WeRelate talk:Watercooler/Archive 2008



Sources and Images - Understanding the Methodology [14 January 2008]

Good morning, I need assistance; I feel as if I am going round and round and getting nowhere. I uploaded my census image. The image is now linked to 11 people in my tree. When the image first appears on each person's page there is no caption.

Second, I created a MySource page for this image, but the source page is not linked to the image and I have not a clue how to link the image to the source page.

Third, I then decided to enter this source and image as a reference for the names of the 11 people in my tree. I successfully entered the reference and a caption for the image for Robert Coker (3). I wanted to enter the same source and image caption as a reference for the name of the remaining 10 people in my tree. It appears to me that I must reenter all of this data 10 more times to obtain the desired results. Then repeat this 11 more times for the birth date and 11 more times for the birth place.

Have I missed something? This does not work for me. I am not entering the same data 33 times.

Also I am rethinking entering the census image link for everyone. I believe having the image on the head of the household person page and the source page should be sufficient or maybe just the source page. What do y'all think?

Thanks, --Beth 11:04, 18 December 2007 (EST)

Hi Beth. I don't know that I can help you with all your items at the moment, but I'll take a stab at a couple of them. Someone else may have to come along and correct my stabbing though... :)

1) I looked at the image page and didn't see a place for a caption to automatically carry over to the other pages that are linked to it. I see that one person had a caption for the image. Did you enter that particular caption and were expecting it to show up on the other pages as well? If so, I'm not sure that occurs.

2) To enter the image on the MySource page use [[Image:nameofpic.jpg]] somewhere in the text field. To downsize the image (if you want), because it's going to be larger than how it appears on the image page, you can try [[Image:nameofpic.jpg|100px]] or some such size. Just experiment. I saw Quolla6 do some kind of trick like that, so maybe they can offer more help.

3) And yep, 33 times would be about right. I don't think you are missing anything. Others have mentioned this as well, so it might be on Dallan's To-Do list. But I like the idea you finished up with. Putting the image on your MySource page and perhaps on the Head of Household person or family page would be sufficient I think. You will probably still want to reference the source from the other pages, but you won't have to retype everything over and over since it will appear in the drop down box after typing a few words.

Ok, I'm done stabbing. Gotta run for now. :)--Ronni 14:00, 18 December 2007 (EST)

The caption that appears under the image on each person or family page needs to be entered on each page separately. I did this so you could have a different caption for different people (e.g., "Mary is second from the left in this image" vs. "Tom is third from the right"). One thing you might want to consider is leaving out the caption on the person pages and instead adding some descriptive text to the image page. People could see the descriptive text on the image page by clicking on the reduced image displayed on the person page.

You need to re-enter the source for each person unfortunately -- I can't think of an easy way around that -- but you should only need to enter it once for each person. Once you've entered it once, you can re-use the "S1" and "I1" references to link the source and image to multiple names and events. I edited Person:Robert Coker (3) as an example.

One thing I could do is take the beginning paragraph of text from the image page and display that under the image on the person/family page if there is not a caption for the image on the person/family page. What would you think about that?--Dallan 16:45, 18 December 2007 (EST)

Thanks Ronni and Dallan,

Are you giving me instructions for adding the image to my source page or a link to the image? I have made several attempts to add the image, trying to follow your instructions but no image appears, only what I typed in the text field; I must have a typo. I even tried media instead of image and that made no difference.

Dallan, is it not possible to have the fields for S1 fill automatically with the last entered data; and then one could edit the data if necessary.

Adding the descriptive text to the image on the person pages; I am not sure that really helps. When one clicks on the image and brings up the full size the title is there anyway, is it not?

Dallan, regarding the edit to Robert Coker; that makes sense but now the source page title is incorrect. I started to change the name but unsure about the results of changing the name. It says that the links are on the old title and one will be redirected to the new title or page. Is this desirable?

Thank y'all for your assistance. --Beth 19:14, 18 December 2007 (EST)

I changed the title of the source page, but not sure I like the results; I will try and ignore the initial wrong entry under Robert Coker. I had the page number wrong anyway for the first image. This census starts out with the first page in the county with the number and the next page has no number so the second page must be the back of first page, well I guess, it is all very confusing. I used to designate them A and B but that seems to have been removed from the latest book by Mills.--Beth 21:00, 18 December 2007 (EST)

Hi Ronni, Thanks so much for adding my image; I understand how finally. --Beth 01:23, 19 December 2007 (EST)

Okay, I just now discovered that sources and images are numbered by the page; I assumed that they were numbered sequentially in my tree not per person or page. I am sure that there is a good reason behind this design; just not what I am accustomed to in my genie program. Where are all of my sources and images listed for my tree and how are they numbered if each page has a different number for the same source and image? --Beth 18:05, 19 December 2007 (EST)

Your sources presumably were created in the "MySource<your name>" space. If you're working with "Source:" space sources, then there really isn't a concept of "your sources". Images are also loaded into a global space, so I'm not sure there's a way to see just those that you loaded, except by looking over your list of contributions and skimming for the image uploads.

The whole "werelate"/wiki paradigm is different than you're used to. Aside from user pages, none of us really own anything. We're all playing in a common name, source, place, etc. pool. It's a good thing because we are really and truly working together on common people.

The "tree" is a pretty limited concept in werelate - as far as I can tell, it's just a map of the pages that were created as a result of your GEDCOM upload. The pages themselves aren't really "in it", they're in common space. Others can explain it better I'm sure...

Jrm03063 is right -- a tree is just a collection (subset) of pages in the global wiki. It will be used in GEDCOM export to define which pages to include in the export. It may also be used someday to define which pages to include in a PDF of your tree. And it's used in the index view of the Family Tree Explorer to list everyone in your tree.--Dallan 14:33, 20 December 2007 (EST)

Hi JRM, thanks for the comments. I am still learning about WeRelate; first used it a little in August and now getting back to WeRelate. I did not upload a gedcom. I purposely chose to enter my data, so I could learn more about WeRelate and fine tune my data, but the finished product is a long way off. I am hoping that eventually one will be able to discern why this Robert in this place is the son of that William in that place from the person pages and then can use the sources provided to either agree or disagree with the decision regarding lineage. I do understand the concept of the community but I was referring to MySource and the corresponding images that I have uploaded. I wish to be consistent in my source and image naming and find that it is necessary to manually write down the name of a prior image and source in the same category to maintain consistency. If I could access this list readily from any page that I am on; this would enhance my ability to maintain some consistency. I love the idea of WeRelate; but still learning and may test other sites after finishing my entries in this "tree". --Beth 19:41, 19 December 2007 (EST)

Hi again Beth. I understand the problem you are having remembering the names of sources, images, etc., but you can access this list from any page you are on. Let me explain what works for me. When I upload an image, let's say a source related to death, I will name it such that the first word is "death". Example: DeathPollyMorton1944.jpg. The naming convention is such that I can usually remember the name of a death image. But I don't have to remember the exact title, because when I go to add it to a person or family page, I will go to the section under Images then click on "select existing image" and type the word "death" in the field and then just wait a second. A drop down box will appear giving me all my choices starting with the word "death." But let's say that ALL of us start using the word "death" at the beginning of our images making our list of choices even longer for images I'm not interested in. Then make it even more selective. For instance, I may decide to upload all my birth records as something like: KnarBirthPollyMorton1866.jpg. Then any time I go to the field, I'll just type "KnarBirth" or even just "Knar" ("Knar" being the beginning of my user name) and my list will be narrowed.

One clarification -- the drop-down box that appears when you type something into the image "filename" field on a person or family page shows only the images that are in your watchlist. Other images shouldn't clutter it up.--Dallan 14:33, 20 December 2007 (EST)

This same thing applies for how I do sources. Since the naming convention for WeRelate is suggesting that source titles begin with author name (Last, First), followed by a "." (period) and then the title of the source, whenever I want to use a source, I don't have to remember the whole title. I just enter the author's last name in the source field followed by a comma and wait. And voila, there are my choices. This is of course assuming the title has been formatted that way. And when it's not? Then I change the title of the page so that it is. :)

Another thing I have done is create my own list of sources and put it under my User space. I have done this for my Morton Tree. These are my sources (minus vital records from counties, etc) made up of mostly books, magazines, online databases, etc that I can now click on and quickly be taken to the source page which (because in most cases I have made and updated the page myself) will have links to the online source. You could create your own image gallery if you wanted as well. I think this is the beauty of WeRelate. Because we do the "coding" we are only limited by our imaginations as to how we can best utilize the system (aside from software limitations). I think that's why I keep coming back to WR every day. I just can't wait to see what someone else has come up with that makes my genealogy experience easier and more exciting. It's fun, isn't it? :)

One more tip: you can always go to your MyRelate page, under "View Contributions" and see your latest edits. Use the namespace box in the upper left to narrow down the list to images, sources, person pages, etc. Leave multiple tabs open in your browser so you're not always having to leave the page you are working on to find what you want. Hope my comments have helped. --Ronni 06:39, 20 December 2007 (EST)

In addition to Ronni's suggestions, here's another way to find the images/mysources you've created: The past few days I've been working on a "chooser" popup window that will let you browse all of the images (or mysources or people or families) in your watchlist. You'll be able to select the image from this list. It should be ready sometime tomorrow. Once it's ready there will be a new "choose" link after each person, family, image, or source title entry field that will bring up the chooser popup window.--Dallan 14:33, 20 December 2007 (EST)

Wow! Thanks Dallan; sounds great and thank you Ronni. Happy holidays. --Beth 15:19, 20 December 2007 (EST)

Ronnie's solution works well, but if you have many distinct sets of items you're trying to keep track of, remembering the exact variant on the title construction can get to be a problem. An alternative approach that might ease this a bit would be to make use of the Categories space. The way Dallan has set up weRelate minimizes the need for creating categories---as the name and place constructions do that for you automatically when you fill in the input text boxes. But like other wiki's you can still create separate Category lists using the [[Category:whatever title you want to use]] construct. For example, if you insert [[Category:John Smith]] somewhere in the article (at the bottom of the page is the usual convention) the system adds that page to a list of pages that have that category appended. Basically, it creates an index.

The trick with this is getting to the actual category page--searching for "Category:John Smith" will probably do it, but there's an easier way....go to your home page and insert the link [[:Category:John Smith]] and you'll get a link to that particular category page listing all of the pages that have had that particular category added. NOTE: the distinction between the above, and the insert you put on each page is significant. The link has TWO ":", but the category itself has only one. The extra ":" is what keeps the link from indicating that this is another addition to the category page, instead of being a link. Here's an example from my user's page

Category:Early Settlers of Southwest Virginia

If you omit that ":" in front of "Category", you'll simply tell the system that this page should be added to the Category list.---and you'll see nothing, because category indicators are not actually visible---putting that extra ":" is what turns this into a link that can be seen and clicked on. Of course, at the bottom of the page would be a link to the category page, but you can't make it appear anywhere else except by using this ":" dodge.

Bill 19:03, 20 December 2007 (EST)

Cool! I could use this for creating that list of sources I mentioned above. Thanks Bill! --Ronni 04:32, 21 December 2007 (EST)

The category trick would also be handy for MizLiv's North Central Kentucky Migrations project. --Ronni 04:46, 21 December 2007 (EST)

Hi Bill, Thanks for the great tip. Check out my user page. Did I do this correctly or do you have any suggestions for improvement?

Hi Beth Looks like it worked just fine. Bill 10:07, 23 December 2007 (EST) --Beth 09:19, 23 December 2007 (EST)

The source button and list are helpful; but it is still necessary for me to navigate back to get the page number and date every time I enter the same source for a different person. I guess I will have to resort to an old tactic used with some genie programs and save this information in wordpad. Another question: I thought I understood the difference between MySource and Source but not sure I do now. I created a community source page: Source:United States, Georgia, Murray. Marriage Book 1 (1834 - 1849). I envisioned everyone using this source page by entering the page number and corresponding image and then referencing this source and page for their marriage record. However; I do not know how to create a subsource. Am I now supposed to create a MySource? If so what is the purpose of the community source?--Beth 21:16, 23 December 2007 (EST)

You can also enter the first few letters of the source/mysource title and wait a couple of seconds to get a drop-down list of sources/mysources in your watchlist that start with those letters. But you're right -- to re-enter the same page number and/or date on different pages you'd have to save that information in wordpad or somewhere. (Although a trick that works in Firefox is to put your cursor in the page number or date field and press the down-arrow key. This will give you a list of things that you've entered into that field recently.)

The source you created looks great. You and others can list this source title and include the specific page number and any text content or page images in source citations on your person and family pages. I don't think you need to create a MySource unless you want to. If you did, you'd probably want it to include a link to the community source page that you just created.

The purpose of the MySource namespace is mainly just to hold sources from GEDCOM uploads. When a GEDCOM is uploaded, pages can be created for the sources in the GEDCOM without worrying about overwriting a community source page, and (once we redo search) searches for community sources won't return a lot of probably-duplicate GEDCOM sources. It's not a perfect situation, and later next year I'd like to figure out how to detect matches between uploaded MySources and existing community Sources, but in the meantime it seems best to keep the sources from uploaded GEDCOM's in their own namespace. Also, to date we haven't emphasized creating community sources because we're just now coming to terms with standards for titling community source page and what their content should include (see WeRelate talk:Source Committee). Now that the place wiki cleanup is finally complete, working to improve the community source wiki is one of the big projects for next year.

--Dallan 22:18, 23 December 2007 (EST)

Thanks Dallan,

I added the image to the source page; but should I? Question about Ancestry census images and Community Sources: I entered my census images under MySource because I thought that one might violate their copyright using a community source vs. the personal source. Do you think the source category makes any difference regarding the Ancestry copyright provisions? --Beth 23:09, 23 December 2007 (EST)

How do I rename an image? See my images here: Category:Beth's Images. I have two formats for census images so I need to change one format to the other or do you have other suggestions for formatting the title of census images? Thanks, --Beth 13:36, 2 January 2008 (EST)

I don't think you can rename an image Beth. I believe you have to delete the image and then reupload it with the new name. --Ronni 14:13, 3 January 2008 (EST)

That's a bummer. --Beth 08:41, 4 January 2008 (EST)

I created this source page Source:United States, Georgia, Murray. Marriage Book 2. I have several images of the pages from this book. Exactly how does one create a link to the images? Do we want to end up with 100 images for one source page? --Beth 17:39, 9 January 2008 (EST)

If 100 images for a source page makes sense, why not? See what I did with my Mother-in-law's 3x5 card file. If you click on individual cards, you'll see that they're attached to the person they're associated with. From that page, you can click to the actual person page. Alternatively, you could skip to the person page from the card heading (which is a link). When you get to an individual person-page, you'll again see the associated card.--Jrm03063 22:13, 9 January 2008 (EST)

I really like what Jrm03063 has done with the 3x5 cards! Here are two additional thoughts:

  • You could put all of the images into a category by adding [[Category:category name - say Murray Georgia Marriage Book 2]] to the text of each image page, and then link to the category from the source by adding [[:Category:category name]] to the source page text (note the leading colon in the category link). The category page will show all of the images that are in it.
  • You could wait for the digital library and upload all 100 images as a single item into the library, then link to the library item from the source page. The digital library should be available in 3-5 months.--Dallan 19:06, 10 January 2008 (EST)

I really love the card file and how it is setup. However, for public records in books, wills, deeds, marriages etc., shouldn't WeRelate have one approach for these images? Dallan, what you said works fine; I have created the link for one image for Source:United States, Georgia, Murray. Marriage Book 2 as you suggested.

But I have not completed the other links, I really wish to know how the majority of users prefer the image links to be done. Should we place the images on the Source page or create the links?

Dallan , I don't have 100 images from one book, but just estimating the possible # we could have for some public records if WeRelate has 1 million users in the future.

And what is in the digital library; would you tell us more about the digital library?

Thanks, --Beth 08:11, 14 January 2008 (EST)

Here's my opinion (others' opinions may vary):

  • If you have just a few (say less than 30) images for your source, or if you want to add captions and/or links to other pages under each image, then adding the images as links to the source page is probably the best way to go.
  • If you have more than 30 images for your source and you want others to be able to upload additional images for the source or annotate or add transcriptions to the images you've already uploaded, then use a category.
  • If you have a complete set of images for a source and don't want others to edit or add to the images, then use upcoming the digital library.

The digital library will be a complement to the wiki: when you upload something to the library, others cannot generally edit it. Also, a single uploaded item can include hundreds of images. The software we will use is the same as that used by Travelers in the Middle East Archive; visiting that site can give you an idea of what it will function like.--Dallan 16:22, 14 January 2008 (EST)

Is the digital library intended primarily for images? or would large chunks of digital text be fair game as well? I take it that this will function something like Wiki Commons. Also, I imagine this is way beyond the realm of possibility, but since you pointed to Middle East Archive....any chance that GIS will be a component of the Digital Library? I've several problems being worked where GIS would be a help, but its probably overkill for most genealogy. Bill 17:05, 14 January 2008 (EST)

Yes, large chunks of digital text (e.g., big text files, PDF, or Word documents) would be fair game as well. For GIS data, you could certainly upload shape files, but someone would have to have a shape file viewer on their machine to view them. I don't want to go to the trouble of running a GIS server, and so far I haven't found a free GIS viewer that doesn't require people to download a separate viewer application.--Dallan 20:25, 14 January 2008 (EST)

Source/MySource button - new option [8 January 2008]

When I edited a page I noticed the new source button options. Looking forward (after the holidays of course) to learning more about this. Thank You for all the hard work, and great new site. User:DFree--DFree 16:09, 23 December 2007 (EST)

I'm having trouble with the source buttons. For example, I tried adding a source for Person:Rezin Debolt (1). The source is a community source: Source:A history of Grundy County : treating of its transformation from the heart of the wilderness of yesterday to the heart of the mighty nation of today; a tribute to. But every time I try to add it to Rezin's page and hit Save Page, I get a completely blank page -- no title, no text, no images, just a completely blank page. Any idea what I'm doing wrong? --Ajcrow 19:15, 23 December 2007 (EST)

I think I have an issue with this. I love it when I'm working with a source that's already in the database. But could we have an option to enter a source without making it a link to a possible new page? I really don't think everything everyone ever wants to cite needs a page -- there are one-off articles, people's email addresses, sloppy sources that lack enough specificity to match to a catalog, but at least offer some clue (or just say " unsourced internet cite"). And if the creator doesn't think any of these are worth having a page, she's unlikely to do the work to actually create the page, which means no one is going to use it again anyway, they'll just be a link for no reason. Or if the page is created and added to the source list, then there's a great potential for untold number of improperly named (since we don't seem to have naming conventions yet) duplicates.

On more of a 'bug' note - the function lets me pick and link to pages that redirect to other pages to correct duplicate or name format issues. Can we short cut that somehow so the link goes to the right page?--Amelia.Gerlicher 20:15, 23 December 2007 (EST)

Does the search for source really only pick up titles that start with the words I type? Can we have it pick up any words in the title? If I knew what the title started with, I could just start typing. And until we have all of them renamed with the author or place first, it's hard to know just what FHC (or anyone else) thought the title was.--Amelia.Gerlicher 20:43, 23 December 2007 (EST)

Thanks for letting me know about the problem with adding the source. I found and fixed a bug with this today. Hopefully it's the cause of the problem. If you're still getting a blank page, would you please let me know?

Good point about not wanting to always create links to MySource pages. I'll add a third "Title only" option under "Source" and "MySource" tomorrow that won't link to a source or mysource page -- just display the title without a link. This will be the default option. ("Title only" had actually been the default behavior until today; I changed it to having MySource be the default, but I'll change it back.)

I'd like to understand more about the redirects issue you mention. The old behavior was that if you entered a Source/MySource title that redirected to another Source/MySource page, when you saved the Person/Family page, the Source/MySource title would be updated automatically to the target of the redirect. When I was testing the new functionality, this behavior confused me because when I entered one source title, the page showed a different source title after it was saved. It took me awhile to figure out that the source title I had entered was actually a redirect to the one that was being displayed. So I took out the automatic redirecting on save. I could add it back in (nobody had complained about it), but I worry that the automated redirecting might be confusing?

Yay on the Title Only option. On the redirects, I noticed the behavior because when I went to "choose" a source, it shows the sources I'm watching, and I knew that one of them was one I renamed. It stayed that name when I picked it and previewed, but I didn't save. Since most redirects for sources should be neater and more official looking (i.e. no cut off titles), I don't think it's confusing to have it switch automatically, but that could just be me.--Amelia.Gerlicher 12:42, 24 December 2007 (EST)
Let's table this for awhile to see how it sits with others. It sounds like it's not a big deal either way.--Dallan 00:32, 27 December 2007 (EST)

The chooser just lets you browse titles that start with the words you type. Until we get the existing source titles renamed, I'm not sure how much more helpful it would be to list all source titles that contained the words you entered somewhere in the title. Searching for sources for a given place would still be problematic for example because many of our current sources don't list the place as part of the title. I'm not sure how to solve this problem without providing a full-fledged "search" function from the chooser popup. But adding search to the chooser popup is possible if enough people are interested.

--Dallan 23:36, 23 December 2007 (EST)

I'm the opposite from you on this one -- until we get the sources renamed, I don't think it's at all useful to only see the titles that start with what you type. First of all, it duplicates what you get if you just start typing on the edit page. Second, it makes it impossible to find a title if you don't have it exactly right in your notes. For example, I have a lot of titles I got from the hard copy in the library. Sometimes what I think is the title misses the actual title (particular if it's something like "my family") or a word like "the" at the beginning. Both mistakes (not to mention whatever naming conventions the FHC has used) make it impossible to find the title in the current chooser, even though I know that I'm looking for a title with a particular name in the title. Once the titles predictably start with an author or place, then the current method makes a little more sense, but is still duplicative of what you can already do just by typing in the box on the edit person page. Making it a key word search that searches all words in the title is exactly what is needed to fix the problem. I understand that places would still be problematic with a full search, but at least books would be usable. --Amelia.Gerlicher 12:42, 24 December 2007 (EST)

Dallan - the sources are working for me again. No more blank pages. Thanks! --Ajcrow 10:32, 24 December 2007 (EST)

I think I see what you're saying. I'm going to be re-doing search in the next couple of weeks; how about if I add a "Search" link on the popup window that switches you into search mode?--Dallan 00:32, 27 December 2007 (EST)

It seems like that would work. I'd argue it should be the default, but that's a minor usability issue if it causes other issues.--Amelia.Gerlicher 19:13, 31 December 2007 (EST)

Any chance you could remove the quotes that show up automatically when you use the "title only" option? They're making it really hard to properly format source names with any sense (for example, source 1 here: Person:Samuel Tibbetts (1)) --Amelia.Gerlicher 19:13, 31 December 2007 (EST)

No problem. I'll put out the next set of changes early next week; the quotation marks will be gone at that time.--Dallan 19:59, 4 January 2008 (EST)

When you start typing in the box after picking "source", is it only picking up the sources I'm watching? Because I can't seem to get sources I know are there to show up, and it's really annoying to have to click four extra times to use the chooser to pick from "all titles." I don't really have an interest in watching every vital record page from Massachusetts to avoid this.--Amelia.Gerlicher 14:34, 7 January 2008 (EST)

Another bug: If the page already has a MySource citation, and someone else tries to edit it, the system inserts the new editor's username into the MySource tag, creating a link to a page that doesn't exist. For example, I edited this page, and it changed the "Glatzfam/The Holcomb(e) genealogy..." source to "Amelia.Gerlicher/Glatzfam/The Holcomb(e) genealogy...". (I was able to get back to the original link by using quotes and wikicode, so it currently looks more or less correct.)--Amelia.Gerlicher 21:38, 7 January 2008 (EST)

I may have mentioned this elsewhere, but it was still an issue as of a few days ago. If a page has a mixture of source and mysource, and you delete one sort of source that is followed by another sort of source, the delete process mangles the remaining sources a bit. Also, and I know there's a boatload of stuff to do, so this isn't a complaint !! Really!! But I am noticing that I'm more annoyed that I can't reorder sources without pulling them all out and putting them back in the order I want. If that's an easy one, particularly while the sources are being messed with more or less generally...--Jrm03063 12:48, 8 January 2008 (EST)

I've changed the drop-down for sources so that it includes all sources, not just the ones on your watchlist. And I fixed the bug with inserting your username in the case where you're editing a page with another user's mysource links. I'll put out these fixes later today along with the new menu system. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

The sources and mysources shouldn't be getting mixed up anymore when you remove a source. Please let me know if they still are (the title of a page that it happened on would be helpful). Re-ordering sources isn't a quick fix unfortunately, but I've added it to the ToDo list for sometime in the next month or two. (If anyone who can program in javascript would like to take this on, please let me know.)--Dallan 14:59, 8 January 2008 (EST)

Repository [4 January 2008]

Hi Dallan,

It would be helpful to have the whirling thingy for the Repository and Repository address. --Beth 20:13, 29 December 2007 (EST)

Later this year (probably Fall) we'll re-work the source index, at which time we'll create separate pages for repositories. Once we've done that we can provide a drop-down list of matching repository titles.--Dallan 20:41, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Category and Shared Research Page [4 January 2008]


Trying to figure out how this works. I created a Shared Research page entitled Coker in Georgia. The way I see it the shared research is one article which links to the Category:Coker in Georgia. The category is a collection of all of the articles linked to Coker in Georgia, correct? But these red links drive me kinda nuts. The Category link is red because the page has not been edited, but what exactly would you put on this page? --Beth 00:25, 31 December 2007 (EST)

Yes, that's annoying. You could theoretically create the page with something like "This category is for Coker's in Georgia", but why should you have to? We need to re-visit categories and how we want to use them over Spring/Summer. At the very least I think a category link should be blue if the category contains pages even if the category page itself hasn't been created.--Dallan 20:41, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Help with adding a person. [4 January 2008]

Happy New Year to everyone. I have added a person to my tree in the past with no problem; but I cannot seem to add the spouse of Person:Annis Coker (1). I have tried numerous times with no success. I am trying to edit her family page. What am I doing wrong? --Beth 09:15, 31 December 2007 (EST)

On the family page, click on his name. You'll get a page that says that his Person page hasn't been created. Click "Edit" at the top of that page to add him.
Another way you can connect people as spouses to to create both Person pages first. Then on one of those Person pages, edit to add the spouse and you can select the spouse from your list. --Ajcrow 09:58, 31 December 2007 (EST)

Hi thanks but I cannot get that to work. Will you check the page for me and let me know? When I attempt to edit the family page you cannot click on his name. --Beth 10:33, 31 December 2007 (EST)

I'm not sure what happened. I went into the family page and his name was there, so I clicked on "Add new person" and typed in his name. He showed up twice, so I clicked "Remove" on the first. The family page is now there. When you go to the family page, you'll see his name is in red. Click on it and then click "Edit" to add his information. --Ajcrow 10:40, 31 December 2007 (EST)

Great? It is working now. Now why didn't I think of deleting the first one? Not sure that this is working quite right; but now I can edit the page. Thanks bunches. Happy camper again. --Beth 11:14, 31 December 2007 (EST)

One thing about WeRelate -- there's always a way to get it working! Glad it's working for you. --Ajcrow 11:20, 31 December 2007 (EST)

I think this bug is related to the bug that Brannon reported below. When you create a family page by clicking on the family link from a person page, the spouse doesn't have "(index#)" after his name and doesn't have "(new)" after his name. Either "(index#)" or "(new)" is now required in order to save the page. You can manually add "(new)" after the spouse's name to save the family page, then click on the spouse's name (which should now have an index number after it) to create the spouse's person page. Early next week I'll fix this by automatically adding "(new)" after the spouse's name when you create the family page.--Dallan 20:41, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Converting Coordinates [4 January 2008]

I don't think I'm transferring the longitude and latitude coordinates right since I keeping ending up in the middle of the ocean somewhere. When I have a coordinate that looks like this:


how do I convert that to put it into the WeRelate fields on the place pages? --Ronni 12:40, 31 December 2007 (EST)

In a perfect world, a nice lat/long coordinate parser would probably recognize the different forms and convert. But there are quite a few fish to fry before that rises to the level of being worth suggesting as a development task. In the meantime, I use "http://mapper.acme.com" which lets you come up with high precision coordinates in decimal or deg/min/sec.--Jrm03063 13:34, 31 December 2007 (EST)

Thank you Jrm! It's works nicely. --Ronni 12:04, 2 January 2008 (EST)

Here are two other suggestions:

  • Enter the coordinates separated by colons (e.g., 54:30:31.93 N). I'll make it so that you can also enter 54°30'31.93"N.
  • Click on the "Larger map" link (if you don't see a map, click on the located-in place and click on "Larger map" there). Then click on the spot in the map where the city is located. The text underneath the map changes to give you the coordinates of the spot you clicked on.

--Dallan 19:59, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Standard for cemeteries? [4 January 2008]

If cemeteries fall outside city boundaries, should they be placed under the appropriate township (if known) or directly under the county? What should we encourage people to do?

I just checked, and it looks like GNIS places cemeteries directly under the county. So if our standard is to put cemteries under the township when known, and we import US cemeteries from GNIS, those cemeteries will be located directly under the county until someone renames them to include the township.

I'm ok either way -- putting cemeteries under the township when known, or putting them directly under the county even when the township is known.--Dallan 13:15, 31 December 2007 (EST)

I don't think there's a really compelling reason to do this any particular way. I presume that GIS names are carefully chosen to be unique, so having different "Mason" or "Perkins" cemeteries isn't going to create confusion.

I'm working on an abandoned family cemetery in Nottingham, New Hampshire. You can see it at Place:Eastman Cemetery in Bartlett Memorial Forest, Nottingham, Rockingham, New Hampshire, United States. I'm not going to go into the woods with a transit (I wouldn't know how to use it anyway), but I may go out there with graph paper, stakes and a tape measure. Making a sketch of the area, then annotating it would allow positional context to be recorded and seen. I mean, who's buried next to who can be an important clue.--Jrm03063 13:58, 31 December 2007 (EST)

I think we do need a standard, if only so that it is consistent on where they are listed on a county's page. (Are they on the county page or under the township?) Having them in both places could be confusing.

On one hand, I prefer including the township so that the county's page isn't cluttered with a list of dozens and dozens of cemeteries. On the other hand, if you list them under the township, then you have to page through several township pages to find all of the cemeteries for that county.

Is there a way that a county page could have a link to a page with a list of cemeteries? For example, on Place:Perry, Ohio, United States, could there be a link to a separate page with all of the Perry County cemeteries? This would group all of them together, yet not clutter up the county page with a list of the more than 120 cemeteries in the county. --Ajcrow 14:54, 31 December 2007 (EST)

I have all the cemeteries in my database listed WITH their township, thus when I upload my GEDCOM's that is what my place pages will look like, and I have 59,000+ folks in my database altogether. However I agree it would be nice to be able to hit a county page and see what cemeteries are found in the county. WeRelate does have the ability to show "also located in" so why would it be so bad to have it both ways? linked to their township page as well as their county pages?

The cemetery page has an "also located in" link, but the Seneca County page doesn't list the cemetery. You don't find the cemetery's page until you get down into the Adams Township page. --Ajcrow 11:08, 1 January 2008 (EST)
Yes it does, maybe you looked too quick as I was editing the pages. ha ha --Msscarlet1957 11:21, 1 January 2008 (EST)

What is wrong with an Upload of the GNIS places cemeteries directly under the county, and then let folks (like me) who know the township to a particular cemetery, create a link to those (or edit the page) with a township included? Place:Butternut Ridge/Lay Cemetery, Adams (Township), Seneca, Ohio, United States--Msscarlet1957 10:34, 1 January 2008 (EST)

I just had another thought about having cemeteries listed just under the county and not the township. What about those instances where there are two cemeteries with the same name in a county? For example, Licking County, Ohio has two different Cedar Hill cemeteries; one is a large cemetery in the city of Newark, the other is a small, rural cemetery out in Bowling Green Township.

Like Msscarlet1957, I prefer the cemeteries to be listed under the township. (All of the ones in my databases are listed that way, too.) But for ease of use, it would be nice to have a single list per county somewhere. --Ajcrow 11:08, 1 January 2008 (EST)

Since Dallan is writing about what GNIS has, I am guessing he is thinking of importing all the GNIS listings for cemeteries, in which case there is no real need for discusssion, they will automatically be set up by county, so there is not need for us to do a lot of editing at this time, until after he would do that import, and then we would edit those pages to link to the township pages (in my humble opinion). Dallan are you going to import the cemetery database from GNIS?? --Msscarlet1957 11:39, 1 January 2008 (EST)

True, the GNIS database will link directly under the county, but there are countless cemeteries not included in the GNIS database. WeRelate users will have to add the others (which is why, IMHO, we need a standard of where to put them.) --Ajcrow

One more thing I just noticed (for my county) is that all the townships to the county did not have pages yet, so I just sat here and created all those. Now I will be able to link up the cemeteries to their townships, since GNIS does not have that information available (it seems).--Msscarlet1957 12:41, 1 January 2008 (EST)

I guess I really have two concerns. (1) What will the standard be -- under the county or under the township? (2) What happens when all of a county's cemeteries have their pages and the county page becomes really long? I'm concerned that having a county page with 100+ cemeteries listed (in addition to all of the inhabited places, deserted places, townships, etc.) would be too cumbersome for some people to navigate. A lot of people never scroll all the way down to the bottom of a page that goes more than a couple of screens. What if there was a way that, instead of listing the cemeteries by name on the county page, it would have a link to a page with the cemeteries? For example, on the Seneca County, Ohio page instead of it saying "Cemeteries: Bethel/South Bend, Butternut Ridge/Lay Cemetery, St. Boniface Catholic cemetery" it would say "Cemeteries: Seneca County cemeteries" where Seneca County cemeteries would be a link to a page with all of the cemeteries listed with links to their pages. --Ajcrow 12:49, 1 January 2008 (EST)

It's good to have this sort of discussion about cemeteries. To the mix I would observe that it's a different sort of place in other ways - it's a little disconcerting to have cemeteries offered as candidates for a birth place.--Jrm03063 20:02, 1 January 2008 (EST)

Here is one link on cemetery recording information. [1] --Beth 13:44, 2 January 2008 (EST)

Here's a thought: One of the projects for this year is to make better use of the categories appearing at the bottom of the page. For example, the Seneca county category page currently includes all of the places in Seneca county - even if they are located within a township - so all of the cemeteries in Seneca currently appear in this category page. The category also includes articles, sources, and users researching that county. Eventually I'd like the category page to also include all of the people and families with events in the county. (Currently people and families appear in town-based categories; but I'm thinking of dropping town-based categories and putting the people and families into county-based categories.) Once we get categories working better, they'll be featured more prominently on the page.

Putting all of these pages into one category is probably unwieldy, so we'll probably create sub-categories for people and families (e.g., Category:People of Seneca, Ohio, United States or maybe Category:Smith in Seneca, Ohio, United States). We could create other sub-categories as well (e.g., for sources or places in the county). We could create a separate sub-category for cemeteries or put cemeteries in with the place subcategory.

Although cemeteries are not the same types of places as cities, people list them quite often in the "Place" field for burial events (sometimes listing a cemetery, other times listing the town the cemetery is located in), and so it's simpler in GEDCOM upload to treat cemeteries as places so that burial event places can match either cemeteries or towns.

If we go this route then perhaps the standard ought to be to put the cemetery under the township when the township is known. We'll add the cemeteries from GNIS sometime this Summer and put them directly under the county (unless we find an existing match), and let people rename them over time to be under the proper township.--Dallan 19:59, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Add source in notes [5 January 2008]

Hello everyone,

Just checking to see if this is the correct procedure. I first add the source and then reference the source in my notes, correct? --Beth 20:04, 1 January 2008 (EST)

That works. You could do it the other way as well if you wanted -- first add the source citation on your person/family page and give it the title of the source you want to create. It will show up as a red link, but that's ok. After you've saved the person/family page, click on the red source title link to create the source page.--Dallan 19:59, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Hi Dallan,

There would be no source citation on the person or family page. This is a source for a statement in my text section regarding the census beginning enumeration date. --Beth 20:12, 4 January 2008 (EST)

If you're planning to create a separate Source page, you could link to the source as [[Source:source page title]] in your text, and you could create the Source page either before or after you save the page that links to it. Alternatively, if you just want a list of footnotes to appear at the bottom of your text, you can use <ref> and <references> tags. Take a look at Person:Ella Grey (1) for an example.--Dallan 21:09, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Image Annotation [4 January 2008]

(I've pulled and reformed this comment/request as its own topic)

In order to do some cemetery-related work, it would be nice if I some slightly different image annotation features. Two things in particular.

  • Instead of only a selectable-size block, a pointer or teardrop, with a position and a direction
  • Support annotation containing a clickable thumbnail, or at least, an ordinary link

The above two features would let me create rough plot-plans of a cemetery I'm studying (which I would then scan and upload as an ordinary image). From there, I would use the "pointer" annotations to indicate where a picture was taken and what direction is being faced when the picture was taken. Clicking on the teardrop/pointer would, ideally, bring up a thumbnail of whatever artifact is being documented. Of course from there, the thumbnail itself is clickable to get you to the werelate image page. Alternatively, the annotation could pop up as an ordinary clickable link that could take you anywhere in werelate. An image as a browsing context could be fairly powerful...--Jrm03063 13:48, 2 January 2008 (EST)

And poaching from another idea here on the watercooler - wouldn't it be nice to annotate a census image, or other document, with live links to corresponding person, place, or whatever pages?--Jrm03063 13:52, 2 January 2008 (EST)

Allowing you to enter links to other pages in the text of an annotation should be pretty easy. And if the link is a link to an image page, displaying a thumbnail of the image in the annotation might not be too difficult. These are both do-able this month if you like. But changing the selectable-size block to a pointer or teardrop with a position and direction would take a lot more work (any javascript programmers want to take this on?). I can see that it would be helpful, but it will have to wait until later in the year.--Dallan 19:59, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Maps not displaying on Pedi-Map [5 January 2008]


No maps for me on Pedi-Map. --Beth 17:36, 2 January 2008 (EST)

They're working for me. Can you give a URL or page title of a Pedi-Map that doesn't work, and also say what browser and operating system you're using?--Dallan 19:59, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Hi Dallan,

Thanks; the maps are working now. I believe the maps did not work temporarily while you were reformatting the places. --Beth 20:35, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Valid dates for Places [4 January 2008]

Where are the vaild dates for places listed? I attempted to enter before 1900 but that is not allowed. What is acceptable? I entered Place:Cora, Comanche, Texas, United States. Read the external link; there is not a definite date of the place disappearing which seems logical; death dates of towns are not often recorded or even thought about. --Beth 20:02, 2 January 2008 (EST)

Perhaps I should just drop the requirement that the from and to years on place pages be 3-4 digit years. Then you could enter what made the most sense. (I agree that death dates of places are often ambiguous.) Any objections to this?--Dallan 19:59, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Home:Register-Could move the email confirmation to the Register section? [4 January 2008]

--Beth 22:18, 2 January 2008 (EST)

Never mind it is already there. --Beth 18:16, 3 January 2008 (EST)

Change to how family pages are entered [4 January 2008]

I was entering in pages for the first time in awhile and I noticed that it will actually say (new) next to it if there is no existing page, which I like. However, when I click on the new family page is tells me the spouse I entered is "not found" and won't let me save any information until I remove the spouses name and click "add new person page" and retype the name. Am I doing something wrong or is it just a little bug?

--Brannon11:52 3 January 2008 (MST)

Seems to be a little bug. You have to do exactly as you described but then it does work if you remove the first entry for the person. --Beth 14:07, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Or you can just type "(new)" beside the name and it will work. --Ronni 16:11, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Sorry about that. I'll fix it early next week.--Dallan 19:59, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Donation [6 January 2008]

Could you add a donation link on the home page? --Beth 21:15, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Sorry, I finally found the donate button, but I could not find the button the other day when I wanted to donate. I am going to carefully read the home page before I ask again for something that is already there. --Beth 17:43, 6 January 2008 (EST)

Surnames and Alternates; WeRelate differentiates between capital letters and lower case [8 January 2008]

I noticed that WeRelate has separate pages for names that only differ in a capital or lower case letter. As an example: Mckinzie or McKinzie. Now I added McKinzie because the program did not seem to recognize Mckinzie and McKinzie as the same name.

Is this a correct assumption? --Beth 22:14, 4 January 2008 (EST)

This is the only frustrating thing about the Wikipedia software that I have found: titles are case-sensitive. I just redirected Surname:Mckinzie to your new Surname:McKinzie page, which is how the people on Wikipedia deal with this issue.--Dallan 14:59, 8 January 2008 (EST)

Displaying annotated images [8 January 2008]

Is there a way to display an image that has annotations directly on a PERSON/FAMILY page? When the image is placed on the page, the only way I can see the annotations is by clicking on the image which then takes me to the original image page where the annotations are shown. --Ronni 01:59, 7 January 2008 (EST)

I'll add that to the todo list for the next couple of months.--Dallan 14:59, 8 January 2008 (EST)

Drop Down Menus [11 January 2008]

Like the new Drop downs. Bill 11:18, 10 January 2008 (EST)

Thanks! The update didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped (those using the site yesterday can attest to that), but I'm hoping it will make the site easier to navigate especially for new users. I'll be updating the site again tonight to fix a few remaining issues and improve page download times.--Dallan 19:06, 10 January 2008 (EST)

I was in the middle of some heavy-duty editing when the message flashed across the page that the updating was in progress. I had some head problems at first figuring out what was happening but once I have gotten used to the new drop-downs they certainly make it much easier to navigate the site - thanks Dallan, as always! Walt 13:20, 11 January 2008 (EST)

Family tree bug - people hopping out my tree that were in my tree [16 January 2008]

Hello everyone, is anyone else having this problem? I have people that I know were in my tree and now the FTE says they are not in my tree; when I click on the + button it does add them to the tree but what's up with this? I have not identified precisely when this occurs and when it does not.--Beth 20:55, 12 January 2008 (EST)

We had a bug for about a week where pages you created were not added to your tree. They were added to your watchlist, but not your tree. I thought about automatically adding all of your watched pages to your tree, but I worried that some people might be watching pages that they didn't want added to their tree. If you'd like me to make sure that all of your watched (person, family, image, source, mysource) pages are in your tree, just leave me a note. This goes for everyone.--Dallan 17:47, 14 January 2008 (EST)

Hi Dallan,

I still had people not in my tree yesterday that had been in my tree, but I added them back. Will let you know if it happens again. --Beth 09:52, 16 January 2008 (EST)

Why is my person link still red? [15 January 2008]

How about checking out this page and tell me what I have done wrong on this one? The page is Family:Leonard Coker and Charlotta Wilson (1). Why is the link to child Mary E. Coker in red? Thanks. --Beth 18:09, 13 January 2008 (EST)

It looks fine now. This sometimes happens to me too Beth and I think it must have something to do with caching, so waiting a few minutes usually takes care of it. --Ronni 22:58, 13 January 2008 (EST)

Hi Ronni, I know I need some new glasses <g> but Mary E. Coker on the family page is still red and has been red for 2 days or have I gone completely bonkers? --Beth 07:44, 14 January 2008 (EST)

Beth, It also looks fine to me. If its still appearing in red to you, try clearing your cache, and/or refreshing the page. What you are probably seeing is the version of the page that your computer automatically stores in its cache; when you return to the page sometime later, if its still in the cache, that's the page that will be re-served to you, not the new modified page. Eventually the problem will go away on its own, but you can speed the process by clearing the cache or sometimes just by refreshing the page. That forces your system to go to the original for a new copy. Bill 07:56, 14 January 2008 (EST)

Okay, I finally got it to turn blue, but I had to clear out the cache completely and reenter my password etc. --Beth 10:41, 14 January 2008 (EST)

This has been an elusive bug to track down. It's definitely due to caching, but caching happens in several different places (browser, WeRelate server, and sometimes intermediate servers). If this happens to anyone again, could you do three things and let me know the outcome?

  1. Press Control-F5 to clear your browser's cache of that page -- does this fix the problem?
  2. Click on the "edit" link at the top of the page, and then in the URL line, replace action=edit with action=view -- does this fix the problem?
  3. In the URL line again, replace action=view with action=purge -- does this fix the problem?

If you could also let me know the browser you're using and the title of the page with the problem, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!--Dallan 17:47, 14 January 2008 (EST)

Okay Dallan, I have a red link on Person:Elizabeth McGuire (5); the family link is red. Step 1 did not fix the problem.

Step 2. There is no action=edit to replace. The page editing person above has the following URL: http://www.werelate.org/fte/index.php?userName=Beth&treeName=Robert+and+Elizabeth+Coker+Family+of+Murray+County%2C+Georgia

Therefore, I am unable to perform steps 2 and 3. My browser is Internet Explorer.

Best, --Beth 08:07, 15 January 2008 (EST)

After editing the page the link is now blue. --Beth 09:58, 15 January 2008 (EST)

Unfortunately, options 2 and 3 aren't available when you're running the family tree explorer. I'll keep looking into this.--Dallan 22:55, 15 January 2008 (EST)

Surname unknown and then surname known [15 January 2008]

I see that if I first enter a given name and surname unknown and then later identify the surname and add the surname to the given name; the namespace for the person and family is not changed. I hoped that this would be updated directly by the program. What do I do manually to effect this change? --Beth 19:59, 13 January 2008 (EST)

Rename the page using the "Rename" link at the top of the page. --Ronni 22:56, 13 January 2008 (EST)

Thanks Ronni; that was easy enough. --Beth 07:56, 15 January 2008 (EST)

Creating User Pages? [15 January 2008]

Hello Everyone,

Has anyone had trouble creating a new User Page? I tried to create a User Page similar to a do to list. The instructions say it should show up on the left side under the Researching Surname catagory. After trying to create the page it seem to be stuck. Suggestions? DFree--DFree 21:34, 13 January 2008 (EST)

It has been several days since I created a new user page so I don't know. Does it show up under My Relate > Dashboard > User Pages? If not something must be buggy. --Beth 21:51, 13 January 2008 (EST)

I just tried to create a user page DFree and it got stuck on me too. I'll send Dallan a note. Thanks! --Ronni 22:53, 13 January 2008 (EST)

Sorry about that! It's fixed now.--Dallan 17:47, 14 January 2008 (EST)

Hello Dallan,

Thank You for your hard work I just created the User Page. It worked like a charm. Thanks!!--DFree 11:55, 15 January 2008 (EST)

Adding Pages to Tree?== [14 Jan 2008]

First of all, I really like many of the changes that have been made. Drop down menues and pages automatically being specified as (new) and other changes have made the site much easier to navigate.

I was just wondering though, it seems like I used to be able to launch the FTE, and any page I edited and saved while using a specified tree would automatically be added to that tree. Now I have to add them manually though. Was I just mistaken, or do I need to change a setting, or did something really change there?

That should still be working. I'll look into it tomorrow.--Dallan 17:47, 14 January 2008 (EST)

I tried adding pages in several different ways with different browsers today. I couldn't get it to break. The tree that I had open in the family tree explorer was always checked. It could be a javascript issue, because checking the checkbox for the appropriate tree is actually done by a javascript function that's supposed to run in your browser. Can you tell me what browser and operating system it's not working on? Could you also press Control-F5 to see if that helps?--Dallan 22:55, 15 January 2008 (EST)

Problem with script on FTE and Adobe Flash Player 9 [16 January 2008]

Has this happened to anyone? First time for me. I received a warning from Adobe Flash player 9 stating that a script in this movie is causing Adobe Flash Player 9 to run slowly. If it continues to run your computer may become unresponsive. So I selected to quit running the script. The upper left portion of the FTE window went crazy and I could not exit my tree. I closed my browsr.

Doing a google search one response was that it is not my computer but happens when the flash script enters an infinite loop.

Computer is 2.40 GHz with 1 GB of RAM, running XP with service pack 2, using browser IE7.

Advice please. --Beth 17:52, 15 January 2008 (EST)

This happens when family tree explorer is doing something that's taking an overly-long amount of time, or if as you say it gets itself into an infinite loop. I've tried to eliminate all of the long-running scripts, but I may have missed a few. Do you remember what you were doing at the time? That would help me to track down the problem.

(As an FYI, it's annoying, but it doesn't affect the information in your pages. If it happens again, please let me know. You might also want to try clicking on the option to let the script run a little while longer to see if it can finish given a little more time.)

--Dallan 22:55, 15 January 2008 (EST)

Hi Dallan,

What was I doing at the time? I believe the message appeared when I was editing Person:Annis Coker (1). I entered events and sources and a caption for the image; just basic stuff as I recall. --Beth 09:55, 16 January 2008 (EST)

Uploading images and losing all entries if you select the back button in browser. [18 January 2008]

Sometimes I forget to add the .jpg extension to my new image name. When I select the back button all of my entries have disappeared. Is there some way to retain the information that I entered and just add the file extension?

I am using IE7.

Also I just discovered if I am editing a page and uploading the image if I find it necessary to press the back button in my browser; I also lose my edits; so don't select the back button just cancel and redo.

You cannot use brackets in the image name.

--Beth 00:01, 18 January 2008 (EST)

You learn something new every day. I don't think there's any way I can control whether the browser remembers the fields you've filled in when you press the back button (Firefox does, IE7 doesn't), so I made a different fix: If you forget to add the file extension in the destination filename field when you upload an image, it's added automatically. And yes, you can't use brackets in an image name (they're now removed automatically if you do try to enter them), because it would make image links difficult to parse. Use parentheses instead.--Dallan 13:41, 18 January 2008 (EST)

Thanks Dallan,

I used Firefox for a while as my default browser but at the time the ancestry images would not load correctly and Firefox put more tracking cookies on my computer than IE.

I tried Firefox again yesterday and the images on Ancestry are fine but the printouts for the census data, not the image did not print correctly using Firefox but do with IE7. I have grown rather fond of IE7. With the addition in this version of having mutiple tabs open at the same time; I am not sure that I will use Firefox.

I also had no luck with Firefox repeating the data fields. --Beth 21:20, 18 January 2008 (EST)

Odd. Hopefully, adding the extension automatically means that this isn't a problem anymore. I agree that IE7 has come a long way. I love the tabs.--Dallan 15:37, 21 January 2008 (EST)

Using WeRelate Solely versus using WeRelate and genealogy software [28 January 2008]

I am comtemplating using WeRelate only and not entering data into my genie program on lines that I have no present link to in my personal family tree.

What are your opinions on this topic?--Beth 21:07, 1 January 2008 (EST)

I like the idea. Having it on WeRelate has at least two distinct advantages. First, your research is available to you from any computer connected to the Internet. Second, it opens up your research to others who can collaborate with you on common lines. (I think that's the real beauty of WeRelate. When it comes to research, there is strength in numbers!) --Ajcrow 21:36, 1 January 2008 (EST)
Personally, I recommend against it based on my own research procedures. I have no interest in making all my research notes public, or uploading all of my random source notes, or otherwise cluttering up the "public," "best" version of a person's history with my notes about where and when I personally checked something and what I found--that stuff just doesn't belong here. I find it much easier (and usable for others) to add any new information I find trustworthy with a clean version of why I trust the information. Not to mention that my genealogy program is designed to handle all the background and other information I collect, plus allows different specialized fields, searching, indexing, reports, etc., most of which are currently impossible on WeRelate. I've also never seen a particular clean import of a gedcom from a website, and I wouldn't want to rely on that. If nothing else, it's currently a big pain to even find the right person on WeRelate right now here, and you certainly can't tell very easily if you have the, say, Robert Jones b. 1900 in Texas v. the Robert Jones b. 1860 in Illinois in your tree or on the site. And of course, if WeRelate goes away, you are completely out of luck.--Amelia.Gerlicher 10:01, 3 January 2008 (EST)

One of things I like about werelate, is that there's (almost) always a place for a piece of information that you may come across. Even if it's outside your immediate area of interest. I'm working one line in the Dover, NH area and I've been able to hook to overlapping lines associated with several different gedcom uploads for other colonists. That part is pretty cool.

Formal administration and backup procedures (I presume) are a benefit worth observing too.

