. It seems to me that storing them in a digital library where there is more of an emphasis on preserving what was uploaded makes more sense for these kinds of files. What do others think?--Dallan 16:08, 4 December 2007 (EST)

Very good! Bill 11:35, 5 December 2007 (EST)

If a general-purpose static data (well, mostly static) repository is in the works, I agree that's a good place for stuff like the ".pdf" files I'm talking about. In the meantime, I'm asking the keeper of that site to locate them somewhere predictable off his root, so that a citation reference pops much more closely to the right place.--Jrm03063 13:16, 5 December 2007 (EST)

sound files [4 December 2007]

In the same vein as the previous question concerning pdf files, is it possible on this site to include a sound file in an article---MP3, WAV, whathave you. I know its theoretically possible on wikipedia and some of the Wikia family of sites, but I don't know if the specific version of MediaWiki used here will accept such files. Bill 15:04, 4 December 2007 (EST)

See my comment above about the upcoming digital library.--Dallan 16:08, 4 December 2007 (EST)

Link to Category page [9 December 2007]

How do you make a link to a specific category page without using the html address if you use [[Category:page name]] you just get a blank, with the page you placed the link on added to the category list. Bill 20:21, 6 December 2007 (EST)

Categories are different when it comes to linking to them. A normal link such as [[Category:page name]] puts the page into that category, with a link to the category appearing at the bottom of the page. If you just want to link to a category, you can put a colon before the word category, as in Category:page name.--Dallan 23:26, 9 December 2007 (EST)

Creating a Home Person for your Family Tree [8 December 2007]

Is there a way to set a "Home Person" so that your family tree will always open up to this person? Currently, my tree opens up to a relative that is an aunt and not my direct line. Thank you for any assistance you can provide.--Jacksbox4you 00:16, 7 December 2007 (EST)

In the Family Tree Explorer (FTE), in the upper left box, there should be a pedigree symbol (it's on the left side of the plus sign). Clicking that will make the page you currently have showing the root of your tree. You can also bookmark pages (in the toolbar above the pedigree symbol) and then quickly change back and forth between them. --Ronni 10:19, 7 December 2007 (EST)

Thank you. It worked like a charm. I appreciate your assistance.--Jacksbox4you 00:43, 8 December 2007 (EST)

Connecting people already in different databases to each other [9 December 2007]


I am finding Werelate very easy to use so far, and looking forward in 2008.

I do though have one question.

How do you connect a person in one of your databases to another in another of your databases? Example a married daughter in one database to her parents in another database? What I tried did not work. It came back as an error. Thank You, Debbie Freeman--DFree 12:07, 7 December 2007 (EST)

With werelate, we're all working in the same data base. The big difference is that there isn't a mine vs yours thing here. It's all `ours'. You'll probably find, in practice, that there are only a few overlaps. If you and another person are both actively working on that person, well, you'll see each other's efforts. This is why there's all the guidance to `play nice'. We're all on our honor to work together... Jrm03063

Maybe what you mean/need is to look at the information about merging people. Since we're all working in the same place, what happens is that you'll find "Mary Smith (87)" and "Mary Smith (88)" that - upon review - refer to the same person. That's where you do a merge... Jrm03063

Hi Debbie. Jrm is right in that WeRelate is like one big database and merging people from one "tree" to the other shouldn't be giving you errors. Can you give us the name of the child you are trying to connect to her parents? What kind of error did it give you? --Ronni 12:28, 7 December 2007 (EST)

Hello Again,

Wow! That was a fast response. It was a SQL/SLQ? error.

I did not realize that it was one giant database. That's Great!!

False alarm I guess.

I just tried again linking Fanny Chatterton (1) to her parents Henry Chatterton and Mary Gasson (1). It worked!!

Thank You for your help. I really appreciate it not being a computer expert.

Debbie Freeman--DFree 13:10, 7 December 2007 (EST)

I'm no expert either. :) Sounds like it was just a quirk at the time Debbie. Glad you got her linked now. :) --Ronni 14:40, 7 December 2007 (EST)

I'd be interested in hearing about the SQL error if it comes up again. That sounds like a bug. Glad it worked the second time.--Dallan 23:26, 9 December 2007 (EST)

Place Drop down menu [14 December 2007]

The place drop down menu disappears when I scroll before I can make a selection. Help --Beth 22:20, 13 December 2007 (EST)