On the other hand, generating reports is a bit more problematic for the moment. Until there's a gedcom download that lets you take a piece of tree and play with it for reporting purposes, werelate doesn't offer anything for that end of things.--Jrm03063 22:07, 1 January 2008 (EST)

My only concern is if WeRelate fails to secure the necessary funding and just disappears. But I figure that I would have the gedoom and the images would be on my computer or a disc anyway. The gedcom download capability is planned so I don't have a problem with waiting for that capability. Have any of you uploaded a family tree chart? That would make a nice visual addition to a family article. --Beth 22:30, 1 January 2008 (EST)

If you're happy that the GEDCOM download is coming, then that should provide you a decent backup download feature. That's the way that I use ancestry.com, but that's a drag since their GEDCOM is rather poorly done and their citations unfailingly lead you back to ancestry.com - even when the underlying data is in a public domain source. Arrival of the werelate gedcom download will probably mean the end of my $90/year to the scoundrels at TGN.--Jrm03063 10:32, 2 January 2008 (EST)

I agree, and have certainly observed, that GEDCOM downloads can be pretty crappy. However, I'm optimistic that the open discussion association with this site will, when it becomes available, produce one of the better GEDCOM downloads (possibly not immediately, but eventually). Further, since werelate is presumably not going into the report generating business (why should it?), folks will need a good GEDCOM in order to do that sort of thing. So there's a real incentive that I think will drive werelate to produce good stuff as far as GEDCOM, or successor formats, goes.

Of course everyone should perform their research in whatever way they are most comfortable, but I think the chances of my private research, my computer, me, etc., "disappearing" are greater than "werelate" disappearing. Indeed, that's why I started using werelate - I wanted to put my Mother-in-law's work, and my additions to it, somewhere where it wouldn't get lost. My notion of when stuff should go on "werelate" is when it's potentially substantive and you want to make sure other researchers and relatives now and in the future get a crack at it. Even if it turns out to be something that has been disproved elsewhere, information about that disproval should go on werelate too. I view werelate as a huge shared file cabinet for genealogy scholarship. Everything in it isn't publication-worthy.

Since it's been alluded to a couple times in this thread, and I would like to hear something formal on this, could someone from the Allen County Library or Foundation for On-line Genealogy address the long term stability of werelate and any data that winds up here?--Jrm03063 10:31, 3 January 2008 (EST)

First, just to clarify the gedcom issue -- exporting is only half the problem. Gedcom is a standard that's independent of your genealogy program's fields and functionality. Most programs support functionality that gedcom does not, including additional fields. If you use those functions, you will never be able to import a gedcom from the web and have it work the way you want it (without generally time-consuming adjustments), no matter what WeRelate does. Whether you can live with that on a regular basis is a function of how you use your database.
Second, I'm just going to flag for discussion (because I don't want to get into it now, and it may not really fall under this topic) the notion that WeRelate pages should be everyone's file cabinet. My "files" may contain several emails with various details about John Smith, but I would really rather not see those whole emails pasted onto John Smith's page (just as an example). And pertinent to the question here, my genealogy program cites the particular email with an abstract, but even that doesn't need to be on WeRelate if someone else has cited his death certificate for the same information.--Amelia.Gerlicher 23:39, 3 January 2008 (EST)

I expect people will do it both ways. Using an exported GEDCOM for reports is useful. We don't anticipate doing much with reporting-- certainly not to the extent that most desktop genealogy programs do. And while I certainly don't believe WeRelate will go away, I also believe in the importance of storing important data in more than one place. The database on WeRelate is copied onto four different machines for example. But you could use WeRelate as your primary database and just download GEDCOM's periodically for reports and personal backups. Also, I think we could use the talk pages more for storing research notes and suppositions that haven't been proven. I imagine that once match+merge is working and more people are collaborating, we'll use the talk pages a lot more frequently.

Having said that, I think a fair number of people will be more comfortable using a desktop program as their primary database and uploading and downloading GEDCOM's periodically. The issue here is to make sure that all information is preserved in the round-trip from your desktop genealogy program to WeRelate and back. We followed the GEDCOM standard fairly closely so we should be able to provide a pretty "clean" GEDCOM to export, but there are a few minor changes that are made when you upload a GEDCOM to WeRelate. For example, one of the desktop genealogy programs (Legacy) allows you to create three different types of notes for a person: General, Research, and Medical. The standard doesn't allow for different types of notes, so we put all three notes into a single note, which is the text of the person page. That's our policy -- to represent incoming data as closely as we can, and when we can't, to put it into note fields so that the information isn't lost. So if you were to export that GEDCOM from WeRelate and re-import it into Legacy, you'd see all three of your notes in the General note field. The information is still there, but it doesn't take advantage of that unique feature of Legacy. One of the big goals for this year is to make using WeRelate easy even if it's not your primary database, since I do think a fair number of people will want to use it this way. I think we can get there by providing a good GEDCOM export and then a re-import that updates only pages you have changed and notifies you of any conflicts where others have changed the same fields that you have but in a different way.

I myself use TMG (The Master Genealogist) and have ability to create additional tags. So instead of residence I have created tags for example: Census1880; Census1900; Census1910 and so on. Each of these I have created sentence structure so they appear as I want when I create a report. When I upload my GEDCOM's these tags are then changed at WeRelate to "other." When a person then would download that same GEDCOM would all these "other" tags be migrated "back" to their original place at "Census1880" or wherever they came from originally? Another huge problem is that with TMG we have the ability to attach witnesses to each event and this data is NOT supported by GEDCOM process. so that information never shows up when I place a GEDCOM at any website, and thus would be lost totally when I would import back, so I think the download option is out for TMG users. Which is fine with me as long as I can occasionally upload an updated GEDCOM from home and not loose any links to work I might have done on a corresponding WeRelate page (such as links to photos I might upload) --Msscarlet1957 09:49, 25 January 2008 (EST)

As far as funding goes, we're in good shape. Costs are kept fairly low. We don't have an advertising budget (we depend upon your word-of-mouth!), we have no full-time employees (we rely upon great volunteers!), and we use a hosting service from Amazon that's about half the cost of normal hosting. As the year progresses we'll continue to experiment with different ideas for revenue generation. (Don't worry -- access to the site will always be free.) The ads are working well, and we also appreciate the donations.--Dallan 19:59, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Regarding TMG, since our convention is to put the type of "Other" events in the description field, when we do the export we'll get the type for "Other" events from the description field. As for event witnesses, these should be uploaded into a note field associated with the event, but if you were to export the GEDCOM these would stay in the note. As for being able to periodically update an uploaded GEDCOM, here's how I'm thinking it will work:

Modern genealogy programs (TMG included) generally assign unique identifiers (UID's) to everyone in a GEDCOM file. The UID for a person stays the same even if you generated a new GEDCOM file later. If your GEDCOM has UID's, then you'll be able to upload an updated GEDCOM later because we'll know exactly which WeRelate page goes with each person in your GEDCOM, and we can determine the changes you've made to that page by comparing your new GEDCOM to your previous GEDCOM. If other changes have been made to the page on-line since you uploaded the last GEDCOM, you won't lose those changes.

In case there is a conflict -- you've changed the same field that was also changed (to a different value) by someone online, your change won't be made automatically. Instead, you'll get an email telling you about the conflict, with a link to edit the page online if you think you're right.

If your GEDCOM doesn't contain UID's, then we'll ask that you either

  • go into your desktop genealogy program and add a source to every individual with the title of the WeRelate Person page for that individual (we'll use the Person page titles in place of UID's), or
  • export a GEDCOM from WeRelate, which will automatically add a source containing the WeRelate person page title to every person in the GEDCOM, and import the GEDCOM into your desktop genealogy database. This export + import will need to be done only once to attach the person page titles as sources in case you're worried about losing information in the round-trip.

How does this sound to everyone? Any suggestions for improvement?

--Dallan 16:58, 28 January 2008 (EST)

I know that TMG does assign UID's so I will be fine an dandy with your plan Dallan. I do presently use Rootsweb's WorldConnect to upload all my Gedcoms and I can easily upload an updated Gedcom at anytime and none of the notes that other's post to my pages are ever lost. I do believe they use the same process that you are describing. The witnesses issue is another thing though, as I do not believe witness information is even put into a Gedcom when one creates it from TMG. Thus that stuff has no opportunity to show up at WeRelate. --Msscarlet1957 19:21, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Which event label are you using for land transactions? [28 January 2008]

Hi List,

Are y'all using property or other for land transactions? I would like a consensus opinion. Thanks. --Beth 10:42, 2 January 2008 (EST)

Beth, yes I do put in land transactions. I have created two tags (1)landBought and (2)landSold and in those I put the place as "Section 12, Hopewell twp., Seneca Co., Ohio" and in the notes I have (for a buy example) NE1/4 of SW1/4 from John Smith for $40 containing 40 acres. The tag would of course be connected to the person that was doing the buying. Is that the kind of response that you were looking for? --Msscarlet1957 09:55, 25 January 2008 (EST)
OOPs I see that is not what you wanted, you wanted to know which "WeRelate" labels folks use. I was showing what tags I use in my genealogy software, sorry--Msscarlet1957 09:57, 25 January 2008 (EST)

Hi, you are using TMG correct. I decided I did not have enough years left to learn that program. I downloaded the program and tried the advanced first and as I remember I could not even figure out how to enter a person. I have fiddled around with numerous other programs but that one is the most difficult for me to understand. Anyway back to the topic. I decided to use the "other" event for land. I recall that in some genie programs if you enter your land event under the property event their canned narrative sentences when populated with a land event do not make any sense.--Beth 09:37, 28 January 2008 (EST)

No edit button on a user page that has not entered any information [28 January 2008]

I know that you are tired of hearing from me. I think I should setup my own page: Category: Beth's questions.

I have a friend who is assisting me on my research. He is newer than I am to WeRelate and has registered. He is watching one page. I thought if I added his user name to my tree maybe that would result in his watching all of my pages. However I cannot add him. I can find no edit button to edit his user page. Probably just crazy me. The user page is User:Jswt.

--Beth 20:16, 2 January 2008 (EST)

Without certain privileges, we can not edit the User Pages of another user. *Any* page that is tucked in behind a User page can not be edited by other user. This is a good way to "protect" any pages you may just want others to view, but not actually edit, such as To-do List, special sources, misc lists, etc.

Your friend can be added as a watcher to your pages by using the Family Tree Explorer (FTE). I assume the pages of interest have been added to one of your Trees? If so, then your friend can go to your user page, see the list of trees you have available and then click on launch FTE to open up those pages. Once there, under FILE, click on COPY TREE. Tell him to name this tree whatever he wants. It will save a "copy" of it for him to work on. Now, there is a hiccup with all of this. It doesn't quite work right, at least it hasn't for me the two times I've done this. The first time you do it, it looks like you aren't really watching the pages. But if you delete the tree you just copied, and then repeat the process above, the second time it does work and your name will be added as a watcher to all the pages in that tree. And btw, your pages of this tree aren't being deleted or duplicates being made on WeRelate. I'm not exactly sure how the FTE works, but your pages will be fine. The FTE is a great tool for this kind of collaboration. I just love that little program. However, I'm sure it's not designed to work the way I've described above and actually I just stumbled upon this procedure by mistake, so it's evidently a bug that needs to be reported. But it does work the second go round. As a matter of fact Beth, in testing it, I was added as a watcher to you all your pages -- which I'll have to go back now and unwatch. :| --Ronni 02:43, 3 January 2008 (EST)

And I thought you were watching my pages because they are such wonderful pages. <g> Thanks for the great information. --Beth 18:19, 3 January 2008 (EST)

Ronni's right -- this is exactly what your friend should do to watch all of the pages in your tree. But he shouldn't have to copy it twice. Here's what happens: when you copy someone else's tree, a background process is queued up to add you as a watcher to all of their pages (this could take a long time if the tree is large, so we do it later in the background). The problem is this process might not run until 10 minutes after you copy the tree. In the meantime it looks like you're not watching the pages. I'll change the FTE early next week to return a message notifying you of the delay.--Dallan 19:59, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Hi Dallan and Ronni,

There seems to be a slight hiccup in this system of another user copying my tree to their FTE. I don't believe that the new pages added by me are added to the copy of my tree in their FTE. Is this true? If so how is one supposed to coordinate the work between users? I have drawn this conclusion because my new pages are not being watched by Knarrows. --Beth 20:22, 5 January 2008 (EST)

You're right Beth, the new pages you are adding are not automatically added to the watch list or even automatically added to the tree I copied. What will happen though is when I open up that tree in FTE, I'll see "grayed out" person and/or family pages and it will tell me that this person isn't in my tree. I can choose to add them (by clicking on the + sign in the upper left corner) or ignore them. I might choose to *not* add them if you are branching out into an area I'm not related too, for instance.

The same thing will happen to your side as well in the FTE. When your friend is making changes or adding pages, you'll also see the grayed out boxes or get notification that the page has changed.

Where are the grayed out boxes? My friend has added new pages and there are no grayed out boxes in my tree index. I am having trouble tracking new pages added by other users in the shared tree. --Beth 10:20, 28 January 2008 (EST)
In the FTE, there are 4 icons: pedigree and descendants, pedigree, descendants and index. Clicking on "pedigree and descendants" icon (the first icon) gives you all kinds of neat little colored boxes. If a box is gray, it could mean one of two things: that the person's sex is unknown or the page has not be added to your tree. Click on the gray box to bring that page up on the right side, then add and/or watch the page if you desire. --Ronni 10:32, 28 January 2008 (EST)
And btw Beth, pages that your friends are working on are not going to be automatically added to your tree. You have to make that decision yourself. If someone adds a page out in "la-la" land, one that you aren't watching and one that does not connect to any of your pages, then you're not going to be notified of it. But if for instance, you have a family page and someone adds a child to that family, you should be notified of changes to your family page, but the new child page that was created still will not be automatically added to your tree or watched by you. You'll have to add it and thus watch it manually. Hope this helps some. --Ronni 10:43, 28 January 2008 (EST)
Thanks Ronni, yes it helps some. But the difference in the color blue and gray is barely noticeable to my old eyes when the boxes are small. Now if a select one family line and the boxes are bigger I can easily discern the different color.
The page out in la la land would be connected but the data was not entered in the correct format. Now I am going to track through the grayed out boxes making corrections and see if I work my way to that page or if it stays in la la land.
I just checked on this. This user does not have a profile or any trees; so all of the changes should show up in my tree and watch list, shouldn't they? If the user adds an unlinked page where do I find this page in the greyed out boxes?
Nope. Only if they have pages that are physically (WeRelatically?) connected to your pages will you get a modification message. To see what pages they are working on, go to their user page and click on MORE in the upper right hand side and then choose CONTRIBUTIONS. Again Beth, just because they copied your tree (if that's what they did) does not mean that the pages they are now creating are going your tree or that they are added to your watchlist. They have to connect their pages to your pages, i.e., pages you are watching for you to receive a message. Then you can add them to your tree and/or watch them. And you won't see the grayed out boxes either unless the page is connected to one of your pages. The grayed out box is saying that there's a relationship/connection there, but that the page hasn't been added to your tree. --Ronni 12:11, 28 January 2008 (EST)
What's the rule on all of these indentations? Second I do not understand the reasoning behind allowing someone to add a person or family page on WeRelate if it is not in a tree somewhere.--Beth 13:25, 28 January 2008 (EST)
I would prefer to have the grayed out pages in the index; I could find them much easier --Beth 11:05, 28 January 2008 (EST)
I believe the index only lists pages that are actually in your tree. --Ronni 12:11, 28 January 2008 (EST)

In a nutshell, when a person copies someone's tree, they don't have to keep the entire tree. They can choose to remove pages, add pages, etc., thus enabling everyone to work just on the branches they are interested in. --Ronni 00:17, 6 January 2008 (EST)

Hi Ronni,

That is great. Another question? Another Coker researcher has just joined WeRelate, that is exciting! I wanted to copy that tree to my tree; but now I have made a mistake. How do I fix it? I now have 2 separate trees; I don't believe that is what I wanted. I wanted that other tree copied to my tree. I was just planning to bookmark the trunks and have it all in one tree. The two lines are possibly related; but no connection as yet; and I will be researching that line at a later date because the line is in Laurens County, South Carolina and Alabama, 2 locations of special interest in my research. --Beth 14:27, 6 January 2008 (EST)

Copying a tree in the FTE doesn't copy into your tree, so yes, you will have two separate trees. You can add pages from their tree into your tree if you want, however, by simply clicking on the Tree+ link. If you find that each of you do have the same individuals in your trees (that is, two pages for one person), then a merge will need to be done eventually. Currently though, merges are done manually and you may not want to tackle that just yet. --Ronni 01:30, 7 January 2008 (EST)

It's also ok to leave them as two separate trees. Then when we get GEDCOM export working, you'll be able to export each tree separately. If you do want to combine their pages into your tree at some point, later this quarter we'll have a new screen available that will show you everyone who is not in your tree but who is related to someone in your tree, and you'll be able to add them to your tree if you want. Especially once merging is available this screen should make it easier to manage which lines you want in your tree and which lines you don't.--Dallan 14:59, 8 January 2008 (EST)

To address a couple of the comments above,

  • Pages added by people are put into a "Default" tree that is automatically created for them even if they haven't created a profile page yet.
  • As part of getting match + merge working (hopefully May), we'll have a screen that will let you see people that are not in your tree but are linked to people in your tree. This screen should make it much easier to decide which people in other's trees to add to your tree.--Dallan 17:17, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Map Reference [21 January 2008]

Without creating a new place, can someone suggest how I can get a link that will take me to a set of map reference coordinates? Ideally, werelate would support something like \[\[mapcoords 12345 12345 | label\]\], if you know what I mean. I suppose there's some sort of off-site mapping http address that I could do this with, but I would prefer to use whatever the werelate default mapper is (essentially, I would like to be able to generate my own "larger map" reference). (Also, forgive me for not knowing the bracket character escape off-hand!).--Jrm03063 12:09, 12 January 2008 (EST)

Try using the google map template I just added. Feel free to modify it if you want. (Also, to write wiki markup without having it interpreted as markup, you can enclose it in <nowiki>markup goes here</nowiki> tags.)--Dallan 17:47, 14 January 2008 (EST)

This feature is awesome! There are lots of times when we know the exact position of a family residence, approximate location within a large cemetery, a place of work, location of an important incident, etc. Political place names, street direction, etc., are error prone, distracting from your dialog, and they may not last. They also can't be clicked to or used in the pedi-map (as Dallan suggested he might do). Thanks for the assist with this Dallan!--Jrm03063 12:03, 20 January 2008 (EST)

Glad you like it :-). For the benefit of others reading this thread, if you put the google map template in the Description field of an event, then we'll use these coordinates for the event in the upcoming enhancement of the Pedi-maps feature. And just to clarify, regular Places can be used in Pedi-maps if the place pages have coordinates associated with them.--Dallan 15:37, 21 January 2008 (EST)

Drop down list for events [21 January 2008]

Just wondering if you could enable a dropdown for the African-American events. I use the census event often, and if I could close or open the African-American events; it would save me a step because the census event has to be scrolled down after opening the event dropdown list. --Beth 00:05, 18 January 2008 (EST)

That's a good point. They're not used very often and there are a lot of them. I'll move them toward the bottom.--Dallan 13:41, 18 January 2008 (EST)

Thanks Dallan, but maybe they should be ordered alphabetically? --Beth 21:14, 18 January 2008 (EST)

If they're ordered alphabetically, then they'll be at the top of the list, pushing more-commonly-used event types down underneath them. I can't put them in a separate drop-down very easily, so they either need to be at the top of the list or the bottom.--Dallan 15:37, 21 January 2008 (EST)

Ancestry.com and public member trees and photos [28 January 2008]

Greetings to everyone,

Would someone check Ancestry for me and see if I understand correctly the allowed use of photos in public member trees?

I interpret the guidelines to mean that I can print a copy of the photograph and use this copy in my tree on WeRelate. You cannot download the actual image from the tree but you can copy the image to your tree and it may then be possbile to download the image although I have not tried this.

--Beth 21:10, 18 January 2008 (EST)

I think that you will be safer and happier if you just try to contact the owner of the public tree, and obtain their direct permission. Better still, encourage them to consider direct participation in werelate! They put their information in a semi-public domain already, it's quite likly that they would be happy to put it in a really public domain where their family could see it without needing to subscribe to ancestry, or go to a participating library. While there probably are ways to use the data under fair use, why put yourself through the wonder and worry? None of us (well probably none) are lawyers...--Jrm03063 11:45, 20 January 2008 (EST)

I suspect that you probably CAN'T use a copyrighted photograph under "fair use" provisions. Fair use in text is limited to small snippets. Can't copy the whole thing except for a couple of sentences, and call that "fair use". Probably similar for a photograph. You might be able to snip out a small portion of the photo (say someone's head) and use that under "fair use", but using the whole photograph, or a substantial portion thereof, would probably not work. If the photograph is fairly old, and has appeared in print before, it might be that its out of copyright anyway. But if its never been published, or its relatively recent, using it here without permission might well be a copyright infringement. Bill 12:32, 20 January 2008 (EST)

I'm not a lawyer, but I'll do my best. If it's an Ancestry-owned image, then Ancestry allows that image to be copied into your personal research (we have a special license type for this case). But if it's a member-submitted photo, then the Ancestry license doesn't apply, and you either have to get permission from the copyright owner (preferred!), or use it under fair use. Fair use is a pretty gray area. One of the fair use guidelines is, is your use going to diminish the market for the original. That's why a small snippet of the original is generally considered ok. And a court determined in one case that thumbnails were ok (read more). So we have "Small snippet of a unique historical photograph" and "Low-resolution copy of a unique historical photograph" as possible fair use licenses you can choose when you upload an image. If you can't reach the copyright owner and instead go with one of these alternatives, you might want to include a link to where someone could see the original in the image description.--Dallan 15:37, 21 January 2008 (EST)

Thanks for everyones comments. I seemed to have somehow missed most of the responses although I religiously check my watched pages for changes; maybe I just overlooked these. --Beth 09:26, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Wish list - Horizonal link - sibling to sibling without a parent [28 January 2008]

Okay, maybe this is just wishful thinking. I am sure some of you have experienced this in your research. As an example, I have a Newton Coker in my database; I find a newspaper article about the death of his brother named William Coker. I cannot establish with reasonable certainty the father of Newton and William Coker.

I would like to be able to add William Coker as a brother to Newton Coker without adding a dummy parent.

--Beth 21:30, 18 January 2008 (EST)

How about a comment on the page proper like this:

William may have been a brother to [[Person:Newton Coker (nnn)|Newton Coker]], but there is no information to substantiate William's immediate family.--Jrm03063 11:57, 20 January 2008 (EST)

I would probably add the dummy parent rather than use that method if I am positive that the two were siblings. I do like your idea if it is a possiblity but not proven. Thanks. --Beth 09:21, 28 January 2008 (EST)

MySource [29 January 2008]

I notice that if I use the new drop down menu "Add" to create a "MySource" record, it places the record into my user's space, rather into the broader "MySource" namespace. Possibly this is a bug, or perhaps this is intentional. Is the idea that MySource is strictly something related to individuals ephemeral sources (e.g. Mary Jo's GedCom)? and hence only has meaning within a particular user's articles? If that's the case I'm quickly going to find my user space overwhelmed with a listing of articles for each "MySource" document I create. I'm probably using "MySource" and "Source" a bit differently than the original intent. I use "source" to define a specific document, and "MySource" to present information extracted from that document. Thus I have a way to refer to either the general source being used, or to the specific bit of information being captured. This has the added advantage that since I'm only extracting small snippets I can present limited amounts of information from copyrighted materials under "fair use" rules.

At any case, I know Sources have been discussed exensively, and some modifications are probably in the works, though I haven't noticed anything recently on the subject. Can you give us an idea of what's planned in this area?

Bill 11:47, 19 January 2008 (EST)

When someone uploads a GEDCOM, we need to create pages for dozens to hundreds of sources from the GEDCOM. These sources are often (but not always) poorly-titled with very little information. Rather than cluttering up the the Source namespace with a lot of marginal-quality, probably-duplicate source pages, we create MySource pages for GEDCOM sources instead. MySource page titles start with the user's name so that MySource pages generated for one user don't accidentally overwrite MySouce pages for another user.

OK, now I understand, I think. Previously I understood that the "MySource" was in fact intended originally for GEDCOM downloads---basically to sequester "sources" of limited merit as they are commonly found in GEDCOMs. What I didn't realize was that its pushing the MySource articles into the User's namespace, rather than "MySource" namespace. Since I routinely create MySource articles manually, I'd not previously seen this. In my case, however, since I'm creating these things manually, I'm probably bypassing the process that pushes them into my user's space. I don't see any advantage in having them in my user's space. For the most part any MySource article I create is going to be a snippet of information obtained from a verifiable and validate-able source---not "Bob Smith's GEDCOM" or worse, "various county references". Its thus not exactly the kind of thing that you intended with the original concept. I'll have to rethink how I'm doing this, and see if I need to do something different. Bill 09:11, 26 January 2008 (EST)

If you're going to create a new source page not by uploading a GEDCOM, please add it to the Source namespace so that others can find and use it as well. We need to clean up and rename the Source pages that were created from the Family History Library Catalog, which will happen probably this Fall. But you are welcome (and encouraged!) to add Source pages by hand in the meantime. After we clean up the automatically-created Source pages, I'll see if we can automatically match MySource pages to the corresponding Source page.--Dallan 15:37, 21 January 2008 (EST)

No, I wouldn't be creating either Source pages or MySource pages using a GEDCOM dump. (While I understand the need for this capability on a genealogy site, its not something I am ever likely to make use of.) However, when I do create a "Source" or "MySource" record by hand, I try to be fairly consistent in adding the appropriate namespace tag. (On occassion I do forget, but for the most part, I'm fairly consistent with this.) However, with respect to "automatically match MySource pages to the corresponding Source page"---for my part, that's probably already done. If I create a "MySource" record---which is usually a snippet taken from something larger, I normally create a link to the "Source". In some cases, the information is useful, but located in a source that's not useful (someone's ancestry file, where they do not provide sources, or the source that's provided is essentially unverifiable (eg, "various county records"---wonder which county, which state, which year, which volume/book/file?---in short, unverifiable). An example would be MySource:Certificate of Conformity, 13 May 1635 Bill 09:05, 26 January 2008 (EST)

I too am rather confused with what's going on with the MySource namespace. My understanding -- which may well have been defective -- was that whenever I created a MySource page, it was automatically and implicitly created as one of my user pages. In other words, when I created a MySource page called "Benner, Mark, notes" (as I did several weeks ago), that page got created as "MySource:TomChatt/Benner, Mark, notes", and that's how everyone else saw it, but when I was using it I would always see it as "MySource:Benner, Mark, notes". When I viewed my list of MySource pages, I would never see "TomChatt/" in them, but I thought that it was implicitly there and just conveniently hidden from me. Now, this evening, I create a new MySource page, and the new UI comes up with the page name field pre-populated with "TomChatt/". I go ahead and leave the TomChatt/ in there and append my new MySource page name to that, thinking that the TomChatt/ will become invisible to me as it had in the past. But it didn't. So when I tried to use the "chooser" to find my new MySource page, I see "Benner, Mark, notes" (created a few weeks ago) and "TomChatt/Taylor, Nelson, notes" which I created this evening. I figured I had an extra "TomChatt/" in there, the implicit one and a redundant explicit one, so I renamed "MySource:TomChatt/Taylor, Nelson, notes" to be simply "MySource:Taylor, Nelson, notes". So now, all of my MySource pages look consistent (no visible "TomChatt/" in any of the titles) when I browse them or choose them.

But the discussion above makes me think that maybe I've misunderstood all along how the MySource namespace works?? Is it not true that my MySource namespace is implicitly distinct from everyone else's MySource namespace? Is there not an implicit "TomChatt/" in front of all my MySource pages? Having I been doing it wrong all along?--TomChatt 02:59, 26 January 2008 (EST)

The "old" way of doing a MySource page was that you had to enter your user name in the title. See Help:MySources. The new way of doing it automatically puts your user name in. All the MySource pages without a user name would be like a Source page, I imagine, in that anyone can edit it. If the page is tucked in behind the user name, only that user should be able to edit it. Having said that though, it *could* be that it really is in your user space even though the name's not there. Would have to test it out to see if that's true. --Ronni 11:36, 26 January 2008 (EST)


hmmm? I just did a search for "Tom Chatt/" in the "MySource" Namespace, and came up with a SINGLE! hit at MySource:Benner, Mark, notes which was indeed initially prepared by Tom. Since I was explicitly searching the "Source/MySource" Name space, I assume it was found in Tom's User's namespace. Yet I was able to do a test edit with no problem. My suspicion is that Tom created this article the same way as I do as a rule---simply type in a link to the desired article, save, and then go to that link. (this, by the way is consistent with the content of this particular article---its not the kind of thing you'd include in a GEDCOM, but it IS the kind of thing you might want to make a note of later on.) This apparently DOES NOT place the article in the user's name space, but in the true "MySource" namespace. I suspect that only when you go in through a GEDCOM dump, is a "MySource" article created in your personal user space.

There's a certain duality here in use and interpretation that may cause some problems. It doesn't seem like there should be two separate kinds of "MySource" articles. There's a similar problem with "Sources"---two types, one where the space is used for actual data, and one where its used simply to give a reference to a specific source. Seems like these should be two different things, but things are complex enough as it is, so maybe not. Bill 12:09, 26 January 2008 (EST)

Bill 11:54, 26 January 2008 (EST)

Can you edit this page Bill? MySource:Knarrows/Letters between Mary Mayes Driscoll and Probate Court of Gallia, Ohio. This page was not created through a GEDCOM upload. --Ronni 14:22, 26 January 2008 (EST)

Yes. which means the article is not going into your User's Space, but in a general, "publically available for editing" "MySource" namespace. Which means there are two separate sets of MySource articles. Those created through GedCom dumps, and those created manually. Don't know if it matters or not, but its untidy. Bill 15:12, 26 January 2008 (EST)

Hmm, indeed. MySource pages don't work the way I thought they did either then. --Ronni 16:29, 26 January 2008 (EST)
Bill inspired me to be experimental, so I just figured I'd try to see what I could edit when I'm *not* signed in. (You can't edit when you're not signed in, but you still get an "edit" button on most pages that if clicked, takes you to a login page.) I notice that when I visited pages in the User: space, I did not even get an "edit" link. However, when I visited pages in the MySource space, whether or not they had a "UserName/" at the start of the page name, I was presented with an edit button. So I guess the upshot is that I've been doing this wrong all along -- all of those MySource pages I created without any "TomChatt/" in front of them were, unbeknownst to me, selfishly polluting the "global" MySource namespace. Those MySource pages aren't really "mine" after all. Also, it appears that MySource pages, even those created with a UserName/ in front, are editable by anybody. Now that I understand how it works (I think), I'd like to suggest (in order of priority):
  1. MySource pages named with a UserName/ should only be editable by UserName, same as User:UserName/ pages.
  2. When I go to add a new MySource page, the system should automatically prepend the UserName/ in front, and I should only be requested to type in the source name into the editable field. As it stands now, the system allows me to create MySource pages without any user qualification, and I imagine it would even let me create MySource pages under someone else's user name. It shouldn't. If you want to be explicit that the UserName/ is part of the page name, the "Add MySource" page should present the 'UserName/' in a non-editable field, immediately followed by the editable field to enter the rest of the page name into.
  3. When I'm editing a Person or Family page, and adding a MySource source, the auto-completion and the chooser widget should both allow me to type one of my own MySource pages without having to type the TomChatt/ part.
Would that be closer to what people expected? --TomChatt 19:13, 26 January 2008 (EST)
I'm not going to get into the debate over the proper use of MySource, since I don't get it myself, but one comment on Tom's proposal: is it useful for other people to be able to clean up someone's gedcom sources? e.g. I find some of my line uploaded by User JohnDoe, and one of his sources is JohnDoe/Indiana Deaths 1882-1920. If I can edit that MySource page to point to the actual source page for Indiana Deaths 1882-1920, then that will fix every instance in his gedcom and help everyone looking at it -- I'd kind of like to keep that ability.--Amelia.Gerlicher 20:28, 26 January 2008 (EST)
I'm not going to get into the debate of the proper use of MySource, either, but if what you saw was the person's GEDCOM file, then that is your source, not the Indiana Deaths 1882-1920. JohnDoe might have used Indiana Deaths 1882-1920, but if you didn't use it, you shouldn't cite it. Think of it this way: what if JohnDoe read it wrong or transcribed it wrong? Do you want your sources and notes to make it look like you examined Indiana Deaths when what you looked at was JohnDoe's GEDCOM? If he got it wrong and later your data isn't adding up, you'll need that prompt of "Oh, maybe I should look at Indiana Deaths myself." Showing your source as JohnDoe's GEDCOM file (if that's what you used) will help you later when you have questions about your research. It's been a long day, so if I misunderstood what you meant, just ignore what I just said :-) --Ajcrow 21:33, 26 January 2008 (EST)
I think we're talking about different things. I was responding to Tom's idea that nobody else should be able to edit a MySource:UserName page. My point was that, say John Doe cited Indiana Deaths. The link on the person pages where John Doe cited Indiana Deaths should go to the Source:Indiana deaths page, and not to the JohnDoe/Indiana Deaths page, and it would be nice if I the nice stranger could fix that for everyone. And not to get too off topic, but what is displayed as the source on a WeRelate source page is not the same as "my" source for my files. I should cite WeRelate citing Indiana deaths, but a WeRelate page simply can't keep track of where each individual person saw each bit of information. Instead, it should strive to indicate places where it can be found, preferably the few most reliable, reproducible ones like Indiana deaths and not John Doe's gedcom. --Amelia.Gerlicher 10:23, 27 January 2008 (EST)

Ok, so it's a given that MySources are the "source" of a lot of confusion. Let's re-evaluate how Source's and MySources can be used so we can make what we have fit the needs better with less confusion. Here are three possible uses I've come up with. Perhaps there are more.

  1. Traditional source reference. Transcription of a small relevant portion of the source, if any, goes into the "Text" field of the source citation on the Person/Family page.
  2. Source reference that includes a substantial portion of transcribed text -- longer than would conveniently fit into the "Text" field of a source citation.
  3. Sources that are created automatically from a GEDCOM upload. To make GEDCOM uploads easy, these sources need to start with the user's name, although they could possibly be created as Source's instead of MySource's.

Do Source pages as they currently stand work well for (1) above?

It seems like either the MySource or Source namespace could work for (3), so long as they start with the user's name. Putting GEDCOM-uploaded sources into the Source namespace will involve a fair amount of work, but if it eliminates confusion, then it's worth it. Alternatively, we could require that all MySource pages start with a user name, or even disallow the creation of MySource pages except during GEDCOM uploads and ask people to create Source pages instead. And as Tom suggests, we could

  • keep others from editing MySource pages that don't start with their user name, although my preference would be to allow edits unless it turns into an issue.
  • The system could automatically prepend your user name when you tried to create a new MySource. It can't do that if you create a MySource link an article and then click on the red link to create the page, but it could give you an error message in that case telling you how to fix your link title.
  • The auto-completion widget and chooser widget could automatically prepend your user name.

It seems like MySource:Certificate of Conformity, 13 May 1635 is an example of (2). Could this be created as a regular Source page instead, with the partial transcription in the text of the Source page? Alternatively, we could allow people to create "subpages" under Source pages: Each subpage would be a separate page that could contain a partial transcription of the Source. The title of a Source subpage would begin with the title of the Source page, followed by a "/", followed by something to describe the particular transcription. For example: "Source:Indiana Deaths 1882-1920/Baxter surname" or "Source:Freeman, Laura. Founders of New England: Records of Ships Passenger Lists/Certificate of Conformity, 13 May 1635".--Dallan 19:19, 28 January 2008 (EST)

If I had my druthers, I'd rather that the concept of "Source" be reserved for bibliographic citations.---e.g., Source:Thwaites, 1902. If there's a need to store data in a systematic way (say census images), I'd druther it go into some other namespace where it wouldn't be confused with a bibliographic citation. Thus, while I wouldn't argue that MySource:Certificate of Conformity, 13 May 1635 doesn't really match up with Dallan's concept of "MySource", its not something I'd like to have migrated into "Source" namespace.

I should also add that I rather like Dallan's concept of "MySource" namespace, as a dumping ground for what are usually useless citations of sources. Most of those references such as "Mary Smith's Family GEDCOM", are virtually useless for genealogy. Someone might have actually gotten the information from such a source, but odds are the GEDCOM cited contains no useful reference to the underlying sources of information. Thus, citing it has no practical value for purposes of references verification and validation. Now, if it actually cites an original source (for example if it points to "Draper MSC QQ nn23" or some such, I might cite the document being pointed to includeing the "fide" designation to show I'm taking this on faith until I can get to the original. But, Since I consider most of those "references" as useless in the first place, not worth citing, and so very fit for being placed in "MySource/UserName". My personal use of "MySource" is a little different from that though, and I'd have no trouble placeing my own "MySource" articles into some other namespace---just not into Source. Bill 21:22, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Dallan-- With #3 above ("Sources that are created automatically from a GEDCOM upload. To make GEDCOM uploads easy, these sources need to start with the user's name, although they could possibly be created as Source's instead of MySource's."), are you referring to those sources in our own GEDCOM files? In other words, if I have as a source in my GEDCOM upload page 234 of Hervey Scott's History of Fairfield County, Ohio, it would upload as a MySource with my name at the start? I have no problem with that, especially if you make it so that MySources cannot be edited by others. Here's why I don't think others should edit MySources -- what if they don't really know what source I'm referring to? What if they assume I'm referring to the transcription recently published by the Fairfield County Chapter, OGS, when I'm actually referring to the original book? (Yes, one could argue that my citation should be clear, but hey, people make mistakes.) I would rather see the sources from GEDCOMs default as MySources. The user can always change them later if they want.

As far as the end result -- the ancestor's page -- I don't think it really matters if it stays a MySource. The person visiting the page still sees the source, which allows them to evaluate how much reliability they want to place on the accuracy of the statement. In the end, that's what a source is for. --Ajcrow 07:52, 29 January 2008 (EST)

Yes, I'm referring to the sources in your own GEDCOM being created as MySource pages whose titles start with your name. People and families in your GEDCOM would result in Person and Family pages.--Dallan 13:27, 29 January 2008 (EST)

Flowing images and text [28 January 2008]

Sort of a wiki-newbie question. I've seen how to get images embedded in text, but I havn't seen how to flow the text around the image. Essentially, I want to flow multiple lines of text around the edge of an image, the way it is done for a primary image. Can someone point me to an example? Thanks!--Jrm03063 15:40, 19 January 2008 (EST)

Add "|left" or "|right" to the end of the image link. For example, [[Image:Imagename.jpg|200px|left]].--Dallan 15:37, 21 January 2008 (EST)

To amplify on this, its difficult to get text to actually flow around an image, as you can do with word processors, like word. Possibly there's an HTML function to do that, but for the most part, you are dealing with workarounds. Dallan's suggestion of adding "left", "right", will work of course, but the text won't actually flow around the image. Also, I find that an its a bit difficult to get the text to display exactly where you want it to. Often, particularly with large images, the image ends up being shown at the bottom of the page, or in another location not closely associated with the text. In the past I've used "div's" to force text and images where I wanted them to appear. That works, but requires considerable effort, as div constructs seem to have a life of their own, and finding a way to make it do what you want is sometimes hard to accomplish. Perhaps more importantly, div constructions tend to create problems for the underlying WikiMedia, and results are sometimes not at all what you want.

To get around this, I've started using tables to force text into alignment with images. Still working on this, and it doesn't really solve your "flow" question either, but it gives better control of where the text appears in relationship to the image. If you use "border=0", in the <Table border=0> you won't be able to tell that its even a table. Looks just like text embedded adjacent to the image. For example:

Image:SWP Geolog Provinces.gif Southwestern Virginia lies within three main geologic provinces: The Ridge and Valley, The Appalachian Plateau, The Great Valley, and (barely) the Blue Ridge. These provinces extend well beyond Southwestern Virginia, but where ever found, originated during the same geological processes, and contain the same essential rock types, and have similar land forms. The differences between these provinces presented our ancestors with distinctly different opportunities and limitations. Different landforms presented them with different opportunities as to what they could do with any given parcel.

Differences in underlying bedrock controlled, in part, the type of natural vegetation that they would have access to, as well as how well different crops would fair on their land. Where ever they settled, the land beneath their feet exerted great control on their future life.

If what you want is for the text to appear on both sides of the image, you have to get a bit trickier, and I don't think it works as well:

Southwestern Virginia lies within three main geologic provinces: The Ridge and Valley, The Appalachian Plateau, The Great Valley, and (barely) the Blue Ridge. These provinces extend well beyond Southwestern Virginia, but where ever found, originated during the same geological processes, and contain the same essential rock types, and have similar land forms.
The differences between these provinces presented our ancestors with distinctly different opportunities and limitations. Different landforms presented them with different opportunities as to what they could do with any given parcel. Differences in underlying bedrock controlled, in part, the type of natural vegetation that they would have access to, as well as how well different crops would fair on their land. Where ever they settled, the land beneath their feet exerted great control on their future life.

Bill 10:44, 25 January 2008 (EST)

You're right that HTML (and therefore wiki) markup doesn't let you do as much with wrapping text around images as you can with Word. Using tables is about the best you can do unless you want to get into div's and span's and styles.--Dallan 20:05, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Name field and notes [28 January 2008]

Sometimes I would like to add a note to elaborate on the name of a person. May one cite N1 in the Name source field? --Beth 19:37, 19 January 2008 (EST)

Rather than do this, let me add Note as another field for the name. I'll try to get this in by the end of the week. In the meantime, you can cite N1 in the name Source field, but it won't get exported correctly when we add GEDCOM export.--Dallan 15:37, 21 January 2008 (EST)

That would be great. Thanks Dallan. --Beth 09:43, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Wish List [21 January 2008]

I just added info to placename pages Calhoun County, West Virginia and West Virginia. I started from "For a list of namespaces and the types of pages they contain, click here." From there I managed to get to the pages I wanted to edit, but I would very much like to have been able to click on a well done 'example' state or county page, so I could see what others have done or how it should be laid out. Those example pages could be put as a link in the tutorial and/or FAQ for creating/editing placename pages. For me, examples would be very helpful.--Janiejac 21:32, 19 January 2008 (EST)

Good point. We have example pages for Person and Family pages, but not for Place or Source pages. I'll list some example pages tonight.--Dallan 15:37, 21 January 2008 (EST)

Dates and date formats [23 January 2008]

As I understand it, the generally preferred format for genealogical dates is <ddd> <mon> <yyy>, where "<mon>" is an abbreviated form like "Jan", "Feb", "Mar", etc., while <ddd> and <yyy> are ordinary integers. Standardizing date format is pretty important for future date-sorting functionality, both in werelate and in downloaded GEDCOMs.

I've noticed is that there doesn't appear to be an obvious standard for a period of time, rather than an instant. I often find myself documenting residence as a series of instants in time, attached to census records. However, if you have better information, you may know with certainty that someone lived at a particular place from time A to time B. Of course I can do something ad hoc, say <date>..<date>, or <date>-<date>, but observing a standard is important for the reasons already mentioned. A related issue, we often have information on when a person died and their age at time of death. Converting that information to <birth> and <death> dates which we enter manually isn't a horrible crime, but it removes us from the source information in a way that I find uncomfortable. It would be much nicer if we had a standard format for date that also allowed for <date> ae <duration>. The latter form could be converted to birth-death dates for purposes that require such (gedcom download, various display forms), but the page could be generated from the more positive source information. Finally, and I know very little about this, I understand that there was a different start year date than Jan 1 from the early 1700s back. Having a custom for this sort of information would probably be smart as well.

So in summary, do we have customs for date-period specifications? Do we have customs for old/new form dates? If not, what should they be, in order to allow for both software flexibility and clarity of user experience/page design?

Thanks!--Jrm03063 11:40, 20 January 2008 (EST)

We don't have a standard for date ranges or Julian/Gregorian dates. I'd be happy if someone who knew more than I about any existing standards for writing date ranges and Julian/Gregorian dates were to update the help pages with some style guidelines. Alternatively, list them here and we'll update the help pages.--Dallan 15:37, 21 January 2008 (EST)

I would love to hear from anyone w/knowledge on this. But there's a technical question in there - if we have conventions for some types of date ranges - For example, "8 Aug 1897, ae 72 y 8 m 4d" or "9 Sep 1897, shortly after birth", is it reasonable to expect that a date of birth or date could be extracted and presented on a formatted page, or in a gedcom (which probably doesn't support a date range).--Jrm03063 16:08, 21 January 2008 (EST)

Most genealogy programs allow you to put whatever text you want into the date field. WeRelate does as well, and displays (and will export) the date as you entered it. For the cases where we need to extract a specific date from the text (e.g., for sorting) we use a date parser that looks for a 4-digit year, month, and day number in the text. I'll change it to use the first year, month, and day number it finds, so it will handle date ranges by using the start date.

By the way, I just checked, and according to the GEDCOM standard date ranges are entered as "BET start date AND end date".--Dallan 11:52, 22 January 2008 (EST)

Ok, well this is progress. Does GEDCOM directly understand DOD with elapsed life span? And even if GEDCOM doesn't, would it be all that hard for page reporting to be smart enough such that if there's no DOB event or date, but there is a DOD with some sort of duration syntax suffix, could that infer the DOB for reporting purposes?--Jrm03063 12:36, 22 January 2008 (EST)

It's possible to fill in the DOB automatically from a DOD and an age, but I haven't heard about a standard for adding a duration to a date. I think most people fill in the DOB themselves, with something like "ABT year". Doing this automatically seems kind of low-priority.--Dallan 21:04, 22 January 2008 (EST)

I guess I agree on priority, but it would be sorta slick.

Maybe the important thing to do is try to adopt a set of standards which allow that sort of thing, when time permits?--Jrm03063 10:30, 23 January 2008 (EST)

I'm all for that. Anyone want to take a stab at a standard format for including an age in the death/burial date field?--Dallan 16:08, 24 January 2008 (EST)

Zotero [28 January 2008]

Is anyone using Zotero? It's a browser plug-in (FireFox only unfortunately) designed to help people manage their research sources. If people like using it, we might be able to integrate it with WeRelate.--Dallan 16:04, 21 January 2008 (EST)

I just downloaded Zotero but have not had a chance to use it. From the intro videos and the help pages it looks like a very useful addition to FireFox. The mere fact that I can use it during my research to keep it all categorized and right in front of me, makes it a winner for me. I think it would be a useful addition to WeRelate. Besides, the Zotero price is certainly right. Walt 06:08, 26 January 2008 (EST)

I exclusively use firefox so it is good that it works with that! haha (well that is a white lie, as I use IE7 to view Ancestry pages, as I have problems with census page viewing firefox). But I did download your program and worked with it a bit. I noticed it does not work with every website though. Such as at WeRelate, their little icon does not appear to be able to save a page. I sure love the videos showing how to use it! There needs to be some of those to show folks how to use WeRelate!! That would sure be helpful! --Msscarlet1957 07:53, 26 January 2008 (EST)

If enough people like Zotero, I thought I would integrate it with WeRelate later this year. We do have a couple of videos, but Zotero's approach, with a large number of short videos covering specific topics is something I hadn't considered before.--Dallan 23:34, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Person/Family duplication search? [23 January 2008]

I spent last night with the early settlers of Dover, NH. It was highly entertaining, but it also showed me something like three or four lines that led more or less to the same place with generally similar ancestry. I think I got through the merge alright, but it was a real challenge for my microscopic attention span. I actually had to use pen and paper and take notes! Anyway, I was wondering what the status is for getting some preliminary tools that simply identify possible duplication? I know there's a lot of thought going in to the question of handling an automatic merge, but a feature that gives an orderly list of candidate duplicates for a given person or family could help immediately - without any of the other features.

Thanks!--Jrm03063 10:37, 23 January 2008 (EST)

I have to re-do search, then improve the place matcher (which will rely upon the new search functionality), then write a function to match people+families (which will take advantage of better place matching), then do GEDCOM re-upload/synchronization (which will rely upon person+family matching), and finally merging in general. We could have a first stab at a "match" function that would show a rank-ordered list of possible matches ready sometime in February. It won't be perfect, but it will be something. Merging is still going to be difficult though (I have to take notes too!) until we get the semi-automated merging ready around May.--Dallan 16:08, 24 January 2008 (EST)

Search Question Wish List [30 January 2008]

I need a quick way of finding articles about specific persons. More particularly, I need to be able to generate a list of all articles of the form Person:First Last.

For example, I'd like to be able to look at a listing for Person:William Russell, and get a list ordered

Person:William Russell (1)
Person:William Russell (2)
Person:WIlliam Russell (3)
Person:William Russell (N)

Currently, if you use the search engine and specify a particular person you will "sort of" get such a list, but it will include articles where the person's name is merely mentioned, rather than articles about the person.

The reason I'd like to have this feature is because I want to take advantage of any existing articles about a particular person. If I find such an article, I'd rather work collaboratively with the first author, rather than create something new.

Also, in exploring the above example I created the following list:

Person:William Russell (1)
Person:William Russell (2)
Person:William Russell (3)
Person:William Russell (4)
Person:William Russell (5)
Person:William Russell (6)
Person:William Russell (7)
Person:William Russell (8)
Person:William Russell (9)
Person:William Russell (10)
Person:William Russell (11)
Person:William Russell (12)
Person:William Russell (13)
Person:William Russell (14)
Person:William Russell (15)
Person:William Russell (16)
Person:William Russell (17)
Person:William Russell (18)
Person:William Russell (19)
Person:William Russell (20)
Person:William Russell (21)
Person:William Russell (22)
Person:William Russell (23)
Person:William Russell (24)
Person:William Russell (25)
Person:William Russell (26)
Person:William Russell (27)
Person:William Russell (28)
Person:William Russell (29)
Person:William Russell (30)

As you can see some of these articles are currently empty. What you can't see is that of the 30 articles shown, there are in fact only a few "unique" articles, either referring to different people of the same name, or to the same person by different authors, etc The rest (probably half) seem to be duplicates by the same author. I suspect these are artifacts of a GEDCOM dump, or something of that sort.

Ultimately, what I'd like to be able to generate is a list that shows basic data about the individual, similar to what Ancestry does (but a bit more complete.

I'd like the list to show DOB, POB, DOD, POD, Spouse, Father, Mother...

This would allow me to scan a list looking for likely matchups with the person I'm interested in.

I imagine there's no practial way to do this now, but perhaps in the future?--Bill 16:52, 24 January 2008 (EST)

Sounds like a great item for the wish list! I hope they will consider doing this! --Janiejac 00:12, 27 January 2008 (EST)

If you click on "People" in the "Wiki" menu and enter the name of the person you're looking for in the box under the "Browse People" heading, you'll get a list of all pages with that name. But I think what you're asking for is a search function that behaves more like Ancestry's and shows DOB, POB, etc. in the search results. This is in the works and should be ready next month.--Dallan 23:34, 28 January 2008 (EST)

I hadn't checked the browse function---and yes, that does solve the main problem (though its not what I'd normally think of as "browsing"). But also "yes", what I'm really looking forward to is being able to search and compare different choices for a possible match similar to what Ancestry has,--- but they don't carry it far enough. They need to add DOD's as well as well as POB, POD, and POM.---though all that would probably overload the display----But even a basic tabulation such as Ancestry's would be an immense help---not just for me, but for many, I'm sure. Thanks!.) Bill 11:24, 30 January 2008 (EST)

"Living" born after 25 Jan 1898 [28 January 2008]

Question about the "living". What if I wish to upload a 1900 census page and someone on this page is born after the above date. Is it okay? The "living" person would not be entered in the family tree, just enumerated in the census and therefore included in the census image upload.

--Beth 19:52, 25 January 2008 (EST)

Census images up through 1930 are already publicly available on Ancestry and elsewhere so it should be ok to display them here as well.--Dallan 23:34, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Using another person's computer to access WeRelate [28 January 2008]

Last Monday I was visiting a friend and using their computer to enter data on WeRelate; she was still asleep.

I used her computer as a guest; did not know the password. When WeRelate asked if it could download to her computer to help with caching I said no; probably did not have permission anyway.

Question, if I am on someone's else computer and not a guest and say yes to the download; will this remain on their computer?

--Beth 20:07, 25 January 2008 (EST)

That sounds like more of a local browser behavior than an explicit "werelate" behavior. In any event, since everything you put on werelate is public anyway, who cares? Any sort of cache would be to temporary space that would get recycled in the normal course of events (or at least, the normal course of system maintenance).--Jrm03063 23:42, 25 January 2008 (EST)

Okay I guess you are stating the the file would be in the temp folder and subsequently deleted by the user when performing routine maintenance. --Beth 08:40, 26 January 2008 (EST)

If you're talking about the Family Tree Explorer, it does make use of a disk cache that is available to Adobe Flash programs that is separate from the browser cache. If you say yes to the download, it will remain on their computer until they clear out their Flash cache. The cache is usually not very large, and I notice that IE7 has a checkbox asking whether you want to clear caches of external programs when you delete its cache that may clear the Flash cache, but if you want to be extra careful, you can go ahead and say no to the download.--Dallan 23:34, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Person page History reversion back to previous page [28 January 2008]


One of the great things about WeRelate is that one can revert back to previous page if incorrect data is entered. But I don't know how to do that. How do I revert back to the previous entry? --Beth 08:38, 26 January 2008 (EST)

Click on the History link, then on the version of the page you want to revert to, then on the Edit link while you're viewing the old version. You'll get a warning about editing an old revision. Then just save the page. You've now reverted it back to that version. (This would be a good case for a short video tutorial.)--Dallan 23:34, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Batch editing text [28 January 2008]

I am a "The Master Genealogist" (TMG) user. One of the key features in TMG is sentence templates. TMG reports merge events into sentence templates and generates nicely written text. I want to populate my user templates with the data from these reports.

I could do this person by person, cutting and pasting, but I thought of a potentially better way, so I would like to make first a request and then a series of wish list suggestions.


Allow for batch updates in the following fields

  1. Person: Personal history
  2. Place: Text
  3. (My)Source: Text
  4. Image: Text

The input batch file could take the form
Person:Person Name (1)
Text to be entered into the Personal History field
<end tag>
Place:Place Name
Text to be entered into the Text field
<end tag>
Source:Source Name
Text to be entered into the Text field
<end tag>
Image:Image file name
Text to be entered into the Text field
<end tag>

Note that I stop short of asking for full editing of all fields. In a sense that it what the GEDCOM file upload does. Limiting the ability to batch load text simplifies things while still giving you power to edit many things at once.

Issues to consider include:

  • Any good writeup will have various Person, Place, etc. names embedded in it so you need some way to keep that straight. I threw the <end tag> idea without much thought, as one way that might help.
  • If this works really well, folks may retain a large file, the repeatedly edit a small part of it and re-upload. You'll have lots of spurious updates to pages that weren't really changed. Perhaps you don't care, perhaps the wiki tool is smart about that already or gives you a way to control it?


To assist me in entering my text data in one large pass, please write a script that will execute the idea on a file I later provide (although it will take me a while to generate the file).

If this is possible I thank you in advance multiplied by at least 500-600 times for the number of edits you would simplify, although probably several thousands of times if its easy enough. I have a lot of data I'd like to upload and the easier it is to provide, the more likely it will find its way onto the site.

Wish List Suggestions

  1. Upgrade the script to a formal tool accessible by all users. The tool will take any given file and apply the batch updates
  2. Complete the loop. Devise a way to dump data to a file that someone can edit and the upload. Various ways of dumping data include:
  • Use the FTE tool to select part or all of a GEDCOM File as a means of identifying pages
  • Maintain a separate list of (Person, Place, Source) pages you are interested in and dump the pages referenced in the list to a file name selected by the user (in the proper format for uploading of course!)
  • Search results
  • Some combination of the above, perhaps using search results or the FTE tool to build the separate file listing the pages. You can then edit the separate file and eventually use it to control the dump

--Srblac 15:12, 27 January 2008 (EST)

I'm not quite understanding this, perhaps because I haven't had much experience with TMG. Are you asking to support importing and exporting another file format in addition to GEDCOM? It would help me to understand if you could provide a short example.--Dallan 23:34, 28 January 2008 (EST)

I created an article Sample TMG Ahnentafel that contains a standard TMG report in the first section and a quick idea of that file reformatted for batch editing. I limited the TMG report to 3 generations for brevity. It could have contained my entire ancestry. I realize that any notes that were in my GEDCOM file were uploaded into the person page (see Person:James Cooper (40) for example). However, the TMG report produces text for all events, not just notes. I also realize my quick batch editing file format is inadequate. I put in breaks for wiki readability, you may or may not need them. A more complex issue would be if you put wiki formatting into the batch edit file. The quick batch edit file format separates and identifies the page to be edited with the wiki page name. Any wiki formatted page links in the text would confuse things. This would have to be dealt with in some manner.
--Srblac 21:55, 29 January 2008 (EST)


I thought quite a bit more on this and bottom line - I withdraw the suggestion. In case it comes up again I'll give my reasoning:

  1. As I was creating the sample page (Sample TMG Ahnentafel) I needed to check out the people pages to ensure I had the right person e.g. Jane Doe (23) vs Jane Doe (24). While I was there I could cut and paste my data into the page as easily as I could cut and paste the person name into a batch edit file. I really wasn't saving any work.
  2. Messing up the person number will overwrite the wrong page. That seems like a very bad side-effect.
  3. When you are at a page you have the "Page Preview" tool to show you how your edit turned out. Batch editing is anonymous and you can't tell if you made mistakes.
  4. Support for importing and exporting another file format would be an extra burden of training people, help pages, fixing errors, etc. never mind the work of creating the new tools.
  5. There are still the formatting issues I mentioned earlier: embedding wiki text and making clear where the text starts and ends.

--Srblac 21:03, 30 January 2008 (EST)

Gedcoms newly uploaded and new users' surname research list [16 March 2008]

Good morning,

I am interested in reviewing gedcoms and new users' surnames on a weekly basis. Is there a method in place for me to access this information? I believe that posting a weekly list of the new gedcom uploads on a weekly basis on the home page or a link to such a list would be advantageous. --Beth 09:15, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Part of the new search function that will be implemented next month will be sorting search results by date last modified (and including the last modification date on each search result) so that pages added/edited recently will appear at the top of the list. Would that satisfy your need? It wouldn't be difficult to post a list of all GEDCOM's uploaded on a weekly basis, but you'd then have to list all of the pages in each GEDCOM to see if they had something of interest, so it seems that sorting search results would be easier.--Dallan 23:34, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Hi Dallan; for sure listing all of the pages of a gedcom would not work well. The improved search function is a great idea. Thanks. --Beth 06:54, 2 February 2008 (EST)

Will the sorting order be an option? The last modified page is not necessarily going to be the "best" page (unless we get a *lot* better about merging), and in fact might be the one that, as a matter of best practices, we least want people flocking to. I do see the need to be able to find those pages (to merge them, for example), but last modified doesn't strike me as the most useful sort if I'm actually looking for people. And it's particularly unhelpful if trumps relevance such that you're getting parent or child pages before the ones with the actual title being searched for.--Amelia.Gerlicher 19:44, 1 March 2008 (EST)

I'll second that suggestion. It sounds like what we will be getting will be something akin to what Ancestry provides when you search for specific persons in their family tress---a list of entries for that name, plus DOB, POB, parents, spouse---Which would be really great---but one of the things I've always thought about Ancestry's listing is that it would sure be handy to be able to sort that list by the various fields---ie, instead of alphabetical order, order by DOB. Not needed when you only have a few dozen listings---but when you get several thousand listings (not uncommon), it's difficult to wade through the irrelevant. Bill 20:20, 1 March 2008 (EST)

I'm thinking there will be two types of searches. The first is a traditional search in which the pages returned must match all of the search criteria you enter. The new search function will support real field-based search so that if you search for a given name and a surname you'll get back only pages for people with that given name and surname -- and not pages where the given name and surname happen to appear next to each other on the page. In this type of search, relevancy doesn't really apply since every search result is 100% relevant. Several people have asked for an easy way to discover the new pages that match their searches, so I thought I would sort these search results by last-modified date to make it easy to find new pages that match the searched-for fields.

The second type of search is really match. In this case the results would be ordered by relevancy, so pages that match more of your search criteria are returned before pages that match fewer search criteria. I'm thinking that we will support matching for people pages and family pages. (We'll also support matching for sources to make it easier to find relevant source pages.)

There's a reason Ancestry doesn't allow you to sort search results by any field. It's costly in terms of computer time when you have a lot of search results (precisely when you'd want it most). If you limit the sort options to just one or two fields it's not too bad, but if you allow sorting on any field it can slow down all searches. I'd like to see how sorting by either last-modified date (for search) or relevancy (for match) works first, before attempting to support a broader set of sort criteria.

--Dallan 00:59, 4 March 2008 (EST)

Thanks Dallan. Now that you explain it I understand the limitation. Always wondered why Ancestry didn't do the obvious. Now I guess I know. Too bad. The real reason something like this is needed because there's so much variability in the data that's provided by Ancestry end users. Not at all uncommon to have different entries using different parents or different DOB's, etc. When you yourself have a good reason to believe that a certain DOB (for example) is the right one, it would be helpful to be able to group the other search entries---rather than casting them out. Good information may underlie those "wrong" entries, so it would be good to be able to isolate them for closer examination. Would make it easier to see the prevailing patterns in the data, looking for clues as to where people might be going right or wrong---I do that systematically on Ancestry from time to time when I'm starting out a line---in part just to see what mot people think, as to opposed to what's likely to be correct. But that's probably an application that most folks would not really make use of, so since its CPU consumptive, I guess I will have to enjoy just being able to cast out the "bad" data. That alone, is a very good thing. Bill 08:10, 4 March 2008 (EST)

I'd like to be able to pull up a listing of all surnames, photos, articles, etc so that I could browse and visit what ever seems interesting without starting out with some sort of search word.--Sheri 10:38, 15 March 2008 (EDT)

You can do this by clicking on "My Relate", then on "Browse Pages". By default you start out browsing your own pages, but you can change this by clicking on "All pages". Is that what you're looking to do?--Dallan 00:05, 17 March 2008 (EDT)

Making a Living Person the Root of a Tree? [1 March 2008]

I would like to have my family and my wife's family be able to see their ancestors/relatives on WeRelate, and they will naturally want to see the "side" of the family that interests them most. To do this properly, it would be ideal for me to have my son be the root of my tree, and have that be the place where FTE starts so that everyone can pick from there which tree to browse.

But I notice in the tutorials, and it appears on the various pages that there is no way to even see who the children are when they are living. I can't in fact, even find my son.

Can anyone help me with this one?


Jeff--Jbernard 10:53, 29 February 2008 (EST)

It's not encouraged, but you can create pages for living people. In this case I can see that it would be useful. You can't enter given names or events on those pages (so we don't have to worry about privacy violations). But you can link living people to family pages, they can be added to your tree, etc. The convention is to title these pages "Living Surname". So a page for a living John Smith would be titled "Living Smith". And you would leave this page pretty much empty except to fill in the gender and links to family pages.--Dallan 19:37, 1 March 2008 (EST)

Junk Genealogy [10 April 2008]

moved to WeRelate talk:Junk Genealogy

Tutorials - first impressions and suggestions [5 February 2008]

I've just watched the WeRelate Tour and Getting Started videos and wanted to make the following comments: As I'm studying along with the speaker, it is confusing to me that Rasmime Nielson does not have the same last name of her father (or her husband). Perhaps that is something unique to her Danish heritage but maybe someone more conventional should be used for a tutorial. Or is this an error? This raises questions in the viewer's mind that is not answered.

When I got to the Getting Started video I was following along pretty well until the family page for Franklin Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor was created. Eleanor's maiden name was not used; the name of the family page was 'Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt'. Is it to be that the family pages do not use the maiden name?? So I hoped the next screen would explain that; but no, it jumped back to Rasmine's page again. I would hope you'd pick one person and their family and follow through with them instead of jumping from one family to another as this is disconcerting. So I still don't know from either video how the maiden name is supposed to be handled.--Janiejac 16:32, 29 January 2008 (EST)

As for Eleanor Roosevelt - I believe Roosevelt is her maiden name --Jlchaff 13:06, 30 January 2008 (EST)

Sorry, I didn't know that! But that just illustrates the problem of using families with unusual circumstances in the tutorials. If they want to illustrate how to handle unusual info, then they should comment to that effect. Otherwise, it raises questions instead of answering them.--Janiejac 16:48, 30 January 2008 (EST)

Thanks for the comments. Solveig is in the middle of re-doing the tutorials; she's using people that are more conventional this time.--Dallan 23:33, 30 January 2008 (EST)

Thank you, thank you! As a long-time member of AARP, I seem to need all the help I can get!--Janiejac 01:09, 31 January 2008 (EST)

Along these lines, I've started experimenting with a new way to do tutorials: short 2-5 minute movies on specific topics. Here's an example. What do people think? Do you like this format as good as or better than the current slide-based tutorials here and help? If the movie format is easy enough to follow, movie-based tutorials could be created on a number of specific topics (e.g., adding a person page, adding a family page, uploading an image, annotating an image) quite readily. The movie-based tutorials are much faster to create than the slide-based ones.--Dallan 23:58, 31 January 2008 (EST)

The Movie is GREAT! and I learned a LOT from it, in fact I knew nothing about any of it before seeing the new tutorial movie, so I am excited to learn and check out what I learned from it. I bookmarked the page, so I hope you do not move it! I love to actually see the cursor move and the screens change, showing exactly how it works.. as it works.. Very helpful to me. I have such a hard time finding just the right "help" page to show just the right thing I am trying to do at any given visit here. I try keeping bookmarks of each helpful page as I do "finally" find them! --Msscarlet1957 00:13, 1 February 2008 (EST)

Rather than bookmark that earlier URL (which I've removed from the Watercooler), please bookmark: Help:Pedigree maps video. Then if the video is ever changed your bookmark will still work.--Dallan 13:11, 1 February 2008 (EST)

Dallan -- I clicked on the link in your second post and got a blank page. There was only the WeRelate banner and menu across the top and the title of the page. No content. --Ajcrow 17:19, 1 February 2008 (EST)

Yes, sorry about that. I've fixed it now.--Dallan 19:56, 4 February 2008 (EST)

Thanks, Dallan. I just watched the video and I think it is much easier to follow than the slide-by-slide tutorials. I hope more are to follow! --Ajcrow 20:22, 4 February 2008 (EST)

Use of Simile for timelines is awesome - taking it a little further [2 February 2008]

Here is my suggestion. I love the timelines and exhibits that are available to us. This may already be one you have on your list but here it is anyway. I would like to be able to detail out a timeline of events for an individual (or even a group of individuals somehow). So I could see when they were born and moved and started school, etc.. Thanks for all the wonderful tools.

No signature shown above. For those interested, Go here. Wikia has similar capabilities, but implementing/creating a timeline there is something of a challenge. I'd be interested in seeing someone apply this as an example on this site. Perhaps the anonymous person above can create an example on this site for the rest of us to see how it would work. However, I'm not sure this would work here. Even though Simile is being presented on a wiki, the starting point is creating a bit of HTML code that looks like

<script src="http://simile.mit.edu/timeline/api/timeline-api.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

With more of the same in subsequent steps. Go HERE to see more of the steps involved]. Not sure that's something that would work here without operator enablement. Bill 07:50, 31 January 2008 (EST)

We've just integrated Simile-based maps and timelines into WeRelate. This tutorial shows how it works. You can see an example page here.

I'll add a timeline view showing each event to the todo list, although search and match+merge need to come first. Anyone who wants to take this project on is welcome; it shouldn't require much programming.--Dallan 23:58, 31 January 2008 (EST)

After thinking about it more, the way things work now a timeline view showing each event for everyone in your pedigree would show different events for the same person on different lines in the timeline, and all events for the person would be labeled the same: just the person's name and no indication of the type of event. Showing all events for a person on the same line and labeling them to include the type of event would probably require extending Exhibit, Timeline, or both. (In case you're interested, you can read how I extended Exhibit to get Pedi-maps to work here).--Dallan 13:11, 1 February 2008 (EST)

Red exclamation points in FTE [4 February 2008]

According to the FTE help page the red exclamation points beside a person or family page means that a change has occurred and I should acknowledge the change, but I don't see where to do this. I thought a little icon used to show up near the top of the frame (beside the green + sign) but I can't seem to find it now. --Ronni 15:37, 2 February 2008 (EST)

Well, reading a little more on the FTE help page, it mentions a "changed pages" icon that I gather should be next to the "index icon." Clicking on it should show me all the pages that have undergone unacknowledged changes, but I don't see that icon either. Is there a newer version of the FTE that I don't have? --Ronni 15:43, 2 February 2008 (EST)

No, the problem is that the documentation is out of date. We used to track which pages in your tree had changes and then asked you to acknowledge those changes using the FTE, but this seemed to result in redundant work, since you'd been notified of the change already via email. So we removed the whole idea of changed pages and acknowledging changes in the FTE. But apparently the help files didn't get updated. I'll go through the help page and remove it.--Dallan 19:56, 4 February 2008 (EST)

renaming images [9 February 2008]

I know this was discussed last year some time but I am not finding it.

I have discovered that I have named a bunch of images something that is going to cause me problems in my searching. Do I have to delete all these images and start over (waaaahhhh) to fix it or is there an easier way to rename images.

I realize that fixing things is sometimes part of the learning curve but this will be a lot of work to pull and recaption and if there is some easier way to do this now I want to ask! Anne--MizLiv 12:27, 7 February 2008 (EST)

Unfortunately, renaming images isn't supported by the MediaWiki software and in looking at it, it doesn't appear to be an easy thing to fix. I'll add it to my todo list; this is the second time it's been brought up. Instead of renaming them, have you thought about putting the images into different categories? Or adding keywords onto the image pages so that you could find them based upon searching the keywords? Once the new search feature is implemented in the next few weeks, you'll be able to limit search results to just pages on your watchlist.--Dallan 23:40, 9 February 2008 (EST)

Ad dissappearance [9 February 2008]

Notice the Ad space has dissappeared. While I can't honestly say I miss them, I actually did look at them from time to time. However, their presence (or absence) does affect the display of some pages. Is this something temporary? Bill 20:20, 7 February 2008 (EST)

Hi Bill, maybe you better call "Houston". Not only is the ad disappearing but all of the data on some pages, but not all of the pages presently. I did not notice this until your message. --Beth 20:32, 7 February 2008 (EST)

Bet its a problem with Google. Sometimes I see them, sometimes I don't, and there's a long pause while the system seems to be looking for something to display, but can't find. So I'm guessing this will fix itself more or less. Bill 20:40, 7 February 2008 (EST)

I took a look at a few pages and they seem to be ok, so it doesn't appear to be system-wide. I just made a change so that the page displays before waiting for the ads to load from Google. That should help. Please let me know if it doesn't. (As long as we're talking about ads, you'll start seeing ads from new sources - not just google - early next week.)--Dallan 23:40, 9 February 2008 (EST)

Family page naming conventions [13 February 2008]

I am not positive that this works in an optimal manner. This is up for discussion.

Example: I entered Person:Hannah Coker (3). I then edited that person's name and changed her name on the edit page to S. Hannah C. Coker. I then added a spouse. The title of the family page is Family:Tula Ross and S. Coker (1). My preference would be that the program uses the indexed person's name unless I rename the person; and that the family page is automatically renamed to reflect the change to that person. --Beth 20:46, 11 February 2008 (EST)

That seems reasonable; I'll add it to the ToDo list.--Dallan 11:44, 13 February 2008 (EST)
Thanks Dallan. --Beth 18:14, 13 February 2008 (EST)

Google search for tree on WeRelate-Top of results list - Neat [14 February 2008]

Good morning everyone,

This is neat!! I decided to find out if the tree that I am entering on WeRelate would show up in a Google search. I searched for "Robert Coker" genealogy web pages and User:Beth was #1 on the list. Y'all check out the trees you are entering and see if you get the same result. --Beth 10:28, 14 February 2008 (EST)

Pedimap and unknown birth place [16 February 2008]


It appears that a birth place of unknown appears on the map in Kansas. My preference is that if the location is not known; then it should not be on the map. --Beth 18:22, 15 February 2008 (EST)

Unknown and missing places shouldn't show up in the map. Instead they should should show up in the list of places that "cannot be plotted" just above the map. A place of "United States" would show up in Kansas though, since Kansas is the approximate center of the US.--Dallan 22:21, 16 February 2008 (EST)

More Newbie Questions and/or Suggestions [19 February 2008]

I went to Search, then Browse, hit on J, hit next until I came to Jackson and got a page that is only a stub. Wouldn't this be a good place to put a link to an example of how to fill out a Surname page?
I think I need a glosssary:
what is a Surname page; what goes on it?
how is it different from a Surname in Place page?
how is it different from a person page?
what are Categories? list a few so I can get an idea of them and link to example(s)
Just an simple alphabetical list of terms that are new to the average genealogist giving explanation and link(s) to examples
Maybe you could you put such a glossary under the Help tab?
This should make looking up something easier. --Janiejac 23:22, 16 February 2008 (EST)

I am thoroughly flummoxed by this site. I don't like being one who is always pointing out problems but you need to know where folks like me are going to have problems! I just walked through the text tutorial on how to create shared research pages and thought I had got it done. But it didn't happen. It showed up in red on my profile page so I clicked on it to create it and managed to create some other kind of page instead. Now it doesn't even show on my profile page. My frustration level is showing. . . I think I'd better wait until this is out of beta. --Janiejac 15:09, 17 February 2008 (EST)
Janie, you have 2 shared research pages on your profile page. They look fine to me. You have edited the first one; it shows up as a blue link. The second one has not been edited and has a red link. --Beth 15:18, 17 February 2008 (EST)
Thanks Beth, but the one I created got lost somewhere. There were 3 shared research pages; the third one I thought I filled in with info but it now is at the top of the 'list of categories' called Jackson in Alabama. That's not where I expected it to be! The only way I can find it is to go to dashboard and click on my contributions. And the layout doesn't look good. It really should be deleted. But I'm not going to risk deleting the whole page which includes that list. I keep coming back to this site but think I need to let this alone for a while. Maybe later something will click with me. --Janiejac 01:18, 19 February 2008 (EST)
Janie: As a Starting point head to Help Contents Page and the Help Tips Page. You can find most anything you want on the Help Contents page. Be sure to check out the new videos in the list of Tutorials at the top of the page. The Help Tips page is designed to be like a glossary with lots of information about WeRelate and links to relevant help pages or articles with more detailed explanation. If you don't find your answers there - Keep asking questions - there are lots of good people more than willing to help. I too, was overwhelmed by the site but now that I have become more comfortable with it I find it one of the best things I have found. --Walt 16:42, 17 February 2008 (EST)

Janie: I took the following from your initial comments above -
  • I went to Search, then Browse, hit on J, hit next until I came to Jackson and got a page that is only a stub. Wouldn't this be a good place to put a link to an example of how to fill out a Surname page? Name Page Help
  • I think I need a glossary: Tips (Glossary) for WeRelate
  • what is a Surname page; what goes on it? Name Page Help
  • how is it different from a Surname in Place page?
    • Surname in Place page - is the former name for Shared Research Pages
  • how is it different from a person page?
    • A Surname Page is only concerned with the "Surname" - these pages contain information pertaining to the Surname and NOT to any particular individual
    • A Person Page is a page created for a unique individual
      • A person page was created for each individual in your Family Tree if you uploaded a GEDCOM
      • Example: August Haas (My grandfather)
  • what are Categories? list a few so I can get an idea of them and link to example(s)
    • Categories are what make the WeRelate search operate properly - They serve to organize the pages
    • We as users will have very little interaction with Categories
    • Once you get more experience under your belt Categories will begin to gain more importance and make more sense
    • Go to the very bottom of most any page and hopefully you will see something like: Category:(with the category name here)
    • Click on the Category Name and it will take you to a listing of pages that are in that category
    • See Categories Help for more information
    • Be aware that right now Categories are not being implemented very well - it is one of the projects for this summer/fall and when done will vastly improve the searching capabilities of WeRelate
  • Just an simple alphabetical list of terms that are new to the average genealogist giving explanation and link(s) to examples
  • Maybe you could you put such a glossary under the Help tab? This should make looking up something easier. --Janiejac 23:22, 16 February 2008 (EST) Tips/Glossary for using WeRelate
    • Have suggestions for more content? Let me know
TIPS! That suggests 'hints' to me. I don't want hints or tips, I need 'definition of terms'.--Janiejac 01:18, 19 February 2008 (EST)
  • I am thoroughly flummoxed by this site. I don't like being one who is always pointing out problems but you need to know where folks like me are going to have problems! I just walked through the text tutorial on how to create shared research pages and thought I had got it done. But it didn't happen. It showed up in red on my profile page so I clicked on it to create it and managed to create some other kind of page instead. Now it doesn't even show on my profile page. My frustration level is showing. . . I think I'd better wait until this is out of beta. --Janiejac 15:09, 17 February 2008 (EST)
    • I feel your confusion, frustration and the feeling of being overwhelmed - I have been there and be assured we are working very hard to correct a lot of what is bothering you. We have almost completed our reworking of the Help Pages and are adding more and more Help videos to hopefully make it even easier.
  • Let me know if I can be of any assistance --Walt 18:26, 17 February 2008 (EST)
Thanks Walt for the offer, but I'm going to take a brief vacation from this. I'll come back later to see if I can grasp it better then. I like the concept of WeRelate, but I'm not ready for it; or it's not ready for me, really can't say which! --Janiejac 01:18, 19 February 2008 (EST)

Family Pages Tutorial [18 February 2008]

Sample for annotations. They seem to be missing.

See this sample annotated family picture--Beth 23:16, 11 February 2008 (EST)

I stil don't find any annotations, just boxes enclosing the heads of people in the photograph. Someone just give me another example to use. --Beth 20:48, 14 February 2008 (EST)--Beth 08:10, 18 February 2008 (EST)

Does anything happen when you move your mouse over the boxes? As your mouse moves over the boxes, you should see notes appear. It worked for me on the link you provided. --Ajcrow 08:21, 18 February 2008 (EST)

Oops! Well of course it works. Thanks.--Beth 08:45, 18 February 2008 (EST)

Research Tutorial and 2 different search pages for articles. [18 February 2008]

I am reviewing Help:Research tutorial. This link in the tutorial Articles search page is different from the actual screen accessed under Search>Articles.

We have 2 different search screens. The first referenced above has the search and browse function on the same page. The one accessed through the menu has the search and browse function on 2 pages.

Which page should the tutorial reference? --Beth 07:18, 14 February 2008 (EST)--Beth 08:12, 18 February 2008 (EST)

Beth the page that comes up for Articles search page is the one that would come up if you clicked on Wiki in the blue bar and then selected "Articles". Since the Wiki link will be deleted in the future, see Help Review article, the one referenced by "Search" and then "Articles" would be the correct one to use. --Walt 10:06, 18 February 2008 (EST)

LDS Events [21 February 2008]

Could we get a special label for LDS events? I'm not of that faith, and while I want to work in peace and harmony with everyone, when I eventually download GEDCOMs for reporting, I would probably choose to filter out LDS events. I'm happy for LDS events to be tagged to people and family pages as may be appropriate, but I would like to be able to systematically untangle that information later on. It might even be useful to allow removal of specific types of events in the GEDCOM export, so that this can easily be done. How do others feel?--Jrm03063 10:41, 18 February 2008 (EST)

When you upload a GEDCOM the LDS events are not added to the wiki page. Instead they are added to a record that is editable only using the Family Tree Explorer and is visible only to the person who uploaded the GEDCOM. The reason for not putting LDS events on wiki pages here is that over the next couple of years the LDS Church is launching a new website that will allow their members to collaborate online (although without using a wiki). For LDS users who want to use this website to collaborate but track LDS events, it seems the best approach is to allow adding a link from the Person pages here to the corresponding pages at the new LDS website. This could be done by creating a new "Family Search Number" fact (similar to the current "Ancestral File Number" fact), and we could automatically generate a link to the new LDS website based upon this number.

Are you seeing LDS events on pages here? If so, my guess is that people are adding them as "Other" events - is that correct? I could add filtering events by type when you export a GEDCOM, but if you filter out the "Other" events, you might also filter events that you wanted to keep. It seems like a better approach is to encourage people to not put LDS event information on this website but instead add links from the pages here to the new LDS website being launched. If anyone is interested in this and you have access to the limited-availability new FamilySearch website, let me know and I'll add this feature.--Dallan 17:17, 18 February 2008 (EST)

Indeed, I am encountering LDS events. Generally folks are adding them as "other" events, but I agree, "other" isn't just for LDS. Also, I've seen baptisms taken up by LDS baptism, which - in fairness to everyone - isn't at all the same thing. I was thinking simply that you could add a straight-up "LDS Event", that amounts to "other" but lets folks put that stuff in as they find helpful. I agree that convenient access to the LDS site is the best way to handle this - ultimately with some sort of formal link for any given person to their corresponding LDS entry, but if that's not ready to go yet, there needs to be an answer. I don't want to purge LDS information - just set it off for easy recognition. When the LDS site becomes stable, we could walk the PERSON database to turn those "LDS Events" into links to the LDS site, ultimately phasing out the type.--Jrm03063 17:34, 18 February 2008 (EST)

This makes sense. I've added an "LDS Event" type to both Person and Family pages. If you see an LDS event recorded as "Other", feel free to change its type to "LDS Event". I'll add filtering out these events in GEDCOM export once we get that working. And in a a year or so when the new LDS site is more widely available I'll try to turn these events into links to that website.--Dallan 23:55, 20 February 2008 (EST)

"Also, I've seen baptisms taken up by LDS baptism, which - in fairness to everyone - isn't at all the same thing." I'm assuming you are referring to baptisms done by proxy. Those should be added as LDS events. But if the person was baptized while they were living it may be appropriate to leave it under the regular baptism setting, because that is a life event they chose during their life time and tells a part of their story. I hope people will specify all baptisms of all religions and say which religion it is under that category.--Brannon 11:50, 21 February 2008 (MST)

That is precisely my meaning - any event participated in by the person during their natural lifetime - to include baptisms, christenings, aboriginal coming of age ceremonies, etc., etc.--Jrm03063 14:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)

Merge-related search question.... [8 March 2008]

I know we don't have explicit support for merging at this point - I'm actually ok with the manual approach for now anyway. What I would really like is a systematic way to look for candidates to merge. My first swipe at this was to simply look for any family pages in my tree that appear to be duplicated (sequence > 1). I went through my tree for all such pages, and looked for the precursor family page. Whenever possible, I merged. This works pretty well.

Of course, this only works for pages that pre-date my own. It also doesn't help now that I've gone through and dealt with all those duplicates. Is there an easy way to look at one or more family page names, and quickly see if there are other identically named family pages with a different sequence number? Better still, a different sequence number and a pointer indicating if redirected...and could I have such a page generated for all the families on my watch list? or a tree?

I know it wouldn't amount to a friendly merge system, but I think I could use that to systematically walk my data space of interest, looking for both data that pre-dates my own efforts as well as data that arrives subsequently. It would be a quick and dirty approach to finding merge candidates for those of us who aren't scared off by the current procedure.--Jrm03063 16:33, 21 February 2008 (EST)

FYI, Dallan previously spoke to this, or something like this. See Dallans earlier response to a similar question]---toward the end of the section--Search Question Wish List]. Bill 16:50, 21 February 2008 (EST)

Well, there are elements of the functionality I'm looking for there, but it's really not practical. I need something more like the paged presentation of a watch list or a tree, where each line corresponds to a unique title followed by information on the different sequence numbers that may be present for that title. Something like this:

Family:Nathan Bickford and Eliza Dickey (1),(2)
Family:Unknown and Ella Unknown (1),(2),(3)
Family:Thomas Larrabee and Elizabeth Roe (1->3),(2->3),(3)

Pages that are redirects need to show as something distinctive - "(3->1)" - where three is a redirect to 1. Redirects to a different name would need to appear differently. Perhaps "(3->xxxxxxxx(1))". Deleted entries with a history would probably show as something else.

If I had a report for the titles of my families like this, I could find the potential merges in a large tree very quickly. I would like to think that creating a page like this would be pretty straight-forward.--Jrm03063 21:57, 21 February 2008 (EST)

I merged a page for the first time the other day. These were 2 pages in "my tree". I have 2 questions about merging. I merged Person:William Durham (11) to Person: William Durham (12). On the page for William Durham (11) I removed all entries except for the name. Was this necessary? After I redirected (11) to (12), may I now delete William Durham (11)? I do not need this page anymore. --Beth 08:17, 22 February 2008 (EST)

Welcome to the brave world of merging! I prefer the documentation implicit in leaving behind a page with an explicit redirect, over a delete. Also, if someone is pointing at the page you delete, it leaves the unfriendly situation of a dead link (use "More->what links here" to make sure a page isn't used elsewhere). In a true wiki-verse, there really aren't any deletes - only a new state for the page of "empty". Another thing that I've found to be generally good practice - merge to the earliest title that matches. In other words, John Doe (8) would merge to John Doe (7) - John Doe (1). That typically means that you are merging your recently added stuff to pages that are already established and reasonably correctly linked up. Put differently, you might screw up your own tree, which you'll notice and fix, instead of screwing up someone else's trees, which you might not. In cutting back a page for purposes of a redirection, I remove everything that is variable-length. Sources, narrative, notes. Fields like birth date or marriage date seem to always be part of the page, even if empty, so I don't worry about removing those. Also, make liberal use of multiple open browser windows while performing a merge - not just tabs, but full windows so you can compare things.--Jrm03063

I agree about redirecting vs. deleting. Redirecting to the lower number is better. But you don't have to remove all of the data fields for William Durham (11) before deleting it (unless doing so makes it easier to see what you've copied elsewhere and what you haven't. If you remove the text from the "Personal History" edit box and enter #redirect [[Person:title to redirect to]] on the first line, when you save the page all of the other fields get cleared anyway.

Regarding showing possible matching pages, I've spent the last couple of weeks working on a digital library that I promised Africana Heritage I'd have alpha-launched by the end of the month. As soon as that's finished I'm back to working on the new search function, which should be ready by mid-March and will include a match algorithm and along with an improved browse function. I don't think that it will provide everything that you're talking about, but it will be enough of a step in that direction that I'd like you to bring up your comments again after you see it so that we can talk about where to go from there. Thanks!

By the way, I'm thinking that in the future we'll encourage people to add source transcriptions and images not on the source pages themselves but in the digital library, and then add links from the Source pages to the digital library items. Anyone interested in trying out the alpha-launch (means really, really early version) of the digital library for the purpose of providing feedback, please let me know.--Dallan 01:30, 23 February 2008 (EST)

Digital Library [11 March 2008]

Dallan, Just what is a "digital library"? how is it different from our current ability to upload and store digital photos and scans? --Msscarlet1957 13:41, 8 March 2008 (EST)

The main differences between the upcoming digital library and the current ability to upload and store digital photos and scans are:

  • A digital library item can contain multiple files, so for example it could contain image scans of multiple pages of a probate record along with a full-text transcription.
  • A digital library item can contain PDF, MS-Word, GEDCOM, etc. files in addition to images.
  • The digital library is focused more on preservation than collaboration, so unlike uploaded wiki images, nobody else can edit or add annotations to the items you upload.
  • Unlike wiki images, you won't be able to display a thumbnail of the digital library item on the a wiki page. You'll be able to link to digital library items from wiki pages, but no thumbnails.
  • Digital library items will be organized into "collections." Each user will have their own collection.
  • Society/project/family groups can also manage collections. They'll be able to restrict who can upload into their collections and review any uploads before making them available. One of the big goals for the digital library is to be a place where genealogy societies, family societies, and other groups can freely store their information -- to be the "YouTube" for genealogical information.
  • Each digital library item will be linked to a Source page containing general bibliographic information. Bibliographic information specific to the particular item (such as the page number of a scanned image or the name on a scanned birth certificate) can be stored with the item. Using this information, someday we'll be able to create automatic citations for digital library items.

Bottom line is you can continue to upload and store digital photos and scans as Image files. That approach will work fine, and it will allow others to annotate the images you upload. If you want the functionality of an "evidence repository," then uploading image scans as items in the digital library may prove more useful. Once the digital library is complete, I anticipate most people will upload photographs as wiki Image files, and document scans and transcriptions as digital library items.--Dallan 13:11, 11 March 2008 (EDT)

Hi Dallan, this sounds perfect for a pension file that I have that is over 30 pages. I started to upload it now; but decided to wait and use the digital library. --Beth 15:21, 11 March 2008 (EDT)

Research Tutorial [23 February 2008]

The Popular articles link in the tutorial does not work. Which page should be linked in its place? --Beth 14:57, 22 February 2008 (EST)

Can you please remove it altogether? In an effort to speed things up we no longer track how many times each page has been viewed, so Special:Popularpages doesn't work anymore. I don't think it's a great loss. The featured pages list I think does a better job of highlighting interesting pages.--Dallan 01:30, 23 February 2008 (EST)

I removed link from tutorial. Thanks.--Beth 07:58, 23 February 2008 (EST)

Searching places [25 February 2008]

Select search places from the menu (page 1). From the search places page select browse (page 2). Then select search from the browse page. You are now on a different page than page 1. --Beth 15:18, 22 February 2008 (EST)

The URL is different, but both URL's end up referring to the same page (unless I'm missing something). It's probably a moot point though since I'm going to be combining search and browse together onto the same page in a few weeks. There will be a "search" tab and a "browse" tab and a "match" tab all on the search page.--Dallan 01:30, 23 February 2008 (EST)

Okay Dallan, I will wait until you revamp and then revise the Research tutorial. Not sure why WeRelate has a Search tutorial and a Research tutorial. Seems to be the same topic. --Beth 08:05, 23 February 2008 (EST)

It looks like the research tutorial content should be merged into the search tutorial. I'll take care of this.--Dallan 23:02, 25 February 2008 (EST)

My problem; have people and images in default tree that are not supposed to be there [11 March 2008]

I don't know how this happened but I checked under trees today, because I plan to start a new tree and found that 8 people and many images are in my default tree that do not belong there. I had not used the default tree to my knowledge; saving that for my direct line. I guess I screwed this up someway but don't know how. Anyway I now have to make sure that the pages are in the correct tree before removing them from the default tree. Headaches --Beth 19:20, 22 February 2008 (EST)

The default tree gets checked when you have multiple trees and you're creating a new page and the family tree explorer isn't running. In this case the system isn't sure which tree you want to add the page to, so it checks the first tree checkbox, which is usually the "default" tree. If you don't check a different tree checkbox when you save the page, then the page is added to the default tree. Changing it shouldn't be too difficult: you could list the pages in your default tree, control-click on one of the relatives for each page to see what tree they were in, then click on "Tree -" to put them into the same tree.--Dallan 01:30, 23 February 2008 (EST)

Ok, Dallan I fixed it; but I am going to be more cautious in the future. --Beth 07:59, 23 February 2008 (EST)

Dallan, I opened the FTE to my Robert and Elizabeth Coker of Murray County, Georgia tree and edited a person page. I selected to add an image by uploading a new image. On the image screen the default was checked, not the tree I had open in the FTE. I selected the correct tree; but I don't recall having to select the correct tree about a month ago. Maybe I never noticed it. --Beth 21:15, 23 February 2008 (EST)

That sounds like a bug. Thank-you for reporting it! I'll look into it.--Dallan 23:02, 25 February 2008 (EST)

Dallan, the first tree (alphabetical) is selected. I added another tree that begins with the letter B. That tree is now selected for all of my image uploads even if I am uploading from another tree. --Beth 19:28, 4 March 2008 (EST)

That's what happens if you're not running the Family Tree Explorer, so I'm pretty sure the image upload screen just isn't aware that the Family Tree Explorer is running. I've got a deadline this week to get the digital library running (alpha-launch). As soon as that's done I'll fix the bug (first thing next week).--Dallan 11:59, 5 March 2008 (EST)

That bug should be fixed now.--Dallan 18:39, 11 March 2008 (EDT)

Merging duplicate records [23 February 2008]

After merging (redirecting) a couple of duplicate records, and strictly following the instructions, I found everything worked except that the watchlist of the redirected person/family was not added to the target person/family. The names on the watchlist were "red" but I would not think that would matter. Any suggestions? It sure would be nice to have this process more automated. stilltim 11:00, 23 February 2008 (EST)

Sometimes the Watchlist update is delayed, but I think that has something to do with caching of the page or something. I merge all the time, and as far as I can tell, it always works, and even when it doesn't appear to update, the names will show up when I'm on the page later. As for the "red" names, those are users that have not created a user page, so you're right, it doesn't matter. And, yes, a version of automated merge is coming, although in stages, and it's probably still going to require human intervention for a while.--Amelia.Gerlicher 18:06, 23 February 2008 (EST)

Yes, it's a caching problem. I'll add it to my todo list. (It's not necessary, but if you want to be sure that the watchers have been added, you can force the cache to be cleared by clicking on the page's "Edit" link, then modifying the URL at the top of the page to replace "action=edit" with "action=purge".)--Dallan 23:02, 25 February 2008 (EST)

Search Engine Enhancement [25 February 2008]

When I do a search all of my pages with that surname come up. Is there an easy way to change the search either so that my submissions are excluded or so that they are clearly marked with my name or something so that I won't click on all of them. It makes it too tedious to find out if there is new information out there or if there are other submitters.--Gramma's Garden 15:42, 23 February 2008 (EST)

This is one of the features we're planning to add when the new search functionality becomes available in a few weeks. You'll be able to exclude pages on your watchlist from search results, and the results will be ordered so that recently-added/modified pages appear at the top.--Dallan 23:02, 25 February 2008 (EST)

How do you create an internal link to a tree? [25 February 2008]

How do you format an internal link to a tree? I would like to add links on the shared research pages. --Beth 20:25, 24 February 2008 (EST)

The easiest way to do this is to click on MyRelate, then on Trees, then copy the URL for the "Launch FTE" link next to the tree you want. The URL should be something like: http://www.werelate.org/fte/index.php?userName=Dallan&treeName=Quass If you want, you can also turn it into a link as I've done here.--Dallan 23:02, 25 February 2008 (EST)

Unique person identifier & Quality accreditation [27 February 2008]

Congrats on WeRelate. I was wanting to build my own with with similar features but most of them are there.

I did wonder as the F H Community goes forward whether "One world tree" type sites such as WeRelate should adopt a system of unique Person Identifier and a quality of link system.

taking a lead from "Lostcousins" a primary identifier for a person could be the census reference which is closest to the 30th Birthday (only have one census per person and for a parent the census closest to 30 would automatically render up links to the maximum number of children with very good quality of link). This could form a basis for linking if other people have discovered ancestors in the same census (probably the main discovery method for internet FH fans today)

This would help immeasurably when family trees were to merge or link to other family trees, one name studies or one place studies.

Also could the community codify some form of "Quality of link" criteria which would allow the 'grading' of a link (either to a persons information other then the primany key - the 30 yo census) and to other individuals, places, events etc. ) Something along the lines of:

Black - Completely supported by one or more primary sources

Green - High probablility based on one or more secondary souces with a uniqueness test

Yellow - Speculative but with some supporting but some conflicting sources

Orange - Speculative based on one or two inconclusive theories (Probably a work in progress)

Red - Disproven links (will help others to avoid the same speculation)

That is why you would need the unique identifier - something to use as a reference point for all the other links in a persons life

The link colour could be incorporated in pedigree and descendant charts, lists of facts so that the list of events etc for a persons life would have visual hints as to its potential accuracy

Perhaps there could also be a "moderators" approval where a moderator with some 'authority' can award quality ratings to individual pages and even arbitrate where people or links are disputed (have there been any disputes this far in WeRelate ?)--Dsrodgers34 22:07, 24 February 2008 (EST)

All good ideas, and some of them I know are in consideration. The GEDCOM export/re-import process has been advertised as needing anchor ids so that information can find its way back to the appropriate place. Other parts of it, in the evolving wiki tradition, will presumably grow up when and as needed...--Jrm03063 22:41, 24 February 2008 (EST)

I've talked with a couple of the people behind other family-tree websites about this. Coming up with a globally-unique identifier and matching people across websites is certainly technically feasible. My guess is that as the family-tree websites mature they'll start to look to cross-linking as one of the things to offer their subscribers. But I think we're a few years away from this -- the websites are still early in the maturity curve.--Dallan 23:02, 25 February 2008 (EST)

Thanks. as I noted, lostcousins has already used a census reference as a unique identifier - it seems the best basis for one that i can see

What do you think of a "quality of link' standard ?

Many sites grow exponentially but will die because of quality issues, especially once the market matures. Genesreunited is a good example of this.--Dsrodgers34 15:36, 26 February 2008 (EST)

I'm very optimistic about "werelate", on issues like this and many others, because it inherits a very important strength from general wiki practice. The strength being that the structure is not restrictive. Standards and practices become commonplace not because they were explicitly designed in, but because the user community recognized their value and adopted them.

On the specific issue of quality of sources and/or links, my personal feeling is that this isn't as big a deal as people think, nor is it nearly so clear. There can be first rate information in some pretty poor sources, as well as the reverse. Rather than finding a label that a source is weak or high quality or whatever, I would rather see an attached note indicating how a source is strong or weak, correct or incorrect, etc.--Jrm03063 08:35, 27 February 2008 (EST)

Thanks guys I appreciate your comments.

My comments were just questions rather than a 'wish list' for WeRelate. I think I might explore my ideas practically as I progress--Dsrodgers34 17:34, 27 February 2008 (EST)

How do you redirect a category? [25 February 2008]

I found this on the Wikipedia site, but not sure it works here.

Never mind; I cannot type it here; the words created a template. --Beth 23:10, 24 February 2008 (EST)

Just FYI, if you ever want to type something that doesn't get interpreted as wiki code, just put it between <nowiki>nowiki tags</nowiki>.--Dallan 23:02, 25 February 2008 (EST)

Source detail information does not appear on citation on page [3 March 2008]

I just noticed that if I select a book from the source list; the detailed information is not included in the citation, such as author and publication information. --Beth 20:28, 25 February 2008 (EST)

That's right. Another problem is that we don't have a good way to automatically-generate bibliographic citations from the information gathered on the Source pages. I'd like to address both of these problems, but it will likely be next Fall unless we can come up a simple way to address it sooner.--Dallan 23:02, 25 February 2008 (EST)

Part of the problem is that the "Source" name space can be interpreted two ways: first as a specific collection of genealogical information (ie, a "source" where the information is on the actual page created, and second as a bibliographic citation---a reference to a source, if you will. Because you can interpret "source" to be something fitting either of those definitions, both kinds of things appear as articles in the "source" namespace.

Another part of the problem is the use of a source's title as the reference. ie, using "Stillwell's Miscellany" to refer to the specific work by John Stillwell written in 1903. The title approach, besides being idiosyncratic, is extremely cumbersome. In the case of Stillwell, 1903, the full title is Historical and Genealogical Miscellany: Data Relating to the Settlement and Settlers of New York and New Jersey Something of a mouthful, and also something that's going to be difficult to get exactly right (let alone remember) each and every time a reference to this work is needed. Which is why, if its referred to by title at all, people refer to it as "Stillwell's Miscellany".

Possibly an easy solution is to create another namespace (say "citation") that's intended to contain bibliographic citations. Then, make it clear somewhere that "source" name space is to be used to capture genealogical information---say lists of marriages in a specific county, etc. To be honest, I think that later usage is a bit of over-reaching---organizing such information requires a great deal of thought and effort. And the "best" answer is definitely not intuitively obvious. (If anyone thinks it IS intuitively obvious, then I'd suggest they haven't thought about it enough.) But that's a different problem.

One of the things I like about this site is the emphasis placed on "sourcing" information. This is, apparently, a very difficult problem. Witness the fact that 90% of the family histories on Ancestry contain not even a nod to stating sources. Of the ten percent of the articles on that site that do give sources, only a small fraction give something other than an ephemeral source (ie, they usually cite something like "Mary Lou's Gedcom", or "various county records". or some other variation that is effectively untraceable--and hence useless). Bad sourcing (either citing no source, or citing an ephemeral source) is I suspect the underlying cause of most of the inaccuracies in published family genealogies.

Bill 23:32, 27 February 2008 (EST)

Thats one of the reasons why I have a vague idea for a 'rating scheme' with perhaps a color code which can give immediate visual clues as to how good the info is that you happen to be browsing. It could have several uses:

- Uploded gedcoms could automatically have links with the lowest level until the compiler consiously checks the sources.
- Even experienced compilers could publish "hypothetical" links and mark them as such, not well proven links
- Could be used as part of a work in progress, especially where more than one person is collaborating. there might be several candidates to be the father of a person. a compiler could nominate them all with a low rating. As they are worked through and disproven, even a disproven link could remain to assist others who visit in the future. Youd hope that if such "world tree" type databases fill up, the information from other compilers could assist you to disprove links eg you have a candidate for a father of an ancestor but someone else has proven that person to be someone else (OK father is a bad example)

I am concerned about incomplete source citations in gedcoms that are downloaded; when that feature becomes available. --Beth 07:48, 28 February 2008 (EST)

A long-term goal for the source wiki is to eventually support source discovery -- so that someone could get a list of all sources covering a particular place including information on how to use the sources and where they are located. I'm currently thinking that when the digital library becomes available next month, that we'll encourage people to upload specific information (images, transcriptions) into the library, and encourage source pages to be used generally for citation information and usage notes. Several digital library items (e.g., scanned images of particular marriage documents) could link to the same source page (e.g., marriages from a particular county). Person and family pages could link to the source page as well as particular digital library items.

GEDCOM currently supports a "citation quality" field, which is part of the "source citation". Although we have this field as a text field, it should really be a drop-down with the following values: Unreliable, Questionable, Secondary, Primary. (Changing this so that we're compatible with GEDCOM is high on the todo list.) If we encourage people to use the citation quality field, then the quality information can be included in GEDCOM exports and re-imports. If we come up with something different then we'll have to figure out where to put it in exported GEDCOM's so that it is preserved when people export and then re-import their data. A benefit of textual comments about quality in the main "Personal History" box is that they get exported as personal "note" fields.

Dallan, the citation quality field can be rather tricky. Not all programs address this issue correctly. Here is a link to an excellent chart. Everyone review this and then discuss the options for the citation quality field. [2]--Beth 21:01, 29 February 2008 (EST)
I think the distinctions used in that chart are both too broad and too narrow -- the primary "quality" marker is "primary" or "secondary." The Citation Quality marker ought to be broad enough to capture the vast differences in quality between secondary sources. There's a wide difference between Great Migration, which is written by a highly respected genealogist using the highest quality and most primary sources available, and my grandmother's manuscript that sort of refers to where the information was found, but both are "secondary" (or "derivative" under BCG's standard below) I'm in favor of something like Unknown (the default), Unreliable, Questionable, Reputable Secondary, Primary Index [i.e. sources that have copied primary records and are thus technically secondary, but are based on primary records], and Primary. It would be especially nice if there was some way to populate this when one picks a source for which it's been defined already.--Amelia.Gerlicher 20:12, 1 March 2008 (EST)

When GEDCOM export is working, all of the information on the Source and MySource pages that you reference from your Person and Family pages will be included in the export. A GEDCOM file can include "Source" objects, and "source citations" in "Person" and "Family" objects in the GEDCOM file link to the "Source" objects. So Source and MySource wiki pages will be converted to GEDCOM Source objects.