That sometimes happens to me too. One of the things I've found for making the list of choices a little smaller so I don't have to scroll is to be more specific. For example, instead of typing "Fairfield," (which is the city name in this case) and then waiting for the drop down box, I go ahead and type, "Fairfield, Conn" and the list is much smaller. Sometimes though there's no getting around a long list in the drop down box and once the box disappears you have to fiddle a bit in the field to get it come back. When that happens, I *gingerly* move my mouse to the scroll bar and hope for the best. :) Dallan I'm sure can explain more of what's happening or why it disappears, but it doesn't happen to me very often now. --Ronni 05:50, 14 December 2007 (EST)

Hi Ronni,

Thanks at least it is not something peculiar to my computer. After posting my message I discovered that it works much better if I use the scroll wheel on my mouse. 99% of the time I can select the place without the list disappearing. --Beth 07:35, 14 December 2007 (EST)

There's a bug in the drop-down menu that I haven't found yet. Another thing you could try is using the down-arrow or page-down keys.--Dallan 11:49, 14 December 2007 (EST)

No email notification received on changes to watched pages in the last several months [15 December 2007]


I have not received any email notifications in a long time on pages that I am watching. Some do not have changes, but the watercooler certainly does. Why not? --Beth 22:23, 13 December 2007 (EST)

Well, I'm sure you've checked the obvious, but I'll mention it just in case. You do have your settings in your preferences checked to send e-mail when a page is changed that you are watching? It hasn't gotten "unchecked" for some reason? Other than that suggestion, I'm afraid I'm not much help. --Ronni 05:55, 14 December 2007 (EST)

I did check the obvious but no harm in asking; especially since I am old enough to join AARP. But it is working now; I received an email notifcation of your responses. So all is well; now if I can just get comfortable using WeRelate. I am entering my data now and know that if I have any questions y'all will help. Thanks so much. --Beth 07:40, 14 December 2007 (EST)

This is a good intro to a question that I've been meaning to ask. In the standard MediaWiki (Wikipedia) software we use, if you receive an email notifying you that a page has changed, but then you don't visit the page, you won't get another email if the page changes in the future. You can see which pages in your watchlist have unseen changes by clicking on "MyRelate" in the menu, then clicking on "View Watchlist", then on "Show all pages changed since last visited". And on the watchlist page you can click on the "Mark all pages visited" button to start receiving email notifications for those pages again. But it seems rather complicated. There are some pages that I haven't visited for weeks at a time because I accidentally deleted the change notification email without visiting the page.

Here's a proposal: what if, instead of never receiving another email if you don't visit the page after the last email was sent, that we send another email if the page is changed again three (or more) days after the last email for the page was sent. The downsides to this proposal are (1) the link to the "differences" page in the second email would unfortunately show just the most recent changes and not the earlier changes -- you'd have to look at the history to see all of the changes, and (2) if you went on vacation it might be annoying to receive possibly multiple emails for the same page upon your return. But perhaps these later change notification emails would be better than not receiving emails at all?--Dallan 11:49, 14 December 2007 (EST)

Hi Dallan,

I like your proposal. If the user goes on vacation and doesn't wish to receive the notifications that option can be changed by the user to not receive email notification and changed again upon return. --Beth 12:27, 14 December 2007 (EST)

I'm in favor of the proposal; I seem to delete Watercooler emails all the time.

On a related note, is there a way to set it up so that changes in category pages generate an email? As far as I can tell, right now it requires someone to actually go in and click edit--but there's little reason to do that on a category page, which exists to be automatically populated--and automatic changes don't trigger an email. It would be really nice to get an automatic notification when people with a particular surname or surname in place are added.--Amelia.Gerlicher 21:48, 14 December 2007 (EST)

The software doesn't support it, but I agree that it would be useful. The new search that's being developed will list results in date-last-edited order, which will make an alert service like google alerts possible in the future. I've been thinking about developing the alert service toward the end of next year, but if enough people want it, it could be moved forward.

Wisconsin Historical Society [18 December 2007]

The WHS describes itself as "One of the nation's premier collections of published and unpublished materials essential to researching family lineage and history." They have an extensive web site at this location. An idea of the extensiveness of their holdings can be seen here. One of their most well known holdings is the Draper Manuscript Collection, an invaluable compilation of original materials for those researching family history in the TransAllegheny region during the colonial and Revoutionary War period, and shortly thereafter.

Their web site makes materials available in a variety of subject areas, including photographs and text materials. They consider their photographs printed on the web as copyrighted, a view consistent, I think, with current US copyright law. They do, however, allow non-commercial use of these materials. Their policies in this regard are described here.