--Dallan 10:15, 29 February 2008 (EST)

Are you saying that the fields on the Source page like author and publication will end up as part of the gedcom source citation? Or that each source citation will have just the info on the person page, connected with an entirely separate "object" containing the wiki contents that's linked to the source? The former sounds useful, the latter like it would generate a lot of junk (either objects with just the useless default content, or important citation information segregated and hard to find).--Amelia.Gerlicher 20:12, 1 March 2008 (EST)

As an FYI, BCG I'm told, prefers the term "original source" to "primary source", and "deritive source" to secondary sources. I find this a bit idiosyncratic. Still, it does help clarify the distinction between the two types of sources. The meaning of the BCG terms is, I think, intuitively obvious, and that's definitely not so with "primary" and "secondary"---which is one of the things that makes the concept of sourcing difficult for the average genealogist---and even for experienced genealogists. Bill 19:57, 1 March 2008 (EST)

Bill, did you notice the link that I posted to a pretty neat chart on Feb 29 under this topic section? --Beth 20:14, 1 March 2008 (EST)

I find the new BCG standards for Evidence Analysis more definitive than the previous standards. The source is either the original or a derivative. The information in the source is either primary or secondary or a combination depending on your research target. The evidence is the researcher's interpretation of the information. Evidence can be direct, indirect or negative. See Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills. In my genie programs I tend to ignore the quality selection; except for the choice of verified and unverified. --Beth 10:15, 2 March 2008 (EST)
As I said, I found BCG's definitions a bit idiosyncratic. There may be a real need for a terminology set that permits more discrimination than "primary vs secondary" sources, but unless other disciplines embrace something more precise, BCG definitions are going to remain idiosyncratic. Bill 13:01, 2 March 2008 (EST)

Regarding how sources will appear in a GEDCOM, I'm not sure I understand the question. When I use a desktop genealogy program and I want to attach a source to someone, I'm first asked if I want to create a "new master source" or "new source" or if I want to re-use an existing source that I've previously created. If I choose to create a new source, I'm asked to enter a source title, author, publication information, etc. -- the same fields that are listed on Source/MySource pages. Once I've created the new source, or if I choose to re-use an existing source, I'm asked to enter details about the citation: page number, citation text, quality -- the same fields that are listed on the Person/Family page as part of the source citation. I'm thinking that we'll create GEDCOM source records from the information in the Source/MySource pages in a GEDCOM export. In the desktop genealogy programs I have used, information about the source is displayed alongside the citation information when you're looking at a source citation for an individual. Does that answer the question?

Regarding the chart, I personally like it. I wish someone would have shown me a chart like that when I was getting started. I think we still have the issue of GEDCOM compatibility to consider. Not all desktop genealogy programs support the "quality" field in GEDCOM source citations, but some do, and if we deviate from the standard then we won't be compatible with any of them. I'm in favor of setting the quality field to the 4 defined levels (unreliable, questionable, secondary, and primary - and unknown), and making finer-grain distinctions (which I agree are important) in textual notes attached to the citation or in the personal history text box.--Dallan 00:59, 4 March 2008 (EST)

Images and no link for other than family or person pages [16 March 2008]

We need to add some sort of link for people who we have not created a person page. Many documents mention other people but there is no place on the image upload to enter any type of link for them. At the very least, couldn't we have a surname list? --Beth 00:24, 4 March 2008 (EST)

Are you talking about people that you've listed on family pages but haven't created person pages for yet (so they have a red link on the family page)? If so, I've been thinking that the system should go ahead and create "stub" pages for these people. It's been a cause of confusion when someone creates a family page listing someone as a child (with index number 1 say), and then they create another family page listing the person as a spouse (but this time the system reserves index number 2). Then when they get around to clicking on the red links to create the pages, they now have two different pages. By creating "stub" pages for new people listed on family pages when the family page is saved, I'm hoping we'll reduce the number of accidental duplicates and make the system a bit more intuitive. We could also create "stub" person pages for people listed on image pages when the image page was changed. Would this address what you're talking about?

There used to be a "Surname" field in the image edit page, but I took it out when we added the ability to link images to specific person and family pages. I could possibly add it back if creating stub pages for the other people doesn't help.--Dallan 00:59, 4 March 2008 (EST)

Hi Dallan, I have uploaded images from pension files recently. Many of the pages contain names of people that I have not a clue who they are presently; but it seems a shame not to have these people linked in some manner. I don't like to enter person pages with only a name and no vitals but I don't have the time to research them either. What is your opinion on how to handle these people?

Now recently trying to handle 3 trees I do have some red links simply because I have not finished entering the data; so maybe entering a stub page is a great idea for people like me who will probably start about 9 trees and work on each one a little bit each day. --Beth 01:14, 4 March 2008 (EST)

I think over the next couple of months I'll add both -- allow you to enter surnames on images when you don't want to create separate person pages, and also create stub person pages when you link to someone from a family or image page that you haven't created a page for yet. (And similarly create stub family pages as well.) I'll put both on the todo list.--Dallan 12:31, 5 March 2008 (EST)

  • When I upload an image, and subsequently enter the person page/and or family page for that photo to be linked to... When I click on "More" and then "what links here" after the upload it shows that nothing is linked to this page, however in reality aren't the pages that you list for person pages and/or family page actually a Link? a thumbnail of this image shows up on the person page, which you click on, as it is linked to the image page.
  • Also, I would like the photo thumbnails to appear more at the top than to the bottom. above the list of sources. As it is now I am duplicating the process by adding the same photo to the top of the page, to which there is a thumbnail at the bottom of the page... makes the page look better, but seems redundant. --Msscarlet1957 12:46, 11 March 2008 (EDT)
  • One more question... When uploading a photo, what is the benefit or lack thereof to put check marks on "add to tree" and ability to choose to put checkmarks in boxes next to my various trees? --Msscarlet1957 13:48, 11 March 2008 (EDT)

Oops - the what-links-here not working for images is a bug. You can tell what links to the image by scrolling to the bottom of the image page. I need to make what-links-here for images show that list. I'll add this to the todo list (although it will likely be several weeks because I want to get search finished asap).

Now that you mention it, there's not much reason to put images in trees. Normally you put pages into trees because you want them included when you do a GEDCOM export, but for images it probably makes more sense to export all images that the people and families in your tree reference, whether the images are explicitly included in your tree or not. (Because of the limitations of GEDCOM, including an image in an exported GEDCOM means we'll just include a link to the image, not the image itself.)

I've been thinking about default image placement on person and family pages lately as well. I've been thinking that maybe we should show images and notes that are referenced by source citations under the particular source citation that references them. Images that aren't referenced by any source citation would still appear in the image gallery. Similarly with notes. How do people feel about this?

A related question: What order should sources, images, and notes appear in a page? Currently it's sources, then images, then notes. But should we change the order? Alternatively, what if you had tags such as "<show_images/>", "<show_sources/>" and "<show_notes/>" that you could place anywhere on the person or family page to control where the images, sources, and notes tables appeared?--Dallan 21:05, 11 March 2008 (EDT)

  • I like your ideas Dallan, while I would have no problem with just having the order changed to having the images listed first on a page, other's may not agree. By supplying code for that it would give other's the option to make the change that suits them. However how and where would you explain that? I have having a very difficult time getting any of my fellow researcher's to use this site and collaborate with me. In fact of all the folks I have invited not one has complied. I do not know why, but can guess it is because of the learning curve involved with site use and navigation. I sure like the new video tutorials, and hoped they would help get folks involved easier, but I have had no luck so far :-( --Msscarlet1957 14:59, 12 March 2008 (EDT)

That's an issue: developing features for advanced users vs. continuing to work on usability. Unless others want the ability to position the elements by hand, I'll just move images up first. You mean putting the images before the sources, right, not before the text as well? If we automatically put the images before the text so that the images displayed at the very top of the page, I think it would mess up a lot of existing pages.--Dallan 17:03, 13 March 2008 (EDT)

  • Yes wherever you think they should be, Dallan, that will not mess anyone up.. but still moving the thumbnails' location UP as far as possible would be grand! :-) --Msscarlet1957 00:17, 14 March 2008 (EDT)

Ok, I'll add moving images above sources to the todo list unless someone objects (although I may someday move images that are referenced only by one source to under that source citation ;-).--Dallan 00:05, 17 March 2008 (EDT)

Bug on Person Pages [29 February 2008]

I was just trying to enter a new spouse in the second field on "add a new family page" on a person page and I couldn't click on OK in both Firefox and Internet Explorer. It doesn't work to tab and hit enter either, although the Cancel function works fine. I was able to do it about 30 minutes ago but it no longer seems to be working. --Brannon 13:45, 28 February 2008 (EST)

That's odd. I haven't changed anything on the website in a week because I've been working on the digital library. I just tried it in Firefox and IE7 and it seems to be working ok now. Not sure what happened.--Dallan 10:15, 29 February 2008 (EST)

Hmmm, I just tried it again too and it worked fine. Maybe my computer was just having issues at the time. --Brannon 13:52, 29 February 2008 (EST)

Edit "false" Living pages [11 March 2008]

I see two issues. When I uploaded my gedcom from Legacy the wiKi site seems to have marked quite a few people as "living" who have children or spouses born in the 1600"s. Perhaps there was not enough date information so WeRelate decided that they were living? Secondly, can I go into the entry for living and rename it with first and last name or must I delete living and create a new page?--Sheri 10:12, 2 March 2008 (EST)

Hi Sheri. I'm not sure how WeRelate determines if a person is living or not. I'm not sure it looks at children, spouses, parents and then calculates if they can't possibly be alive. In any case, yes, you can directly edit the "living" page and put in the correct data. Then don't forget to change the TITLE of the page as well by clicking on "Rename" (under the blue menu bar) at the top of the page. --Ronni 13:08, 2 March 2008 (EST)

Our algorithm to determine living is pretty simple. I'll have to check with the programmer that wrote the GEDCOM import to be absolutely sure, but I'm pretty sure we decided that if someone has a birth or christening date within the past 110 years and nothing in the death or burial date or place fields, then they're living; otherwise they're dead. So it's odd that you have people with children/spouses born in the 1600's being marked living since presumably they wouldn't have birth/christening dates in the 1900's. Can you give me an example of someone who was marked living that shouldn't have been so that I can track it down? Thanks!

Ronni's right about how to fix it if it's just a few people. Once you enter something in either a death or burial date or place field, you can enter whatever else you want on the page. As she says, you'll also want to rename the page title from "Living Surname" to "Givenname Surname".--Dallan 00:59, 4 March 2008 (EST)

Here are some examples of people who were marked as "living" who are not living. More are on my contributions list. (Person:Living Unknown (20625) renamed to Person:Edwin H. Brown(20625)), Family:Robert Smith and Margaret Unknown (2) (Family:Robert Smith and Living Unknown (1) renamed to Family:Robert Smith and Margaret Unknown (2)), ( Person:Living Unknown (20107) renamed to Person:Geoffrey Harper (20107)) Sheri--Sheri 19:47, 4 March 2008 (EST)

Here is another good example: Family:Joshua Conkling and Polly Johnson (1). The only child that I had a birth date for appears. The other children in the family have no birth or death dates in my computer program and show up as living. I have Legacy software. Sheri--Sheri 20:01, 4 March 2008 (EST)

Sheri, if you have no birth or death date for a person in the gedcom; then I think that WeRelate considers them living. I doubt if it considers the birth or death dates of the parents when processing the data. Can you add an estimated birth or death date to the people shown as living? --Beth 20:15, 4 March 2008 (EST)

Well, it looks like we're marking them as living, but I don't think that's the right thing to do, especially when the parents were born well over a century ago. I'll pass these examples along to the person who implemented GEDCOM upload and see if we can fix the problem. We'll leave a message here when it's fixed. Once it's fixed, you could delete and then re-upload your GEDCOM if you want to get the additional pages created, but then you'd lose the edits you've made in the meantime. (A real GEDCOM re-upload that doesn't lose your on-line edits is scheduled for late Spring / early Summer.)

By the way, you can (should) leave out the index number when you rename pages. A new index number for the renamed title will be generated automatically.--Dallan 12:31, 5 March 2008 (EST)

Great! Thanks for the help. As you notice I was adding the numbers to renamed pages. Shall I take them out or leave "as is". It would be nice if we were able to upload people with no dates and not have them marked as living. Although I can see problems with that also. Sheri--Sheri 20:21, 5 March 2008 (EST)

I'd leave the ones you've already done "as-is". I talked with Nathan (the GEDCOM upload programmer) yesterday and he'll look into the problem in the next few days.--Dallan 11:04, 6 March 2008 (EST)

In looking into this, it looks like the people mentioned above are listed as "Living" in the GEDCOM. In Legacy there's a "Living" flag that you can set when editing an individual's information. When you generate the GEDCOM file, you can check "Suppress details for living people" and "Change name to living" (which is generally good practice). But Legacy shows the "Living" flag only on the edit screen, not on the pedigree or family screens, so it's pretty easy not to realize that the flag has been set accidentally.

By the way, when a GEDCOM file is uploaded to WeRelate, a person is considered "living" only if all of the following are true:

  • the person does not have a birth or christening date more than 110 years ago,
  • the person does not have a marriage date more than 90 years ago,
  • the person does not have a death or burial date or place,

and at least one of the following is true:

  • the person has a birth or christening date less than 110 years ago,
  • the person has a marriage date less than 90 years ago,
  • the person's name is "Living" without a surname,
  • the person is the spouse or parent of someone who is already considered living by the above conditions.

To explain the last condition, two married people without any event information and with no other relatives will not be marked living because neither person can be considered living by one of the other conditions, and the assumption is that people in a GEDCOM are dead until proven living.--Dallan 13:11, 11 March 2008 (EDT)

Minor wish for wishlist - Save button at top of editing page [6 March 2008]

Just a minor item. I would love to have the save button on the edit page available at the top of the page as well as the bottom of the page. --Beth 18:52, 6 March 2008 (EST)

Ok, I'll make a note of it.--Dallan 23:43, 6 March 2008 (EST)

Adopted children [7 March 2008]

How are y'all handling adopted children? I have in my database a John Rufus Coker. He was in the household of John and Martha Coker in the 1860 and 1970 census. I had entered him as a child of this couple. Today while researching some of Rufus's children I found some most interesting information on Rootsweb. A great great granddaughter states that her grandfather James Lee Coker (a grandson of John Rufus Coker ) said that John Rufus' father was not actually a Coker but a Paine. That his parents died when he was a small boy and the Cokers found him crying on the side of the road with no place to go.

I don't know if there was a legal adoption or a legal name change but John Rufus Coker and his descendants all go by the surname of Coker. Suggestions please. Thanks.--Beth 16:41, 7 March 2008 (EST)

I reserve the ordinary parent/child linkages for natural children. Use of appropriate wiki links allows an understandable and respectful way to represent an important and worthy event - without leaving confusion. See the adopted relationship between Person:Dorothy Arris (1) and Family:Henry Sanborn and Dorothy Hebb (1) for an example.--Jrm03063 17:05, 7 March 2008 (EST)

Thanks. I like your method of showing the relationship. --Beth 19:35, 7 March 2008 (EST)

Digital Library [16 March 2008]

Once the digital library is up and running, will there be and "easy" way to move current "wiki image" pages into that? I feel my project of uploading scans of pages from a source of mine, the Powell 1906 book, should probably be put into the digital library instead of as a lot of wiki images. I still am not sure I see any gain from having a digital library, but I guess I will better understand once I can see examples. --Msscarlet1957 14:49, 12 March 2008 (EDT)

I don't think the digital library will be a must-have feature for most people, since you can get most of the functionality by uploading individual scans as you are doing. But the ability to control who can upload and to monitor and edit/reject uploads is important for genealogy societies - to give them a free place for their members/volunteers to post image scans and transcriptions. For example, I made a commitment to Africana Heritage last Fall that we would have the digital library ready for them to start using this Spring. That's the main reason for development. Since we'll have it available, over the next few months I'll integrate it into the wiki so that individuals using the wiki can take advantage of the digital library as well. Anyway, if you decide to use the digital library when it's available and you want help moving images over once, just let me know.--Dallan 17:03, 13 March 2008 (EDT)

What is the search function capability in the digital library? --Beth 20:09, 13 March 2008 (EDT)

It will eventually be integrated into the regular search function. You'll be able to search by name, place, keywords, etc.--Dallan 00:05, 17 March 2008 (EDT)

Proposal for Sources and Repositories [25 October 2008]

I've added a proposal for standardizing how Source pages are titled, changing the fields we gather on Source pages, clarifying how MySource pages are used, and adding a new Repository namespace based upon the work of the Source Committee over the past several months. If you're interested, please leave comments on that page.--Dallan 17:03, 13 March 2008 (EDT)

see http://www.werelate.org/w/index.php?title=WeRelate_talk:Source_Committee&oldid=7852433#Proposal_and_Questions_.5B13_March_2008.5D; the discussion linked to here has been reformatted to make association with the input above non-obvious. --ceyockey 09:34, 25 October 2008 (EDT)

Added link to Coker DNA project on surname page [16 March 2008]

Hi, Just checking to make sure that this is okay. I am a volunteer and am not paid for my services as an administrator. I have added a link here: Surname: Coker. --Beth 19:38, 13 March 2008 (EDT)

Sure, no problem. For what it's worth, I created a couple of templates for displaying DNA data that you're free to modify if you wish.--Dallan 00:05, 17 March 2008 (EDT)

Sources [20 March 2008]

Moved discussion to WeRelate talk:Source Committee

Links to images [24 March 2008]

I have a series of three related images
Image:4x6 Charles Charlotte Sophie John.JPG
Image:4x6 Charlotte Lew Jr 1JPG.JPG
Image:4x6 Charles Charlotte w Dog.JPG
I would like to cross-reference the related files on their various image pages. However, the standard notation for referencing an image causes the image to be displayed. I only want the name displayed so that the name can clicked and the user taken to the image. What is the syntax for this? The "Links" section at the bottom of the image page is what I have in mind, but from the page source it appears that this is autogenerated. --Srblac 18:17, 21 March 2008 (EDT)

Try this [[:Image:File Name]] here's a working example Image:4x6 Charles Charlotte Sophie John.JPG
The ":" infront of "Image" effectively kills the image display, and leaves only the link visible Q 19:14, 21 March 2008 (EDT)
To eliminate everything but the name use this (for example):
[[:Image:4x6 Charles Charlotte Sophie John.JPG|Charles, Charlotte, Sophie, and John]]
Note the "Pipe" ("|")---that's what the program uses to distinguish between the file name and the alias you want to use for the filename.
The resulting link will appear as:
Charles, Charlotte, Sophie, and John

Q 09:12, 23 March 2008 (EDT)

This worked great! I upgraded the sets I did yesterday and added a couple of more today. Thanks
!--Srblac 20:38, 23 March 2008 (EDT)

Deleting tree with place namespace pages [4 April 2008]

I've created dozens of new place pages and in the process they have been automatically added by default to the first tree in my list. I apparently was not paying attention when creating these place pages and just hit "save" without unchecking the tree (I don't want these particular pages added to any tree, btw). If I delete this tree, will all of these place pages get deleted as well since I'm the only one watching them? It just so happens that this tree is a "copy" of another tree, so me deleting it is no big deal as I don't believe I've created any new pages for it. If I have, then there would only be a few, so it wouldn't be like I'm wiping out a lot of Person/Family pages. My concern is all of those place pages that I've created. What will happen to them if I delete the tree? I could go through and one by one "untree" them, but there's quite a few and I was hoping for a short cut. --Ronni 18:01, 23 March 2008 (EDT)

To answer my own question, no, the place pages did not get deleted when I deleted the tree. :) Since I'm constantly adding pages to the wrong trees because of the default, I wonder if it could be part of our preference settings to choose which tree is our default or to have no default even? I remember the reason for creating the "default tree" to begin with Dallan and agree that it's helpful for new users, but can this be added to our preferences perhaps? Even pick which pages (place, source, articles, etc) are added? To help me in the meantime, I created a "dummy" tree that is listed first alphabetically to help me keep pages out of trees that I don't want added. Or I guess I could just slow down and pay more attention when I'm saving a page. :) --Ronni 14:04, 30 March 2008 (EDT)
I've been thinking that perhaps we should remove place pages, articles, user pages (non-GEDCOM pages) from trees altogether. They won't be included in an exported GEDCOM of the tree, so how much benefit is there in having them as part of the tree? What do others think?
I agree with you Dallan. I think at one time I may have wanted the place pages, user pages, etc included into our trees, but have since changed my mind about that. --Ronni 01:18, 4 April 2008 (EDT)
I could add selecting a "default" tree in preferences if removing non-GEDCOM pages from trees doesn't resolve the problem (but then renaming the tree you want to be the default to be the first in order alphabetically also resolves it, as you have done).--Dallan 13:49, 3 April 2008 (EDT)
Renaming a tree that serves as a "dump" for when I'm not paying attention is working for me just fine.  :) --Ronni 01:18, 4 April 2008 (EDT)

In IE, Home page's icon is cut off [3 April 2008]

I just noticed with the update that the "Watch the tour" icon is cut off in IE. -Nathan 12:35, 31 March 2008 (EDT)

Thanks! It's fixed now.--Dallan 13:49, 3 April 2008 (EDT)

Oddity with links [2 April 2008]

I am having trouble with links on the page Person:Mary Polkow (2). I am trying to put a link in a table entry. When I use what I think is the correct notation, the link isn't created although it does properly only show the text after the bar.
| 1930 || [http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1930usfedcen&h=58597935&ti=0&indiv=try| 1930 US Federal Population Census: Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin] -- Should work but doesn't

The only way I have been able to find to get it to sort of work is the following notation. The break and extra "[" seem to matter to get the link.
| 1930 || <br>[[http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1930usfedcen&h=58597935&ti=0&indiv=try| 1930 US Federal Population Census: Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin] -- works ugly

Is there a different syntax in tables? Is this a wiki bug? Thanks. --Srblac 10:38, 2 April 2008 (EDT)

The problem is related to a difference in syntax between links to articles and links to websites. When you link to an article the pipe ("|") is needed to create an alias. When you link to a website you need a simple space after the url. Its sort of bizarre that there would be two different syntax's for essentially the same problem, but the pipe is what's causing need for the extra square bracket---which then stands out like a sore thumb in the display. Why the square bracket forces the override I don't know, but I know that it does---and gives, as you say, an ugly display. Get rid of the pipe (replace with a space if need be) and the extra bracket at the beginning, and the problem should go away. Also, you don't need the <br> at the begining. Q 10:58, 2 April 2008 (EDT)

That did the trick. Thanks again. I've put the pipe in after url's in other places without issue, but I must have gotten lucky. The more complex table syntax must not be as forgiving. Once again though I have to say how much I love this site. Even the problems are fun.--Srblac 08:48, 3 April 2008 (EDT)

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

Various members of my family have uploaded scans of family photos, documents, and videos to various websites. Is there a way to display these photos, document images, and videos, within the appropriate pages at WeRelate? In addition, I have photos at PicasaWeb that can be displayed as a slideshow by cutting and pasting a piece of html code. When I tried this at WeRelate; however, it didn't work. Any suggestions?--Bibliostuff 16:14, 3 April 2008 (EDT)

The reason I haven't turned on the capability to display images from other websites on WeRelate pages is I worry about people using it to display copyrighted images without the copyright owner's approval. This is a difficult issue because if I turn it on for one person I have to turn it on for everyone. The PicasaWeb question is easier, because then we can limit images to just those on PicasaWeb. If you email me the HTML code (dallan@werelate.org) I'll add enabling it to the todo list.--Dallan 12:42, 4 April 2008 (EDT)

How are we doing? [3 April 2008]

I was wondering, the statistic about there being 1.5M pages has been out there for a while. How are we doing these days for active usage? Does the community seem to be just chugging along, picking up, or what? Also, I've been entertaining myself merging puritans and pilgrims for the last couple of weeks. It seems like that should help produce some really large contiguous tree spaces, but there doesn't seem to be any way to get an idea about how that's going either.  ???--Jrm03063 14:58, 3 April 2008 (EDT)

I put up the 1.5M number mid-January. We're at 1.9M pages as of this morning. I'll change the number when we reach 2M, which should be around the end of the month. Now that the digital library is finally running for Lowcountry Africana, I can turn my attention to re-doing search again. Once that's complete (also around the end of the month) we'll do more promotion activities. Largest contiguous tree sizes would be an interesting statistic; it's not easy to measure though.--Dallan 12:42, 4 April 2008 (EDT)

List people or surnames in 'places' page ? [10 April 2008]

It would be great if there was some way to get a list of the people or surnames in a certain place on the 'place' page. Is this possible?--A.C. 18:41, 9 April 2008 (EDT)

You can do this now by clicking on the "More" menu for the Place page, then clicking on "What links here". This only shows pages that link directly to this page however; if you click on "What links here" on a county page for example, you won't see pages that link to towns/cities in the county. A better solution is currently in development - hopefully ready by the end of the month.--Dallan 16:01, 10 April 2008 (EDT)

Image Archiving [16 April 2008]

I've been thinking about building up an archive of images that I would drop in the digital library. One approach might be to just use an archive tool (pkzip or some such) to pull together the image files (.jpg and .png). Another, might be to use the lame windows backup tool to build an archive. Still another might be to use some sort of scrap booking tool to build .pdf files (would that preserve the full resolution of the images?). Is there an opinion on how best to do this?--Jrm03063 10:56, 13 April 2008 (EDT)

If the images are photos or individual documents I think it is best to go the hard way and upload each individually, linking them to people and families and annotating each with as much information as possible.

If the images are pieces of a larger document then I think it is best to use some kind of word processor to bind them together in order (if there is one) and then add contextual information to the images. Contextual information could include page numbers, a table of context, or even an index. Better still would be editorial comments about the document, or a transcript of the images if they are hard to read.

The word processor file could then be uploaded to the digital library. This is good as it allows for future researchers (most likely yourself!) to download the file and improve it. The downside is that it is sensitive to file format. Microsoft Word is a fairly safe format, but not everyone has access to Word. A .pdf file is better for universal reading, but it isn't as easy to update. I would suggest an archive tool not be used, partially because of universal format and tool access reasons (not everybody can deal with this form), but mostly because an archive format makes it hard to impossible to add useful contextual information.

I have several files of this type that I wish to upload to the digital library. One is a genealogy test that I received then scanned into electronic format, another is records from a court case that had a great deal of genealogical data. I have added contextual information in Word and then republished the file in .pdf format. I think what I would like best is to be able publish both forms and link them together. At minimum I will publish the .pdf format. --Srblac 11:22, 13 April 2008 (EDT)

I have several hundreds of document and photo scans. I have already uploaded many as individual images to werelate, but doing so very often required a reduction in resolution in order to get the file size down. For some important family portraits and documents, I want to preserve a version at higher resolution.--Jrm03063 16:15, 13 April 2008 (EDT)

I too have several hundreds of documents and photos. I very much agree with being disappointed in the reduction in resolution that is requested. Perhaps the digital library will be the answer to that issue, but only if you can annotate and link documents in as rich a manner as you can with the normal image library. The added contextual information is worth almost as much as the images themselves. A picture is just picture. A portait of Uncle Joe taken in 1910 on the farm in Poughkeepsie ... That's more than a picture, that's a person.--Srblac 21:45, 13 April 2008 (EDT)

I believe the image resolution issue has its feet in a browser related problem. Something about certain older browsers not being able to display larger images. I believe that's an historical issue, and probably has little relevance today. I think that the complaint that you get when a file starts getting too large is embedded in the underlying WikiMedia, and not necessarily something that this site is requiring/asking for. (You get the same verbiage when you edit something on one of the Wikia sites which use the same software at their core.) Storage space does cost money, and I wouldn't imagine that management wouldn't be entirely unconcerned about importing files larger than need be, but in a project like this, the cost of storage is probably one of the least significant parts of the economy. I try to be reasonable and pare down images to the lowest level I can get to without interfering with good resolution. Q 22:04, 13 April 2008 (EDT)

That's good to know. I've allowed the size to slide when the alternative was to cost really important information too. On the other hand, there are examples of family group portraits, where you want to preserve a maximum amount of information in order to allow the image to be studied in detail later. Historical documents can present the same sort of challenge.

So letting size slide is a good thing when appropriate, but there are other situations where you want to pull together an album of image materials for convenient collective handling. My latest research on this is that I want to pay attention to "pdf/a" (see wikipedia), which is emitted by openoffice, word, and acrobat anyway...--Jrm03063 08:57, 14 April 2008 (EDT)

It's not difficult to increase 150K image size; we're currently just using the default from Wikipedia. Also, it's just a warning, which you can ignore if you want. The real limit is around 10MB, which should be more than enough. Q is right -- it isn't free to store images, but it's pretty cheap. We can store five hundred 1MB images for about a dollar a year. How about if I increase the warning size to 2MB?

Regarding uploading something as an Image page vs. putting it in the digital library, here are the differences:

  • Image pages can be annotated, it's easy to add links from the Image to People and Family pages, others can edit them, and you can display them on other wiki pages.
  • Digital library items can have multiple images uploaded as a single item (say 5 pages of the same letter), can accept non-image file formats like Word and PDF, and can be linked to Source pages and have bibliographic metadata like page number.

I'd recommend uploading individual photos as Image pages and document scans into the digital library. But this isn't an absolute rule. For a collection of photos you could go either way depending upon whether you wanted to group them together into a Word or PDF or PDF/A document, or upload them as individual images. One thing though: don't put hundreds of high-resolution photos in a single PDF file. People on slow connections sometimes have a difficult time downloading files that are more than 10-20MB.--Dallan 20:03, 15 April 2008 (EDT)

WeRelate talk pages [30 April 2008]

I suggest that we make it easier for new users to find the WeRelate talk pages; such as the ones on the digital library, sources, junk genealogy, etc. --Beth 11:08, 13 April 2008 (EDT)

This would be good for more seasoned users too. There are several topics that have taken on a life of their own including the ones listed above, "merging", searching, etc. Perhaps a "forum" for specific topics?--Srblac 11:25, 13 April 2008 (EDT)

The last round of modifications to the underlying WikiMedia allowed the creation of multiple forums. I don't know if that's been implemented here, but it has in the Wikia family of Wiki's. But perhaps that development was specific to Wikia. Some sites set up Help forums, as distinct from the universal watercooler. I don't know how extensive the application of this has been. Another approach would be to include a short table at the top of the watercooler with links to the various focused discussions. Q 20:13, 14 April 2008 (EDT)

We haven't upgraded to the latest version of Mediawiki yet; too many more-pressing things to work on. Until we upgrade, I like the table of links idea.--Dallan 20:03, 15 April 2008 (EDT)

Would love to see this environment (talk/Watercooler) be available in a forum version. I find this quite cumbersome. And the fact that the email notification link goes to the diff page (which is somewhat difficult to read), makes it a little clumsy (IMO).--Slknowles 12:12, 30 April 2008 (EDT)

GEDCOM Upload - Multiple Sources [21 April 2008]

Has anyone experienced getting several sources (same item with difference source code numbers). I attempted to upload one small (3 generations of about 17 people). Each person's source with multiplied at least 5 times for each source listed. Of course, I deleted the file for the time being until I know how to get rid of the extra sources for each date.--Tctheusch 14:07, 16 April 2008 (EDT)

Some genealogy programs generate GEDCOM's with separate SOURCE records for each time the source is referenced. Automatically-merging these SOURCE records during GEDCOM upload so we create only one MySource page for them is on the ToDo list for June/July. If you'd like, feel free to email me your GEDCOM (dallan@werelate.org) and I can verify whether that is what's going on here or if there is another problem.--Dallan 12:17, 21 April 2008 (EDT)

How to find "How to" pages? [21 April 2008]

I cannot seem to find information on how to do things in WeRelate. I would like to match names but I cannot find how to do this. After seeing a match I might be courageous enough to attempt a merge. I cannot find how to do that either even if I knew there was a match. I have attempted one or two redirects but I get an error message which makes no sense to me. I have built a tree on WeRelate from scratch (page by page) and would like to download it but I cannot find how to download my own tree. Match and merge and downloading and redirecting were discussed last year. I cannot find how to go about these tasks. These tasks seem to be at the heart of the promise of WeRelate.--Wrcummins 14:10, 16 April 2008 (EDT)

There is a list of HELP pages and tutorials under the HELP heading in the blue menu bar the top. If you still can't find an answer to a specific question or a help for a certain task, let us know and someone will add it to the FAQ or better organize the pages so the next person can find it easier. --Ronni 15:15, 16 April 2008 (EDT)

Hi, Most of the things you're asking for haven't been implemented yet, which is probably why you can't find help pages for them :-)

  • Matching pages should be ready in 2-3 weeks (I've been working pretty hard on this, which is why I've been scarce around the watercooler lately)
  • Merging pages as well.
  • Exporting GEDCOM's should be ready this Fall.

The problem is, doing matching well requires that a lot of underlying machinery be in place (e.g., to match well you need to be good at standardizing place names, which means that you need to have a good place wiki without a lot of duplicates, which a number of people worked on for several months last Fall), and I underestimated the amount of time the underlying machinery would take to create. But I agree that easy match+merge is at the heart of what WeRelate is all about, and we continue to work on that goal.--Dallan 12:17, 21 April 2008 (EDT)

Finding articles for a specific Person [21 April 2008]

  1. Go to the "Admin" pull down in the blue banner across the top
  2. Select "Browse All"
  3. Select "Person" in the pull down "namespace" menu
  4. Enter the person's name in the text box, click "Go"
  5. you will get a list of all of the articles for persons by that name.


  1. The list gives you persons showing an index number. The order is not strictly numeric---but a particular type of order common in computer programming. Needs a small fix to make it display the names in true numeric order. (I think this is on Dallan's To Do list, but its a minor inconvenience. Just a little startling if you are not used to it.)
  2. You are likely to get a LOT of hits, especially for common names. At the moment you have to go through them one at a time and find the ones that you might be inerested in.
  3. I believe Dallan has it on his list to have this generate a table that gives other information (DOB, DOD, Spouse, etc), that will make this easier to use.
  4. You can save some effort by using the "Family" Namespace instead of the person namespace. Enter the name of the person you want, and you will get a list of husbands and wives "family cards" that include that individual. This makes it easier to spot the persons you are interested in.

Others will have to help you with the merge and tree functions, as that's not a feature I make use of. Q 14:36, 16 April 2008 (EDT)

No wonder I haven't been able to find the article pages! Who would of thought to search under "Admin"?? Why not some way to search for articles by subject or title under the search function? Sounds logical to me! --Janiejac 14:54, 16 April 2008 (EDT)

I am sorry that you misunderstood me. I want to know about any matches to any points in my tree. It seems a colossal waste of time to retype each of the names in my tree using the search function.--Wrcummins 14:58, 16 April 2008 (EDT)

Can you point to any site that has such a tool? Q 09:10, 17 April 2008 (EDT)

Why not just leave a browser window open to the page with your entire tree? It all fits on one page....--Jrm03063 15:06, 16 April 2008 (EDT)

Two thoughts:

  • Once we get basic match working (in 2-3 weeks), I'm going to add a function so that whenever you add a new Person or Family page that is similar to one or more existing pages, the list of possible matches will be shown and you can select one of those matches instead of adding the new page. This approach will be much better than the "browse" approach used currently.
  • Once this page-at-a-time match is working, the next step will be to focus on multi-page match for GEDCOM uploads. That's the project for this Summer.

--Dallan 12:17, 21 April 2008 (EDT)

Using surname in categories [21 April 2008]

There is a category page 'Surname: Jackson'. Along the left hand side of this page is a list of related names - all starting with the letter 'C'. I see no relationship with the C names with Jackson. Why are they even there?

The theory is that those are supposed to be alternative spellings for the surname. Since they were inserted by an "agent", there's not necessarily much intelligence to the inclusions. However, if you look through the entire list, you will see some variants of "Jackson" that make sense. Who knows, maybe even "Cacci", etc are names that in some other language are equivlant to "Son of Jack", though I suspect that most of these are just plain errors. Q 09:26, 18 April 2008 (EDT)

What I would expect to see or hope to create is a page of links, as in 'Jacksons in Alabama' and 'Jacksons in Tennessee'; links to every state and the state page would have links to the pages named Jacksons in every county. If this is a proper use of categories, I think it should be easy enough to have some kind of template on the surname page (instead of that list of unrelated names) listing the states so it would be easy for each surname author to be able to use the template to create links to the state pages. Does this make sense to anyone? Right now I would hesitate to put links to states on the surname page because I have no idea if anyone has already created a page called 'Jacksons in Alabama' or not. If there is an easy way to check for that, I don't know it yet.--Janiejac 23:11, 17 April 2008 (EDT)

I don't know how much effort people have invested in these surname pages. Most seem to be stubs. There are probably lots of different approaches that could be taken to what's included here. I've played with a few of them, inserting things like "Name Origin", etc., links to "surname mailing lists", and the like. I don't know if there's a preferred layout, or even a concensus of opinion as to what appears on these surnames page. Q 09:26, 18 April 2008 (EDT)

The reason that the "C" names are there is that they're listed as alternate (generally italian) spellings for "Jack" in the A Dictionary of Surnames. Since Jackson is also listed as an alternate (patronymic) spelling for "Jack", all of the alternate spellings for "Jack" we added to the "Jackson" surname page automatically. However, this looks like a case where the automatic agent did the wrong thing. Feel free to remove any names from the surname pages that don't make sense.

The Surname pages and "surname in place" Category pages are the cause of some confusion, and I'm starting to think that they cause more confusion than they're worth. They're not used very much, and it's difficult to know what to put on them. We need to keep the Surname pages so that when you check "Related names" in the search form, the system knows what additional names to search for. But I'm thinking that we can make them less visible by removing the automatically-generated links to them and taking Surname and Givenname off the Add menu. Also, although getting a list of all pages for a particular surname in a particular place is useful, we don't need "surname in place" Category pages for this. We can do this instead with links to "canned" search results pages. Removing the automatically-creatd category pages also has a side-benefit of making the human-created category pages stand out in the category list more.

Am I off-base here? Would anyone hate to see the automatically-generated "surname in place" Category pages go away?--Dallan 11:50, 21 April 2008 (EDT)

MP3 files [18 April 2008]

Somewhile back Dallan indicated that sound files could be added to the planned Digital Library.

I've been checking this feature this morning by adding a sound file to a stub I'm working on in support of the Southwest Virginia project. Seems to work fine for me, but I'm not sure if it will work for folks using other systems. I'd like to see if this sound file can be triggered by others.

If you will, please check out the stub at Grey Wolf. There's a photo of a grey wolf howling, and below it two links to the sound file. One is a "handle" that will take you to the Metadata for the file---click on the the link in the grey box that says "11wolfhowls.mp3" to hear the sound file.

The other link uses a bitstream connection and the sound file will open/start playing directly in a window. Its supposed to open in a separate window, but for me it's just opening in the same window, and refreshing the same page I'm on.

Please let me know if there are any problems with this.

Thanks, Q 10:49, 18 April 2008 (EDT)

Hi Q, File opened with Windows Media player and played fine, eerie sound. --Beth 12:05, 18 April 2008 (EDT)

Yeah, the sound perked up the ears of my cats as well. <g> I'm using Firefox and the links worked fine. The bitstream did not open in a separate window for me either me Q. --Ronni 12:09, 18 April 2008 (EDT)

Good! Thank to you both. I just wanted to be sure it worked for someone besides me. Q 13:02, 18 April 2008 (EDT)

Shared Research Page: Jackson in New Jersey [27 April 2008]

Someone had already created a page named Jackson in New Jersey and had placed some census records pertaining to Trenton, in Mercer Co., New Jersey on the page. I have edited the page but am not altogether happy or comfortable with the results. Can someone look to see what I have done and tell me if I'm on the right track or revert it to what it was? My intent was to have a page that the page named 'Surname: Jackson' could link to. I thought there should be links from that page to every state. The Jackson name is so common that eventually there should be Jackson info in every state.

So New Jersey is the state I am learning on. I forsee that eventually each county will have their own page so I put county links on the page. Probably the earlier Mercer County info should be moved over to the Mercer County page, but I don't know how to or the ethics of moving other folks' work.

Without commenting on the ethics per se, one way around the dilemma would be to create a separate page of the same name but adding a designator (1). That way you could do what you are trying to do without having to worry about keeping the integrity of someone elses work intact. As an alternative you might want to create a page "Jacksons in New Jersey County Census Records", etc. That way you would keep your focus on your main interest Q 08:08, 24 April 2008 (EDT)

Also, I question all the red category pages at the bottom. That's hard to read through. If the Mercer County info is moved to it's own page, will all those extra category pages automatically go over to the county page or how does that work? --Janiejac 02:09, 24 April 2008 (EDT)

The categories are input manually into one of the automatic text boxes on the edit page. That is, the set of county categories that appears at the bottom is based on a manuel list of counties that was input into the corresponding text box. Even if you manually move the data that's there for a specific county, the category would remain unless you remove it from the input text box. Ditto surname categories, etc. Q 08:08, 24 April 2008 (EDT)
Consider a table set-up for your list of census records for each county with "Jackson" representatives. Then place the census records in the Digital Library (still in Beta testing, and place a link to those records in your table. For example:
Jackson's in Mercer County, NJ Census Records
Census Year"link to record"
1790"link to record"
1800"link to record"
1810"link to record"
1820"link to record"
etc ...

Ultimately this kind of approach a) saves space on the page, b) allows the user to navigate easily through the information to get to what they want, and c) serves to show where additional information needs to be retrieved. If you try this you would probably want to use wikitable formating, rather than the HTML standard above---I use traditional HTML formating because that's what I learned, and I'm comfortable with it, but WikiTables is probably easier and cleaner to use---and it does knock off a few keystrokes).

Thanks for helping me think this through. I set up a table and then had second thoughts, so removed it until I can see more clearly. On the table I set up, I added a column for 'link to transcriptions' as I have more transcriptions than I have images to load. But then realized that in areas where a lot of Jackson families all settled together, there could be 8 to 10 images in that county alone. If someone has already posted a census image page that happens to also have Jackson on it, we don't need the image posted a second time and another time when a different family on that page gets input.
And for transcriptions, much more can be learned if one family is followed through the years instead of different families grouped by year. And this is probably best done on the family pages. So I need to think through the purpose of the Jackson in County pages. I'd like to see some guidelines established as these pages come into more general use. Since these are 'shared research pages' this will vary considerably depending on the individuals authoring/using the pages. Should these pages be 'research guides' instead? That have just links to where to find info on Mercer County Jacksons?--Janiejac 14:04, 24 April 2008 (EDT)
Its a complex problem. There are many ways you can organize the data, so you have to select among the many, the one that meets the need. There may be several needs that you and others want to meet. The same organizing principle won't necessarily meet every need. Which means you have to think a lot about what you most want to accomplish. Stick with it. You'll eventually solve the puzzle. Q 15:07, 24 April 2008 (EDT)
This is a good question. I had initially thought of the "shared research" pages as something like message boards. I don't think that we have enough experience with them yet to say how they should be used. A couple of thoughts on Jackson in New Jersey: I'm not sure that it makes sense to list all of the other surnames -- the page mentions them but it's not really about them. Also, eventually we need to make links to county pages automatic. It's unreasonable to expect people to enter the county pages by hand. If we're going to keep the "shared research page" concept, I need to improve some of the functionality.--Dallan 11:13, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

How do I find what Tree a person is contain in? [27 April 2008]

I don't have much luck finding answers to my questions in the help pages. How do I find what Tree a person is contain in? I have one of my OWN pages Whitmore page and I would like to know which of my trees it is found in, so I can merge it with another of my pages matching Whitmore page. On the matching Whitmore page I can go to "Tree -"" and hold the cursor there hovering and the text appears "Remove this page from Heller" so does that mean it is in my Heller tree? Also the first page: Whitmore page shows nothing except a "Tree +" I hope I am explaining the question well enough to get some help. If there is already a page with this info on it, please provide me with a link. I think this is a good question, as I found this page while doing a search for People pages, not through an FTE. So how does anyone that arrives at a person or family page find out what tree that page is found in? Thanks! --Msscarlet1957 09:06, 24 April 2008 (EDT)

Go ahead and click on the Tree+ or Tree- and you'll be shown all your trees. From there you'll be able to see what tree the page has been added to. Also, pages can appear in more than one tree if you want. --Ronni 11:22, 24 April 2008 (EDT)
Well, that is interesting, I clicked on Whitmore page and it is not contained in any of my trees. What can be the cause of that? Maybe someone put it in their tree? --Msscarlet1957 21:27, 24 April 2008 (EDT)
Hmmm, don't know why it's not showing up in one of your trees. I see the page was uploaded via GEDCOM so it should have been added to one. Whatever the reason it's not showing up in a tree for you now has nothing to do with whether someone else has added it to their tree though. That's not how it works. Pages can be added to multiple trees. Adding a page to one tree, doesn't take it out of another. You can even add the page to ALL of your trees if you like. --Ronni 22:43, 24 April 2008 (EDT)
And all the pages connected to Whitmore page don't belong to any of my trees either, and yet they are my pages. This is very odd, perhaps they somehow got "orphaned"? --Msscarlet1957 12:02, 25 April 2008 (EDT)
Also, if you hover your mouse over the "Tree -" button you should see a little window telling you which of your trees this page is in.
We did have a bug awhile ago where if you edited a page, the checkbox for the tree it belonged to was not checked by default, and if you didn't notice that and saved the page without checking it, then the page was removed from the tree :-(. When I fixed the bug, for people with just one tree I added their watched person & family & mysource pages back into their tree. But for people with multiple trees, I couldn't determine which tree to add the pages back into. If you have multiple trees, this is the likely cause. Later today I'll send you an email with the pages on your watchlist that aren't in any of your trees. Hopefully they all belong to the same tree, and I can add them back in.--Dallan 11:13, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

Page Identifiers [27 April 2008]

I note that pages I am watching have changes made to them. When I go into the page to review it I cannot tell if it was a page that was originally mine or originally someone else's. Is there a way to easily identify this?--Sheri 17:18, 25 April 2008 (EDT)

You can always open up the history of the page and see who did what when. That's not going to always show however, because when a page is redirected the target is automatically added to your watch list without any of the redirected page's history being added. Chances are though, if you see that you are on the list of those watching a page, either you added something to the page or you contributed a page that was merged to the new page. I guess if you're really determined, you could also look at the "what points here" links for a changed page, and see what was redirected there. You could then look at each of those histories. But then, what does it matter? The real question is do you have pages for the people you want?--Jrm03063 19:12, 25 April 2008 (EDT)

And just to be clear, if the page has not been redirected to another page, the first entry in the history list will show you who originally created the page.--Dallan 11:13, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

Wishlist - Bookmark [27 April 2008]

I would like to be able to bookmark certain pages on WeRelate that are not in my Trees and have a button on the home page to select from my bookmarked pages. --Beth 10:04, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

I do something similar by going to the "My User" page and adding links to pages I am interested in. That's a page you can always get to quickly.--Srblac 10:12, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

That's the approach I'd recommend for now.--Dallan 11:13, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

Reducing accidental duplicates [6 May 2008]

I'd like people's opinions on the following issue: Suppose a user adds a page for a person, say "John Doe", and lists John's parents as "James Doe and Mary Smith". We reserve an ID number for the James Doe and Mary Smith family page (e.g., "Family:James Doe and Mary Smith (1)") when John's page is saved. The link to the family page is red because the page hasn't actually been created yet. Now suppose that before creating the family page, the user adds a page for John's sister Elizabeth. Since the parents' family page hasn't been created yet, the user selects "add a new family page" and enters "James Doe" and "Mary Smith" as the parents, just as before. We now reserve a new ID number for the family page (e.g., "Family:James Doe and Mary Smith (2)") when Elizabeth's page is saved, because we don't know that the user meant for this family to be the same as the previously-reserved family. Unless the user corrects this situation later, they'll end up creating two family pages.

I can think of two possible solutions to this problem:

  1. When you save a Person page with a parent-family or spouse-family link pointing to a page that has not created yet, we go ahead and create an empty page for that family. So the family links will be blue, not red. It is added to your watchlist and your tree. You can edit the family page later to fill in the information. Similarly when you save a Family page with husband, wife, or child links pointing to Person pages that have not been created yet.
  2. Instead of creating the family page when you save the person page, we add the (not-yet-created) family page to your watchlist and your tree. It now shows up in the auto-complete list and the browse pages screen, but the link is still red.

Any thoughts on which solution is preferable, or another solution?--Dallan 13:27, 29 January 2008 (EST)

I like option #1. If someone adds a person to their tree and enters the parents, it would be logical that they want a page created for that couple. Doing it automatically would not only reduce the number of duplicate couples, it would also save the user a step by not having to create the couple's page later. --Ajcrow 13:33, 29 January 2008 (EST)

I agree that option #1 is the most logical, obviously the page is created and should be blue and the creator will then add the information to it. (one would hope) --Msscarlet1957 21:04, 29 January 2008 (EST)

I suspect that there are a number of ways duplicates are created by the same person. Its a complex system that's being constructed, and there are bound to be many paths where accidents like this can arise. In one sense, it doesn't really matter if there are unnecessary duplicates---afterall, the person creating them (accidentally, of course) knows (hopefully) which on e is the right one to connect on their tree. But it does add to the clutter, and others have to sort through that clutter. Not much of a problem for uncommon names, but even moderately uncommon names ) can generate a substantial number of separate "cards". Using Dallan's suggestion about the browse function, I know know that there are more than 70 entries for William Russell---most are probably legitimately different entries, but some of them are duplicates entered by the same person. Eventually, those duplicates are going to get in the way of doing work. This is not unlike the glut that you are faced with on Ancestry, where you see the same entry being made for literally hundreds of users---trying to find the one entry that has decent documentation is a problem all by itself. So, what ever the answer is to the specific question Dallan posed, there's a need for a global solution to duplicate entries. And as I reflect on this, I'm again struck by all of the STUFF Dallan has to account for in making this thing work seamlessly. Bill 21:49, 30 January 2008 (EST)

Yes, it would also be easier if one knew how to fix the duplicates. There are 5 Mansel Cokers listed now. An extra Mansel was created somehow. Anyway I am using numbers 1, 2, 3, and 5. When I created Mansel Coker (5), I first attempted to use Mansel Coker(4), but since Mansel Coker (4) had been redirected to Mansel Coker (3); my preview sheet for my new Mansel had reverted to the information for #3; that is why I used #5 and #4 is a duplicate. Maybe WeRelate could prompt you by having a check box for your intentions Mansel Coker (3) or Mansel Coker (4). I don't know. --Beth 07:09, 2 February 2008 (EST)

I noticed a situation the other day. A user was merging pages for the Norman ancestors of William the Conqueror, and I did some browsing. I checked one individual and found there were 88 entries for her, with her name wrong, no less. Looking at the histories, I found that 80 of them had been entered by the same user within a three hour period and 3 more by another user, again, apparently in a single session. I then checked some other person and family pages up and down the line and again found dozens of entries. This demonstrates how quickly a mess like Ancestry.com, WFT or the Ancestral File can develop. One of these, I forget which, as I don't really use them, has a useful feature. When a list of entries is displayed, there are icons indicating if there are notes, pedegrees, sources, etc. included. On the other hand, the search engine for the Ancestral File has a very annoying drawback in that the advanced search fields are all disabled unless both given and surname fields contain values. Thus making it impossible to search for example, persons with a given surname within a certain geographical area in a given time frame.--Scot 19:49, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

I am still confused about this subject. Yesterday I had a person Mattie May, probably (1) but I would need to check. I discovered that her birth name was Martha May. So I renamed the page Martha May and now she is #12 or #14. I understand that there were probably more Marthas and the #change, but now Mattie May is not being used. I dislike creating duplicates. What is the correct way to do this? --Beth 08:52, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

You did it the correct way. The Mattie May page is now a redirect. Redirects shouldn't appear in search results, but they do show up in the browse list. It would be possible to eliminate redirects from the browse list though. That's worth considering.--Dallan 15:54, 6 May 2008 (EDT)

Shared research pages [3 May 2008]

Is this working? I am not sure that any one finds these pages? Maybe we should rethink this? Possibly we could consider renaming the shared research pages to message boards and provide easier access; but keep the rules intact. Other thoughts; is this working for other users? --Beth 21:57, 11 February 2008 (EST)

I'm interested in others' opinions on this as well. I think shared research pages aren't being used much partly/mostly due to the "surname-in-place" categories not being implemented very well right now. In the future I'd like to create category pages automatically for the "surname-in-place" categories so that the category links show up as blue links (not red) at the bottom of the person and family pages. The shared research page would be the first link in the category. Once we get categories working better, I think we should promote them more. I'm open to a name-change from "shared research pages" to something else.--Dallan 11:44, 13 February 2008 (EST)

I imagine I am not alone in saying I did not even know that there were "shared research pages." Can someone post a link here to one for an example please? --Msscarlet1957 16:43, 13 February 2008 (EST)

Coker in Georgia and Coker in Texas are 2 that I setup. One user did find my Coker in Georgia page. The idea is for users to share their research and queries on these pages, but unlike a message board most of the discussions on one family would be under the same heading, not spread over the years of the boards existence. Also if multiple people are working on the same line; this is great place to keep track of your shared research, who has ordered what document and so on. --Beth 18:13, 13 February 2008 (EST)

Maybe the pages are too hard to locate. They are on my user profile page. Perhaps if we add a link on the blue toolbar that would help. I don't really like calling them message boards, what about Surname Boards? Dallan, if you have blue links at the bottom of the person and family pages as you suggested that will probably attract more users. --Beth 18:31, 13 February 2008 (EST)

Not sure what "shared research page" means. I am getting confused when people link to my page. I am glad they do but after all is said and done I can't tell which was my page and which was theirs originally. Also seems that we are getting many pages for one person. Is there a way that we can somehow merge these together or maybe thats not a good idea. I'm not sure its helpful to come up with the same Hannah Emerson five times either.--Sheri 19:20, 14 April 2008 (EDT)

We're working on match and merge functionality this spring and summer. You should start seeing new features in this area starting next month.--Dallan 20:03, 15 April 2008 (EDT)

Personally, I think that the 'shared resource' pages are a huge plus here. If they aren't bringing in results quite yet then it's probably because there aren't enough people and data involved here yet. But the surname-place structure, starting broader and working narrower as necessary, is beautifully crafted! Stick with it!

Checking in with the 'help' tab let me know what the 'shared resource' subset of 'articles' was. This is great! We all just need more content to make this more productive. Well, that's our job....

LindaS--LindaS 22:33, 23 April 2008 (EDT)

Is there any expectation of being able to post a spreadsheet onto a shared research page? I have some marriages listed on a spreadsheet that I would post but trying to copy from the spreadsheet and then paste into the shared research page was a disaster that had to be removed. I found no good way to get items lined up properly. Even when I entered &nsp; enough times to make it look right in the preview, it looked terrible when saved.--Janiejac 21:34, 29 April 2008 (EDT)

I use HTML tables (not WikiTables) quite a bit and don't usually have that kind of problem, but maybe your data is more complicated than what I'm doing. In anycase, one work around would be to store an Excell Spreadsheet in the Digital library, and use the bitstream format to call it up. In theory, that would bring the spreadsheet up in a separate screen, though I'm having trouble getting that to work consistently. The main problem with that is that the user would need to have excell to read the file. Another approach is to use txt files (assuming you have the tools to create same), which are more universally readable. Even so, when I'm working with the Digital Library I now prefer to set the material up as HTML---that way anyone with a browser can read it. Of course, Digital Library is still in Beta, but I think the plan is to have it out in the May-June timeframe. And of course, if display is the only issue here, and no one has to work with the spreadsheet, then you could always capture an image of the page, and store that either as an image or in the digital Libary. Q 21:46, 29 April 2008 (EDT)

Either of the approaches Bill suggests would work. There's no way to attach a spreadsheet to a wiki page unfortunately. If you wanted to allow others to edit it, another thing you could possibly consider would be to make it a "Google Doc" and add a link to the doc.--Dallan 14:05, 3 May 2008 (EDT)

Dallan, the spreadsheet is already a published google doc. It can even be sorted by Jackson given name or by year of marriage. But I wasn't sure how to link to it because someone would have to register with google before they could get to see it. As for the earlier suggestions - I'm not knowledgeable enough to know how to do either of those suggestions. Genealogy I know, wiki I don't.

Just FYI, this page gives instructions on how to create tables. But the Google Docs solution isn't bad.--Dallan 19:17, 3 May 2008 (EDT)

If I correctly understand what you want to do, here's a solution:

I'm assuming you are working with Excell, but you should be able to use most any spreadsheet program to do this.

A. Open your spreadsheet. B. Save the spreadsheet in tab delimited format. (That should be one of your save options). C. That will give you a file with a "txt" ending. D. Upload that txt file to the Digital Library when that's operational

Here's an example now in the digital library:

Example File

The example is very simple two row x four column table,

People should be able to open that file, and save it to their computer. The file they get will preserve the cellular structure of the spreadsheet, and they should be able to work with it using any spreadsheet program.

There are two things it won't get you. A. It will not preserve any of the fancy formating that made your original spreadsheet a minor work of art B. When the file open's up in the digital Library, you will not be able to manipulate it without downloading it to your own computer.

If what you need is something that preserves the full functionality of the spreadsheet, then about all you can do at this point is upload the Excell formatted spreadsheet and let people down load that. They will not be able to view it with their browser, but, but they will be able to manipulate it----assuming they have excell. Q 19:55, 3 May 2008 (EDT)

Order of Events in Left Column [29 May 2008]

As I have been merging pages and adding information onto existing pages I have noticed that a page would be easier to read if I could change the order of some of the events in the left column. For instance, it would be useful to be able to put an alternate birth or death directly under the original birth or death. Currently some of those are entered in after many other life events have been entered and would be easy for someone researching the person to miss. Is there a way to change the order already, or would it be difficult to make that available? The information is all there so it isn't urgent, it would just be nice. --Brannon 18:08, 27 February 2008 (EST)

I believe that Dallan plans to add the capability to reorder events by the user. I agree that this is a desirable enhancement. --Beth 07:51, 28 February 2008 (EST)

I was thinking of letting people re-order events (and children) on the edit screen, but automatically ordering them by date when they were displayed on the "main" screen. Does that make sense?--Dallan 10:15, 29 February 2008 (EST)

Chronological ordering sounds fine to me Dallan and if you do I see no reason to reorder my events on the edit page. --Beth 20:49, 29 February 2008 (EST)

Ordering by date works for must cases. The problem I have run into though happens in the case of Twins, etc. Their ordered by date and then bye first letter of name. Problem is that theirs no way to organize them in the proper birth order if you know it.--Jeffjahn 21:38, 29 May 2008 (EDT)

Groups of People, Categories and Templates [28 May 2008]

I've been reading Mayflower lately, and it inspired me to take advantage of the Wiki system to gather the information that's here on the Mayflower passengers. The beginning of my efforts can be seen here. (The first thing you'll notice is a pretty nasty merge problem, an issue for another day!) At any rate, it strikes me first of all that this could be used for any number of categories, from Mayflower to Presidents and governors to the settlers at Gravesend on this page I was browsing today to various professions, and that it could be a huge value added over other genealogy sites once implemented. I figured out how to set up the category, but that brings me to two questions. First, I know there's a full list of categories somewhere, but would there be a way to have a "user-created" category list? That way if someone creates a "U.S. Presidents" category, others can know about it without just stumbling upon it. Second, does WeRelate support the kind of templates that Wikipedia uses to keep track of discrete groups like this? (Like the "Governors of Kentucky" list here). --Amelia 11:13, 2 March 2008 (EST)

Amelia, I'm following your Mayflower efforts. My family goes back to Thomas Rogers, so I'll help you out with the merges for that tree.

Speaking of templates, WeRelate does support them. See Template:Merge for a template I just created to mark records that are soon to be merged/deleted. We could put that template on these pages, wait a week or so, then feel free to delete them, maybe?

Also, I agree on the user-created categories issue. I think computer-generated categories should be hidden by default, even. --Joeljkp 10:52, 3 March 2008 (EST)

I think your template is very courteous...but I think using it in cases other than places like families where the children need to collect over several days will create more work. If I'd known how to do that when I first tracked down all the passengers that I tagged with the category, that would have been one thing, but having gone through and edited all of them once, I'm not eager to do it again. Plus, in the vast majority of cases, I'm finding that there's not really any grounds for objection. If there are (like different sets of parents or wives I can't resolve), I generally don't do the merge, and something like that template would be a good note for people who have an opinion to resolve the problem. If it makes you feel better about "summarily" merging, I've been doing it constantly for months (mainly with records I have in my own tree before I started this), and, between the facts that I try to keep what's most reliable, that sources are so rare, and that so many people have uploaded gedcoms never to return, I rarely ever get a comment, let alone an objection. (If anyone out there thinks I've been rudely trampling on others' work, feel free to correct my approach.)--Amelia 22:35, 3 March 2008 (EST)

Amelia, I do not have any problem with your approach. I am entering several lines and they are still under construction, but if someone else already has all the data and sources; I would be happy with the merge. If not I would notice the change on the watchlist and comment. --Beth 00:19, 4 March 2008 (EST)

Yeah, I agree. I don't see any problem with merging records that either are in agreement or have additional information that can be brought over to the new record. Perhaps we could use the template in those cases when there's a direct conflict? I'm thinking put up the warning for 7 days in that kind of case, then if there's no objection keep the more promising fact (the one with a source if possible) and delete the other. --Joeljkp 23:48, 3 March 2008 (EST)

Let me know if you have any problems copying templates from Wikipedia to WeRelate. You should be able to add pretty much any template you like.

I've been thinking about categories lately. It's a little early to bring it up, but I've been thinking that once the new search functionality is working, perhaps the computer-generated surname and place categories will become superfluous. You'll be able to get a list of all pages with a particular surname and/or in a particular place through search, and the search results will not only include the page titles but also details like DOB, DOD, etc., which the category listings don't include. The search results won't be sorted by title like the category listings are, but maybe this isn't a big deal? I've been wondering if we should eliminate the computer-generated categories altogether, or replace them with links to search pages where the surname and/or place fields have been filled in. Eliminating the computer-generated categories would definitely solve the problem of the user-generated categories not standing out.--Dallan 00:59, 4 March 2008 (EST)

Regarding the merge template, if you decide to use this approach I'd be interested in learning how many people you get comments from during the 7-day period vs. after the merge.

I finally got around to trying this. Anyone have any comments on how George Washington looks? I'm not sure I'm a fan of it being above the sources.--Amelia 00:29, 16 May 2008 (EDT)

I just made a quick change that allows you to add text after the sources, images, and notes: If you add a <show_sources_images_notes/> tag to your Person or Family page, you can control where the sources, images, and notes appear on the page. Any text following the tag will appear under the sources, images, and notes.--Dallan 12:46, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

Another one for comment: the Mayflower info here. My thought was to collect some of the info and resources that would otherwise be repeated, and include some basic info and passenger information. Any ideas about what else to add? How to make it more compact? Think it's a waste of effort? (Or if you like it, feel free to propagate it; my WeRelate time will disappear for an indefinite period on Friday.)--Amelia 00:04, 29 May 2008 (EDT)

Time Stamping at the bottom of a wiki page [3 May 2008]

Maybe this question has already been addressed, but I'm new. Could a page, either one I'm working on or a watched page of which I have interest, be stamped with the date and/or time a change or creation has taken place? I am a teacher and I have a school website where I post my assignments, announcements, etc. At the bottom of each page there is a date when the last entry was made. This idea would be helpful to someone wondering when the page on werelate was last worked on. Thanks.--Oxford6 18:46, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

If you check the history of each page, a complete record of changes (Time/Date/Submitter) is recorded. Nothing escapes stamping---its just not intrusive. This is fairly standard on all Wiki's. FYI, I know that some schools have established wiki's for their students use. All manner of applications, depending on what the children want to do. Everything from homework assignment pages (protected) to group and individual creative writing projets (monitored---nothing goes in without the teachers approval). Q 18:53, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

Also, there should be a "This page was last modified" notice at the bottom of each page.--Dallan 14:05, 3 May 2008 (EDT)

Surname Variants-Sourcing [10 May 2008]

I've been working on edits for a surname page, and have a question. There are a number of spelling variants that I have seen frequently over the years in looking at many sources, and to me they are now just "known variants". How do I source the surname variant for the surname page? Should I be looking for some specific source to relate each to? Or is some form of 'personal knowledge' or other general source usable?--LindaS 13:18, 28 April 2008 (EDT)

Sure -- you could just set the source to "known variants" or "general knowledge" or "personal knowledge" or something like that.

Just as an FYI, sometime this coming week we'll be editing all of the Surname and Givenname pages and removing all of the "rare" related names that were automatically-generated when the pages were first created. I've noticed that those names tend to make the related names list pretty long, and we're going to handle searching over similarly-spelled rare names using double-metaphone codes (a slight improvement to soundex codes) in the future. So the related-names list will be used to provide the more-common name variants.--Dallan 14:05, 3 May 2008 (EDT)

Dallan, your robot was perhaps a little over zealous. Example, it removed the variant names of Cooker and Coaker from the Coker and variants surname list. Both of these surnames had links to articles on their pages. I have added them back; but I knew about this because I was watching the page. If other users were not watching the pages; they will not know that their surname variant has been removed from the page. Most of those links are in red so one cannot tell if the name has been removed.

I have been typing various and sundry information on these pages to turn all of my links to blue. --Beth 08:30, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

The robot kept the 25,000 most-common surnames in the related-names lists, which includes the surnames of about 80% of the people in the Social Security Death Index. It also kept the 5,000 most-common given names, which includes over 95% of the people in the Social Security Death Index. The rest of them it removed because in the near future we'll expand searches automatically to include soundex codes (double-metaphone actually) to pick up rare names. When a search is performed, the search engine will look up the name in the Surname/Givenname pages to see if it exists, and if it does it will include related names from that page. In addition it will also include double-metaphone codes to pick up similar rare names -- names not among the 25,000 most-common surnames or 5,000 most-common givennames. Cooker and Coaker should both have the same double-metaphone code as Coker so they would be picked up for example, but it doesn't hurt to add them back in just to be certain they're included.--Dallan 01:48, 10 May 2008 (EDT)

Some questions and a suggestion [3 May 2008]

I'll insert some responses in-line (Jrm03063)..

(This is a repeat of an email I sent a couple of days ago. Since I've heard nothing back, I thought I would try a wider audience)

I've been looking for an on-line solution for genealogy for awhile and have recently discovered WeRelate. Let me say that I am quite impressed. This is the perfect model for genealogy, IMO. Previously, I had been monitoring Geni, but they just can't seem to get going (no GEDCOM import!).

It was very interesting and instructive to watch the interview that Dick Eastman conducted with you (Dallan) last year for RootsTelevison. Well done (by both of you).

Since I'm just starting with WeRelate, I have some questions (of course!). Checked the Watercooler, but there doesn't seem to be a search function; so, I decided initially to send an email.


[1] Default tree. I have the tree created after my GEDCOM import (slknowles) and a Default tree. I assume there is no problem in deleting the default tree (0 records)?

I don't think there's anything special about the default tree. On the other hand, if you're only planning to run with a single tree, it's handy to have your stuff in the default tree, because any pages you add will go there by ...default! I would suggest that you walk you content pages, fixing location names to agree with werelate standards and add the pages to your default tree (and removed from slknowles) as you work through them.
If you delete your default tree, then the pages will go into the other tree you've created.

[2] Common user merge. I have already discovered that some user (SanArnold) has added people in my direct line (including my father, grandfather, etc.) I've left a contact through the talk system. But it only makes sense to merge users - what is the protocol here? And, tools?

If you're asking about merging pages, search for information on redirecting. You don't have more or less access to the pages created by SanArnold (or anyone else for that matter) than if you created them yourself.
While everyone has access to everything (except a persons user page---only the user can edit that), its courteous to discuss proposed changes with the creator of the page before modifying it. Golden Rule applies here. If two or more people can agree to share certain elements of their tree, that's a good thing. But if they have different views, I don't think there's a problem with them going their own way in separate articles. Q 11:58, 30 April 2008 (EDT)

[3] I'm a little confused by the numbers in parantheses after people's names. Are they a result of GEDCOM import? Lots of 1's about. Are they required?

Yes. When the first "John Smith" is created, it's "Person:John Smith (1)", when the second is created, it's "(2)", and so on.
Its not uncommon for some of the numbers to be "skipped"---that is, you'll find a sequence of names, say Person:Samuel Porter (2), Person:Samuel Porter (3), Person:Samuel Porter (5), but Person:Samuel Porter (4), does not exist. In this case a user uploaded their tree, creating various entries, but later removed their tree completely---leaving Person:Samuel Porter (4) as an empty momento of the attempt. Also, if you add a child to a child list, a page seems to be set aside for them, even if you don't place any information on the page. (tehcnically, the page doesn't actually exist---but the appropriate number has been allocated to that person. Q 11:58, 30 April 2008 (EDT)

[4] Public discovery. I noticed that Google gets a few hits in WeRelate, but it is spotty. Is that being pursued, or is it low on the list?

I don't know that we do anything special to make things more or less apt to be found by google and other search engine robots. You could ask User:dallan.
Maximizing hits on search engines is an "artful" business, and some folks spend a lot of time thinking how to make that happen. I suspect that the more actual formal content you add to a page, the more likely you are to get a hits when someone is using a search engine. A page that has little more than the name of the person, will get fewer hits than one with an extensive biography of that person. A simple GEDCOM upload will probably result in pages that receive minimal recognition by Google. Adding content will increase that. There are also issues about where the hit gets placed in the search engine results. Top of the results page is where you want to be, or course. A page like "James Fitzhugh Montgomery" will typically land higher than "James Montgomery". Q 11:58, 30 April 2008 (EDT)


[1] On a person page, the one thing that really stood out for me was the lack of b/d information (year only) beside the person's name at the top of the page. I know the information is on the side, but that's the one thing that really places a person in time.

Some wiki's do use that style (e.g., James Fitzhugh Montgomery (1821-1905). It has its advantages, but it also creates problems. A case in point is when DOB and DOD are not known. A card for "John Smith" with unknown DOB/DOD would appear as "John Smith (?-?)". And this "John Smith (?-?)" married to Alice would be indistinguishable for "John Smith (?-?)" married to Mary. I suspect Dallan settled on the designator title style simply because that's close to standard programmer practice---a unique identifier for everything, and simplifies the complexities of page naming. Other sites using the DOB-DOD method are always running into problems with people creating "non-standard" titles (e.g.,:
John Smith (1929-1998)
John Smith (19 August 1929-15 December 1998)"
John Smith (August 19, 1929-December 15, 1998)"
etc. The variants possible are endless, so you have to have rules, and people always break the rules, so you have to have policing....Dallan's approach is much simpler. Just given him the name, and he adds the number. Where it will get interesting is when the identity numbers start getting very large---Good old "John Smith (254389)" is just not very memorable as a page title---but for now, this works well. Q 11:58, 30 April 2008 (EDT)
I'm not suggesting that the b/d years be part of the indentifier - only that the information is extracted from the database and attractively displayed beside the name. For example: John Smith (2314) [1823 - 1906]
--Slknowles 12:08, 30 April 2008 (EDT)

Anyway, I'm just starting and will have more questions (will try to use the Watercooler more often). I do love the wiki model and look forward to WeRelate as it develops ...

--Slknowles 10:07, 30 April 2008 (EDT)

Just as an FYI, here are the points in the email I sent to User:Slknowles that haven't been discussed already above.

(2) Currently, you can merge person A into person B by (i) copying the information (events, sources, image references, notes) that you want to keep from A's page onto B's page, (ii) and replacing everything in the big "History" text box on A's page with

#redirect [[Person:B]]

For example, #redirect [[Person:John Doe (2)]]. This will cause the families that point to A to be updated to point to B. By the end of May we'll have a "merge" button that will make this a whole lot easier. See WeRelate talk:Merging and downloading trees for more information.

(4) Google does crawl WeRelate, but I haven't created a file that tells google how best to crawl us yet. I want to get match+merge working first. Match+merge should be done late Summer / early Fall.

Suggestion: Actually, the number after their name at the top of the page is the index number, not their birth year. Adding birth date under their name at the top of the wiki page is a good suggestion. I'll add it to the ToDo list. (It won't happen right away because I'm in the middle of re-doing search right now and then I really want to make a start on match+merge so the rest of the ToDo's are on the back burner.)--Dallan 14:05, 3 May 2008 (EDT)

Search Questions [24 June 2008]

Is it possible to search on a family name and exclude pages that i've edited or created?

Thanks --Jsadler 02:51, 6 April 2008 (EDT)

Not yet. That's part of the new search functionality I'm working on.--Dallan 10:48, 7 April 2008 (EDT)

I tried to search for George Morden in people and families. I got a response indicating 1-10 of 25. This is followed by of 9 hits and part of the 10th but there is no way to see the hits numbered 10-25 What am I missing? Thanks--Wrcummins 21:09, 28 April 2008 (EDT)

Hadn't noticed that before. I usually go through the browse function, as it gives cleaner results. I understand the search function in general is being updated, so I suspect this particular glitch will go away in the near future. However, to help with your problem, try "Browse All" under the Admin menu. Then select the "Person" namespace to be searched and enter "George Morden" in the text box. That will give you a list of articles on George Morden, though it won't give you every article where his name is mentioned.

When you do you will get a list beginning

Person:George Morden (1)
Person:George Morden (2)
Person:George Morden (3)
Person:George Morden (4)
Person:George Morden (6)

Some of these articles were written by other people, and some look to be trial runs by you. Not shown is Person:George Morden (5) Which is an empty redirect from Person:George Morden (2).

Q 21:58, 28 April 2008 (EDT)

That's a bug. Thank-you for pointing it out! Redoing search is taking longer than I had hoped, but it should be done soon, and I'll be sure to fix that bug in the new search. In the meantime, a work-around is to add "&start=10" to the end of the URL on the search results page where you don't get a "Next" link.--Dallan 14:05, 3 May 2008 (EDT)

I know Dallan is working on search, but thought I'd mention my experience. I created a person page Mollie Jackson. Program gave it an index number of (3) so I thought I'd check the other two just to be sure I wasn't duplicating her. The search results gave me NO Mollie Jacksons but did give me 4 Mollie Johnsons and one Mollie Partin born in Jackson, MO. I tried Admin/Browse and found no Mollie Jacksons. If they have been removed, I guess the program doesn't reuse the number. --Janiejac 17:39, 24 June 2008 (EDT)

To solve this problem I create a simple table like this.
Person:Mollie Jackson (1)Deleted14 September 2007 Jomarti
Person:Mollie Jackson (2)Deleted27 February 2008 Goliad
Person:Mollie Jackson (3)ActiveJaniejac
Person:Mollie Jackson (4)Empty
Person:Mollie Jackson (5)Empty
From this you can see that cards for Mollie Jackson have been created for index numbers 1,2 and 3. Card 1 and 2 appear on the table as red links because after creation, they were deleted.
(There are other reasons they might appear in red, including in particular the fact that no data was ever entered on the card---in which case the person is probably a spouse, child, or parent of someone else, appears on that persons card, but other than the name there's no other data for the person---so their own card is not created. The system still reserves a spot for them.)
Cards 4 and 5 have never been created, and are simply empty. In fact, there's no such cards in the system, and so will not show up in a search. Cards 1 and 2 also will not show up in a search because they've been deleted. The system, however, keeps track of the fact that such a card was created at one time, and reserves the index number for this name as "used". I imagine if you really wanted to you could reuse these cards for your own purpose. The person who originally created them chose to delete them, so shouldn't complain if someone else really wants to have Person:Mollie Jackson (1). The only problem if you go this route might be that the earlier deletion history of the card will still exist, and will remain attached to your "Mollie Jackson"---even though there's no real connection between them.
While you can use the browse function to pick out things like this, I find that its hard to keep track of all of the other cards that match a certain name---especially if there are many of them. I've seen names that have had over a hundred cards created for them.
I don't know if there's a whole lot of utility in dong this kind of thing. Its not hard to do a table like this, but it does take time. However, if what you are really interested in is finding out if there's anyone else whose already entered a card for your ancestor, and being able to keep track of such cards, this disambiguation approach does the job. Q 19:03, 24 June 2008 (EDT)
Thanks for the explanation and the chart. Perhaps when match/merge is working well, this won't be necessary, but it's good to know how to do this. --Janiejac 19:51, 24 June 2008 (EDT)

Searching - maybe we shouldn't worry about this? [6 May 2008]

In the context of a recent discussion of merging challenges, I thought about site searching and how our search tools aren't exactly swell. Elsewhere, there was a thread that contemplated what is needed to give the search engine robots guidance on what to look for. It occurs to me that maybe our search __should__ be google?--Jrm03063 10:53, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

I tested the search engine Google for one of my pages last week and did not get any hits. --Beth 10:59, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

I'm not thinking "google" as it is, but rather after tuning of the guidance for the search robots. That might get us the relevance ordered search we want, while getting our work a useful web presence.--Jrm03063 11:09, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

Aside from the I'm sure considerable work Dallan has done already, I think a "dumb" relevance search gets us just what we have - results ranked on some obscure relevance criteria. This works okay-ish for general searches for genealogy pages, like using WeRelate or Google for that matter to look for other websites out there. But for searching the internal site, we need something that returns person and family pages in a rational manner, searching and displaying birthdates, spouses, etc. Much more like WorldConnect than Google. --Amelia 12:12, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

We need to get more of a web presence with google, but I think we can have a better search internally than what google will provide. What we currently have isn't far from what you'd get with a google-like search. Here are the problems with google searches for genealogical data:

  • Difficult to include variant name spellings
  • Difficult to include variant place spellings (e.g., if I enter a place of MN I want to match MN, Minn, or Minnesota).
  • Impossible to do "fielded" search -- I want to search for "May" only in a surname field for example,
  • Difficult to do matching, where you specify a bunch of search criteria and want pages ranked by how many of the criteria match.
  • Impossible to sort pages by anything other than relevancy.
  • Search results are phrases around highlighted matching keywords, not fielded information like birth date and place.

--Dallan 15:54, 6 May 2008 (EDT)

Excel and HTML [4 May 2008]

Someone was asking about converting an Excel spreadsheet to a format that can be used on WeRelate. Lifehacker just commented this morning about this and in reviewing the topic I came across a freeware program (for personal use) called ASAP Utilities that can convert Excel spreadsheets to HTML. If you have Excel, you can use this program, but I don't believe you'll be able to use it through Google Docs. --Ronni 12:44, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

Another alternative might be the OpenOffice Calc program. I'm not sure, but I think it can export spreadsheets to HTML. --Ronni 16:28, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

Site incredibly slow [6 May 2008]

Is it my computer or ISP or is the site really slow today? --Beth 19:39, 4 May 2008 (EDT)

I use a monitoring service that accesses the website from 3 points around the world periodically throughout the day; according to it, the website was running fine.--Dallan 15:54, 6 May 2008 (EDT)

Thanks Dallan. Site is fine now. Probably some unknown gremlin in my home playing Wii online or something.--Beth 19:56, 6 May 2008 (EDT)

Living people on WeRelate [6 May 2008]

See Family:Robert Coker and Rose Solomon (1). Since there are no death dates for the children and they were certainly born more recently than 110 years ago; I must assume that they are living. What is the protocol for handling this? There are probably more pages on WeRelate with possible living people; but not sure how to find them. --Beth 18:09, 6 May 2008 (EDT)

Yes, it does look like they could be living. The pages don't contain any information other than the name so it's not a big concern. We don't have a set protocol for handling cases where the person is probably living but the GEDCOM uploader didn't catch it; perhaps a quick note to the submitter to make them aware of the pages and how to delete them if they are indeed living would be sufficient.--Dallan 22:24, 6 May 2008 (EDT)

Widgets [20 May 2008]

Check out the widgets on Wikia. Those are pretty neat; I think we need some widgets. I have not actually used them to see how well they work, but I like the idea. --Beth 19:41, 8 May 2008 (EDT)

I visited Wikia and browsed around a bit, but I'm not sure what you're calling widgets. Can you give some examples?--Dallan 01:48, 10 May 2008 (EDT)

Hi Dallan,

I was beginning to think that I dreamed up the widgets but finally found them again. Here is a link to the about widgets page. [3].--Beth 08:59, 10 May 2008 (EDT)

Thanks Beth. I also checked around, and found a few references to widgets but nothing that really explained it. Now that I see that page, I now realize that these are being used on the genealogy Wiki---to get things like most visited articles, etc. My impression is they don't work very well, but that may be an implementation problem, rather than a problem with the concept itself. You can see how they use them here. Q 09:59, 10 May 2008 (EDT)

Ok, I see it now. Interesting idea. I can't promise anything before match+merge is done, but send me ideas of widgets you'd like to see.--Dallan 10:56, 10 May 2008 (EDT)

Hi Dallan,

Here is a link with more info. [4] I like the following widgets; need help, shoutbox, top referrers, active talk pages, top voted and top users. --Beth 18:57, 10 May 2008 (EDT)

Good! A widget that I can imagine would be useful was one that would collect a list of articles for "speedy delete"---iem articles that had been tagged with something to indicate a need for speedy deletion. Q 19:21, 10 May 2008 (EDT)

Hi Q. That's a good one. --Beth 19:24, 10 May 2008 (EDT)

Thanks for the suggestions.--Dallan 22:14, 13 May 2008 (EDT)

Hi Q, I have already found a use for your widget. I could mark the page Source:South Carolina Department of Archives and History for deletion. I have created a repository page, but I cannot delete this page. Do you have an alternative suggestion for marking a page for deletion under our existing system? --Beth 09:45, 15 May 2008 (EDT)
Sure. insert [[Category:Speedy Delete]]. That will create category entitled "Speedy delete", and as people find things that need to have their electrons libereated, they can add to it. An alternative would be to create a template that does two things. 1) creates the categroy entry "Speedy Delete", and 2) places text on the page marking it as a candidate for speedy delete. I've thought about doing that, but haven't gotten around to it. Q 10:35, 15 May 2008 (EDT)
Okay, I got around to it. "Template:Speedy Delete" will add a statement marking the page for speedy deletion, directs people to the talk page to argue the proposal, and adds a category that places the page on the list for speedy deletion. It would be up to one of the sites sysops to periodically run through that list and evaluate things for speedy deletion. The template has a couple of things that need tweaked. For one thing, it puts the template on the list for speedy deletion. I imagine there's a work around for that, but I haven't figured it out yet. Go to Test Page for Speedy Deletion to see a page on which the Category has been placed, and to Template:Speedy Delete to see the template. Q. Go to Category:Speedy Delete to see the list. 11:03, 15 May 2008 (EDT)

Your speedy deletion template is cool. I have added the page for deletion. --Beth 18:15, 15 May 2008 (EDT)
Good. Glad that proved helpful. It does require a SysAdmin's to take action periodically, and I so has to be added to one of the SysAdmins queue of things to do. Fortunately, it wouldn't require frequent action. Q 19:02, 15 May 2008 (EDT)

Thanks for setting this up! I modified the template so that it doesn't include itself in the category, deleted the pages (except for the test page) in the category because they all looked like good candidates for deletion, and added "Speedy Delete" as a new item to the Admin menu.--Dallan 12:46, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

Articles and Categories with the same name [10 May 2008]

Articles and catgories with the same name are confusing. I know the difference; but to facilitate the ease of use of WeRelate perhaps the names could be somehow differentiated. Examples: Coker in Georgia and Category:Coker in Georgia. --Beth 08:18, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

I'm thinking of removing the links to "surname in place" categories from the person and family pages and replacing them with canned searches that list the pages for that surname in that place, sorted by page title. This will have similar functionality to the current "surname in place" category pages, but the search results will list things like birth date and place, which the category pages don't, so I think it will be an improvement. We could still keep links to the "surname in place" articles. I'm hoping that by not automatically generating "surname in place" categories it will simplify things.--Dallan 01:48, 10 May 2008 (EDT)

Census heading disappears on family pages [10 May 2008]

In my GEDCOM files I sometimes put census data in a family page. When I upload such a GEDCOM to WeRelate, the census data shows up in the expected place. Example: Otto Hitzemann and Louisa Claus (1).

However, if I then modify the page for any reason, the "Census" heading gets replaced by an "Unknown" heading. Example: Carl Hitzemann and Maria Mensching (1).

Once this happens, there seems to be no way to go back to having a Census heading. I'm not sure how to deal with this issue, or even if this is the best way to handle Census information. Advice, anyone?

--Ahitzeman 18:01, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

The events and facts on your family page, that show unknown have no type selected. There is no census fact on the family page; you might ask Dallan to add a census fact. I have used other for a census fact. I usually enter my census facts on the individual's page but that is because of the way my genie program separates facts for the individual and family in reports.

Enter the census data any way you wish. I enter the census data in the text field and create links to the people and places, but there is no set method. Look at Person:Robert Coker (3).--Beth 19:42, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

I don't know about other people's customs, but I usually create a "residence" fact, and use the census as a supporting source.--Jrm03063 20:29, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

I use the census as a residence fact also. The use of census data and how one enters the information for me depends on how critical a role it is in evidence for support of the family lineage that I am attempting to prove.--Beth 20:47, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

I too have a "residence" fact but I only use that for residences found in other placed than Census, such as residence found at time of death on a death certificate. I actually have created a census fact for each year examples: census1880; census1900; census1910. However when my gedcom is uploaded WeRelate transfers that information into an "other" tag and then lists my name of the tag underneath the date and place information, which is fine just so it is there in near proximity. See George and Lydia Folk family. --Msscarlet1957 20:59, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

This looks like an oversight. We support census and residence facts for both people and families in the GEDCOM uploader, but only for people in the online editor. I went ahead and added Census and Residence facts for families in the online editor.--Dallan 01:48, 10 May 2008 (EDT)

Thanks Dallan; it is great to have the census and residence fact on the family page. --Beth 09:04, 10 May 2008 (EDT)

Census citation question [10 May 2008]

I include the dwelling/family # and location (street address, precinct, etc.) and name of head of household in my citation. For now I am entering that data in the text / where found box. If you include this in your citation, in which box are you entering this info?

After reviewing other info, I see that I should probably enter the head of the household and dwelling/family# in the record name box. That just leaves the location. Where do I place the location?

From the finished citation below it seems that I could put the location after dwelling and family. This census page had no specific location.

Robert Coker, dwelling 429, family [blank], in United States, Georgia, Murray. 1850 census, population schedule, NARA M432, roll, 78, p. 177 (back), p. 178 (front), September 1850, Secondary quality Robert Coker, age 54, white male, farmer, $500, SC; Elizabeth Coker, age 56, white female / www.ancestry.com

Opinions, advice. Thanks.

--Beth 19:58, 10 May 2008 (EDT)

Image Upload improvements [15 May 2008]

Dallan, thanks for the improvements on the image upload page. I don't know how you find the time. Anyway today I uploaded the wrong image and was delighted to find that I could easily correct my mistake. I replaced the image and then I chose the new image in the edit section of my person page. Fantastic. --Beth 19:36, 15 May 2008 (EDT)

Enhancement request-copy and paste source citation function [27 May 2008]

Hi Dallan, I know you are busy; but I still wish to have this feature. Every time I find it necessary to retype a source citation I miss my Legacy program. Sometimes I am even tempted to just type ibid; but I have not yet. <g> --Beth 21:23, 15 May 2008 (EDT)

Do you want to copy and paste from another citation on the same page? I've got Legacy, so if you tell me what you do with Legacy I'll see if there's an easy way to replicate it.--Dallan 12:46, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

Hi Dallan, I want to copy a citation from one page and paste it on a different page. Actually with Legacy I can choose to copy the entire event (fact) and citation and paste the event-citation to another person or just copy and paste the citation.
Having the capability to copy and paste the citation would be fantastic. I utilize census data often and create a fact for each person enumerated in the household. The capability is useful for any source text that names multiple people. If I had the ability to copy and paste the citation this would reduce my repetitive typing dramatically. I would need only to edit the text field of the citation or that field could be omitted from the copy and paste. That really does not matter to me; either method will work. Thanks.--Beth 10:31, 25 May 2008 (EDT)
So you'd like to copy the title, record name, volume/pages, and date from the citation entry on the other page? That's not simple to do inside a browser unfortunately. It sounds like something you could do with a keyboard macro though; does anyone have experience with a good keyboard macro recorder for Windows?--Dallan 16:41, 27 May 2008 (EDT)

Genealogy 2.0 [19 May 2008]

Web 2.0 is a current buzz word in the internet. Wikipedia gives it's definition as

Web 2.0 is a term describing the trend in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to enhance creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users.

The current edition (May 2008) of Scientific American includes an article entitled "Science 2.0", which describes how some scientists are trying to integrate the Web 2.0 concepts into the practice of doing science. I'm struck by the large number of parallels with what's going on in the world with genealogy and the development of genealogy based wiki's (e.g., We Relate, Genealogy, WikiTrees and Rodovid). If you are serious about doing genealogy on a wiki, this is an article that you should probably take a look at.

Genealogy 2.0 is, I think, a meaniningful parallel to Web 2.0, and Science 2.0. I've taken a series of snippets from the Scientific American article where I saw meaningful parallels to a Genealogy 2.0. Most of the following snippets are direct quotes from people who commented on the article before publication---using a common Web 2.0 technique---an open discussion board where readers posted their thoughts, which thoughts could be read in real time.) I've done a little editing on some of this to place specific items into a genealogical context, or to make the flow better. [Edits are marked with square brackets]. Q 09:33, 18 May 2008 (EDT)

The Promise of the Wiki

"Web 2.0 [has] expanded peoples ability not just to consume online information but to publish it, edit it, and collaborate about it---forcing... old line institutions... to adopt whole new ways of thinking and operating."

The Genealogists Notebook [22 May 2008]

"Web 2.0 technologies open up a much richer dialogue...To me, opening up my lab notebook means giving people a window in to what I'm doing every day... That's an immense leap forward in clarity. In a paper, I can see what you've done. But I don't know how many things you tried that didn't work. Its those little details that become clear with an open [online] notebook]."

"A simple wiki makes an almost perfect [genealogists] notebook. The timestamp on every entry not only establishes priority but allows anyone to track the contributions of every person, even in a large collboration.

I would be more inclined to use "talk" pages to document my work, if their presences was more obvious. I think there should be a very clear visible indicator on a family or person page indicating that a backing talk page is present. Otherwise, I think information in the talk page is overlooked. Also, I havn't tracked the behavior of talk pages with respect to who watches them, but it seems that watching a person/family page should automatically add you as a watcher of any corresponding talk page as well as the reverse.--Jrm03063 12:15, 19 May 2008 (EDT)

There are, of course, different approaches that can be taken, depending on objectives and what works well for specific individuals. The idea of a "Genealogists Notebook" (or research notebook, or whatever one wants to call it) is a standard recommended "How to", that's been around for years. Usually such notebooks are kept ordered by date, (a diary being a common example, sans the gossip), but they can also be kept in subject order, rather like an old fashioned day book where an index is kept of subjects, and data entered about those subjects on specific pages. That would be the natural way to go on a genealogy wiki, where everything is more or less automatically organized by subject. Indeed, one of the advantages of a wiki is that it provides a very natural subject ordered way to organize data. Whether such information was kept on a talk page, or a subject page would largely depending on what one wanted to do with the data. In my case, I dump data as I come to it onto the subject page---then when I have enough data I reorganize it into an article. I haven't quite got the formalisms down, but I usually try to systematically show the raw information (including sources) in a "source" section toward the end of the article. That way I have a permanent record of what sources I've looked at, and what I found there. It also simplifies text creation, because the raw data tends to speak for itself, is immedately present below the main article, and I don't have to clutter up the article itself with extensive discussions of the source material. Some of that's there, but the bulk of the discussion comes in footnotes referencing the appropriate data, and is immediately available to the interested reader though "discovery"---since everything is right there, its easy for them to see what certain conclusions are based on without weighing the text down.
And of course, if they a) don't understand something, b) don't agree with something, or c) want to point something out, then the talk page is right there ready for them to say what they want to say.
In part, this is a matter of personal style, and not everyone would be comfortable with my approach. Q 12:35, 19 May 2008 (EDT)

Well, I'm not sure the discussion goes here, but it's as good as anywhere.
The need that I've encountered is to document open questions. As I'm merging pages, different answers for commen questions can become apparent. I don't always care to do the investigation to figure out which is "right", so I would prefer to be able to say explicitly somewhere what the different perspectives are. A talk page would be fine, but a researcher looking at a person or family page down the road wouldn't know that there was a talk page without actually looking for it. I'm looking for something explicit on the person/family page indicating that there's a non-empty talk page behind the person/family page.--Jrm03063 13:09, 19 May 2008 (EDT)

I think what you are interested in is at least related to a notebook. This is something I'm interested in, and something I'm currently exploring. I can think of a couple of ways to solve the problem as you present it.

The idea of a research notebook is that you document

  • what it is you are thinking,
  • what information sources you've looked at,
  • perhaps which one's you haven't gotten to as yet, and
  • perhaps the various alternatives that you are considering that might resolve the problem.
  • You could outline how you might proceed to eliminate some of the alternatives, time permitting.

That's where wiki collaboration comes into play. If you get the basic ideas down, then either you or someone else can follow up on that. No one has time to do everything, but in a collaboration, no one has to do everything. Maybe you youself solve the problem, maybe someone else works on it and solves it, or at least carries the problem a few steps further.

We don't have anything quite like that, nor does anyone else. Talk pages come close, but as you point out, if there's something there, its not going to be obvious to most readers. Forums come a bit closer, but I don't know if this site is going to go that route or not.

Here are some specific alternative approaches to the problem as you presented it:

  • First, a link could be placed on a person article page--probably near the top, flaging the discussion page. That would signal anyone reading the page that there is a discussion going on in the talk pages concerning whatever the discussion concerned. If interested they could then go to the discussion page to see what people were thinking. Add their thoughts, etc.
  • Another approach might be to create a "non-person" collaboration article--- Perhaps that article would be a statement of a research problem that needed to be worked. You could outline the essential problem---facts, inconsistencies, issues, whatever---but not an article in person name space. Supporting data could be collected on that page, or perhaps on subpages using the "slash" constructor (won't work with person articles but plain old non-category articles accept the slash constructor. Then you could link different data sets to that main problem article. Since this isn't a formal article, I think you could include discussion right on those pages---or you could adopt the convention of restricting discussion to the talk pages. Doesn't really matter here, since what you would be creating would be a collaboration page, not a true article---it could be very much like this forum, but restricted to a specific genealogical problem. Q 14:00, 19 May 2008 (EDT)

All that sounds fine, but what I need is really trivial. If a person or family page has a live "talk" page behind it, then there should be an obvious visual cue and live link - needing to know to check a "talk" page isn't going to attract the attention needed. There could be an icon next to the name or family in the shape of a notebook or something. When talk pages acquire enough use, conventions will develop as they are needed (perhaps within the framework of a notebook as you suggest).--Jrm03063 17:53, 19 May 2008 (EDT)

Then simply create a template that points out that there is a research discussion on the talk page, insert that at the appropriate point on the article page. If you like the idea of a "notebook", you could perhaps include an image of a notebook in the template. Here are some examples

See Talk Page for Research Discussion
See Talk Page for Research Discussion
See Talk Page for Research Discussion
See Talk Page for Research Discussion

In anycase, until you actually have some folks collaborating on something, the issue will be moot. Here the problem is two fold:

a) getting people interested in looking a a particular page and
b) getting the small fraction of those interested in a page who have the knowledge and skill needed to work in a wiki environment, to actually work the wiki in a collaborative manner.

I think that last one remains something of a killer. Despite Dallan's systematic work in making this drop dead easy, there's still a significant learning curve for most genealogists. You need a wide net to attract collaborators. I'm personally getting close to the point where I can start thinking about attracting people to specific problems, but I'm not there yet. Q 18:20, 19 May 2008 (EDT)

Quolla you sure got item b right! Item a should be simple enough to implement, sort of like the highlighted flag of a post-em at rootsweb. But item b has got me pegged. This genealogist is still in the watching stage. I thought 'shared research page' describes what you are wanting. In what way would a 'notebook' be different from a shared research page?--Janiejac 08:24, 20 May 2008 (EDT)
Your right. Its basically the same thing. The take off was from the concept of a "lab notebook", or "research notebook" as mentioned in the SciAm article. So I kept the parallelism, not even thinking of the "Shared Research Page". The idea of a "Research Notebook" is something that a term familiar to experienced genealogists at least, though it seems like a foreign concept for many. Still, its not a new idea. When someone says "Here's some notes from my Notebook" I pretty much know what they are talking about because I've kept one for years. Basically, many of the articles I've written on a wiki are exactly that--pages from a research notebook that are gradually being transformed into "full up" articles. I think the term "Shared Research Page" has the merit of emphasizing the collaborative aspects of a wiki...but it's still essentially a research notebook in the sense that was used in the SciAm article. I guess I like "Notebook" better, but that's probably because its a term I'm familiar with.

I appreciate the suggestions on how to do a poor-man's version of what I'm looking for. I think it would be the right way to attach a shared research page that may relate to a person or family, because the relationship between the pages would have to be created explicitly. The "talk" page however, is logically behind every person or family page and is explicitly provided for on person and family pages. It seems like it would be most consistent if the werelate infrastructure actually added a talk page icon next to (or near) a family page title when one is present - rather than having us develop something that has to be done correctly in the body of a source page.

I agree wholeheartedly with that latter point. But the reality is that there is a whole slew of stuff that needs to be added...and most of it has a much higher priority...for example, improvements to the search function. Ultimately, the promise of the wiki for genealogists is the collaborative aspects---its in that area that we know is what is going to make Genealogy 2.0 really sing. So things that help make collaboration easier to initiate are good things. And a "poor man's approach" to that is one way to demonstrate a) a need, b) that the the concept is embraced by the community, and c) the concept is practical. The idea is that when you can show how something might work, you've got a better shot at getting it set higher in the priorities. I suspect that lots of neat ideas go by the wayside simply because no one tries to show that they are needed, practical, and desired.
An example of this approach is the "Speedy Delete" template. I agree with Beth that there's a need there. There's an obvious, albeit "poor man's solution" to making that happen. So we built a template to flag articles that needed to have their electrons liberated. Its functional. There are probably better ways to implement the concept, but that probably requires someone to do something with the underlying program. In the meantime, we'll see if the basic concept is useful---I suspect if the entries in the Category:Speedy Delete start to build up, someone will decide that better implementation is needed... Of course, if no one uses it, then perhaps the need doesn't really exist.
Ditto with the notebook template. Q 11:22, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

Actually, even with shared research pages, person and family pages know what links to them. If any shared research page links there, perhaps another icon is automatically added to the title indicating as much (and providing a way to jump there).

The question of how to get people more involved is not entirely oblique to this question. If person or family page related content isn't obvious, it isn't realistic to expect those browsing our site to go looking for it....--Jrm03063 09:58, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

Yes, its not oblique at all. In fact, its the central issue. Most of the articles on this site are simply the product of a GedCom dump---Raw vita data added to the page through the input boxes, but no substantive text discussion. You can get that most anywhere on Genealogy 1.0 sites like Ancestry. The trick is getting folks to realize they can do more than browse, and that they can make a worthwhile contribution. The trick is also finding folks who can do more than simply add vita data that they found "somewhere on the web". Ie, folks who understand something about what's involved in genealogical research. Q 11:22, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

Great discussion! The word "Talk" in the page menu appears in bold if there is a talk page. However, that's not a very strong indicator. I made a quick change just now to add a link under the title if there's a talk page. I'm open to using an icon instead, but creating the icon wouldn't have been as quick. Let's use templates to link to research notebooks / shared research pages.

By the way, I spent last week sitting on a beach so I had a lot of time to think. I came up with several ways to improve the usability of the website that I'm excited about. They all depend upon functionality in the new search, which is coming along but not ready yet. I'm continuing to work on search this week.--Dallan 12:46, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

I suppose it's off topic, but, what's a vacation? :)--Jrm03063 13:17, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

Thanks Dallan! Incorporating the Speedy Delete function into the pull downs will make it easier to use and so help ensure that it WILL be used. Also, thanks for the modification to the template. I figured there was a way to do that, but didn't know what it was. Q 13:56, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

I noticed the change in the Speedy Delete as well. Idea worked great and thanks Dallan. Also very much interested in this discussion and the creation of new templates to help with navigation and pointing users to available pages.

See the shared research page. Coker in Georgia. I created links to the family and location pages. I also started a to do list for repositories. I also plan to enter negative search results on this page. When I visit an archives, I will have my laptop; I can access WeRelate and enter the date, title & author, subject of search and findings including negative findings. If someone else is also working on this family, then they would simply check this page to determine which records had been searched to prevent duplicate searching. One could create a Research Log in table form to be used on the shared research pages. --Beth 17:36, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

Beth, take a look at Person_talk:Patrick_Porter_(1)#Data_Recovery_.5B20_May_2008.5D for one way to do a log such as you refer to. This, by the way, points out one of the drawbacks with using the Talk page for a notebook. As soon as you start inserting headdings, you start getting the dates of creation inserted into the heading itself. That's sort of meaningless in this context. What might be effective, though, is to have a second "Notebook/Shared research page" created along with the talk page. Don't know if that's possible or not, or whether its an overall good idea. Q 21:10, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

It wouldn't be difficult to remove the date insertion into headings on the Person and Family talk pages if people would rather omit them on these pages.--Dallan 11:42, 22 May 2008 (EDT)

I don't know that I'd go to that much trouble---leastwise not now. I imagine MOST users of this site would make use of the talk pages as a place to converse. Storing data there was sort of a novel idea, and would work for me withorwithout the dates, But making a change to meet one person's idiosyncracies doesn't sound useful in a group context.
I think the real strength of a wiki, at least in potential, is the collaborative prospects. But there are a lot of things that make such collaboration difficult to achieve. Trying to figure out how to make it happen is a bit of a challenge. Q 15:31, 22 May 2008 (EDT)


"[Genealogists] have built up their knowledge of [their family history] by "Crowdsourcing" the contributions of many researchers and then refining that knowledge through open debate" "Web 2.0 fits ...perfectly with the way [genealogy] works.

They stole my data [18 May 2008]

"Of course, many [genealogists] remain wary of such openness.... for them [Genealogy 2.0] seems dangerous: putting your serious work out on blogs and social networks feels like an open invitation to have your lab notbook vandalized, or worse, your best ideas stolen and published by a rival.

"To advocates... an atmosphere of openness makes [Genealogy] more productive....When you do your work on-line, out in the open...you quickly find that you're not competing with other [genealogists] anymore, but cooperating with them.

Overall comments

Thanks for some very interesting comments!

I'm looking for the development of a critical mass. We saw it a few years ago when "wikipedia" flashed over from being a joke to essentially burying every licensed encyclopedia database out there. I've seen a wiki at my place of employment do the same thing, of course on a much smaller scale. I pushed as much of our internal documentation into the system as possible and - for a time - was scoffed at. I had to push very hard and long to get the culture to embrace it. Rather unexpectedly and abruptly, the wiki-based internal documentation went from a curiosity to a critical requirement.

I expect a similar pattern here. It's for precisely that reason that I've spent so much time on merging duplicated data. Duplication is a hassle to deal with, but the result is the creation of a much larger connected tree. I know we've got something of the order of 2M pages, but wouldn't it be a lot more exciting to be able to claim that we have a connected tree of 1M people? I think we get "wiki flashover" by developing a tree that no single researcher can develop (or ignore) and that no organization could afford to give away. I really believe merging is what gets us there.--Jrm03063 20:37, 18 May 2008 (EDT)

Talk Pages [19 May 2008]

[Moved to Genealogist Notebook, which is what I think triggered this comment. We can move it back if I misunderstand Q 12:37, 19 May 2008 (EDT)]

Collaboration Notebook [27 May 2008]

Following the discussion of Collaboration Notebooks/Shared Research Pages, I've created an example approach that might be implemented to meet this need. Take a look at Person:Patrick Porter (1) to see how it might could work.