Since WeRelate is a non-profit organization, would use of their materials (both photographs and text) be appropriate on this site? Bill 15:47, 15 December 2007 (EST)

I skimmed it and would think that they would consider werelate usage a reasonable "fair use". If you have any concern though, the best thing to do is probably to reach out to them and see what they consider to be acceptable. In any case, all you need to put on werelate is enough information for someone to get the idea of something (the low resolution picture or a piece of a document, etc) with a citation that can get the next person back to the original source. An easily traceable citation is pretty much as good as having the real thing - maybe better, since getting the latest picture/scan/interpretation of something from its source repository makes for the best scholarship.--Jrm03063 16:08, 15 December 2007 (EST)

The kinds of things I am likely to be interested in would be text material that I'd want to quote whole cloth. For example, I might want to include a letter which they include as part of a book scan. Since I do this a lot I'd rather use the entire text than transliterate the content as part of an article. Providing a link back is something I routinely do, but that serves a very different purpose---specifically, it says where I got the information from, and those interested in verification and validation of what I say, can follow that up. However, there's no control that the "original: will be in the same place whenever someone else wishes to access it, hence this is not a good solution for those simply wanting to see what it is that I'm pointing to. For them, I need to include the actual text.

The point here is that what I'm likely to copy is usually beyond "fair use" as the term is commonly applied. As a "not-for-profit", use of these materials on this site seems to fall within the boundaries of what WHS stipulates, but their focus in their discussion seems to be toward educational sites. I'm not sure that this site fits their intent.

To the extent that the materials are out of copyright, then the question is probably moot. However, some of these materials have not necessarily been previously published, and so their appearance on the WHS may constitute first publication. Also, by accessing them through their site there's probably a restrictive use license that you are agreeing to prior to accessing the material. Not sure they are as yet that sophisticated, but if not, they are probably going to go that route in the future. (Most for profit repositories such as Ancestry, are going that route, and I image non-profits such as Rootsweb, and WHS, will have to go that way too. Bill 16:27, 15 December 2007 (EST)

Well again, let me suggest that you inquire with them specifically about what you want to do. If you look at the list of image copyrights, you'll see that there's already a specific one for materials from the Denver Public Library (I think). Perhaps, after discussing it with them, you can ask Dallan to create an appropriate entry for this repository as well. Whether it's a `first use' or not, they claim a copyright on the images that they scan. Really though, as a historical society, I would think they would be fairly helpful - availability of materials for legitimate research is their reason for existence. Finally, since you're going to very openly label the provenance of any materials that you extract, auditing the materials and (if they're uncomfortable with something) redacting it later should be pretty easy.--Jrm03063 20:13, 15 December 2007 (EST)

Ultimately, yes, asking permission is needed, but I'm interested in how the site administration views the question. If its a matter of this being a non-profit, possibly the question need not be asked. If I ask them, possibly the answer applies to the specific instance, and would not be global. So I'm interested in the site's position on something like this. Bill 20:24, 15 December 2007 (EST)

Determining whether a particular use of a copyrighted image qualifies as "fair use" involves four factors. Non-commercial use is one of the factors and is therefore a point in your favor when determining whether use of a copyrighted image qualifies as fair use, but it doesn't appear to be sufficient all by itself. (See the image licensing help page for more information. Also, I am not a lawyer; I would welcome advice from someone with expertise in copyright law.) I would say that you'll need to either request permission, which as you say they may be willing to give and if so I'll create a separate license for WHS images, or follow Jrm03063's suggestion to post a lower-resolution version or small snippet of the image with a link to WHS's website for the full high-resolution version.

At the bottom of this page, WHS says that it "owns copyright for a small number of images in its collections. In some cases, the Society has written agreements with copyright holders. In other cases, the images are old enough that copyright has lapsed. In most cases, however, it is not clear who owns copyright." It's interesting that WHS has chosen to post images on their website when they are not sure who owns the copyright. If they don't own the copyright or have an agreement with the copyright holder, I'm not sure how they can restrict the use of those images.

Regarding Denver Public Library, they used to be amenable to other non-profits posting their images. Wikipedia had a special license choice for their images, and we included one as well. However, I just went to their website and discovered they now charge even for non-profit use. It looks like Wikipedia has removed the Denver Public Library license option from their list of license options, so I've removed it as well.

Just as an FYI, Rootsweb.com is for-profit. It is owned by the same company that owns Ancestry.com.