To provide some background, the way I routinely work is to create stub articles when I'm first starting out on researching a person. In a stub article I simply gather information from where-ever I find it, normally providing links back to the sources, unless I consider the source so ephemeral as to be not worth bothering with. The idea is that once I've gathered enough data, I can convert the stub article into a full up article, where data and sources is properly documented, etc. In the meantime, I don't waste much time on formalities---as most of it is going to dissappear sometime in the future. Each such stub article gets a "Stub Warning" template attached to it---basically telling folks that this article is being created, but is currently just research notes to myself.

I've added a step to that process in the Patrick Porter article. Here I've done a moderately complete full up, but it still needs a fair bit of work if and when I get around to it. So I've removed the stub warning, and replaced it with a "Collaboration" flag, that basically says "I'd like to collaborate on this article with anyone interested in doing so. It directs the interested parties to the Talk page where I've outlined some of the things that need to be worked on. Its a bit like fishing. Hopefully, I'll find myself some collaborationists.

I don't know if this is the way to go in general, or whether something else is needful. But its an example of how this thing might be done. A couple of things: You wouldn't necessarily have to direct folks to the talk page to collaborate---you could point them to a "Shared Research Page" or a "Notebook Page", or whatever, with contents designed to meet the specific need. You'd need to craft a different template to make this work for you, but that's easy enough to do.

Another thing is that this is an example of where it would be really nice if you could click on an image and the system transfer you to the right page---in this case the talk page. Yes, of course, you can click the "talk page in the pulldowns, or Dallan's new link under the page title (which by the way is an innovation I like), but the natural web-way to do it is just click the image.

By the way, if there was ever a Person article that would thrive in a collaborative environment, its one on Daniel Boone. There are several limited versions of Boone articles already on this site, but last time I'd check none are very extensive. Very understandable that, even though Daniel was a key player in SW VA during the period of my focus, I'd hesitate to craft an article about him. Entirely too big of a job for one person to tackle alone. But I'd be happy to collaborate with a bunch of folks on it. Q 14:13, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

This is very nice!

One benefit of keeping the notebook on the main page is that when we get GEDCOM export working, the content of the page can be included in the GEDCOM as a Note attached to the person. We could possibly add talk page content as another Note though, so technically it doesn't make much difference whether you put the research notebook on the main page or talk page. I suppose it's a matter of whether you want everything in the log to appear on the main page, or you want to put the possible records and the negative results on the talk page and copy just those records that people generally agree do in fact belong to this person onto the main page. Separate collaboration articles also have their place I think, especially when you're recording research for an entire family line (or everyone with a specific surname in a specific place), but the contents of those articles won't be included in a GEDCOM export.--Dallan 11:42, 22 May 2008 (EDT)


I think one of the things that would help with this problem is to actually get a few collaborations working---and see what does work, and what doesn't. Of course, for all I know there are collaborations all over the place---but I suspect that for the most part they are engaged in filling in the blanks on geographic problems, surnames, and the like. Do we have any actual collaborations going on a particular lineage, or perhaps a specific person? Q 15:35, 22 May 2008 (EDT)

Q, nice work on the Patrick Porter page! On some of the pages I have worked on, I have included a section called "For Further Inquiry" where I've kept track of open questions or needs for further research. (A good example is William Dobbs.) But when you get to the level of detail that you have on the Patrick Porter talk page, I can see the need to devote a separate page to the collaboration. The way you've organized the "talk" page seems a nice way to do it. From my wiki experience, the talk page is exactly where I would expect to find, e.g., the captured discussions/debates about whether or not Patrick Porter's parents were Benjamin Porter and Ann Campbell. As the main page and the talk page both get large, it would be nice if they had specific cross-refs (e.g., the "Ancestry" section on the main page might have a link to the specific section in the talk page where the discussion about the parents occurs).--TomChatt 03:57, 23 May 2008 (EDT)

Thanks! Yes, there is probably a need to explore cross referencing between the main article, and the data on the talk page. I'm still exploring how to make that work. Perhaps through references? I think I recall that you can "set an anchor" on a wiki page, and use that anchor to refer to something specific---rather than just making a link to the page or to the large section. I'll have to explore that.
I believe the real promise of the wiki-way, lies with collaboration. That potential is what really sets apart the wiki world. The problem is, I suspect, that a successful collaboration on a person article requires that the stars align just right.
First, you have to have multiple people who are interested in that specific person
You have to get those persons to see that they have a mutual interest
They have to be comfortable working in a wiki environment. If they've ever utter the phrase "They stole my stuff" (meaning their genealogical findings) I suspect they won't like a wiki, and would be terrible collaborators
They have to have certain skills in doing genealogy.
They need to have certain HTML skills.

Getting all of that together in one package is difficult to do. Hence, the rarity of person article collaborations. I've seen it happen succesfully a couple of times (other times and places), but its very uncommon in my experience. Q 09:56, 27 May 2008 (EDT)

Hi Q, still reading your thoughts on the notebook and collaboration and plan to use some of your ideas on my pages. Just still trying to absorb it all and see how to best use the ideas for my project. One point, on number 5 above regarding HTML skills. Do not scare newbies away by stating they need to have certain HTML skills. I had absolutely zero HTML skills before I became an avid user of WeRelate in December 2007; and I find using WeRelate similar to entering data into my genie program. When I first registered in July 2007; the Wiki concept was totally new and I was initially rather lost. But in December when I read the tutorials and began entering people and asked questions; WeRelate no longer seemed difficult. --Beth 11:01, 27 May 2008 (EDT)
Hi Beth, and I'm glad that some of this is at least of potential use. I'm mindful of the point about newbies. There are two realities here.
First, yes, to work this wiki you DO NOT need much in the way of HTML skill's. You can work quite nicely without having a clue about HMTL. Of the four major genealogy wiki's this is probably the most user friendly in that regard.
Second, unfortunately yes, when you get into doing certain kinds of things on a wiki site (this or any other) knowing your way around HTML is probably needful. I wish this were not true. I wish there was a way to enter data into a wiki table, or an HTML table more conveniently. Its OK when you have at most a two column table, but wiki tables, much less HTML tables is not where I'd suggest a newby get their feet wet.
I wish this were otherwise, and perhaps one day someone will come up with one of Dallan's "Drop Dead Easy" things, and make this aspect work better. But I think the bottom line here is that this is a very hard problem.

For any Newbies reading the above---99% of everything being done on this wiki reallly IS Drop Dead Easy. That was Dallan's intent, and that's what he has achieved. The skills needed to work effectively on this wiki are infact minimal. Its just that when you start getting into the creation of complex articles, some of the things needed to control information flow go a bit beyond what most people include in their usual bag of tricks. Its easy enough to learn what's needed, but not where you want to start out. Q 11:45, 27 May 2008 (EDT)

Templates, like the ones you are creating make it easier for users like me who have no HTML knowledge. If I see a format on a page that I want to use I just select the edit button and see how they did it and then copy this to my page. I may not know how or why it works, but that does not matter to me; it works. --Beth 12:02, 27 May 2008 (EDT)
Good!. I'm always happy when I can build something that others find useful. One of the advantages of templates is that if you create one, insert it about a thousand different places, and only then belated realize you have a typo---or just need to say it differently---the template can be changed, and you don't have to revise all of those thousand places you put it. Change the template, and the correpsonding articles change with it.
Also, there's another type of "template" that hasn't been implemented on this site. Its in the WikiMedia bag of tricks, but it requires additional implementation to make it work on a specific site. Namely, Wiki Media gives you the possibility of creating an "article format box" (for want of a better name) such that when you use one to create a new article, it automatically creates an article in a specific format. Thus if you have a whole series of articles that you want to look about the same (for example, a surname article with specific subsections) you use the format box to create the page, and viola, all the outline elements are created in one fell swoop--"All" you have to do is go in and add the text. On some genealogy sites, that's almost essential. For example in wikia's genealogy site the only way you can create an article is manually. You have to type in everything by hand, and things like "parents" "spouses" and children have to be manually inserted into each and every article where they are relevant. Can be very tedious. ( but it leads to having a site dominated by actual articles.) So anything that simplifies the process of creating a page in a particular format is very handy to have. There if you want to create an article in a particular format you can build a "format box", and make it create an article to your exact specification. Here, that's not needed so much, as the core of the site are those little input boxes on each person page, and everything has a place for you to include it when you know it. The result is many more articles here than there because its easier to create an article here. The downside is that the articles are mostly simply place holders for inputbox display---relatively few "full up articles" being created---because you don't need to to make the site work for you.
So this site doesn't really need these format input boxes. But there are definite places where I think it would be handy to have them. For example, in those surname and place articles, where youd like some conformance to a specific layout.
Actually, I'm probably mispeaking a bit here. The site probably does have these implemented in a manner of speaking. They may underlie the "create article" set ups, that create articles for different namespace's. Each one has a little bit different content. The difference is that I don't think the site users can create these things on their own. Which is what the full implementation would do. Your choice of how to layout an article, not necessarily just Dallan's. Q 12:36, 27 May 2008 (EDT)

Good comments. Eventually I think we'll be able to alleviate the HTML issue with better buttons at the top of the text edit boxes; for example, a button for entering a table where you can drag your mouse to specify how many rows and columns you want to have in the table like you can do in MS Word, or else a javascript WYSIWYG editor that works well with Wiki text. I keep waiting for someone to develop the latter. If nobody does this then I'll work on the former (better buttons) next year.

Regarding the formatting templates, it's pretty easy to add pre-defined text (such as sample section headings) to newly-created pages. I haven't done it simply because I wasn't sure what section headings people would want. But perhaps we're far enough along now that we could come up with a good set of "default" section headings to add to newly-created pages. I'm open to suggestions.

One area where I think default section headings and user-selectable templates could be especially useful is on Person and Family talk pages. I could envision a button in the talk-page button-bar allowing you to choose from among 20-30 templates for entering data from various kinds of sources for example.

On the core topic of how to encourage more collaborations, I think we also have to integrate collaboration into people's existing process for doing genealogy. For a lot of people this means letting them upload just the portion of their tree that they're most interested in collaborating on, and making it easy to incorporate changes to those people back into a desktop genealogy program. Eventually I think we have to take something like the Family Tree Explorer and a simple page editor and make it runnable offline.

BTW, You can add links to the talk page or the main page without worrying about page renames by writing [[{{TALKPAGENAME}}]] or [[{{SUBJECTPAGENAME}}]]. It's more difficult to link to a particular section of the talk page though. I like the cross-linking idea in general - I'll think about how to make that simpler. Maybe the default section headings for Person and Family talk pages should have headings for Birth, Death, Residence/Census, etc. so that it would be easy to jump to the sources and discussion for a particular type of event from the talk page table of contents?--Dallan 16:41, 27 May 2008 (EDT)

Searching surnames that could also be a place or building [23 May 2008]

I have tried to do some general searches based on my maiden name, Church. If I type in the given and surname but without a place, I get pages that pertain to others with "Church" as part of the place. It is OK when I search given, surname, and add something in the place or location. I noticed that other databases besides WeRelate also do this.--Tctheusch 13:59, 23 May 2008 (EDT)

[27 May 2008]

Collaborationists Notebook

Continueing on with the previous discussion of useing the Talk page of a person article as Notebook to facilitate Collaborations, I've worked a bit at refining the concept. See Person talk:Dale Carter (2) as an example. This example is specific to the needs of the Southwest Virginia Project, but could be readily adapted to meet other requirements. Notable changes:

I've added a table at the top announcing that this is a collaboration notebook.
The TOC has been forced into the table, rather than allowing it to float free. This was done with the --TOC-- tag. I don't think this appears in the help file, but is useful if you are working on a complex page layout, and want the TOC to appear in a precise location. --NOTOC-- kills the TOC altogether.
There are two sections for keeping tabs on what documents have been searched. The first is specific to the SWVP, since there are a number of works that people routinely look at for information in this area. The second is labeled "Miscellaneous"---and is intended to provide a place to add results of searches in locations not routinely searched. For collaborations in other areas you'd presumably delete the section on SWV resources, and focus on the Miscellaneous section (perhaps with a different Title)
There is a section designated "Ephemerata" (though a better title may be in order). This section is intended to allow the capture of information useful in guiding further work, but not something I would expect to be able to revisit at a later date (hence, ephemeral, hence, ephemerata). There are several reasons for creating such a section:
I don't feel ephemeral sites should be cited as sources, simply because there's not much point in directing someone to a site that you can't be reasonably confident that it will be there sometime into the indefinite future.
Such sites, however, often contain very helpful work---work that can be used to guide future effort.

I don't want to place material like this on the main person page because:

I wish to respect copyrights of others
I do not wish to plagiarize

My solution for this is to place materials from ephemeral sites on the talk page, along with a link to wherever it was found. Then the information is available for guiding research, but its not being incorporated directly into the article being prepared. Eventually, after the information has been digested, incorporated as is appropriate into the main article, and removed from the talk page if it no longer serves a useful purpose. I think of this section as "public notetaking" akin to what I used to place in my personal daybook.

The fourth section is intended as a place to organize research efforts, evaluate information in a discussion mode, etc. I've left this unorganized, as as collaboration, I suspect, would have a different dynamic, and a different need set. However, it might be organized, if one so chose along the lines of the Person talk:Patrick Porter (1) notebook previously pointed to.

The final section simply gives a space for researchers to identify themselves as one of the collaborators on this article.

Q 09:38, 27 May 2008 (EDT)

Perhaps what we need to do is come up with a list of recommended section headings and/or templates for Person and Family talk pages - something along the lines of Clooz?--Dallan 16:41, 27 May 2008 (EDT)

Surname one name study (sort of) how many trees [2 June 2008]

I am interested in your input on deciding under which criteria I should use in grouping people in certain trees. As an example in Walton County, Georgia in the early 1800's there were several Coker families. Robert and Elizabeth Coker of Murray County, Georgia (is one of my trees) and they were in Walton earlier; but I have no idea who the parents of Robert Coker were. Then I have a Hardy Coker, Hiram Coker, and James Coker from Walton County. I have a possible parent for James Coker but have no idea who Hardy and Hiram Coker are. Then there is Solomon Coker, William Coker and Martha Holloway, John Coker and Martha Doyal Coker, Yancy Coker; all from Walton. I have created separate trees for John and Martha and Yancy Coker. There is a possibility that William, John and Yancy were all sons of Solomon Coker but don't have the evidence to back that up. So should I put the possible Solomon Coker families in one tree. Then I have the Benjamin Coker tree from Barnwell, South Carolina, no idea who his parents were but probably some of those in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

In my genie program, all of the above Cokers and others are in one database; but with the genie program I can export data via gedcom on one family if I choose to do so. Just not sure how to handle this on WeRelate. --Beth 20:05, 27 May 2008 (EDT)

This doesn't quite answer your question, but as an FYI I've been thinking about GEDCOM export lately, and I've come to the conclusion that in addition to exporting your entire tree, we're also going to have to allow people to choose a person or family as a starting point and generate a GEDCOM that includes N generations of their ancestors and N generations of descendants of each of those ancestors. The GEDCOM will also include the MySources and Sources referenced by those people.--Dallan 12:28, 2 June 2008 (EDT)

What to do about gedcoms uploaded but never launched in FTE [2 June 2008]

I don't see anyway to open a gedcom file that was uploaded but never launched by the user in FTE. I assume I could launch the gedcom in my FTE but don't really wish to. Just wondering what should be done about gedcoms uploaded but never launched; is there another way to access them? --Beth 20:42, 27 May 2008 (EDT)

Unfortunately you can't view another person's tree unless they create a user profile page. (It has nothing to do with whether they've launched the FTE or not.) This issue will go away in 2-3 months: Later this summer I plan to make some changes to the FTE. You won't launch the FTE anymore. Instead, the ancestors+descendants view will appear in a horizontal box near the top of every Person and Family page. The downside is that you'll lose the capability to display a list view within the FTE of the people in your tree, but I'm improving the online browse function as part of the new search functionality to include vital statistics about people, so losing the list functionality within the FTE hopefully won't be a big deal.--Dallan 12:28, 2 June 2008 (EDT)

Who has copyrights to family photo's [28 May 2008]

Does anyone know how family photo's are handled in copyright cases? Who actually owns the copyright, is it the person that took it or the person who has the original photo? What are your thoughts.--Jeffjahn 13:38, 28 May 2008 (EDT)

All standard "I am not a lawyer so my opinion doesn't count in a court of law" applies
That said, I believe the concensus of opinion is that if the item is within the bounds of copyright, the copyright is owned by the photographer, assuming it wasn't a "work for hire". If the photographer is deceased, it is presumably owned by whoever he willed them to. If he didn't specifically mention them (not many would) its presumably owned by his heirs. If he left no will, its a court case to decide. If the photographs are really old, they may or may not be under copyright. If they were published before 1923, they are now out of copyright. If they were not formally published they may be copyrightable anyway if you publish them today. The copyright goes to whoever legally publishes them. Don't believe there's much specific case law on that point, but that's what I've been given to believe.
Go to Copyright Links for a very informal listing of websites providing information about copyright. Mike Goad's stuff is highly recommended. Keep in mind that there are many issues related to copyright, which have not been addressed in the courts. We don't know, for example, whether restrictive licenses such as Ancestry uses, legally limits use of census images taken from their web site. They certainly aren't under copyright, but the restrictive license they impose has not been tested as far as I know. People who I think are knowledgeable on this point think Ancestry would win most lawsuits brought against them on this issue, but we don't really know how it will play out. Q 14:02, 28 May 2008 (EDT)

As a practical matter, almost any scan is going to be lower resolution than the original, and I further presume that these are unique historical artifacts. That all being the case, you are pretty safely in fair-use territory. Unless your family photos are scanned from published material, or contain subjects of unusual historical significance - say a Kennedy or a president or some such - it would be pretty tough for anyone to claim that there was a valuable copyright that anyone could claim had been infringed. You would be in even safer territory if you reach out to such heirs as you know and ask them if they mind such use.

My concern in these matters is that we're overly concerned about a long-lost relative employing a sharp lawyer to cause an innocent researcher grief. If you are working in the service of maintaining the historical record, you're honest about sourcing, you do what is practical and reasonable with respect to getting permission and - most of all - you're not making any money - then I'm of the opinion that your exposure (even in the case of proved infringement) is still effectively nil.--Jrm03063 14:37, 28 May 2008 (EDT)

Ultimately, people have to make their own decisions as to risk and issues dealing with copyright. I try to be scrupulously correct, in so far as a can, and insofar as I understand the issues. However,

the value of the material has little to do with whether a copyright has been infringed or not. It may have something to do with whether its likely to be pursued by someone with a grievance. Quite possibly in most cases the risk involved is rather slight.
people who are concerned with this argue about whether deliberately changing the quality of the image (making it either better or worse) will ultimately affect the question of copyright infringement. There's one company out there that makes use of techniques which they don't devulge, to "enhance" images, and they say that their lawyers tell them this allows them out from under the copyright limitation. Perhaps so, but then lawyers always argue a case from the perspective of their client, so I don't know how objective they might be on something like this.

There are no easy answers here, because there is little if any case law on the subject. Even copyright lawyers are quite in the dark as to what the answer is. They might have an opinion, and would advise accordingly, but they don't usually venture such opinions freely except to a client. Pays yer money, takes yer choice. Q 15:00, 28 May 2008 (EDT)

Google Maps adding to person page [4 June 2008]

What i was wanting to do is take a google map of a location, for example lets say Horton (Township), Osceola, Iowa; and be able to add pin locations for like say the family farm, their church, school, Etc to show where they lived for a period. I know some of it i could set up a place but didnt want to clog up the township map. Is it currently possible first? Others thoughts and ideas.--Jeffjahn 15:34, 29 May 2008 (EDT)

Dallan created a template for me that let me do something like what you describe, but perhaps not exactly. I use this on my Grandfather, For example, the family farm he grew up on. I think if you use that form for locations of events, then they'll show up as pins on a pedia-map. --Jrm03063 16:43, 29 May 2008 (EDT)

Was looking at GoogleMaps and what it looks like I could do is create mypersonnel map then add a link to the page too it. Might try that once and see how it works.--Jeffjahn 17:03, 29 May 2008 (EDT)

Heres one i did for my grandfather. This page is still a work in progress. What I wonder is their a way to embed the map instead? Although this will work for what I wanted.--Jeffjahn 17:53, 29 May 2008 (EDT)

Its an interesting problem. Heretofore, the best map site for USGS topo maps (I thought) was topozone. I used them quite frequently, but didn't make much use of them on site because of "terms of use" limitations. Now the site has been transferred to "USTrails". The psuedo 3D topo display is much much improved, but unless you subscribe you can only see a very small portion of the map at a time. The terrain map for Google is a pretty close second, and you get a larger field of view. I've not decided whether I think their terms of use permit their maps from being copied and displayed, but I suspect that they do. So to the extent I've used them, I've inserted links to the "myMap" page. That has a severe limitation---namely, at some point those links are going to go to rot. There's no promise that they will be maintained in perpetuity---from their perspective, once a user is dead, there's no need for the links, so "poof". Now I suppose it might be a long time before they realized that someone with a "myMap" page had gone away, but I suspect once you've terminated with a service provider they'll figure it out fairly quickly---Dead and gone, or just goneaway. in either case, the links will fail. That may or may not be a problem, depending on your purposes. For my purposes its fatal.

So what I'm looking at is a simple screen capture. Either with or without the Google window dressing. Then you paste the map in as an image, having doctored it up with a graphics package to show specific points, etc. A LOT more trouble, but then I don't have to worry about link rot. I'm just not sure that you can do that with their terms of use restrictions. This approach is probably what you would need to do to "embed" the map (as you put it) onto your page.

I think It is possible to make arrangements such that the map will appear directly on your page., but that requires agreements, I think between WeRelate and Google.

So my other alternative being considered is scanning in topo maps, and making them freely available through this site to whoever wanted to use them. They are public domain, so there's no copyright problem. They would start off with USGS government issued topomaps, so there would be no licensiing restriction. But I can't get that neat pseudo 3-D look. And besides, I'd need LOTS of topo's to work with, and they aren't exactly free, even if they are in the public domain.

Q 18:47, 29 May 2008 (EDT)

I think focusing on the maps is a bit of a mistake. Focus on collecting precise coordinates for places of significance. They can be overlaid on whatever system suits us going forward. I would also reiterate that Dallan had something special in mind if you made a fact description consist of a google map coordinate template. Maybe he'll pipe in and illuminate us....--Jrm03063 21:01, 29 May 2008 (EDT)

Here's the terms of use for Google Maps: Terms of Use/Google Maps.

Its a little ambiguous, but it says you can use the images for "personal and non-commercial" purposes. I presume "non-profit" is "non-commercial", but I don't know for sure. I think this means that you can do a screen capture of a map, and display that capture on this site. That way you don't have to worry about persistence. And if you mark up the map using Google Maps, store it in MyMaps, you can capture that, complete with modifications (pointers, etc), and display that without having to go through yet another graphic application.

A downside on the Google maps is that they leave out a great deal of detail. Names and locations of small features (like cemeteries) are not included. So while you get a great view of the topography, some of the features that we are most interested in are lost in the wash. USTrails does it better, but its not free.

Heres an example of my use of Google Maps

Image:Aspenvale Cemetery Map.jpg

The graphic quality where I've tipped in the river, is not of good quality, probably can be fixed., but I haven't bothered with it yet. Q--Q 21:48, 29 May 2008 (EDT)

I agree with ya to a point Jrm03063. If its a important location then using then setting up a place is a better idea. The exception though is if i want to show during a period where my family home was. To me that isnt a important location for everyone. Only those interested would be people connected to the line hence where creating a googlemap fits for me.--Jeffjahn 21:54, 29 May 2008 (EDT)

Unfortunately the way I read the google maps terms of service I don't think you're allowed to post screenshots of the map images even for non-commercial use. In the section under Photographic Imagery is says

You may not copy, reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble, translate, modify or make derivative works of the imagery, in whole or in part. You also may not rent, disclose, publish, sell, assign, lease, sublicense, market, or transfer the imagery or any part thereof or use it in any manner not expressly authorized by this agreement.
By using Google Maps, you do not receive any, and Google and/or its licensors (if any) retain all ownership rights in the imagery. The imagery is copyrighted and may not be copied, even if modified or merged with other data or software.
Dallan, that's what it says about PHOTOGRAPHIC images. If you use the image option, you get a map with aerial photography. Use of those images is clearly prohibited. But i don't think that applies to a USGS based map image that's been rendered 3D graphically. And when you click on that terms of use link on the map, its what I quoted that pops up.
That said, I don't have a problem with deleting that image. The 3D renditions are sort of interesting, and helpful to get a lay of the land, but the lack of detail is unsatisfying. After trying this out, my conclusion was that this probably was not the best way to go. I will probably resort to scanning USGS topo's for the maps I need, and forego the pretty pictures of the 3D. US-Trails does the 3D better anyway (at least for my purposes), and I believe that the subscription gives you the right to use images in the way that I would like. Q 12:49, 2 June 2008 (EDT)
I see what you're saying now. At any rate, I'd like to understand this more so I think I'll email google to ask. They have an email address for questions of this sort.--Dallan 13:45, 4 June 2008 (EDT)

I may be reading too much into this. If not I think I'll have to remove Image:Aspenvale Cemetery Map.jpg.

With regard to Google Maps, I think you have to either (a) create a custom map in maps.google.com and link to it, or (b) embed a dynamically generated map, like we do on Place pages. Dynamically generating a map on WeRelate is limited right now, but it could be added if enough people request it. I'll add this to the Todo list. Here's what you can do right now:

  • Create events on the Person page for each of the places you want to put in the map.
  • For each event, use the googlemap template (e.g., {{googlemap|44.01257|-71.05712|family farm|Mason+Family+Farm|14|h}}) just like it's used on the Person:James Mason (13) page.
  • Save the page, click on the "More" menu, then click on "Pedi-Map".
  • Click on the "All Places" link. All of the events show up in the map. Unfortunately, you can't tell which place is the farm, which is the school, etc.
  • To filter whose events show up in the map, click on the data in the boxes to the left.

I'm thinking that for the dynaically-generated embedded map approach on the ToDo list, the easiest way to do it would still be to create events for each place that you want to appear on the map and then to use the googlemap template to pinpoint the location. The embedded map would then show the locations of all events for that person/family.--Dallan 12:28, 2 June 2008 (EDT)

See comments on photographic images in part of my response above. With regard to the link to MyMaps, I personally don't want to do this, though I've tried it out. If I do this, any map created expires (at least theoretically) with me. So long term its not something I want to do (Though if you know a way to keep ME from expiring, I could live with that.)

But the embedded dynamic generated map might do it---IF its not one of those route map thing's. Those are just plain ugly, and do not serve the purpose in a person article. Might do for a place article, but what I'm looking for are either 2D, or 3D topos'. (Or better yet Google Earth maps. It would be kind of cool to run a Google Earth terrain overflight over grampa's homeplace). If they can be done in the embedded approach, that's all I personally need. If it were available, others would, I think, find it useful. Q 12:49, 2 June 2008 (EDT)

I'm thinking that the embedded maps would look pretty much exactly like the embedded maps on Place pages, with one marker for each event labeled with the even type. We could add paths from one event to another in chronological order, but I worry that drawing paths in that small of an area might clutter things up too much.--Dallan 13:45, 4 June 2008 (EDT)

You're thinking of something like that going into the sidebar, I presume. Yes, that would be very restrictive....possibly too resrtictive to be of great use. I'd prefer a tool that popped a google terrain map into some place---where ever you stick it---on the main field, rather than the sidebar. Q 14:00, 4 June 2008 (EDT)

I'll keep that in mind as well. Once I have the code in place for one, adding the other shouldn't be too difficult.--DemoGuy 15:59, 4 June 2008 (EDT)

Date format [30 May 2008]

I know in the help for dates it says to use Day Month Year format. I didnt load a gedcom so am wondering what happens when you dont know the date so you use for example abt 1886. Will werelate recognize that?--Jeffjahn 21:59, 29 May 2008 (EDT)

Yes, WeRelate recognizes about dates. --Beth 20:32, 30 May 2008 (EDT)

Person Namespace and what happened to #1 [2 June 2008]

Hello WeRelaters. I created a person page for Theodore Coleman. He was assigned (2). Well I thought that I would find out who Theodore (1) is but I could not find him with our search engine. Can one of you find Theodore 1? --Beth 17:23, 30 May 2008 (EDT)

Beth, I couldn't find any Theodore Coleman person pages when I did a search. --Ajcrow 17:26, 30 May 2008 (EDT)

The easiest thing to do is just change the "2" to a "1" in the URL of Theodore (2). You get to Person:Theodore Coleman (1), which was uploaded by a user on 1/29/08 who promptly deleted his tree. --Amelia 17:40, 30 May 2008 (EDT)

Thanks Amelia and thanks to everyone for checking. Now I know how to find these elusive numbers. --Beth 19:39, 30 May 2008 (EDT)

I guess I having a dumber than usual evening; but I when I am on the page of Theodore Coleman (2) my URL does not have the Theodore Coleman 2 to change to 1; perhaps my URL is too long and it is not showing me the end of it. --Beth 21:26, 30 May 2008 (EDT)

Go to the page and click on "Rename", then rename the page to "Person:Theodore Coleman (1)".--Dallan 12:28, 2 June 2008 (EDT)

need help with your research? Join PENN PEOPLE [3 June 2008]

Hey all ~ I belong to the Penn People group, a Yahoo genealogy group. P.A. Penn is the group owner, and she has a very helpful group (500+ members) for those interested in finding your rellies, past or present. There are abt 1,000 free linx for research to military, cemeteries, newspapers, historical societies, the list goes on. There's also linx to other countries for research. There are members from all over the US and Canada, and a few from other countries. I have seen many walls tumble down in this group and several new rellies meet. It is a SPAM FREE group. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. Or go to this link and check the site out for yourself.


When I tried to join, P.A. sent me a follow up email to reply to and I think she still does, so just watch for it and be sure to reply to her. That ez.--Stargazer21659 18:05, 30 May 2008 (EDT)

I'm just wondering how the subjects in the Watercooler are listed. I noticed they aren't alphabetical, nor are they chronologically listed.--Stargazer21659 18:49, 3 June 2008 (EDT)

They're ordered by when the topic was created. Topics that continue to get a lot of attention continue to have new, recent messages added to them. New Topics appear at toward the bottom of the page. The dates that appear beside the topic are the date of the most recent message to that topic. Q 18:52, 3 June 2008 (EDT)

Help on the blue bar [2 June 2008]

I think that the dropdown menu under help should be changed. Tutorials and contents should be combined. --Beth 20:58, 30 May 2008 (EDT)

Seems like a good idea. Anyone think we should keep them separate? If not, I'll combine them.--Dallan 12:28, 2 June 2008 (EDT)

Problems editing family page [10 June 2008]

I was attempting to edit the family page of Archibald Vest and Sophia Jackson here: http://werelate.org/wiki/Family:Archibald_Vest_and_Nancy_Jackson_%281%29 I added more census info, carefully adding the break code at end of each line, then added a child and then tried to add a source. The source auto type came up but didn't stay long enough for me to get it at first. So I continued to type until it came up again. I clicked on it but it didn't fill in for me. So in the process of all of this, I must have taken too long, because the page expired and all the census info and the additional child was gone. Why do pages expire while I'm still working on them? This has happened before and it's frustrating to lose what I've input! --Janiejac 16:59, 1 June 2008 (EDT)

I don't know. Both parents are still in the red so you have not edited their pages; but I don't think that was the cause. Your census data is in the text section; I don't use the break code so I don't know about that. I have never lost data when entering information. I am sure that someone else will have an answer. --Beth 21:48, 1 June 2008 (EDT)

I too have not had a problem with leaving a page up in edit so long that a "time out" clock elapsed, and the edits were lost. Possibly this can happen, but I've not seen it. Under some circumstances you'll get a message smilar to what you describe when there are two persons working on a page at the same time. When the first person logs out, the second editor will get that message when they try to log out. It would be rare for that to happen in practice, unless there's some heavy collaboration going on---but it does happen on the watercooler from time to time. In your case what may have happened is that you hit the back button during an edit, taking you to a previous stage in the editing. The system then had two separate pages open (in its terms) even though you were only working on one. Basically, the system doesn't know which version to save. So it gives an error message. The information is not lost, exactly, and you can recover the edit, but you have to work with the screen that comes up very carefully to avoid loss. What is usually best is to save frequently so that you don't run afoul of this problem---or at least you minimize the potential loss. One of those Safe Computing Practices. Q 22:00, 1 June 2008 (EDT)

You shouldn't be getting timed out that frequently. Do you remember what message you got? It would help to know if it's coming from the browser or from WeRelate. If it's coming from the browser, it won't have a WeRelate logo anywhere on the page - just a message saying the page expired. If it comes from WeRelate it will have the WeRelate logo on it and hopefully a more-detailed message. The only time I can remember seeing page expired messages coming from the browser is when I've hit the "back" button. In that case, you can usually hit the "forward" button to get back to your page. If it happens again, could you copy the text of the error message or take a screenshot of the browser window and email it to me? It shouldn't be happening.--Dallan 12:28, 2 June 2008 (EDT)

Ah, it happened again so I was able to copy the msg. It does appear that it is from the browser and not WeRelate - but I still need to know how to stop this from happening:
Webpage has expired 
  Most likely cause:

The local copy of this webpage is out of date, and the website requires that you download it again.

  What you can try: 
    Click on the Refresh button on the toolbar to reload the page. After refreshing, you might need to navigate to the specific webpage again, or re-enter information.  

Clicking on F5, then retry got me back to the page I was working on. Can anyone tell me how to avoid this in the future? --Janiejac 12:45, 4 June 2008 (EDT)

A few questions:

  • What browser and operating system are you using?
  • Did you get back to the page with your latest edits, or did you lose the edits?
  • When you sign into WeRelate, do you have to enter your user name and password each time, or have you checked the "Remember me on this machine" box?

--Dallan 13:48, 4 June 2008 (EDT)

  • operating system is Windows XP; I use AOL, IE and Mozilla - don't know which I was using when this happened. Somtimes I'll be using two at a time, both connected to WeRelate.
  • I got back in to the edit page and the edits weren't lost this time! (Thanks for telling me to use the forward button.)
  • No, most of the time I don't have to sign in; the machine remembers me.--Janiejac 17:24, 4 June 2008 (EDT)

I got thrown out again. This time I was creating a source page, was in preview and unthinkingly clicked on 'watch page'. It didn't like that and threw me out. This time I lost the source info and had to recreate the page though it kept the info that I was watching that page. I was using AOL this time.--Janiejac 21:50, 4 June 2008 (EDT)

Sorry for the late reply. What just happened to you is an issue that I've had as well. If I'm editing a page, click on show preview, then forget that I haven't saved the page yet and click on something else (like watch page, or click on one of the links), and then try to use the "Back" button in the browser to get back to my edits, sometimes my edits are still there and sometimes they're not. Whether the browser keeps your edits in its "Back" button history is controlled by the browser unfortunately. I'll add making the "This page is only a preview" warning a larger font as an item on the ToDo list.--Dallan 11:32, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

User message alert different and no reponse [2 June 2008]

Hi Dallan and everyone,

Would it be too difficult to alert users via email when they have a new message? I recently merged pages with another user with much help from another user. There was an unexplained conflict in data. This user had a prior message about a possible match several months ago and had not responded. I sent the user a message but also decided to send them an email. They then responded on the talk page to my message as well as the months old message. If not I will phrase this somehow on the FAQ page to suggest that they email the user if the page is inactive. --Beth 21:41, 1 June 2008 (EDT)

The system is supposed to send users an email when their talk page changes. But if their talk page changed awhile ago and they ignored the previous notification email, then new emails will not be sent. Also, I'm convinced that we have a bug where sometimes change notification emails are not sent. What I need to do is

  • find and fix the page notification bug,
  • send out an email every time your talk page changes, even if you ignored the previous email,
  • send out a monthly email telling you about all pages on your watchlist that have changed since you last visited them.

The last two items aren't at the top of the ToDo stack though, so in the meantime I think it would be a good idea to add sending an email to the FAQ page.--Dallan 12:28, 2 June 2008 (EDT)

Different Problem with Website Sourcing [3 June 2008]

Here's a slightly different problem to what's been previously discussed under this heading.


This is a transcription and discussion of the complete corpus of writing by Robert "King" Carter---the "Bill Gates" of his day in Colonial Virginia. As far as I know, apart from the primary (original) source letters housed in the various scattered repositories, these materials are only available as comprehensive collection at this site. The location of this material is at a personal website (that of author Edmund Berkley, Jr. at the University of Virginia Library, where Berkley is an archivist/curator/director.

I'm not at all sure about the long term future of this specific site, located as it is in someone's personal user space. But its an excellent source of information about Robert Carter. I will probably cite this work as something like

Berkley, Edmund Jr. The Diary, Correspondance, and papers of Robert "King" Carter of Virginia, 1701-1732. E-Text, on-line at Library of the University of Virginia.

Here's the question. What should be the date for this work. If you go to the site it will give an automatically updated date of today's date. Which could be useful if you want to record the date of extraction, but doesn't do much good otherwise.

Thoughts? Q 10:05, 2 June 2008 (EDT)

Good question. Unless you can find a date on the website or you're willing to email the author and ask, perhaps you could put something like "bef 2008" for the date.--Dallan 12:28, 2 June 2008 (EDT)

Hi Q, How about putting a date range? There is a Bibliography on the site. You could use the earliest date - to this year.--Beth 13:51, 2 June 2008 (EDT)

Both good suggestions. As it happens, I've contacted the author on this. He also has no answer for this particular problem. The materials on the site are in constant state of update, so no date is particularly appropriate, other than perhaps the extraction date. I don't need to revisit the site in the future---one data extraction trip being sufficient unto my needs, so "extracted on" would be reasonable. There are problems with this, however.

The the date is inserted into a citation for a purpose. Whether you are using the author-date format of the APA. Chicago, or Harvard style books (my preference), or the "Author, Title, date" (MLA or Turabian Style books preferred on this site, that purpose is the same. There can be multiple editions of the same work and you need the date to know which one is the "right" one---the right one being the one that the information was actually extracted from. I've seen serious arguments among genealogists about what's contained and not contained in certain works, that ultimately came down to the fact that the parties were using different editions of the same work not realizing that citing "Captives of Abb's Valley" was just not good enough---you had to know which edition was being cited---the original by Brown (1854), or the rewrite 80 years later by Woodworth but always presented with Brown designated as the author. The two works contain significant differences.

With hardcopy works like "Captives" the publication date is obviously the way to go to as far as citation is concerned. That works because the medium has a specific date on which the work was released, fixing the work in time. But in the instance of the Carter Web site, we don't have that fixed point in time. Even if you use the extraction date, what was uniquely there on that date is irrevocably lost once the site changes. (Ignoring things like "WayBack"). On a WIki at least you have the old versions stacked up available for examination. But that's not available for non wiki sites like the Carter Correspondance site. So the purpose of having the date on the citation is defeated by the fact that you can't get back to that particular version if you needed. You can say you found something there, but if someone goes to check to be sure that's what it really said, that material may no longer be there to verify your statements. You're not wrong, but no one can prove you're right either.

Ultimately, what you'd want to do would be to visit the original documentation itself. Which of course you'd do if you were a professional genealogist, concerned with someone in the line of King Carter. But, I'm sorry, most of us aren't professional genealogists, and we are not going to criss-cross the country just so we can track down each of the many hundreds of documents assembled at this site. We're going to use the data that's been transcribed here. Period. But we still have to cite that work. And that work seems to be a river---you can't wade in the same river twice---its always different, always changing. just like the web in general.

There's definitely a methodological problem for genealogists that needs solving.

Wiki paper [4 June 2008]

Here's a link to a rather technical paper about what a genealogy wiki should be like.

[http://www.fht.byu.edu/prev_workshops/workshop08/papers/2/2-2.pdf Ron Tanner "Open Edit and Source Centric...."

As you will learn from reading the full title, the language is a bit stiff. The thinking, however, seems good.

Possibly the author could have saved some time and said "WeRelate"

Q 16:08, 3 June 2008 (EDT)

Thanks for the link. I'll read it to see what ideas could be incorporated here.--Dallan 13:45, 4 June 2008 (EDT)

I suspect you've already incorporated most of it, if not all of it. Q 14:02, 4 June 2008 (EDT)

Template [10 June 2008]

I do not understand how to create a template from the tutorial. I have copied Bill's state table on several of my pages into the edit section of the page; but I realize that I need to create a template. So could someone improve upon the tutorial or explain it to me? Thanks. --Beth 21:21, 8 June 2008 (EDT)

Hi Beth. I suspect you are confusing the concept of "Template" with the concept used in the rest of the world. The list of States table, is just that, a table, not a template in the wiki sense. You can use it as a model on which to build other tables---for example, a list of links to census records for each state---but it doesn't function as a template in the way the term is used on the wiki, and that's why you're getting a disconnect between what you are seeing in the tutorial, and what you are seeing in practice.
A "template" in the wiki sense of the word, is a bit of code that you insert into a page that automatically displays the content of another page. this comes into play for a couple of purposes.
Usually, templates are used when you want the same bit of stuff to appear in many different pages. If it's possible that stuff might change from time to time, you can make the change on the template, and have it automatically change on every page where the template is used.
Less commonly, a template might be used to simplify the organization of a complex page. This is what we did on your Coleman exchange page---the content was broken up into pieces, and the pieces linked as templates to the main page. That way you could work on the introduction separately from the list of links, and not have the stuff needed for the links getting in your way.
the way you get a template to do its thing is with a special bit of code: {{Template:Name}} For example {{Template:Speedy Delete}}

displays the "Speedy Delete Template (if its not killed, as "ve done here with <NoWIKI></nowiki>tags.)

There are lots of these quirky bits of code,usually involving weird combinatonas of squarebrtckets and curly braces. that can be inserted to do very special kinds o things. calling up a template is only one of them. Dallan showed us one the other day that gets you a link to a pages Talkpage. I bet that's never used much, but it did come in handy for using the talk page as a data notebook. Q 21:48, 8 June 2008 (EDT)
Okay, thanks Bill; I have created the template that is not a Wiki template and removed the table data from the edit page to the template (not a wiki template). --Beth 22:13, 8 June 2008 (EDT)
Bill, that is not going to work. I will put the chart back on the edit page. I would need multiple state templates for that to work and it will probably be easier for contributors to edit their state if I leave the table on the edit page.--Beth 07:22, 9 June 2008 (EDT)
We should have a designated place and term for non wiki templates. We could create templates from your Coleman templates that would allow one to easily duplicate the family exchange page for their surname. --Beth 23:27, 8 June 2008 (EDT)

For those interested in learning about templates, an excellent discussion is taking place at Talk:Coleman Family Exchange.--Dallan 11:32, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

Surname page [19 June 2008]

With much help from Q we have created a new type of page on WeRelate. Check it out. I am still working on the menu pages. Trying to decide how to enter the table data. Choices are in the text field or as a non wiki template. I am not planning on activating all of the pages in the table and need to add instructions for users on how to activate their category and create a new page. The page is here Coleman Family Exchange.--Beth 23:32, 8 June 2008 (EDT)

I know that everyone is very busy but I could really use your input. I plan to post a link to this page on the Coleman mailing lists. So I could really use some group suggestions and testing. Do you have any better design ideas? Do you understand my instructions? Perhaps you could improve upon the site. Thanks. --Beth 22:10, 9 June 2008 (EDT)

Hi Beth. There are lots of different ways that a page like this could be organized. For your purposes I suspect the organization pattern used in you original example works about as good as any, but I'm sure others will have good suggestions here. The only thing I have specific for you, that we haven't already discussed, is the placement of the name of that painting. I really didn't intend that to be THE choice, just an example. But if its to be used, perhaps you should reposition the title. The original layout used a table setting, with the name of the painting directly adjacent to the picture---instead of flying off to the upper left. In your original example the same space was used for a Coat of Arms----which can look pretty good on a page---even if its not especially meaningful. I couldn't find a good example that wasn't copyrighted so went with the name of the painting.

The change to a DIV set up moved the location of the caption. I've played with DIV's a bit in the past, but found that they had a high frustration level for me, and ended up using tables for everything. But DIV's are good to, except for those pesky TOC kinds of problems. Still, I think you need to figure out what to do with the caption. One approach would be to kill the space at the left, and adjust the picture image so it serves as a full banner. If you go with a full width banner, you want something that's wide left to right, but narrow top to bottom (better aesthetics.) That might mean picking a different picture, or perhaps fiddling with the vertical scale. That's something I can help you with, as you may not have the software to do that kind of manipulation.

Other than that, about all I can suggest at this point is to consider filling up the empty space in the Welcome message. Additional graphics might do it, or additional text. Trick is to find the right balance---don't want to overload the reader, or leave them feeling something is missing. Q 22:28, 9 June 2008 (EDT)

Hi Bill, I don't wish to use a coat of arms to encourage the idea that a family actually had a coat of arms or that a family crest actually exists; just my opinion on the subject. Not intended to disparage someone who chooses to do so.
I definitely agree with that. They make a "pretty and colorful" addition to the page, but are almost always meaningless. I gave up that particular battle awhile back, and just go with the flow, but I do agree that its not usually meaningful in a genealogical sense. Q 11:21, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

Well, I really like the photo and the reference to the Thomas Coleman. Originally I thought perhaps a map of the British Isles or Wales might suffice; my line is thought to be from Wales. Well not sure what to fill up the empty space in the welcome message with. Maybe I will have some new ideas in the morning; but would be grateful if you would try your idea with the present banner and title and see how that looks. Thanks, Beth. --Beth 23:35, 9 June 2008 (EDT)

I think the page looks sharp Beth. Nice colors and I too like the image and reference to Thomas Coleman. The only thing I might suggest is that where you have the tables for births, marriages, etc. I wonder if you couldn't go ahead and put the links in for each state, but don't actually create the page yet if you don't want. The link would be red meaning the page needed created, but would probably be much easier for a newbie user to get started since all they had to do was hit "edit" after they clicked on the state. A newbie wiki user might find the tables a bit much to work with perhaps. Other than that, I think it's a great start for your exchange. Nice job guys! --Ronni 23:50, 9 June 2008 (EDT)

Hi Ronni, Thanks for editing the welcome template. I was trying not to edit all of those tables; lazy me, but you are probably correct. I will work on the tables and change the instructions.--Beth 07:54, 10 June 2008 (EDT)
Dallan created a new template so I did not have to type in the page titles for the 50 states for the number of menu sites. Check it out on the talk page on Coleman Family Exchange. Fantastic. --Beth 21:39, 10 June 2008 (EDT)
Problem with the Coleman Death pages and other menu pages setup the same way. When editing Coleman Deaths in Texas; the surname has been automatically entered as Coleman Deaths and the place only has Texas. I have changed that page. Check out Coleman Deaths in Alabama.--Beth 10:17, 14 June 2008 (EDT)
Is this still an issue? I looked at both pages and didn't notice any problems.--Dallan 18:18, 19 June 2008 (EDT)

Question regarding images of death certificates [19 June 2008]

I plan to enter one death Coleman death certificate from Texas from the Family Search site as an example. This opens up an entirely new discussion. First, should we duplicate online images from Family Search, the Georgia Archives, etc.? Second if we do decide to duplicate the image on a page such is this one do we try and explain to a new user how to enter the image in the text field or do we use the Digital Library? I am not sure that it will be very easy to explain either to new contributor. If the contributor has a death certificate and the image is not online should the user place that image in the text field or what? --Beth 21:29, 13 June 2008 (EDT)

I'll try to answer the questions one at a time.

  1. Do we duplicate online images? I'd say that if the images are freely available, from websites that you'd expect to be around for awhile, and there is a URL that will take you directly to the image, I'd just link to the image; e.g., Account of the Battle of Bloody Marsh. If not, then you need to look at the websites terms of use to see whether they allow re-posting images on non-commercial websites. If in doubt, you can upload a small portion or low-resolution version of the image under fair use. See Help:Images tutorial for instructions to cut out a small portion or low-resolution version of the image.
  1. Is it better to upload the image as a wiki Image or into the Digital Library? Until the Digital Library becomes better integrated with the rest of WeRelate, I'd recommend uploading images as wiki images. Eventually though the digital library will be the preferred place for uploading scanned document images.
  1. How should the use upload an image that is not online? Tell them to click on the "Add" menu, then "Image", fill out the form to upload the image (the images tutorial has more information), then edit the page they want the image to appear on and enter [[Image:name of the image]]. They can also click on the "picture" in the blue button bar above the text file.--Dallan 18:18, 19 June 2008 (EDT)

Need coordinates help ... again [12 June 2008]

I apparently have a mental block when working with coordinates, because I manage to crash my browser every time I attempt to add latitude and longitude to a place. Amazingly, I also crash my genealogy program every time I attempt it as well. Eventually I get it, but not before a few bad attempts that I keep doing over and over again. So...

My genealogy program can convert the coordinates into either a decimal or deg/min/sec format, so I have no problem there. Where I crash is with the longitude part where one program gives me "W" and the other program wants "E". How do I go from W which my gen program gives me to E which is what WeRelate wants? Type slow please ... --Ronni 13:55, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

Hi Ronnie, I don't have a clue. Looks like to me it would be either west or east; don't know how it could be both. But I don't know much about it. I just copy them from the site and have not entered any on WeRelate.--Beth 17:22, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

Ronni, don't feel bad about having trouble with coordinates -- you're not the only one. For the life of me, I cannot get the coordinates for Place:Johnstown Cemetery, Johnstown, Licking, Ohio, United States to format in a way that puts it in the right place on the map. So far, I've had it in 3 different counties. The coords are 40 09.111N 082 41.413W. I double-checked the coords against Google Maps and it's the right spot. I've tried the various D.DD and D M'S formats, but I haven't yet found the right format. I hope someone has an answer! --Ajcrow 17:56, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

Hello All,

I hope someone can translate this question better than I can figure out how to ask it.

It would be nice to have a Werelate page to help us "math challenged genealogist".

I have noticed there are different location math on google maps, MS vitual Earth, and other web pages.

If you find coordinates similar to this (00.00000 0. , 0000000 or N0000 W00000) a webpage that could suggest how

to change it from one format to the other format would be very helpful.

My suggestion is a Werelate page that helps you the User figure out how to change it from one to the other.

Some of the genealogy programs or websites will only have or take one format or the other.

Sometimes you can only locate this information in one format or the other.

I am one of the math challanged myself.

PS If you know of a website like that could you share it please.

Thanks Debbie Freeman--DFree 18:23, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

Golly, I'm glad I'm not alone in this! Makes me feel somewhat better. :)

Ok, I think perhaps I figured it out (at least for the time being). Here is an online converter . There are probably others that are better or easier to use, but I just managed to create a place page putting in coordinates, so anyone should be able to do it now. :)

I converted from the Deg/Min/Sec format to the decimal format and entered the results into WeRelate. WeRelate wants the E direction for longitude, but what I was given was the W direction, so I added a minus (-) in front of the longitude points and voila. I hit land!

Remember that

Latitude = DDMMSS.XXX
Longitude = DDDMMSS.XXX

Understanding that longitude had three spaces for degrees instead of two like latitude does, helped me whip this little problem into shape.

--Ronni 21:29, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

You can also add "E" or "W" to the end of your longitude number. So 93.172222 W is the same as -93.172222. It's also the same as 93 10' 20" W or even 93 10 20 W. Similarly, 45.088972 N is the same as 45.088972 or 45 05'20.3"N or even 45 5 20.3. You can enter the coordinates in any of these formats. If you enter the coordinates in D M'S" format, you can either follow the minutes by an apostrophe and the seconds by quotations, or you can separate the degrees, minutes, and seconds by spaces. I'll add an instruction line next to Longitude on the Place edit page.--Dallan 23:38, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

I think my problem has been that I wasn't putting the spaces in. For example, 0814856.179W (which is how my genealogy program presents it to me) is not acceptable for a longitude in WeRelate. My browser crashes every time. But I just tried it putting the spaces in, 081 48 56.179W, and things went just fine. Whew. Math is so hard. Thanks Dallan! :) --Ronni 00:58, 11 June 2008 (EDT)

Wow, you weren't kidding about your browser crashing. I clarified the instructions and fixed it so that the browser shouldn't crash anymore on an invalid latitude or longitude.--Dallan 16:07, 12 June 2008 (EDT)

Adding second spouse that already has a page on WeRelate [12 June 2008]

Hi, I have a question from a user and have not done this before. Nor do I find it really clear on how to do it. She has a family page set up. The male remarried a widow. This widow has a page on WeRelate. There is no option to select from existing spouse. You will find her message on my user page. Need some help myself. Thanks. --Beth 19:25, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

I'm possibly just showing my ignorance here (which on things like this is near complete, since I don't routinely use those input boxes)
But, if you were on the husband's page, wouldn't you do this by creating a second family for him
under "Spouse of Family" click blue link "add new family page".
Then type in the name of the second spouse. Q 19:47, 10 June 2008 (EDT)
Probably did not make myself clear. The second spouse already has a person page on WeRelate. But the add spouse window does not have an option to select existing person. You can select an existing family; I assume this is if the page is already on WeRelate. I probably could figure out a workaround but would prefer not to. She is just getting started and smart to have found that the second spouse person page already exists. --Beth 20:02, 10 June 2008 (EDT)
I think the answer is still the same. What you are doing is creating a second family unit with the husband and say THEOTHER Woman (12). When you type in her name you'll get "THEOTHER Woman (new)" in the input box. I think if you replace "new" with the number for the already existing person you should get what you need. Q 20:14, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

I would do it the way Q has suggested. You first create a new family page with the new couple, but instead of creating the new spouse's page, you change the (new) to whatever number matches the person page you are wanting to add. Easier to do than to explain actually. :) --Ronni 20:31, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

Precisely my point; something is not correct here and I don't wish to confuse the new user by trying to explain all of this. Perhaps I should just add the spouse and then explain or let you explain Ronni. What should I tell the user asking this question? --Beth 20:37, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

Thanks for the help Ronni. --Beth 21:37, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

A new family page has to be created for recording the marriage date and place, children, etc. from the second marriage. I'd tell the user to:

  1. Edit the Person page for the person with the second spouse, click "Add new Family Page", enter the name of the second spouse (e.g., "Jane Doe") and click "Ok", then save the page.
  2. Now click on the red link for the new family page, click on "Edit" to create the Family page, replace the spouse text (e.g., "Jane Doe (new)") with the title of the existing Person page for the spouse, add the marriage date and place if known, then save the page.

--Dallan 23:38, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

I see Ronni just gave the same answer on your talk page.--Dallan 23:44, 10 June 2008 (EDT)
Yes, Ronni did; but why can't we have an option on the spouse window to add existing person? --Beth 00:13, 11 June 2008 (EDT)

The issue is that when you save the person page, the family page hasn't been created yet, so there's no easy place to record the fact that the family points to an existing wife. I'll think about how we might make it work.--Dallan 16:07, 12 June 2008 (EDT)

Cemeteries [12 June 2008]

What was the final decision on cemeteries? Is the name of the cemetery part of the place? Do I enter Hayneville Cemetery, Hayneville, Lowndes, Alabama, United States or what?--Beth 19:57, 11 June 2008 (EDT)

I've been using the form <cemetery>, <town>, <county>, <country>--Jrm03063 21:29, 11 June 2008 (EDT)

Thanks for replying. There is a discussion about this in the 2007 archives. I wish to post how to handle cemeteries in the FAQ section. So I need to know if the consensus is your suggested format. --Beth 07:54, 12 June 2008 (EDT)

It is. Also, if the cemetery is not located within a town, it's ok to put it under the township if known, or directly under the county. Thanks!--Dallan 16:07, 12 June 2008 (EDT)

Search Engine Function [19 June 2008]

Using browser IE 7 I searched for Person Edward Coleman on all pages. There are 3 pages of results. Problem is when I select a person on page 2 or 3 of the results pages and select the back button after viewing that person; I am returned to page 1. Just a minor inconvenience with only 3 pages but not too helpful if you have 10 or more pages of results. The results pages are not numbered; I added the numbers for clarification. --Beth 10:07, 14 June 2008 (EDT)

This shouldn't be a problem under the new search (which is almost done, but still has several days worth of work left).--Dallan 18:18, 19 June 2008 (EDT)

Annotations [20 June 2008]

I'm in the process of adding a series of maps showing settler locations in the Glade Springs Area in Washington County. The one I started with is at

and shows a set of parcels settled in the 1770-1800 period.

I'm adding points to show various features of interest to those discussing these properties. Eventually there will be articles for each of the individual property owners, keyed to this map

I'm currently working with annotations so that folks can drag their mouse over the various markers to see what they refer to. I could add an key for these markers, but there's really not enough room to do this conveniently. Besides, this way I can eventually give them more information about the location than I could hope to include in a key or legend.

However, I'm having a problem with this. If you go to the image page Image:Thompson's Creek Settlers Markup.jpg you can see the annotations, and they pop up properly when you mouse over. But I've placed this map on an article page, and there the annotations do not show.

Also, I notice that when I click "what links here" when I'm at the image page itself, nothing ever shows up as linking to the image. Still, if you click on the image you're transported to the right image, with all annotations.

So, is there something I don't understand?

Q 10:25, 14 June 2008 (EDT)

Q, sorry but I have not used the annotation feature but super map. What software did you use to generate this map? --Beth 10:30, 14 June 2008 (EDT)

Hi Beth. I can't take credit for the basic map. It was prepared by a LeFever researcher who kindly allowed us to use it on a non-profit non-commercial basis. All I've done is add some annotations to facilitate some discussions that are going on in a list. Jeffrey has several other maps that I expect to add, all for this general area, and I know of several other researchers who have prepared similar maps for other areas in SW VA. Jeffery is just the first one I've approached with a request to add it to the site.

I don't know exactly what software was used to create the boundary maps. I know the process is very tedious, and that there's a lot of judgement calls. The boundary descriptions are not always complete, and in this case, virtually all of the place markers mentioned in the descriptions are of the "corner at a red oak tree" type things. So there's a lot of artful thinking involved in this kind of thing. that, and the missing data in the orginal descriptions is why you often see rather weird boundary lines. Q 11:02, 14 June 2008 (EDT)

The annotations not showing up when used within a page is something on Dallan's To-Do List. As to the linking problem, I've noticed the same issue but don't know if Dallan has been made aware of it. --Ronni 17:04, 14 June 2008 (EDT)

Thanks! In the fullness of time I imagine both problems will be corrected. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something obvious---an unthrown switch, or something of that sort. Q 18:12, 14 June 2008 (EDT)
Sorry - both items are on my todo list. In the meantime, you can find out what pages link to an image by scrolling to the bottom of the image page and looking at what's listed under "Links".--Dallan 12:05, 20 June 2008 (EDT)

How to make sub-categories? [20 June 2008]

I'm wanting to categorize the cemeteries along with the sources as they are listed Category:Cemeteries. They'll all be listed under -P- but then I would like to be able to additionally list them by state under the -P- heading. Can this be done? Can it be done automatically when a new cemetery page is created, Dallan? :) --Ronni 01:09, 16 June 2008 (EDT)

This won't help much but it might a little. I've only heard of this, and do not know how it works. There's a way to do "category intersections". That is using this method you can create a list of things that are in both Category A, and Category B. Unfortunately, this is not something I've actually tried to do, and don't know the particulars. I'll try to backtrack and find it, unless Dallan comes to our rescue earlier. Q 09:10, 16 June 2008 (EDT)

You can do this if you create a new cemetery category for each state; e.g., Category:West Virginia Cemeteries. If you edit that category page and put it in [[Category:Cemeteries]], the state cemetery category will appear as a sub-category on the Category:Cemeteries page. You'll also need to edit each cemetery Place page and add it to the appropriate state cemetery category.--Dallan 12:05, 20 June 2008 (EDT)

Coleman Family Exchange - Coleman Deaths [25 June 2008]

Hello WeRelaters,

I need your input on the page Coleman Deaths. I entered items on the Texas page to show new users possibilities for entering their data and entered 4 items in order to create the table of contents. I have several questions about formatting.

  1. Is there a limit of the number of items in the table of contents? Suppose 500 to 1000 names were entered in this article.
  2. Note that one entry does not have the formatting. This takes up much less space but is not as easy to read.
  3. I have uploaded one image but find that the (right) direction does not work. So should I post the images to the far left below the data section? I am considering posting a link to the image and creating a category for Coleman Death images in the gallery style. But then again this may be too complicated for new users.

Suggestions please? --Beth 20:58, 16 June 2008 (EDT)

Well, in anticipation of there being quite a few Coleman deaths in Texas, the page is going to get pretty long. One suggestion is to put the info like you have it on the Coleman Texas page, but only put the death date and place for instance, but then link to a PERSON page for the individual where you can put the rest of the data. The PERSON page can be stand alone if it needs to be or can be linked with a spouse if he/she is known. Think of your Coleman Exchange pages as simply be doorways to your PERSON & FAMILY pages where the nitty-gritty data lies.  :) --Ronni 21:32, 16 June 2008 (EDT)

Ronni, good suggestion but not practical for me or contributors, that is not going to work for me or probably for contributors. I don't have the time to create person pages for these people. I would be glad for someone to do it but it will not be me. I already have too many unfinished projects to add another one. --Beth 22:07, 16 June 2008 (EDT)
We really need the capability to have multiple pages for an article like Rootsweb. --Beth 22:08, 16 June 2008 (EDT)
One thing you could do to simulate a multi-page article is to create each page as a subpage of the article. For example, create Coleman Deaths in Texas/A for everyone whose name starts with A. You would then turn the main Coleman Deaths in Texas page into a list of links to each of the subpages. I don't know if I would start out this way, but if an article ever gets over-long, creating subpages is one way of dealing with the length. That's what I've done with this watercooler page for example: I've moved old discussions to WeRelate talk:Watercooler/Archive 2007 and WeRelate talk:Watercooler/Archive 2008.--Dallan 12:05, 20 June 2008 (EDT)
Thanks Dallan, I decided to create another table with the letters of the English alphabet and add that to the main page of the county subpages if necessary. Which method is better?--Beth 13:20, 20 June 2008 (EDT)
I don't know; I'd suggest just trying it and see how you like it. It's not too difficult to re-organize things later if you decide you don't like it.--Dallan 14:44, 25 June 2008 (EDT)

I suspect there's no theoretical limit, but there's definitely a practical limit. Suppose you had 100 entries in the TOC. Just scrolling through the TOC would be a major task.---that's 100 lines of text just for the TOC. Then if you have 20 or so data elements, each displayed one to a line, you start to get a pretty sizeable page. At some point, probably with far fewer than 100 entries, you start running into a very real problem of people not being able to find anything at all. You could, as Ronni suggests, simply make a list of links to individual person articles, but actually creating those articles would sort of get all consuming. So, I have a few suggestions:

  • Kill the TOC---you need something better anyway
    • I will kill the TOC. --Beth 10:01, 17 June 2008 (EDT)
  • Organize the entries either alphabetically, or by DOD (since this is death records)
    • They are organized alphabetically and I prefer that to DOD. --Beth 10:01, 17 June 2008 (EDT)
  • I think you need to recognize that as nice as it might be to capture EVERYTHING in your source, you aren't going to be able to do that. You need to pick what information you're going to record, limit it to at most two or three data items (e.g., name, Source, DOD, POD) and let it go at that. Try to do everything and you'll end up doing nothing.
  • Limit each data entry to one line only.
  • It is extremely important that you show the source for each entry. Not doing that makes all the effort you put into this, moot.
    • I agree about the source and plan to add the source. --Beth 10:01, 17 June 2008 (EDT)
  • Realize that doing something like this is going to become very time consumptive no matter what you do.
    • It is a community page. I am only entering data for examples and then I will enter the data that I have collected over years of research. --Beth 10:01, 17 June 2008 (EDT)
  • For the time being, focus on only one type of data (e.g., Death Records). I will bet that you will find entirely enough interesting problems to solve without diffusing your focus by looking at other data types. (e.g., Census, Marriage, Cemetery). Each of those data types is going to have its own unique set of problems to be solved. Don't try to solve everything at once. Focus on one, and see how that goes before you look at some other data type.
    • I am not planning to solve problems, at least not this year. <g> --Beth 10:01, 17 June 2008 (EDT)
  • Recommend a table type layout. That way the data set can be visually scanned easily. If you leave the data as text, it will be very difficult to find anything.
    • The table layout would require one line of data and I am not sold on that idea. --Beth 10:01, 17 June 2008 (EDT)

Q 22:36, 16 June 2008 (EDT)

Thanks Q and Ronni. I believe that you have lost the focus on the Wiki aspect of these pages. I did not set these pages up to solve my research problems. I set them up to share data that I have collected over the years that does not apply to my Coleman line. These pages are for anyone to contribute data from anywhere in the world who are not necessarily Wiki users presently. I am entering data on the Death page simply to try an establish a method of entry.

I appreciate your input and can enter one line of data and then enter the image but where to enter the image. I think the information is virtually useless and a waste of ones time if you only enter the name and date of birth and death and the source. --Beth 23:46, 16 June 2008 (EDT)

It will be interesting to see how this develops. Q 09:45, 17 June 2008 (EDT)
You could put just a link to the image on each line without displaying an image thumbnail (which would make the page less compact and take longer to download) by putting a colon before Image; e.g., Image:Coleman Banner.jpg.--Dallan 12:05, 20 June 2008 (EDT)
Dallan, thanks. I already setup a separate page with an image gallery, Coleman Death Certificate Images and only have the image links on Coleman Deaths.

I love the idea of the "Family Exchange" page and what Beth has done. I'd like to do a "Rumgay Family Exchange". What name space is appropriate?--Lauren 11:26, 18 June 2008 (EDT)

Hi Lauren, Thanks; the pages would still be in the idea stage if not for Q and Dallan and others helping. You asked what name space is appropriate? The pages do not use a namespace. The pages are articles. --Beth 13:26, 18 June 2008 (EDT)

Thanks Beth. Actually "Articles" is exactly what I needed to know. I'm going to give it a try at Rumgay Family Exchange. --Lauren 14:42, 18 June 2008 (EDT)

Black's Law Dictionary [22 June 2008]

The second edition is available from Google: [5]. --Beth 16:17, 22 June 2008 (EDT)

Roots Magic 4 and interaction with FamilySearch [25 June 2008]

I do not have access to the new FamilySearch site that Roots Magic 4 will be interactive with. Just wondering how the FamilySearch site formats places and sources. Today I upgraded to Legacy 7 and Legacy is using the "industry standard" Mills' newest book to create source citations; ones choice not mandatory. They also have a super mapping program. I own the latest version of 5 genealogy programs. I am not touting one over the other.

I would hope that WeRelate would attract one of the popular genie programs to interact online as Roots Magic has evidently done with FamilySearch.

My question is are we basing our standard formats for places and sources on simply something that is comfortable within this site; or should we be focusing on future possibilities? --Beth 23:10, 24 June 2008 (EDT)

I agree that having an offline genealogy program interact with an online program is the ideal. That's an excellent project for next year. :-)

I've talked with the people at New Family Search about their place standard. They don't make their place standard publicly available so I'm unable to see it in its entirety, but whenever I've had a question where both options seem reasonable (e.g., whether to include "County" or not), I've asked them what they're doing and adopted their approach.

Regarding Sources, New Family Search doesn't have the concept of Source pages or reusable "master sources" like most genealogy programs. You re-add the source and repository information on every citation. Here are the fields that you can fill out for a source citation:

Source section

  • Source type: Church record, Company record, Family posession, Government record, Memory of someone, Published information, School record, Other
  • Source detail: (I'll list each of their 39 categories below and show what I believe is our corresponding category next to it if one exists)
    • Adoption papers -
    • Anniversary announcement -
    • Baptism record or certificate - Church records
    • Birth announcment -
    • Birth record or certificate - Vital records
    • Blessing record or certificate - Church records
    • Burial record or certificate -
    • Cemetery record or headstone - Cemetery records
    • Census record - Census records
    • Christening record or certificate - Church records
    • Citizenship record - Passenger/Immigration records
    • Court record - Legal/Court records
    • Death record or certificate - Vital records
    • Diploma - Institutional records
    • Divorce record or certificate - Vital records
    • Family bible - Family Bibles
    • Family genealogies - Family trees
    • Funeral program -
    • Handwritten information - Manuscripts/Documents
    • Honor roll - Institutaional records
    • Insurance policy - Institutional records
    • Journal or diary - Manuscripts/Documents
    • Land record or deed - Deed/Land records
    • Marriage record or certificate - Vital records
    • Medical record -
    • Military record or discharge - Military records
    • Mortgage record or deed - Deed/Land records
    • Obituary - Obituaries
    • Ordination record or certificate - Church records
    • Passenger or voyage record - Passenger/Immigration records
    • Photographs - Photograph collection
    • Probate record or will - Will/Probate records
    • Report card - Institutional records
    • Social security record -
    • Society membership - Directory records
    • Tax record - Tax records
    • Transcript - Institutional records
    • Voting record - Voter records
    • Yearbook - Institutional records

In addition, we have the following categories the Family Search does not:

    • Biography
    • Ethnic/Cultural
    • Finding aid
    • History
    • Newspaper article
    • Maps/Gazetteers
    • Migration records
    • Occupation
    • Periodical article
  • Media type: 24 entries from 8mm to Written correspondence (we don't have this field - do people want it?)
  • Title
  • Author
  • Publication Information

Repository section

  • Location type or Repository: Archive, Church, Individual, Government Office, Library, School
  • Name
  • Address
  • City
  • State
  • County
  • Postal Code
  • Phone
  • Fax

Citation section

  • Page Number
  • Actual Text
  • Comment

We don't have all of these fields, and they don't have some fields that we have (e.g., the surnames, places, and years covered). If anyone wants to see some of these fields added to WeRelate, or some additional categories added, let me know.--Dallan 14:44, 25 June 2008 (EDT)

Places: Redirect and more... [1 August 2008]

I don't know about others, but I just HATE to see places appearing in RED when I upload a gedcom. Since my database contains thousands of places it just is not reasonable to edit all of them within my software... Thus I have for example: Tiffin, Seneca Co., Ohio. This is how I do all my places. I do not have a country for even one place that is in America. As long as my places are in red, my pedimaps don't work.

So all my places are appearing in red, OK, so I thought if I would take for example, Seneca Co., Ohio and put in a redirect to Place:Seneca, Ohio, United States that once I did that all the towns I have listed in that county would then match up and be OK, cause the name of the county and state would be "blue" now. I am not finding that to happen. I just had to redirect the city of Danville to Place:Danville, Knox, Ohio, United States; even though I had previously redirected my Place:Knox Co., Ohio to Place:Knox, Ohio, United States. Is this a bug, or am I doomed to create a whole LOT of redirects?? --Msscarlet1957 00:39, 1 February 2008 (EST)

The place matcher doesn't work very well right now. Improving it is part of re-doing the search function, which is the next thing on the agenda. Once we have the place matcher working better, we'll go through everyone's pages and re-match red places. There are nearly 2 million pages that we need to go through, so the re-match process will take about three weeks. So if you can wait until mid-March, most of your red places should be matched by then. In the meantime you'd need to go through every place and redirect it :-(. (That's why we're working hard to improve the place matcher in the future :-).--Dallan 13:11, 1 February 2008 (EST)

How is the place matcher/redirect process coming along now? If/when I do upload my data base, I also have not indicated U.S.A. Also, ALL my counties have Co., after the name. (I hate to see locations and not know if they are talking about the city or the county.) So would my locations get U.S.A added automatically, and would my county locations get directed to your county places dropping the 'Co.'? --Janiejac 20:06, 3 June 2008 (EDT)

Hi Janie,

Go check out Q's talk page. We are working on a new concept for a surname exchange page and we could use your input. I beta tested FTM's latest program and was incensed then as you are now because all of my places created error messages in the new program because I used county and did not use USA. After a year or so I have gotten over it and am now prepared to update to the new version of places. (not FTM) I believe that this is actually a function of Google maps so you need to complain to Google. Google maps does not recognize the county. If I recall correctly there is some method on WeRelate to designate city or county when the same name has been appended to the county and city in the same county. At least I believe it is Google maps but may be some other mapping program; but that is why there is now a new format for entering places and I believe that more programs will start using the new format.--Beth 20:57, 3 June 2008 (EDT)

As Beth suggest to me earlier, perhaps the conversation on my talk page should be more public. It threatens to get too long for this space so I'll create a space for it at Talk:Surname Research Pages

I'm working on the new place matcher right now as part of the new search functionality. I'm hoping to have the code finished in a few weeks. It's taken much longer than expected, but I think it will be a big improvement when it's finally ready.

Regarding counties vs. cities, the standard at WeRelate is that counties are listed under the state without the word County, and cities of the same name are listed under the county. So Los Angeles city is Place:Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States. If you see a place "X, State, United States", you can be pretty certain that X is a county. The standard isn't driven so much by Google Maps but by how FamilySearch and some of the other place databases that I reviewed work.

Once we get the new place matcher working we'll go through and re-match everyone's places. The new place matcher won't change the text you entered, but will do a better job of linking your places to existing places in the database by dropping "Co." among other things.--Dallan 13:45, 4 June 2008 (EDT)

Dallan, now two months later, how is is the place matcher working? I am still having to do a lot of redirects to get my places to NOT be red. Another question, when I do a redirect on my "misfit" places do I have to put checkmarks in the boxes beside the trees to add that to? Sometimes I remember to do that and sometimes I don't. What is the reason for the boxes beside the trees when editing places?? --Msscarlet1957 22:46, 30 July 2008 (EDT)

Since the new search functionality was installed we've reviewed thousands of places from various GEDCOM files to make sure that the new place searcher standardizes them correctly. As of two days ago, everything finally seems to be standardizing the way you would expect. During this time the GEDCOM uploader has continued to use the old place matcher. We expect to switch it to the new place matcher this weekend. After that, if you find places that aren't being standardized correctly, please let me know. Also, later this Fall we plan to add quite a few additional non-US places.--Dallan 01:32, 1 August 2008 (EDT)

Merge/redirect and FTE [29 July 2008]

Have just done my first merge, but there is an interesting side effect. Once the merge is complete (and there are still two entities existing, but one has been edited to redirect) and you have FTE open and you do a search for the individual in question and you click on the individual that has been redirected, the following results:

the proper page comes up (right side frame), but the FTE (left side) has a blank (shaded) box and it shows the clicked-on individual (the one with the redirect) at the top of that frame. If you mouse over the box, it also shows the clicked-on individual (the one with the redirect) in the mouse-over text.

If you want to see, search for People and Families with the values Benjamin and Knowles (my g-grandfather). There are many results. The two for the example are Benjamin Knowles (5) and Benjamin Knowles (6). I have merged these two persons into Benjamin Knowles (6) (which I added to WeRelate). If you click on Benjamin Knowles (5) in the search results, the correct person (Benjamin Knowles (6)) comes up in the right-hand frame, but the behaviour I've described above obtains in the left-side FTE frame.

Also, I would like to make a plea that search results are ordered by Person first, then Family. I get both Benjamin Knowles (6) and Benjamin Knowles (5) on the first page of search results (although they are not at the top). It doesn't seem right that I have to go to the third page of search results to find Benjamin Knowles (2)!

--Slknowles 14:43, 30 April 2008 (EDT)

Yes, merging pages while the FTE is open "confuses" the FTE - that's a known bug that I need to repair.

The new search will have three sort options:

  • sort pages by how close of a match they are to the search criteria ("best match")
  • sort pages that match all search criteria by last-modified date
  • sort pages that match all search criteria by page title

The last option should work for what you want to do.--Dallan 14:05, 3 May 2008 (EDT)

Another merge question: I've found a duplicate family of one I uploaded. My family page is titled 'David Jackson and Jane Carlock'. But the author of the duplicate family has added her married name to the title 'David Jackson and Jane Carlock Jackson'. Looks to me like this author hasn't updated anything for a year. I can't just edit his page to change Jane's name to Jane Carlock. They are both #1. So should I try to redirect his page? This couple has a LOT of children. Do I work from the bottom up or the top down? I'm not sure if I should try to do something with this or just wait until the merge feature is further along. But waiting is my choice! --Janiejac 20:46, 24 July 2008 (EDT)

Apparently I'm in a minority on this subject, but I think people should have a reasonable expectation of having their material displayed the way they want them to be displayed. Changes in someone elses lineage should be made collaboratively, not pre-emptively. If you really feel a need to merge, then why not ask the person if its OK with them, ask them to collaborate with you. Ask them in the discussion page, so that there's a public record of having the question put to them. If they are watching, they can respond. If they aren't watching, and don't respond, then I think the presumption is that they don't care, and you'd be free to merge away. If they don't respond you might try contacting them offline, but a public statement that you'd like to change the page, should suffice. No response, change away. Q 21:04, 24 July 2008 (EDT)

The value in performing a merge is too great to wait. The result is the union of the contents of the contributing pages and a page that explicitly has the watchers of both contributing pages combined. It's a defacto call for input on the subject of that page because everyone is going to be noticed of the modification by e-mail. Since this is a wiki with history, nothing is ever lost anyway, so discussion can evolve as needed subsequently.

I've performed several thousand page merges. From time to time someone disagrees with the results, takes an interest, and changes the layout - but the result is a refinement of the merged page, which is precisely as it should be. That is also an extremely rare event - figure less than 1%. The only time that we go back to separate pages is in the really rare event that a merge is found to have been incorrect (which again is as it should be).

There's also a practical consideration - who do you wait for and how long? Take a look at the watch lists on any of the Pilgrims - Person:Stephen Hopkins (2) and Person:John Alden (1) for example.

Merge. Always merge. Merge immediately. If you don't want to do the heavy-lifting of merging pages, at least put a very clear notice on both pages that indicates the other as a merge candidate.--Jrm03063 21:42, 24 July 2008 (EDT)

Hopefully I'll have the match and merge functionality for merging Person and Family pages ready in about a week.--Dallan 18:31, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

Discredited Genealogy [29 July 2008]

I'm starting to see folks critically working over some of the genealogy that I've been (more or less) mindlessly merging over the last couple of months. It's actually gratifying to see results that I merged from several contributors critically reviewed edited by others. I have a minor suggestion though.

I've started to think more about the question of how to represent discredited, improbable, and flat out wrong stuff. I've tried to do it up to now using "Note" fields in the appropriate person or family pages, but that may not be sufficient in cases where finding and proving an error is a research effort unto itself. Should we adopt a convention of putting a section, immediately prior to sources, where we'll put such stuff? I'm trying to think of a good name for it, but am not satisfied with anything - "Dubious Genealogy", "Common Errors", "Probable Errors", etc.

Am I out in front of the curve on this? Does anyone want to suggest something?--Jrm03063 18:54, 12 June 2008 (EDT)

JRM, perhaps one should write an article and link it to the main page. There are examples of good articles in the NGS quarterly. Because of lack of time for now I have entered a title on the page regarding the discrepancy. See Person:Robert Coker (3) and the topic Lenard Coker & Charlotte Coker in the 1850 household of Robert Coker. This error is found in many of the family trees posted on other sites. I plan to write an article; but may never do it. I have approximately 26 more trees to enter and have not finished the ones that I started. --Beth 20:17, 12 June 2008 (EDT)
I think I prefer the discussion to be on the person or family page. I've been generally dealing with the issue under a heading that's specific to the issue - like one in the beginning called "Origins" (because so often the problem is a faulty line for an immigrant back to England) or I've seen (Ronni I think) have a section on "Possible Children". But a standard section title that calls attention to wrong information is probably useful. I like all JRM's suggested titles, depending on whether the problem is something that's been proven wrong, something that's incompatible with known information but not impossible, or just untrustworthy. I like putting it on the page better because it's more likely to be seen, and because there will often be content to put there (i.e. "Author X disagrees that this man ever sailed on the Mary and John because of X, Y, and Z.") that doesn't really need it's own article (an article which, as Beth points out, may never get written!) --Amelia 20:24, 12 June 2008 (EDT)
What goal are you attempting to accomplish with such labels? Q 20:50, 12 June 2008 (EDT)
They call attention to and acknowledge the bad information, and (hopefully) demonstrate why it is wrong, so that people who don't know better don't get upset at the information being removed and/or try to add it back.--Amelia 20:57, 12 June 2008 (EDT)
Off topic. Has your blessing arrived yet? --Beth 22:26, 12 June 2008 (EDT)
Two weeks ago today...and he sometimes sleeps enough for me to read and type again :-) --Amelia 23:22, 14 June 2008 (EDT)
They are also labels that do not, in my experience, improve the success of a discussion, but different folks have different approaches. Q 21:00, 12 June 2008 (EDT)
In cases where the evidence is unclear and there is room to disagree, you may be right. But there are many cases where information that has been proven to be flat-out wrong is still being circulated, and in that case I think we should call a spade a spade.--Amelia 21:12, 12 June 2008 (EDT)
Red hot pokers are rarely an effective argument. You might "win" with one, but you will rarely change anyone's view. Q 21:15, 12 June 2008 (EDT)
Bill, but you will change someone's view if you have convincing evidence. It should be posted and if a user disagrees they are free to post and document why they disagree. --Beth 22:26, 12 June 2008 (EDT)
I don't think the issue is making a logical argument for or against something. Its labeling someone else's stuff "Discredited", "junk" or what have you. It may in fact be such, but labeling it so implies "I'm right, your wrong". That's not reasoned argumentation. That's argumentation by fiat. If you have to apply a label to enforce your viewpoint, frankly you're argumentation can't be all that good, or people would change their view. Q 22:49, 12 June 2008 (EDT)
Bill, that makes sense. Just title the discussion with reference to what you are disputing. For example, John Doe shown not to be the father of Samuel Doe or evidence disproves that John Doe is the father of Samuel or something.--Beth 00:35, 13 June 2008 (EDT)

Perhaps the approach that could be taken here is to include a section in the article entitled "Alternative Interpretations". There different perspectives on the subject could be discussed, coupled with the evidence for and against whatever the issue was, with out applying a divise label. Q 02:49, 13 June 2008 (EDT)

I had a situation on WeRelate. There are 2 different wives shown for the same person. I discussed this with the other user. The user had no objection to me changing the name of the wife; I had direct evidence and the user was not certain where that information came from, possibly a vertical file. So sometimes a discussion with the user eliminates the conflict. --Beth 07:31, 13 June 2008 (EDT)

I had no idea this would be so sensitive! Still, I'm seeing the perspective from both sides. I think most of the information I'm talking about is accepted as discredited, but there's no sense alienating folks either. May I suggest the title "disputed interpretations"--Jrm03063 07:42, 13 June 2008 (EDT)

Since we're talking about individual articles, how alternative viewpoints are handle is largely up to the individual authors. If someone else wants to have a different view of some genealogical "fact", that's pretty much their prerogative. I don't need to convert them to some other viewpoint. Arguments really only get in the way of doing the genealogy. I probably go out of my way to avoid "hot buttons", simply because its not an argument that I'm trying to achieve. Now, if someone wants to engage in a reasoned discussion of some viewpoint, that's another matter. I always learn from discussions (such as this one). The only thing I learn from an argument is to avoid the person in the future.
So, if "Disputed interpretations" floats your boat, that's better than "Rejected Conclusions" or something of that sort. Personally, I try to avoid hot button words as much as possile, as they do not usually advance a discussion, and sometimes hinder it. The advantage of a phrase like "Alternative Viewpoint" is that its about as non-confrontational as you can get, and still convey the message that there is a subject where differences of opinion are held. Q 08:58, 13 June 2008 (EDT)

I'm not particular about what we call it. "Plan Nine from Outer Space" works for me. I just think we need a more or less standard place to indicate relationship connections, generally discredited ones anyway, that don't appear as part of the explicitly connected genealogy.--Jrm03063 09:12, 13 June 2008 (EDT)

JRM; I am not all sure that a standard place and name would work for me. It actually would depend on the context within the applicable page. Just checking a few titles for articles in the NGSQ and the NEHGR that pertain to this subject; I found the following titles:
  • Which Jacob Pence? A Case Study in Documenting Identity [NGSQ;Vol. 75, No. 2]
  • Two Simeon Nuttings of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, and Their Wives Named Dorothy [NEHGR; Vol 157, whole no. 626]
  • King Philip (Metacom) Redux: Massasoit's Son or Grandson? [NEHGR; Vol 157, whole no. 626] --Beth 09:33, 13 June 2008 (EDT)
The nature of a wiki is that folks are pretty much going to do as they want. If someone wants to create a "standard" section entitled "Plan Nine from Outerspace", they are going to do that. You aren't going to stop anyone from doing it the way they want, unless you want to establish a policing system---which ain't going to work. Q 09:50, 13 June 2008 (EDT)
Precisely my point Q. One can create a "standard" section; but I may choose not to use it. --Beth 10:06, 13 June 2008 (EDT)

Ok, where this started was that I've encountered a number of places where I wanted to document connections that are generally not accepted. The rationale here is that others are going to repeatedly stumble over these issues as information from old GEDCOMs and other databases is recycled. Put differently, if a connection between a person and a family - either as a child of that family or a spouse - is not generally accepted, then:

   A) It should not be part of the ordinary explicit family connections
   B) It should be explicitly documented within the body of related person and family pages

The only question I'm asking is whether we can make the documentation of these sorts of situations a little more obvious.--Jrm03063 11:25, 13 June 2008 (EDT)

Jrm, how about a heading of "Disputed Lineages", highlighting the contradictions? Most of the disputed lineages occur because of conflicting secondary sources. Some of the disputed lineages are due simply to "old" disputes that have since been solved by a good primary source but the "old" keeps getting passed around from GEDCOM to GEDCOM. The word "disputed" does not have to have a negative connotation to it. Dispute can also simply mean to seek the truth in argument, discussion or debate. So I see nothing wrong about your suggestion. Collaboration is going to involve disputes, plain and simple. Like Amelia said, let's call a spade a spade (I'm sorry, but a father can not be younger than his biological son - that's improbable so let's call it what it is).

Perhaps linking these "disputed lineages" to a category as well would be useful. While the highlights can be brought out on the Family or Person page, maybe eventually these disputed lineages can have articles of their own.

The problem is, as you pointed out, is getting folks to look for something they don't know that they should be looking for. For instance, the family of William Spencer and Agnes Harris *was* a disputed lineage. Agnes was thought to be a Tucker or a Hearne. But Douglas Richardson several years ago found a primary source revealing her name as Harris. The disputed lineage has been solved, but not everyone is aware of it, so GEDCOMs get uploaded with Agnes Tucker and Agnes Hearne. I would assume when Dallan gets the match/merge function that such a case would be flagged as a possible merge, but even still, there needs to be something on the page telling of the dispute or former dispute and why folks should merge their Agnes Tucker into Agnes Harris.

Perhaps a category should be set up in the mean time so we can add these disputed lineages to it as we come across them to "hold" them until a solution is found on how best to present them. --Ronni 11:35, 13 June 2008 (EDT)

We keep coming up with the scenario of Person and Family pages needing "subpages" as it were. Maybe we should start thinking of just plain ol' articles as a type of subpage. Note the disputed lineage on the person or family page and then link it to an article where more information is presented. The article would link back to the Person/Family page. --Ronni 11:44, 13 June 2008 (EDT)

If the detective work behind a disputed lineage is significant, it could very well belong in an article by itself. I wouldn't suspect that to be the typical case though, where creating an article "sub-page" would be a heavy handed answer that is, never the less, even more obscure than a "note". I prefer that a brief section exist in plain sight, referring to additional articles if needs be, but not as a general rule. --Jrm03063

A "Disputed Lineages" section would be fine, I just want to follow a convention that at least a few other folks think is reasonable. In my colonial merging adventures I hit these sorts of things from time to time. I want to leave things in the most probably "correct" state, but I don't want to lose the information on what may or might have been a connection either. I had been adding this material as a "note" entry, but I decided that was a little too obscure. I saw some of Amelia's entries and liked having the material in the body of the person page, but perhaps not as the initial item! I figured a section at the end of the page is a nice compromise and, if a convention could be adopted on the title, there would be a better chance people would see the information when they needed to.

So, as a convention (__NOT__ a requirement), could a few folks chime in on whether "Disputed Lineages" is a catch phrase they would recognize for this purpose?--Jrm03063 11:50, 13 June 2008 (EDT)

I suspect that every problem will have its own specific needs. There's not going to be a one-size fits all solution. In some cases placeing a discussion of the issues directly into the article is going to work, in other cases, the matters involved are going to be too complex for detailed inclusion in a person article. Here's an example of one approach I've taken for a relatively innocuous issue. Go to the Personal data section and read the very brief blurb in the comments section about Dale Carter's Spouse. Relatively straightforward, simply identifying the fact that others have a different interpretation, and pointing to a location that contains a more complete discussion of the issue. I don't think there's much controversy here, as knowledgable researchers have identified the problems; the purpose of the point is simply to provide a more complete explanation of the issues here. If it were a bit less complex I'd have included it directly in the Dale Carter article.

An example of a more complex treate is found Here. This series of articles, still being built, addresses a very contentious problem in the genealogy of the descendants of John Walker I of Wigton Scotland. This is a very complex problem, and ultimately it is probably unresolvable. I have my opinions, others have theirs. the problem is complex and deserves a more complex treatement. It would not be easy to capture something like this within the framework of a simple person article. Q 13:05, 13 June 2008 (EDT)

Something else to keep in mind: One of the BCG's Standards of Proof, is that any contrary views must be adequately addressed. That means including an objective discussion of what others think, coupled with a well reasoned discussion of your own interpretation. Usually, there's an advantage to being objective in such treatments. Q 20:36, 13 June 2008 (EDT)

Just to throw out some different wording for consideration; I have used "Conflicting Data" on my Jackson web site. I figured if I told about the conflicting info and explained how I came to my conclusions, it would give others an insight into how I came to a resolution. I didn't want folks wondering why my data differed from data they found on other sites. Some conflicting data can be explained in a couple of paragraphs, but I have one that took 3 pages. It will need some polishing before I can put that one on WeRelate!

I'd expect to put a couple of paragraphs on the person or family page near the bottom, but maybe with bright color text near the top saying 'See Conflict Resolution Below' or something like that that at the top to catch attention. Anything that takes more than a couple of paragraphs perhaps could be a linked article. --Janiejac 23:28, 13 June 2008 (EDT)

Others may take the view that a generally common or conventional approach will never help, but that is not my experience. I have already tried such an approach and found it convenient to have, and I now want to improve it. Of the ideas put forth, I think "Disputed Lineages" as a final section before "Sources" is least offensive and most on point. I encourage others to adopt the approach if they find it useful (or at least, can think of nothing better).--Jrm03063 23:40, 13 June 2008 (EDT)

Generally, what is being suggested IS the conventional approach. You don't get much more conventional then BCG. Their guidance on this particular point is to include:
  • Resolution of conflicting evidence.
Because it:
  • Substantiates the conclusion's credibility. (If conflicting evidence is not resolved, a credible conclusion is not possible.)
How you go about doing that is pretty much up to you, but it's their recommendation to resolve such conflicts. Q 08:46, 14 June 2008 (EDT)

I hadn't considered this situation; I'm very grateful for the discussion. I'm going to throw another wrench into the works. For the upcoming merge function, I've been thinking the system would take the events/facts from the newer page and add them to the older page if they don't already appear on the older page. For events like Birth, Christening, Death, Burial, and Marriage that we can have only one of, if different values for those events already appear on the older page, the system would add the events from the newer page as "Alt Birth", "Alt Death", etc. events on the older page. This means that in addition to a text section explaining why a certain event/fact is disputed, it still needs to be stored as an "Alt ..." event/fact. If not, it will be added as an "Alt ..." event/fact every time a page with the disputed event/fact is merged into this page anyway.

We currently don't have anything like "Alt Parent Family", "Alt Spouse Family", "Alt Husband", "Alt Wife" and "Alt Child" to record that certain family relationships are disputed. And we'll need to record the disputed relationships on the page, or every time a page with a disputed relationship is merged into the page, the disputed relationship will be added to the page anyway. I'm thinking that the system can assume that if a Person page is linked to two or more "Parent Families", then the second and later parent family links are disputed. And it can assume that if a Family page links to two or more Husbands or Wives, then the second and later links are disputed. But we'll need to have the user explicitly check a checkbox on the "Spouse Family" link to specify whether this spouse family is a second marriage or is known to be disputed. We'll also want to display a "Disputed" checkbox next to the child links, but we can derive the value for this checkbox based upon whether this family is the second or later "Parent family" on the child's Person page.

By the way, if the resolution of conflicting evidence gets really long, I'd rather have it moved onto an article than to create a subpage. Subpages aren't automatically renamed when you rename a page, and they aren't automatically redirected when you redirect a page. Creating separate articles if necessary just keeps things simpler.

What do people think?--Dallan 18:18, 19 June 2008 (EDT)

This is just going to be messy regardless of what we do. The first issue I have is that I object to having information that is just plain wrong continued to be listed as if it's a legitimate possibility - i.e. labeled "disputed" or "alt." I know that's a line that humans are going to have to discuss, and many times there are good faith alternatives, but there really are many situations where information is just plain wrong. If we continue to present it as a viable alternative, we're doing a disservice and spreading the wrong info - particularly if this "alt" info makes its way into gedcoms downloaded from WeRelate. I would rather have people who get the notification emails generated by the merge keep deleting nonsense than keep the bad information on the page - it's work, but it's the wiki way. It also preserves "alt" as alternatives that could actually be possible. I do feel more strongly about this with regard to relationships (which are harder to clearly label as wrong) than with dates, where we can at least use the note field to explain why something is wrong or disputed.
Another issue - I don't think it makes sense to assume that "later" parent families are the "disputed" ones. The parents are listed in order that they are added to WeRelate, and although in many cases the older page will have been "cleaned" and have the most reliable data (we hope), that won't be true everywhere, and it's not intuitive to change the order to reflect what's the best data. Plus, elevating one set of parents and calling the rest disputed it doesn't cover two common situations 1) the dispute is whether the parents are known or unknown or 2) the dispute is which of two couples is the parents, with both being equally likely.
I would love a way to indicate that parents, spouses or children are disputed, but given the discussion above, that's apparently excessively judgmental of me. A nice alternative would be a way to add a note to a relationship like we can do with events. --Amelia 18:43, 19 June 2008 (EDT)
From past experience I have had in informing someone that their information is wrong; unless they are a professional genealogist, some do not take it very well. My recommendation is to obtain all of the useful information a person probably has before saying outright that they are incorrect. I guess that does not sound very nice but unfortunately sometimes it is necessary. --Beth 20:12, 19 June 2008 (EDT)
Beth, a very good observation.
Almost everyone thinks they are "right" about whatever position they take,
most do not take kindly to being told that they are "wrong",
and some seem mistake honest discussion for personal attack.
Objectivity is rare. Q 20:40, 19 June 2008 (EDT)
Let's don't forget - this is a shared space. The caveats that are expressed on wikipedia apply - if you don't want to see your contribution edited, re-edited, changed around, etc., you should probably find a different place for your work. We're after the community sense of what's correct. We can't be afraid to "fix" things that are broken because we might offend.
I take the view that the person currently working any page has the information that's present there and whatever the best additional information is at that moment. They should make any and all corrections and changes that they believe are appropriate. Nothing is ever really lost, because this is a wiki. Even so, anything that I change because it was incorrect gets a note or (from here on) added to a disputed lineages section. Within that, I place information on the relationship/linkage that I found to be incorrect, along with links to the family and person pages involved (this sort of gives the feature that Amelia wanted, without actually placing such links in the left-hand column).
I avoid situations of A says X and I say Y by adding whatever source information I have. If the discussion is focused on the relative merits of sources, the discussion will probably remain constructive. If two parties reach an impasse, I think the community can be called upon for assistance and the generally accepted/majority view will prevail. If the other side remains unconvinced they can and should write an extensive minority opinion. After all, new information comes to light from time to time, and perspectives change.
Really I am okay with whatever we decide. This is a dynamic site so what we decide now may be changed in the future. The dynamics is one of the many things that I love about this site and a new and updated version of the Think Tank. Although, I am having fun imagining a court of 3 Wiki Judges deciding the outcome of a genealogy impasse. --Beth 21:25, 19 June 2008 (EDT)

It seems that we have two distinct situations here:

  1. There are two dates or relationships, and the contributors are not yet sure which is preferred, or there is some evidence to support both (or more likely, there is no good evidence to support either).
  2. There are two dates or relationships, and the contributors can generally agree that one of them is wrong.

I know that we could remove the wrong date/relationship from the page, but having to re-remove it every time someone uploads a new GEDCOM with the incorrect information would be a pain and violates the idea that newly-uploaded GEDCOM's shouldn't be too burdensome to the community. Also, even though they'd be useful, I'd rather not add notes to relationships because most desktop genealogy programs don't support notes on relationships and it would cause problems when we implement GEDCOM re-upload. Having a specific "disputed" flag on the event/fact or relationship, with the reasoning recorded in the big text box, would make it easier for the system to treat disputed information differently from non-disputed information.

How about the following?

  • The system doesn't automatically mark anything as disputed. So for example a person could belong to multiple parent families (which they can now) while people figure out which one is correct, or if nobody can definitely say which one is correct.
  • When merging, if the to-be-merged page contains an event/fact or relationship that does not already appear on the merged-into page (either undisputed or disputed), it is added to the merged-into page as undisputed.
  • People can mark any event/fact or relationship as disputed by checking a "Disputed" box. If you do this, you should enter your reasoning into the big text box.
  • Disputed events/facts and relationships don't appear in the left-hand infobox. Instead, they are displayed in the body of the page above sources, images, and notes.
  • Disputed events/facts and relationships don't appear in GEDCOM exports (when we get that working).

--Dallan 12:56, 20 June 2008 (EDT)

Dallan, I am not sure of your approach to match/merge, but the way he PAF utility works, the two pages proposed for merging are displayed side by side. Each data field on the right hand page has a check box beside it. If a field is blank on either page the data from the filled in field is incorporated. If both pages have conflicting data, the values from the left hand page are incorporated unless the box on the right is checked. Then the value is overridden. Any changes made should trigger a dispute flag requiring an explanation, probably on the Talk Page rather than in the big text box. The main issue then becomes source quality.--Scot 15:33, 16 July 2008 (EDT)

Yes, the Talk page is a better spot. Since we can store multiple occurrences of relationships and events, if both slots are filled we can by default add the other relationship/event as a second opinion rather than overriding it, but I do want to display both pages side-by-side, and there should be a way for the user to say which of the two conflicting relationships/events should be listed first.--Dallan 18:31, 29 July 2008 (EDT)
I love it.--Amelia 13:37, 20 June 2008 (EDT)

Interesting comments Dallan, and I think you're on to something. My concern was that human users would need to see something on the body of the page explaining about known issues/errors that are "out there" in the world knowledge base. I hadn't considered that there might be a way to automatically recognize discredited information on the way in, which is better still (and even if you can only do a few special cases).

My question then, is what of the "alternate birth", "alternate death", etc. events. To my mind, those are by definition disputed or less probable facts. The primary birth/death dates being the generally accepted and/or most likly values, the alternates being other values that have been seen but are probably incorrect. What does it mean then, for an alternate birth to be "disputed"? Does this mean we should drop the "alternate" tag from the various event types and simply allow zero or more births, deaths, or whatevers? The first non-disputed value for birth/death/christening is the value that the page goes by...?

I suppose it would be a drag to change the database so that every "alternate <whatever>" event became simply "<whatever>" with the disputed flag set. On the other hand, ambiguity about the fact items probably isn't a good thing.--Jrm03063 14:01, 20 June 2008 (EDT)

I've been thinking about the "alternate" events as well. It would be pretty easy to change if we displayed them without the "Alternate" word (so just "Birth" for example), but kept using the "Alt birth" tag in the database (which you'd see only when you view a page difference).--Dallan 14:44, 25 June 2008 (EDT)

I don't think we can assume that "alternate" means less likely or disputed. Going back to the first scenario Dallan identified above - there are cases where there's evidence/sources for two different dates and researchers (or at least the page editor) don't know which is the more reliable. That's different than disputed, which means that there is one date that's more likely than others, either because it's the one favored by more careful/better source or because it comports better with other information (including, for example, not belonging to someone else). So whether or not the different fields in the left hand box are marked "alt" or not, I wouldn't want to see all the alt dates/relationships marked disputed or to lose the ability to show more than one piece of information for a field.--Amelia 17:47, 1 July 2008 (EDT)

I think we'd still allow alternate events. Some of those events might be marked as disputed, but they wouldn't have to be. And on the left-hand box we could possibly display them under just the event name rather than the "Alt event" name (e.g., display alternate birth events under "Birth" rather than "Alt birth").--Dallan 16:21, 3 July 2008 (EDT)

So are we saying that an event can be plain, alternative, or disputed? Or are we saying that events can be a combination of alternative and disputed? I suppose you could also add "disproved" as a more definitive form of the negative, but I'm already confused by alternative and disputed, without adding anything else.

We need a couple of variants here, but not so many that folks don't understand what the intention is.

As someone once said, "it's such a fine line between clever and stupid."--Jrm03063 16:37, 3 July 2008 (EDT)

I've been worried about this too. I think we could generally remove the distinction between plain and alternate events, which is why I've suggested that we remove the "Alt" part of the event title, although there will be some places where we have room to display only the first event (the first birth event and the first death event for example). So then we'd just have two types of events: plain and disputed. Coincidentally, New Family Search has a similar structure: plain events and disputed events. They also allow multiple events, although just one of each type of event can be displayed on the summary page.--Dallan 18:35, 3 July 2008 (EDT)

Sorry, I havn't been aware of this discussion before, as I have been busy preparing a presentation for an upcoming convention. To me, the biggest problem with public or commercial sites is that they don't get corrected and/or consolidated. As a result, the discredited stuff is all there uncorrected. The other day, I checked the IGI looking for a particular person born in 1639 +- 10yrs and found 92 separate entries, all of them submitted, none with spouses or parents mentioned and no extracted entries. I suspect that nFS will become the same type of mess in that nothing submitted will ever be deleted so searching for good information will become another case of trying to find a needle in a haystack. There are many lineages that have been discredited through scholarly research. Many people cling to them because they may have once been, but no longer are, accepted by DAR, Mayflower Society, Dames of the Magna Carta, etc. Dozens of colonists have been endowed with royal ancestry by the many genealogical charletons of the 19th century, Gustav Anjou, eg, one of the most notorious, but certainly not the only one, or by just plain wishful thinking. Case in point; JRM and I both worked on a page for Sargent Francis Nichols of Stratford, CT the other day. A persistant myth is that he was the brother of Richard Nichols, the first English governor of New York. Richard's mother was Margaret Bruce, a descendant of Robert the Bruce, King of Scots. This has been the subject of several articles in publications such as TAG by several noted genealogists which have proved it wrong. I noted this on Francis' talk page with the articles cited and deleted the alternate parent as well as a note stating "it is clear there is a close relationship between Francis and Richard." To me, the goal of WeRelate is to reach consensus upon which is the most reliable source and present the single best choice as to what is correct along with documentatin. My understanding was that the talk page was where the dicussions to resolve the conflicts take place. Anyone wishing to reverse an edit must justify it first, not just change it back.--Scot 15:04, 16 July 2008 (EDT)

By the way, I've edited the Help:Wiki etiquette page with a goal to include a link to this page from the welcome message that everyone receives. The comments in this discussion are relevant, so I'd appreciate thoughts/edits that anyone has to offer on that page.--Dallan 18:31, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

GEDCOM size limits for rookies [29 July 2008]

It's been a few days since I've been scorched in this forum, so I'm going to offer a suggestion that's bound to be controversial. For "rookie" users of werelate, the total number of pages they can create via GEDCOM upload (a cumulative total over any number of GEDCOM uploads) is limited to some modest number - say, 100 or 200. I would define a rookie as someone who has fewer than some limiting number of contributions made by hand - perhaps a 100 or even 500.