--Dallan 23:42, 16 December 2007 (EST)

Thxs. Copyright questions always get complex---or rather, the answers seem to get complex. The WHS site is potentially significant source of information for me since it houses the Draper MSC and related materials---a critical set of documents in my small corner of the world. So being able to freely use their posted stuff without fear of copyright infringement, would be very desirable---but alas, probably not to be. Fortunately, most of the material I'm interested in is text oriented, out of copyright, and available through other sources in electronic form. But the photographs were potentially available only through WHS, and I'll probably follow JRM's suggestion(s) when needed.

Copyright issues are, of course, extremely complex. Many of the questions that come up for genealogists are unanswerable because the case-law surrounding these questions is not extensive. Rootsweb has a Copyright list, that seems to include a number of very knowledgable folks concerned with these questions, but they freely admit that what they have to say on any given matter is "knowledgable opinion" but just opinion. Absent case law, many of these issues are going to remain in limbo, The validity of restrictive licenses such as that imposed by Ancestry on their census images is a case in point. I suspect that no lawyer versed in copyright law would choose to express his views on these matters outside of a court of law. Expressing a professional opinion on this for free might be something they'd be tempted to do, especially if they were genealogists, but the associated liability they would incur probably keeps the zipper tight.

On a related matter, I realize Rootsweb is "for-profit". I remember well the discussions that once flowed concerning making it "non-profit", and Brian's resistence to that idea. Possibly one of the reasons so much ill-will was engendered when he sold Rootsweb to Ancestry. I fully understand (I think) his reasons and necessity of selling, and appreciate the restrictive requirements he apparently imposed---but I suspect some thought this was the objective all along (don't believe it was---just too hard to maintain the system based soley on donations---(which is why I appreciate the fact that WeRelate has added the advertisements. Much better business model, I think.) However, I'm under the impression that Ancestry sold Rootsweb to some other organization---possibly because of the uproar over the "search engine" thingy they tried to emulate.

Bill 08:09, 17 December 2007 (EST)

It's really unfortunate that we live in a society where knowing what can and can't be done with a picture is so complex. And you're probably right about the unlikeliness of a lawyer versed in copyright law giving an opinion. I haven't heard about Ancestry selling Rootsweb; I just visited the site and it still says "an Ancestry.com community". One thing about Ancestry, the usage license on their images is quite liberal compared to others I've seen. We have a separate license option for them.--Dallan 16:45, 18 December 2007 (EST)

Embedded links in images [21 December 2007]

Is it possible to create a link embedded within an image so that when you click the image (not the caption), you are taken to a specific page (other than the archivepage for the image? Bill 10:27, 21 December 2007 (EST)

You can't embed a link within an image, but you can embed a link within the caption that appears below the image if you add the "thumb" parameter, as in [[Image:image title|thumb|100px|left|this caption contains a [[link]]]].--Dallan 10:56, 21 December 2007 (EST)

Thanks. I believe the WikiMedia does allow links to be assigned directly to the image, but that capability apparently has not been enabled here. There are some uses for it, for example, if you had a family reunion picture you could insert embedded links to each person in the photograph---clicking the person would take you to their article. But enabling this would probably be a fair bit of work, for relatively little gain. So I'll live with links in the captions. Thanks again. Bill 12:55, 21 December 2007 (EST)

Watch pages [27 December 2007]

I've created several person and family pages in the last two days. None of them automatically set to have me watch them. I had to manually set it so that I was watching them. Also, even though when I added a person I had the box checked for "Add to tree," I had to click on the Tree+ link on the person or family page to get them to appear in my tree. One example is the Family:Rezin Debolt and Maria McCleery (1) page. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong? --Ajcrow 12:00, 24 December 2007 (EST)

This is a bug that I reported to Dallan a couple of days ago. Thanks for confirming it though! :) --Ronni 12:18, 24 December 2007 (EST)
Thanks for reporting this! I'm sorry for the trouble. I fixed a bug today that caused newly-added pages to not be added to your tree unless you clicked on the "Tree +" link after adding the page, as you said. It looks like this has been a problem for the past 5-7 days. It looks like the pages still should have been added to your watchlist, but another bug prevented your user name from showing up in the "Watching page" section until several hours had passed. Anyway, that bug has been fixed as well now. Please let me know if you find any more problems.--Dallan 00:32, 27 December 2007 (EST)
Thanks, Dallan! Everything seems to be working now. --Ajcrow 10:04, 27 December 2007 (EST)

Displaying photos, documents, slideshows, and videos [3 April 2008]

Moved to the main Watercooler page.--Dallan 12:36, 4 April 2008 (EDT)