The problem I'm regularly encountering, when searching out stuff to merge, is that it is very easy for a total newbie to upload a very large GEDCOM and then walk away. There has been discussion of the idea of purging unused GEDCOMs after a time, but that approach is not entirely free of disruption, especially if the community has begun to integrate the data. I've suggested writting a warning to encourage users to start small or use the digital library, but warnings like that are typically ignored. There have also been discussions of ideas that try to identify dubious GEDCOMs at or before upload, as well as to merge on the fly. Those are good ideas too, but I'm thinking they may be missing the point. A dedicated user can clean up even an awful GEDCOM. A decent GEDCOM that is abandoned - even if good quality - imposes a real burden on the community.

An initial size limitation would also, I think, discourage upload of materials that are apt to be duplicated (vast harvestings from ancestral file and the like).--Jrm03063 17:04, 18 June 2008 (EDT)

Hi Jrm, I am sorry that you felt scorched in the forum. There is a size limit for gedcoms in place now. I recommended no gedcoms; but one of the attractions of WeRelate is the gedcom feature. It seems we have to take the good with the bad. After the match/merge features is added, perhaps we can reevaluate WeRelate and make a more informed decision.

There is an interesting, well I don't know what you call it and I can not find it again; but it is a large colored box with text placed on articles in the Wikia that are unsourced. It says something to the effect that this section has no sources and is subject to deletion. If someone can find this, perhaps we could use the banner on our pages. Also once a user uploads a gedcom or creates a new page; those pages are now part of the community of WeRelate and not really owned by the user. --Beth 10:48, 19 June 2008 (EDT)

I am aware that there is a size limitation, but it's far too big for people who have not determined that they are really going to stick with werelate. I also know that Dallan is working on tools that merge on the fly, but that's never going to be a perfect solution. The real problem is abandoned material - and deleting after the fact isn't a solution, because the rest of us don't stop working while waiting to see if a new user is going to stick around. By the time we realize that someone is gone, it's often (for me anyway) more trouble to get rid of their upload than to just carry on, finish the job, and hope that doesn't happen again too soon.

I don't blame the new users particularly. This is a very different paradigm then traditional genealogy, and there is no reason folks would fundamentally realize they are working in a shared space. Their previous experience with genealogy software is you toss in your GEDCOM and see how you like it. If you don't, you just walk away.

Really, is there any reason that a new user to werelate needs to upload a GEDCOM of more than a couple hundred people? If they are really going to use werelate, they can start small and upload the rest later. If they aren't, let's restrict the damage they can do. Adding "good" information really isn't helpful unless someone is prepared to take responsibility for getting it merged and cleaned up as far as place names so forth.

I would also add that I've done a lot of merging, well over 2500 families and their associated members. It's real work, and it's just not fair to hope/assume that such things are going to magically happen even if voluminous trash is routinely uploaded. I would rather be adding real source material or merging families that wind up increasing the knowledge of the different contributors - not just merging and re-merging, and re-re-merging the same ancestral file content that I've merged numerous times before - and worse - for users who have already given up on werelate. Dallan, please help...--Jrm03063 11:43, 19 June 2008 (EDT)

I do agree (surprise), but I also wonder if we could accomplish (most of) the goal in other ways. Right now, the upload page has no information on the consequences of one's actions aside from licensing information. It could be a lot clearer that uploading a small file is a much easier way to start. The page could even state it as an official policy that no users should import information from before 1700 (or whenever) without checking if it already exists (although we new search would make this vastly easier) -- the chances of pages already existing go up exponentially for earlier people, and more recent data also tends to be better researched and more reliable.)
Or instead of limiting the upload by number of people, I imagine it could also be limited by date, permitting only pages of people born after 1700, which would get us similar benefits while encouraging more recent info. The problem with any gedcom limit is going to be that many newbies don't know how to create limited gedcoms - it's either everything in their program or nothing. So a simple warning may not work, and a programming limit means some people just won't upload. I can live with that, personally, but it's worth thinking about. --Amelia 16:40, 19 June 2008 (EDT)

I took a swing at a warning page in my personal pages area. I'm all for it, but I didn't think it would get the job done. Maybe I don't know how to say what's needed without going on too long, but I was struck that what folks need to know is more than most will take the time to read. I agree that any burden we place on uploads - size, quality, etc. - will result in some uploads not being done.

But I go back to an idea that I mentioned above - what good is a GEDCOM, of whatever quality, if no one is around to take care of the data? We could harvest GEDCOMs if that's what we wanted to do, and toss them all in, but the problem is having folks who will take care of that data. If carving a large GEDCOM into a smaller piece to try out werelate is beyond someone, what are the chances they're going to stick with this learning curve?--Jrm03063 17:17, 19 June 2008 (EDT)

Playing Devil's advocate for a moment, let me throw this in. I suspect that a fair number of people will upload their GEDCOMs with no intention of sticking with the learning curve. They want to publish their tree in the hope that someone researching some of the same people will contact them. They don't necessarily want to go in "whole hog," so to speak. But does that invalidate their contribution? And would we be doing a disservice to the rest of the WR users who might want (or need) the info in that person's GEDCOM if we discourage that upload? --Ajcrow 17:48, 19 June 2008 (EDT)
That's a legitimate purpose, but this is a place for actively working your data in cooperation with others - at least to a basic level of correctness and completeness. Of course nothing is ever really "done", but walking away without a basic pass through your data after upload - no attempt to clean up your own duplicates, merge with other werelate data as appropriate, standardize and correct place names - amounts to burdening the active members of the community without their agreement. We could provide a help page that instructs people on where to get GEDCOM split utilities so they can readily break their stuff up into a piece for upload now and another for upload later, if they remain interested.

In looking at the GEDCOM's that have been uploaded in the past year, I'm going to drop the size limit to 5MB. Only a few (44) GEDCOM's are larger than that. That amounts to roughly one user per week to have an email conversation with and ask them to consider uploading a smaller GEDCOM, or to evaluate whether they're committed enough to get permission to upload the larger GEDCOM.

I am reluctant to make it smaller than that right now, because I think the main issue we're dealing with is that it's difficult for most people to know up-front whether they will stick around until they see some benefits. They start out by uploading a GEDCOM to see what happens. If nothing happens, they don't come back and their tree is abandoned. But if others start adding onto their tree by merging their trees into it, and they receive a periodic email telling them that "you now share common ancestors with N new users", or "N new people are now reachable from your tree" or something to that effect, then chances are greater that they'll return. And since we don't currently issue these periodic emails because basic functionality that these uploaders would want, like gedcom re-upload without needing to delete their tree first isn't finished yet, most users at present are fairly inactive.

Rather than put things in place up-front to discourage people, I'd prefer to talk about ideas for making uploaded GEDCOM's:

  1. not burdensome to the community, and
  2. not disruptive if we decide later to remove them.

For example, a possible solution to #1 might be to ask people to do their own merging, especially for duplicates within their own GEDCOM. We don't have tree match-merge working yet, but until we do we could do a "poor-man's" matching by reporting the family pages in their upload that have the same husband and wife names as existing family pages and asking them to review and merge them (we'd need to create a simple "Merge" function and write an instruction page). If they don't respond to this request after a week say, then we remove the GEDCOM.

Another thing we could do, and in fact is high on the ToDo list, is to detect when uploaded GEDCOM's are going to cause problems due to a lot of internal duplication or obvious errors (e.g., people being born after they die), and to report the errors prohibit the upload until the errors have been corrected.--Dallan 12:05, 20 June 2008 (EDT)

I'm not clear on how far this goes: "Also once a user uploads a gedcom or creates a new page; those pages are now part of the community of WeRelate and not really owned by the user.[Beth]" I think that should be made clearer, and available to all who join if that is the current belief. I tried to rejoin and ask on the wiki list, but was unable to join, twice. I would not have commented here if I had been able to put it on Beths list.

Hi, I have subscribed you to my mailing list; sorry but I don't know what caused the problem. --Beth 13:52, 20 June 2008 (EDT)

Jrm03063, I looked at the warning page you have created. The need is for a warning that a person must click through to add anything here. When I joined and added my gedcoms, I saw nothing here that was alarming at all, anywhere. Now I do wish I had not added my gedcoms, and I am not sure if I can completely remove them. The best solution is to remove the ability to add gedcoms. That way the 'junk' is easily taken care of and with warnings people will not add their information without careful thought, and then, one family at a time. Need for this conversation would be eliminated completely. I have been burned in a major way by a researcher and I am careful to retain rights on my research everywhere, so I have been finding the whole discussions on this matter disturbing. I certainly want this made clear soon.

I really liked the wiki format and was more trustful perhaps because of the connection to Allen County Library. I thought the only problem would be someone coming in and putting up false information over my own research. FamilyTwigs- Twigs 12:55, 20 June 2008 (EDT) -

FamilyTwigs -- could you explain more particularly what it is that you're finding alarming that you didn't understand before? The one thing that is repeated often here is the terms of the license that permit "your" work to be edited, downloaded, and redistributed, so if that's what's concerning you and didn't get through, that's an additional problem.--Amelia 13:35, 20 June 2008 (EDT)
FamilyTwigs -- something else to keep in mind is that whenever someone makes a change to a page, you can always change it back. In fact, each page has a link to "History," which shows all of the revisions made. --Ajcrow 13:52, 20 June 2008 (EDT)
One good indication of whether a new user intends to work their data, is whether or not they create a user page. If they don't even bother to do that, then we can assume they won't do more. I am not so sure about removing unsourced data, as over the years, I have collected a lot of such data which has later been validated by source information I have found, although it should not be allowed to supercede sourced data. BTW any data that claims AF, IGI, Ancestry.com, wfT and such as a source should be considered unsourced.--Scot 18:39, 16 July 2008 (EDT)

I want to re-ask the question about GEDCOM size limits for rookies in a different way. What is the largest database that any of us can imagine doing a responsible job maintaining? While I'm watching 22K pages, that's only as a side effect of merging - there is no chance I could do quality research on a space that big. My own tree is only slightly over 3000, and I can't see it growing all that much. Doubling perhaps at the outside, but not much more.

When a GEDCOM comes in with over 5000, or even 10000, from someone who isn't a comitted user - why are we allowing that to be uploaded? It's so unlikly that GEDCOMs of that size will be anything more than large dumps of unproofed commercial data bases. Essentially oceans of unsourced names and dates that create a merging burden without adding real information. A dilligtent researcher will still have to go back through any such lineage and try to document it with appropriate reference material before it really becomes useful.

I also think that a file size limit, while convenient to implement, isn't the right answer. It needs to be a content size limit (number of people/families).

I understand not wanting to discourage contributions, but no one should be uploading data they aren't willing or ready to maintain, and it is just beyond reasonable to expect that GEDCOMs with over 10K people are going to be dominated by really useful information. At the same time, it's hugely unfair to expect that a shared-space community is just going to clean up someone else's thinly sourced yet bloated database. In a few minutes a rookie can create months of work for others. Mind you I'm not holding such folks personally responsible - they don't know the implications of what they're doing - so they just have to be reined in.--Jrm03063 15:49, 17 July 2008 (EDT)

I may easily be one of those who could/would upload a large GEDCOM without realizing the implications of the work involved. We are used to uploading to sites that don't require further input; so perhaps it needs to be spelled out in more detail up front just what would be expected of someone who wants to upload a GEDCOM. I've been holding back my main data base until match/merge but maybe I need to learn more of what's expected. --Janiejac 16:16, 17 July 2008 (EDT)
I would think that if you upload XYZ pages, that you'll go through each of them sanitizing place names to make sure they point to something in the place database. Further, when you find family names that have an index greater than 1, you'll check to see if there's a duplicate of the family already here. When you find duplicates (and you will, especially if you have any colonial genealogy), merge them or get help merging them with the pages that are already here. There's been talk that Dallan may be able to automate some aspects of that process on the upload side, but I don't see how that would ever be a perfect/complete solution. You'll still need to visit your own pages and tidy them up. Maybe others disagree, but that's how I see it. --Jrm03063

I've set the GEDCOM upload threshold to 5,000 people. People can request to upload larger GEDCOM's, in which case I'll review their previous contributions to decide whether to allow it. Less than 10% of our current GEDCOM's are over 5,000 people, so this shouldn't cause difficulty for most uploaders. I've also added some intructions to Special:ImportGedcom based upon instructions User:Jrm03063 has written. Hopefully this will help.

Just a quick note: I'm not sure I would recommend that people go through their pages and make sure that the place names point to Place pages, especially not yet. I've spent some time this week improving the place matcher used for GEDCOM uploads so it's better than before, but we have a list of what looks to be about a million non-US places that need to be added to the place wiki later this year.--Dallan 18:31, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

Color-Coded State Maps [7 July 2008]

Hello WeRelaters,

Look at this fantastic site: [6]. Select a state and then you can color code the counties and export the whole shebang as an image.--Beth 09:46, 22 June 2008 (EDT)

Nice find. It certainly is easy to use---much easier than creating such maps manually, or extracting them from the Wikipedia, which is what I've been doing. However, doing a test on this I'm not sure how easy it will be to import these images into WeRelate. The image backgrounds use "transparancies", which either may not import well, or would require some manipulation to import. Will check on it and see. Q 10:08, 22 June 2008 (EDT)

OK, did a check. The program creates gif images and seems to give a decent display. Not sure about the license restrictions on this, if there are any. Need to check terms of use. Q 10:45, 22 June 2008 (EDT)


Bill, I did not find any license or terms of use on the site. Wes Coleman used maps on his pages on Rootsweb and added a note that the maps were available from Texas A&M and gave the link. See Wes' page here [7]. --Beth 10:24, 22 June 2008 (EDT)

Beth, I also checked, and no terms of use. So I sent an email to determine if there's a problem in using the images. I'm sure there's not, otherwise they'd not have the thing out there for people to use. But its always good to check.
Bill, did you receive an answer regarding the usage of the map images? --Beth 12:26, 7 July 2008 (EDT)
Nope! But its a collegiate site, and the responsible party may not be around during the summer. I'll ask again in the fall.

Also, on a related matter. Note the modifications to the DIV on the Exchange page. I adjusted this so that it wouldn't overlap the advertising sidebar on the right. Q 10:45, 22 June 2008 (EDT)

Data Consistency in Werelate [2 July 2008]

I've been working on a functional specification document that describes data consistency testing we could perform in the framework of werelate. While I'm calling it a specification, it's pretty informal. If you are interested in this sort of thing, or have some experience with tools of this sort elsewhere, I would like to hear your thoughts and comments. I think it would give Dallan and others something to work from when they get around to adding features like this to werelate.--Jrm03063 14:32, 28 June 2008 (EDT)

Consistency checks are something that I'd like to implement in the future, so I encourage anyone who is interested to get involved. User:Jrm03063, could you perhaps create a "WeRelate:" page from the contents of this page? You have to be an administrator to edit someone else's user page, so making this a "WeRelate:" page would allow others to edit it. Thanks!--Dallan 16:30, 1 July 2008 (EDT)
Done, find it at WeRelate:Functional Specification for Data Consistency Verification --Jrm03063 20:07, 1 July 2008 (EDT)

Image Markup [1 July 2008]

I may have asked this question before, but if so, I don't remember seeing an answer. The article article Settlers of Thompsons Creek, Washington County, VA includes a markup of a map with annotations identifying various reference points in the area. The annotations do not show up on the version of the image in the article, but if you click the image, it takes you to the stored version, and there the annotations do show up. Why do they not show up on the image accompanying the article? or in the version displayed below? Q 19:40, 29 June 2008 (EDT)

Image:Thompson's Creek Settlers Markup.jpg

It's a known deficiency that's on my todo list. The technical reason is that the annotations aren't part of the image itself; they're actually stored in the text of the Image page. When you include the image on another page you're including just the picture. What needs to be done is I have to read the annotations from the text of the Image page and add them to the image when the image is included on another page.--Dallan

Trees as a notepad or checklist [3 July 2008]

A werelate "tree" is really nothing more than a list of pages. Usually they represent a tree of some kind, but this is not a requirement.

Lately, I've started using a tree as a general purpose list of families and people that I need to do further work on, because they represent duplication or are obviously in error. So, I just created a new tree called Errors and Duplicates. If I find an error or duplication that I don't want to resolve at that moment (say I'm in the middle of working on a different family), then I just add the page to my Errors and Duplicates tree.

I used to do this with a personal page, which had the advantage of allowing me to make notes on what the issues were, but this is a lot quicker.--Jrm03063 09:58, 2 July 2008 (EDT)

That's a great idea. Another thing you could consider (if you wanted to edit the pages) is to add them to a category. The long-delayed but upcoming search function will let you search based upon category.--Dallan 16:21, 3 July 2008 (EDT)

How is a Family Page named before the wife is added? [2 July 2008]

Hi, I am trying to help Carol fix her pages. Before I fix this page, just wondering how the page was named before the wife was entered? The page is Family:Dorcas Jones and Issac Standifer (1). Also there are 2 pages for Issac. One under Isaac Standifer and one under Issac Standifer. --Beth 10:53, 2 July 2008 (EDT)

Well, from the history of the page it looks like she has entered the wife's name in the title first and then the husband's, which of course is reversed. Then when WeRelate created the page, it would have had "Dorcas Jones (new)" as the husband's name and "Isaac Standifer (new)" as the wife. It looks like she has taken out "Dorcas Jones (new)" and replaced it with "Isaac Standifer (1)" and then tried an "Isaac Standifer (3)" as the wife, but later took it out and didn't replace it with anything. Thus it looks like a family was created without a wife. --Ronni 11:30, 2 July 2008 (EDT)

Family page and named spouse and unknown spouse [3 July 2008]

This is not addressed in the family pages tutorial, or if it is I missed it.

If the you know the name of the husband but not the wife how do you enter her name? Do you enter unknown unknown or just unknown for the surname or do you enter the married surname for the spouse? I have entered unknown unknown but I am cleaning up data for another user and this user has entered the spouse's surname, before I change it I need to make sure that it matters. --Beth 20:23, 2 July 2008 (EDT)

It doesn't matter all that much whether you Unknown or Unknown Unknown. If you leave the wife's name blank, the system will create a page with just the one "Unknown" for the wife, so a single "Unknown" will be consistent with other pages. What I'd rather not see however is people entering the surname of the husband for the wife's surname, because it will confuse the matching algorithm somewhat (not a big deal, but "Unknown" or even "Unknown Unknown" are better).--Dallan 16:21, 3 July 2008 (EDT)

Happy 4th and WeRelate once again in the top 101 [4 July 2008]

From Dallan:

I recently received the following link: http://www.familytreemagazine.com/podcast/episode2.asp

In it Family Tree Magazine talks about their new 101 Best Websites list. WeRelate.org made the list again this year. What's especially wonderful is that when their editor Allison Stacy was asked to pick *one* website to talk about in the podcast, she chose WeRelate. The success of WeRelate is due to you.

The part of about WeRelate is toward the very end of the podcast. I believe that Allison is also highlighting WeRelate in the upcoming magazine.

--Beth 12:39, 4 July 2008 (EDT)

Person page - adding spouse of Family [14 July 2008]

Spouse of Family? choose » remove

Add new family page Select existing family page

I believe that the layout above leads to confusion with new users. Some are adding the name of a new family page before the spouse is added. We need a redesign of this section.

--Beth 12:47, 4 July 2008 (EDT)

Hi beth. I don't know that it needs to be redesigned. Seems like it works they way a reasonable person would expect it to. What might help would be a different label. "Spouse of Family" and "Child of Family" might be a bit confusing, and lead people to putting in the wrong information. I remember the first time I looked at this entry system I had to pause a moment to figure out what was meant. ie, "Does this mean I should put in the children of this person" or does it mean "identify the parents for this person". Intuitive is always better, and this isn't what I'd call intuitive--reaonable, rational, but not intuitive. The fact that this is set up to describe a "Family" as a basic card type is I suspect novel, and could use a little more immediate description of what is intended. What's there now is probably the most precise and concise way of saying what's needed, but it's not the terminology people expect. Would "Identify parents" work better? I'm not sure, as I don't routinely use this aspect of we relate.

Ditto for spouse. Perhaps "Identify Spouse" would be less confusing? Q 13:22, 4 July 2008 (EDT)

Hello Bill, One day soon I hope to return to our project. Actually I think the line below adds to the confusion more than anything else; it says add new family page or select existing family page. If no family page exists; you should select add new family page. When you select that a screen pops up and you enter the spouse's given name and surname and click okay.

But I belive that some new users interpret the line - add new family page - to mean they are supposed to type in the name; they then end up with a family page with no spouse. That is why I say something needs to be changed to make this clearer. --Beth 14:09, 4 July 2008 (EDT)

Hi Beth. I believe what I was saying was that It works as described and intended, but the way things are labeled is not intuitive. A new user might get the wrong idea, which is what you were pointing to. My observation is simply that there's no redesign needed, just some more intuitive labeling. Q 19:17, 4 July 2008 (EDT)

Well Bill, we agree just a problem with semantics; so we need intuitive labeling. --Beth 19:33, 4 July 2008 (EDT)

This is causing all kinds of family page problems with one new user. Hopefully this is just isolated case; but if we have an influx of new people making the same kinds of mistakes the administrators are going to be hard pressed to fix all of the pages.

Not only does the user type in the name of the new family page; but sometimes it is done in reverse so we have Mary Smith and John Jones as the family page.

Also if you are creating a new family page; why would you need to select an existing family page? --Beth 08:44, 5 July 2008 (EDT)
Not being one who uses this approach, I'm probably not the best person to answer, but I'll take a shot at it anyway. I think the short answer is that there are a number of ways you might have arrived at this point. Depending on the past choices that have been made you might or might not have already created a family card for a husband and wife pair---but you haven't actually created the person cards for them as yet. So, when you create the person cards, you need an option to attach them to the already existing family card.
On the otherhand, you might be starting from scratch on this family, and have previously created the husband or wife, but not the family card. In this case you need an option to create a family card from scratch.
On of the fun things programmers get to do is account for every dad-gum possibility that someone might encounter when using the system. That means they have to think of everything, including ways of interacting with the program that are different from the way many users would approach it. Different is not bad, just different, and the programmers have to accomodate those differences. This is an example of that. Q 09:36, 5 July 2008 (EDT)
Okay Bill, first I am going to attempt to improve upon the tutorial by uploading images of screen shots and see if that helps. --Beth 10:19, 5 July 2008 (EDT)

Sorry for not responding sooner. How about renaming the labels to:

  • Parents & Siblings Family page:, with a "find/add" label to the right (replacing the "choose" link), and an "Add another parent family" link underneath
  • Spouse & Children Family page:, with a "find/add" link to the right (replacing the "choose" link), and an "Add another spouse family" link underneath

What do you think about the proposed renaming?

In the very near future I'm planning to get rid of those little dialog boxes that pop up when you add a new family entry. Instead, when you click on the "find/add" link, a new window will open where you'll enter the names of the husband and wife of the family along with their marriage date, and the system will do a search to see if a matching family page already exists and show you possible matches. If the family page already exists, you'll select the matching page and the system will fill in the family field with the title of the selected page. If the family page doesn't exist, you'll click on an "Add" button, the system will create a family page with the information you've entered, and fill in the family field with the title of the newly-created page.

I'm hoping this new approach will reduce the frequency of creating duplicate family pages and mis-titling family pages.--Dallan 17:45, 11 July 2008 (EDT)

Dallan, I would prefer to have under add spouse; add new person or add existing person. Although I realize that we cannot currently add an existing person without entering the person and their index number. --Beth 21:12, 11 July 2008 (EDT)
We could keep the "add new family" link.--Dallan 03:19, 15 July 2008 (EDT)

Source Citation Details [10 July 2008]

I have several questions regarding the format for entering data into the fields. I want to make sure that I follow the correct format in my screen shot for the tutorial.

Regarding the field Volume / page. Should I enter: Part I / 107-109. And how do you enter the data if you only have a page number and no volume number. May I just enter I: 107-109 or is the / important?

What about record name? My source is a book. The name of the article is Rev. Robert M. Cunningham, D. D. which is in the Chapter (not really numbered chapters; just book sections) named Recollections of North Alabama. How about this? Rev. Robert M. Cunningham, D. D. in "Recollections of North Alabama"

Year - I assume that is the year of publication of the book.

Text / transcription location - I probably will not enter anything in the text field; but if one enters text does one follow the text with this / if one has no transcription location.

My article gives source information. I suppose I will enter that in the notes field.--Beth 17:17, 10 July 2008 (EDT)

I personally don't worry too much about the format of the "Volume/Page" or the "Text/transcription location" fields as long as they're reasonably easy for others to interpret. Date is somewhat ambiguous in the GEDCOM standard. I think it's meant to be used for the date you looked up the information, which is useful for online sources. But it also makes sense to use as the date of the particular edition of the book you looked at. I think using the "Record name" field for the Article and chapter makes good sense.--Dallan 17:45, 11 July 2008 (EDT)

Spam? [15 July 2008]

On the 13 of April 2007 user:Lynn9932 added a Gedcom to this site. She also added a note on her user's page that would appear to be spam. Would one of the admin's check this please? Q 22:40, 14 July 2008 (EDT)

I agree. Seems to be a case of "link spam." Since this is the first time I've seen this type of spam on WeRelate, I want to get Dallan's opinion. Thanks Q! --Ronni 01:29, 15 July 2008 (EDT)

This isn't the typical "link spam" case that we used to see before people had to confirm their email address in order to edit pages: It's not on a high-visibility page and the user has other contributions. It may be that the user made a mistake and forgot to put in the full URL of their family website. I left them a message about it. In general though I think we should be more lenient about people adding links to their own user pages.--Dallan 03:19, 15 July 2008 (EDT)

Current status of various projects [29 July 2008]

Would it be possible or advantageous for there to be a list of projects or features that Dallan has planned and the current status? I know these things are discussed in various places at the watercooler, but I'm hoping for a standard place, easy to find, not buried in many discussions, where this info would be made available. For example, I'd like to know the current status on the match/merge function. And how far down on the to-do list is a feature that will allow line breaks in uploaded notes in GEDCOMs. If there already is such information available, I don't know where to look for it. --Janiejac 12:15, 15 July 2008 (EDT)

and is there a place that tells what has just been done?

I have been away about a week and now when I go to add someone it looks very different. I also cannot find whatever it was that I always used that was a directory of all the pages I have in various trees. I cannot recall the term for this but it doesn't seem to be in the pull down where it used to me. I am feeling very disoriented and if there is somewhere that details the changes I would like to find it?--MizLiv 15:58, 24 July 2008 (EDT)

The new look is from the new search engine that Dallan installed. Dallan is editing the tutorials. You still select My Relate>User Profile. That will show a list of all of your trees and you can view the list from there. Or you can select My Relate>Trees and select to view the tree there. You can also select My Relate_Launch FTE. Do these include the directory that you are looking for? --Beth 17:18, 24 July 2008 (EDT)

thank you!

the list I can't find is not the index within the tree - it was a link that I went two that let me see ALL family pages, individual pages, images etc. no matter what tree they were in. I can't figure out if I am blind or if it has been moved? I thought it was in the MyRelate pull down memory? I have used it a lot so I know I am not imagining it but I COULD be wrong about where it is and suddenly have gone blank!--MizLiv 19:12, 24 July 2008 (EDT)

Well, I am not sure that I ever found the list that you are missing. The dashboard has been moved to the top of the list under My Relate. Sorry that I cannot be of more help. --Beth 19:36, 24 July 2008 (EDT)

Would "Browse" be what you are looking for? Its under Admin in the pull downs. Or at


Q 20:06, 24 July 2008 (EDT)

Sorry for being late responding. In addition to the "Browse" screen, you can also go to the "Search" screen, check the "Watched" checkbox, and press "Search". This gives you a list of all pages in your tree, and unlike the "Browse" screen you can see vital information about the People and Families you are watching. You can even sort them by title or by date modified by checking the "Exact pages only" checkbox. Help:Search has more details. Since it does so much more than Browse does, I removed the Browse menu item from the MyRelate menu (but left it in the Admin menu), but then I didn't tell anyone that I did that :-(. I apologize for the confusion; hopefully you'll really like the new search interface or you can continue to use Browse in the Admin menu.

As for talking about changes that have been made, I'm starting a blog. There's not much there yet, and it looks ugly, but it will improve over time.

As for talking about changes that are going to be made, I'm not going to estimate dates any more, because I'm not a good estimator :-). But I have put a partial list of the things on my ToDo list on the blog (you'll see a link to the ToDo page in the upper right-hand corner).--Dallan 18:31, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

Google Books - Sources [24 July 2008]

Hello Everyone,

I am trying to figure out what to do about online books (sources) found on the Google Books website.

What is the policy of Werelate, and Google Books about Werelate users citing the book.

Many of these sources are virtually impossible to see in person.

Can they be added as Werelate sources? If so how do we the users list them?

By Title of Book, location Google books?

Thanks for the input on this subject

Debbie Freeman--DFree 12:48, 19 July 2008 (EDT)

On another subject could we add a spell checker to Werelate? I though we had one before.

Google Books is a repository. If a book (which is a source) can be found there, the link to the book should be listed in the repository listing (e.g. here).--Amelia 18:12, 19 July 2008 (EDT)
Debbie, the browser Firefox has a spell checker. You can download from here [8]. --Beth 19:07, 24 July 2008 (EDT)

Cluuz [29 July 2008]

Here's a link to very interesting beta search engine site.


The specific link above allows you to search the WeRelate site. As an example, type in "Daniel Boone" (include the quotes---otherwise you'll get hits for "Daniel" and for "Boone" as well as "Daniel Boone". You can also use Boolean operators. Not sure if the standard Google symbols (beyond quotes) work here.

When you do that you get a display of links to the site that contain "Daniel Boone". This is fairly neat if what you want to do is search specific to WeRelate, though its advantages will likely be overcome when the update to the WeRelate search engine are in place. Also, I've notice that with some settings links to other websites are also retrieved.

However, the really neat bit with this engine is the "grey" display of connectivity. Near the top of the page there will be a few links that will be in grey, with the form "Daniel Boone (208)" or something of that sort. Click on one of those links and you get a display map showing the links between articles in which "Daniel Boone" appears.

In theory, this would allow you to quickly see other connections to Daniel Boone located on WeRelate---Might be faster to scan the images than to look at the individual links to cull out what's of interest and what's not.

Q 08:57, 20 July 2008 (EDT)

Q, is this working? I tried this using Firefox and I did not get any results. I don't mean zero matches; there were no results displayed. By the way Dallan's new search engine is installed. --Beth 19:28, 24 July 2008 (EDT)

It works for me (maybe it was down earlier). The link graph is cool.--Dallan 18:31, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

As I recall from my PERL programming days, there's a canned routine for generating such displays. I've not seen it implemented previousy (assume this is probably a redo using PHP). The item seems neat, but you need a large data rich site to get any use out of it. WeRelate would qualify as "data rich". Some County web pages (e.g., Russell County GenWeb) are also extremely data rich, and this works effectively on that site. Sites like Ancestry are compartmentalized, and much of the data is only served up on demand, so it doesn't work well there. But on data rich sites, it could be very useful. Q 18:40, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

We could do something like this based upon the "what links here" links. Probably not anytime soon though. I'll have to mull it over.--Dallan 21:27, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

As elegant as this is, there are many other things I think would be needful, and I would, I think, deserve higher priority. In the meantime, the CLUUZ site itself seems sufficient unto the need. And as I said, I'm not entirely sure how useful this will prove. Q 22:38, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

Living Coker (12) replacing with actual person [29 July 2008]

When edited pages that were submitted by another user; if I have a death date for the living person what is the correct procedure? On the first one I just removed the living person and added the other.--Beth 21:19, 25 July 2008 (EDT)

Wouldn't it depend on why they had a) a "death date" and b) a notation that this card was for a living person? This, and variants is a frequently seen error on Ancestry family trees. Sometimes you;ll see folks with the notation "living" but DOB's in the 1500's etc. Obvious no longer amongst us, but still with the notation "living person". I suspect from that that this is due to a preference being set to ALWAYS assume the person is living, unless noted otherwise. Then they forget to note otherwise as they are adding hundreds and thousands of cards to their family tree via GEDCOM dumps. To me, this is simply a symptom of not thinking about what they are doing, but just harvesting names for their tree. I believe that for those showing this and other symptoms, the actual data about the person is of only secondary interest---its adding as many connection that you can find that's important. Q 08:00, 28 July 2008 (EDT)

You could enter the death date, then rename the page to include their given name if you wanted.--Dallan 18:31, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

Best way to ID accidental duplicate pages for later fix [27 July 2008]


My question is what do I do to ID an accidental duplicate family or person page that I created so it can be fixed later?

As well as help me know it is a duplicate page so I do not add information to that page but to the earlier numbered page. Example John Doe (1) and John Doe (3) person page. I want to make sure I add information to John Doe (1) person page. Debbie Freeman --DFree 16:26, 26 July 2008 (EDT)

Debbie just redirect (3) to (1). If the (3) remains in your tree list after the redirect just remove the page from your tree; do not delete the the page.

To redirect do the following: Redirect the duplicate page to the surviving page by typing # redirecttitle of surviving page on the first line in the text box of the duplicate page.--Beth 18:38, 26 July 2008 (EDT)

Hi Debbie... to clarify Beth's instructions, don't forget to add the brackets. Also, I don't think it works if there's a space between the "#" and "redirect". Here is what your command should look like: #redirect [[Person:Stella Orpha Sumpter (1)]]. --Ronni 21:17, 26 July 2008 (EDT)

I saw your comment and dug through your contributions. I found and fixed at least some of the duplicates you were trying to work through. You'll have to review it anyway. I noticed that you had two problems "#" and "redirect" need to be together. Also, as you already read, the destination of the redirection has to be enclosed in double square brackets.--Jrm03063 22:58, 26 July 2008 (EDT)

New Search Functionality [29 July 2008]

The changes made to the Search function are greatly appreciated. I haven't fully explored this yet, but this is a great improvement. A couple of things to consider:

1. If you search for a specific name, e.g., Daniel Boone, you generate a long list of hits. The counter says there are over ten thousand hits. Some of those hits are for "similar to Daniel Boone", and not exact matches. Obviously, you can't examine all of those hits. Fortunately the list is "semi" ordered, so that exact matches for "Daniel Boone" appear near the top---but not necessarily all of them, and not necessarily in order of their "index number". Here's a list from the second page of hits:

Person:Daniel Boone (23)
Person:Daniel Boone (25)
Person:Daniel Boone (26)
Person:Burwell Boone (1)
Person:Daniel Boone (27)
Person:Daniel Boone (28)
Person:John Boone (35)
Person:Daniel Boone (29)

Note that the sequence of "Daniel Boone"'s is interrupted by the insertion of "Burwell Boone (1)", and "John Boone (35)". I don't see an obvious reason for that to be a desirable thing if you are searching for "Daniel Boone". What it says is that the list of hits is only roughly ordered. Here the unneeded hits can be easily skipped over. But they are obviously out of order. That makes me wonder if you might get hits for "Daniel Boone" isolated very deep in the list---say at hit 949? You wouldn't be able to find such scattered hits as they would be buried so deeply---and so might miss something helpful

2. The above sequence of hits skips over "Daniel Boone (24)". There is actually a card (sort of) for "Daniel Boone (24)", though the corresponding tree has been deleted, and "Daniel Boone (24)" is just a placeholder for something that once existed but for which there's no information retained---just the fact that sometime someone created a space for "Daniel Boone (24)", and then went away. Is this little bit of real estate (so to speak) up for grabs? Should this "ghost" persist, and could/should others with an interest in Daniel Boone choose to utilize this real estate? Should such "ghosts" be completely purged from the system, and the space set aside for them be reused?

Q 10:38, 28 July 2008 (EDT)

Hi Q, I have reused some of these "ghosts"; when helping others rename their pages. --Beth 11:59, 28 July 2008 (EDT)
Yes, I think you and I have discussed this before. I think you're re-use of the real estate is the best choice, but there might be reasons for keeping them that we don't know about. Just putting the question, so to speak to Dallan. Q 12:04, 28 July 2008 (EDT)

Clicking on "Exact Matches" I get 18 hits for Daniel Boone. If I don't find what I want in there, I would then expand the search. Burwell Boone shows up when doing an "exact match" because his alt name is "Daniel." John Boone shows up because Daniel is his middle name. I find both of them showing up in the hits as a desirable thing, unless you are speaking specifically of where in the order of things they appear. Even so, I *could* have been searching for Burwell, but only know him by the name of Daniel. --Ronni 12:58, 28 July 2008 (EDT)

Hi Ronni, I could be wrong, but I'd think you'd want the priority to be given to persons whose card reads as stated, then persons who have as an AKA the same name. Names not actually being searched, but which for various reasons give you a match, should, I think, appear a lower depth in the search. Yes, the instance you cite would make things harder, but the instance you cite would be much less common than someone simply looking for Daniel Boone. The priority should, I think, go to what serves the greatest number.
Also, the problem you point out would be largely eliminated by using any of the additional fields (e.g., parents, spouse, DOB, DOD, whatever) provided to narrow a search.
With a common name you could expect to get a hundred hits or more. In the future, as the database builds, this will become much more problematical. Right now you get about 120 hits for a common name like "John Walker". Some day I expect you'll get literally thousands of hits for that name. At that point, there's a substantial penalty to be paid for retrieving names that don't match a search exactly. From my perspective, what's needed is a system that
a) gives a well ordered list for what's being searched. If the search is for "John Walker" than hits for John Walker should appear beforehits for John Alexander Walker; John Walker before Alexander Walker,,etc, and hits should be in proper "human" numerical sequence (index numbers ordered 1,2,3,....19, 21, 22, 23....n), not (1,11,12...19,2, 20,21....), etc.
b) That there's a way to skip forward in a series of hits, so that you could guage where a specific hit of interest to you might lie in the sequence---ie, if they are in exact numerical order, you could skip forward ten pages to get to John Walker (109). Right now the sequence is ordered with machine logic---ie John Walker (2) would appear immediately after John Walker (19)--because "2" is greater than "1", which is the way the machine looks at it as things are currently set up---rather than having 20 appear after 19, which is the way we look at it.
Having an irregular display algorhythm makes it hard to figure out where in the sequence you need to get....which could be fatal if you can only look at 10 cards at a time,...and there are thousands of hits to look at.
Another component of a fix here (if a fix is needed) is to display more hits to the page. I like the fact that there's a good selection of vita data to review when you examine the hits. But the fact that they are strung out on separate lines means you can only get a few hits per page---and keep the page down to a relatively small size. There are two solutions for that which I see---a) allow more hits per page (100 would not be too many, but might get consuptive of bandwidth or something.) b) compress each hit to a single line---which probably means smaller type face. Might also consider using the whole page width by eliminating the left hand side bar.

Might not be able to display as many of the vita elements as currently the case. (By the way, I also like displaying the list of user's for each hit, but if you get very many people watching the same page that might become a problem. Possibly displaying just the initial creator would be good. Q 13:51, 28 July 2008 (EDT)

Another issue/suggestion/irritation with the functionality rolled out with search: It appears something happened to the place name dropdowns on the person pages? I noticed that the matching seems to have gotten better, but... I used to be able to type, say, "Plymouth, P" and get just the places that have the word Plymouth, and another word starting with P (like Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts). And the list would be in alpha order. Now, if I type "Plymouth", I get too many results to display, they are not in any order I can decipher, and the town of Plymouth, Mass is not one of them. Typing more letters does no good unless I type the entire word Massachusetts, with the comma. Both issues are mostly on the level of irritating (I enter Plymouth as a place a lot!), but to the degree we want to encourage people to use the official place names, having a useful list pop up while the person is typing the second word instead of afterward would help. And, (I forgot to add), the way I discovered that I had to type "Plymouth, Massachusetts," instead of "Plymouth, Plymouth," is that nothing pops up if I type that - which is just plain wrong.--Amelia 02:51, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

Interesting example, though if I entere "Plymouth" I do get a list that includes "Plymouth, Massachusetts" with a notation of a redirect to "Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachuetts". Still, a display in true alphabetical order, (and numerical order) would be very helpful. Also, in this particular example I see some "hits" that just seem out of place---no obvious reason why "Piney, Franklin Arkansas" should appear in this list of hits, particularly sandwiched between Plymouth's". More hits to the page would be an advantage. Perhaps achievable by simply eliminating the "type" which takes up a separate line, and or using smaller type face.
Did spot a rather bizarre entry that a user has entered for "Place:Plymouth Colony, Kingdom of England"; I guess that makes sense, but there does not seem to be any consistent usage to describe other colonies in the US. For example, "Jamestown Colony" comes up with two hits for a place in Coffee, Alabama, but none for "THE" Jamestown Colony in Virginia. "Plimouth" or "Plimouth Colony" gives a single hit for "Plymouth, Plymouth...", but its not displayed as a redirect---rather the system change the entry to a key word, and picks it up that way. Which is sort of curious. Q 08:08, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

Reusing index numbers [29 July 2008]

Currently you could run into the following problem if you re-use index numbers (although it will hardly ever happen in practice): Suppose several months ago User A created a Family page "Squire Boone and Sarah Morgan (1)", and listed Daniel Boone as a child. An ID would have been reserved for Daniel, say 24, and a red link to "Daniel Boone (24)" would be displayed on the family page. Now suppose that User A doesn't create the Person page "Daniel Boone (24)" right away, and User B comes along, sees that ID 24 is unused, and re-uses it. When User B creates the page, "Squire Boone and Sarah Morgan (1)" will be listed as parents. Suppose User B is creating the page for an entirely different Daniel Boone, so they wonder how this link got put there and remove it. This causes "Daniel Boone (24)" to be removed as a child link from "Squire Boone and Sarah Morgan (1)", which confuses User A.

As of last week this shouldn't happen anymore, because Person and Family pages get created immediately after the ID is reserved -- there are no more red links to newly-added people/families on Person and Family pages. But there are lots of old red links on existing Person and Family pages. The plan is to eventually create pages for red links on existing Person and Family pages. After that time we could start re-using unused ID numbers. This doesn't seem like a high priority to me though. I notice that most of the 18 Daniel Boone's that show up in the search results really need to be merged into two or three distinct people. Supporting match and merge seems more important right now.--Dallan 21:17, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

Ordering search results [1 August 2008]

There are three possible orderings of search results: by relevancy (best match), by title, or by date modified. Relevancy is the default, and people with a first name of Daniel and a last name of Boone show up before people with a similar name (e.g., before Person:Daniel Boen (1) who shows up as search result #19 in my list), and people with one similar and one exact name should show up before people with only one exact name, who should should show up before people with only one similar name. I could order people whose primary first given names match exactly before people whose alternate or middle names match exactly, but it would require a fair amount of additional processing, and I'm not sure it occurs often enough to be worth it.

Try a search for "Ann Walker". Almost all of the initial hits are for someone where the page title does NOT include ANN, but where her middle name is Ann. So if you are looking for "Ann Walker" you have to sort through a lot of folks that don't match. Seems like the priority should be to exact matches first, then secondary possibilities. I realize this might be tough to work around programming wise.
But why are their page titles that do not include the middle name? yet the card notes a middle name somewhere in the system. Seems like if there's a middle name it should be in the title. Q 22:56, 29 July 2008 (EDT)
Because discussion a while ago yielded the rule on page naming that you don't include middle names. It helps with consistency because middle name are harder to determine and less frequently used/known.--Amelia 23:08, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

It's not possible to mix title sorting with relevancy sorting. The search engine allows only one sort at a time unfortunately. I'm not sure why sorting by ID within relevancy would be important though. The ID numbers don't mean anything except that one page was created before another one, and if we re-use ID numbers it won't even mean that.

Probably true to some extent, but if you are looking through search results systematically, non obvious display pattern makes it a bit difficult to keep track of what you looked at. One can adapt to an usuall display sequence, but usually its better not to make people learn new rules for what currently comes naturally. Q 22:17, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

If you know the ID number of the page you want to go to, you can enter the page title (e.g., "Person:John Walker (200)") in the search box at the top of any page. I find that I use this feature quite a bit.

Sorting the IDs as numbers so that 21 is displayed after 3 is possible; I'll add it to my ToDo list. The reason I sorted it the other way is that's how People and Family pages are listed in the auto-complete drop-downs, and it's not possible to change that order. If others would like to see the sorting changed (or see it not changed), please let me know. By the way, it looks like there's currently a problem with sorting by title that I need to look into.--Dallan 21:17, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

I fixed the bug with sorting by title today, and at the same time I went ahead and changed it to sort ID numbers numerically instead of alphabetically. (It turns out it's also possible to change the sort order in the auto-complete drop-downs, but that's low-priority.)

I also modified search so that matching given and surnames in the title sort higher in the relevancy ranking than names not in the title. This solves the "Ann Walker" problem -- people with a first given name of Ann now sort higher than those with a middle or alternate name of Ann.--Dallan 01:32, 1 August 2008 (EDT)

Very good! That helps considerably. Having things display with this set of priorities will make the most sense to most users. Hence should make the searching system more helpful. Thanks Q 10:58, 1 August 2008 (EDT)

Displaying search results [29 July 2008]

It's certainly possible to list more than 10 results per page, but 10 per page seems like a standard. Google and Ancestry both do this. I'd be worried about decreasing the font size, because usability experts say that websites designed for older people (many of our users are older) need to generally have a larger font size.

If lots of users are watching a page, we show at most 80 characters (or around that number) in the search results so the user list doesn't get too large.--Dallan 21:17, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

Place auto-complete [1 August 2008]

I'll work on the place auto-complete. I'm not sure why "Plymouth, Plymouth," doesn't work but I'll look into it. I'll also sort place auto-complete results alphabetically, show the type (but not the title) in smaller font so we get more results per screen, and filter the results by partially-entered higher-level place names so you can enter just "Mass" instead of "Massachuetts," (although it's even easier to enter "Plymouth, MA,").

The reason that Piney shows up when you do an auto-complete on Plymouth is it has an alternate name of Plymouth. The reason that Plimouth gives Place:Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States is this place has an alternate name of Plimouth (and it's the only place with a name or alternate name of Plimouth). I think we had a user create some early American colony places, but just a few, which is probably why you don't see Jamestown.

Most of the place redirects will be deleted so that they stop cluttering up the drop-down list later this year.--Dallan 21:17, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

Place auto-complete should be working much better now. Please let me know if you see any problems.--Dallan 01:32, 1 August 2008 (EDT)

Contribution Count [1 August 2008]

How do I get my contribution count since I started?--Jrm03063 14:51, 1 August 2008 (EDT)

You've edited a whopping 112,303 pages since you started! Wow! You have the distinction of having made more edits than any other person on WeRelate. I'll add to my ToDo list displaying the total number of contributions on your MyRelate Dashboard page in addition to the number of edits over the past 90 days.--Dallan 16:32, 1 August 2008 (EDT)

Sorting Sources [7 August 2008]

A request for your already too long list. I am a software engineer and when things aren't ordered it bothers me more than it should. Sources end up managed in whatever order they were entered. It just seems more natural to have them in chronological order. Since there is a date entry associated with all sources, you could add a tool that will reorder sources by date. The source remove tool cleans up the data nicely, and a reordering tool would need to do the same. You could do it manually, but is is very painful and prone to error. I try not to obsess when seeing things in the "wrong" order ;-) , but this would be nice for us obsessive types .....--Srblac 15:22, 2 August 2008 (EDT)

Of course, one person's "wrong order" is someone else's "right order". What comes up now is close to being what I'd call right, though I'd still like to see thing in sequence by Index number within major sort categories---that's roughly (not necessarily) ordered by date of creation. Dallan's right, however: its only a "tidyness" thing to have them ordered by Index---in its self it serves few purposes, other than "it makes sense looking at it", as opposed to being "inscrutable". I can, however, see an advantage, with other ordered arrangements. As with DOB or with DOD, or perhaps death range. That way you could quickly scan the list to see where you needed to be looking for potential matches: up front, down in the middle, or way down at the bottom. Then you have the problem of getting to that part of the list, but that's something else again. Q 17:01, 2 August 2008 (EDT)

I think I may not have given enough information. Your response appears to be with respect to the way the new search tool responses are ordered (understandable given your recent focus on it and a very nice improvement IMHO). I was talking with respect to source entries on a person page. I would guess you'll never get an agreement on how the search tool responses should be ordered, they work OK for me as is. What I would like to have is the option to run a tool that would reorder the sources on a person page in chronological order based on the dates entered in the source data. Undated entries can flow to the bottom in the order they are already in (i.e. the order they were created). I have a series of census sources (and other records) on many pages that are all out of order (e.g Person:Sophia Polkow (2) is particularly disordered). It bugs me. Ordering them by hand is too dangerous and tedious. Here, Person:Henry Becker (5) is what I am shooting for. All the sources in order by year and the undated entry at the end. --Srblac 17:17, 2 August 2008 (EDT)

Ah, sorry to misunderstand. Yes, I see how that would be "untidy", and cumbersome to do something about. "Painful" as you say, would probably be about the right description. Since that aspect of WeRelate's system is not something I work with, I've no oar in the water on the problem---other than to sympathiz. It looks like what you are doing is about optimum for the WeRelate system. (And, as an aside, folks who actually take the time, as you have done, to write text articles are in the decided minority here.) While I take a different approach to citations, one thing I like about the WeRelate system is how it encourages folks to cite the specific basis for different data elements. Ie., "The DOB is from source S13, and the DOD is based on S2". Q 18:38, 2 August 2008 (EDT)
Sorting source citations seems like a good idea. I'll add it to the ToDo list. It will probably be a couple of months before I get to it though. (You don't know javascript and would want to implement this do you?)--Dallan 15:15, 5 August 2008 (EDT)

Maybe we'll come up with some conventions on how we want the sources to be ordered. On the other hand, we might not. All I would suggest for now is a set of up/down arrows that allows you to move a record up or down a position.--Jrm03063 16:34, 5 August 2008 (EDT)

The up/down arrows are a good idea; I was thinking we could also add a "sort" button in the source citations section of the edit screen that would allow someone to sort the citations chronologically. But it would be something that someone would have to click on; sorting chronologically wouldn't be automatic.--Dallan 18:04, 5 August 2008 (EDT)

Is the request to order sources based on dates entered in the source (e.g. covered by the source), the date the source was produced, or based on the information to which they are attached? Because it strikes me that most people are going to want or expect the last one, but if we can really order by date, there are much more useful things to do (sorting search results and events in the left hand bar, for example). And with the exception of census records, the first two sorts are rarely going to correlate with the information entered and are thus largely useless and going to confuse people - sorting by the dates books are published or the dates they cover doesn't serve any purpose. I would much prefer that any effort go to the up/down arrows - since that would also let us move "down" less reliable sources.--Amelia 18:27, 5 August 2008 (EDT)

I am thinking that the button would sort sources according to the dates of the events that the sources were attached to. What do you mean by sorting search results in the left hand bar? (I'll add your vote for the up/down arrows.)--Dallan 00:28, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

Re: left hand bar, I mean sorting events on the person (or family) page so show they show up as, for example, birth, census, will, death, instead of birth, death, then alt events in the order entered.--Amelia 13:03, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

Some sources are specific to an exact date. e.g., a birth certificate. But even there, its not uncommon to have multiple dates contained in the source---in the case of a birth certificate you might, for example, have the mother's DOB. It's relative rare to have a "source" include information only for a specifc date. Usually they cover a range of time, often a very large range of time in the case of histories and genealogies. If you were using the "date" to which the source was pointing, rather than the date of issuance of the source, how would you select date to be used for sorting? Q 07:44, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

Looking at the 2 pages mentioned by Srblac, there are 16 source citations all listed as mysources. In actuality only 4 appear to be mysources, the death, marriage and birth certificates. The rest, census records, books and the like are properly sources, not mysources. Sorting by date seems to me to mean the date of the event for which the source is cited. However, unless a different Vol/page # and/or actual text is quoted, the source only needs one citation per page. I have seen family pages for example where the exact same source reference is cited 10 times and attached to 10 different individuals birth dates. These should be combined into one citation and referenced for each event.--Scot 11:41, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

Sources would be sorted according to the dates of the events to which they were attached. And I agree that up/down arrows on sources and sorting events automatically in the left-hand bar are higher priority.--Dallan 19:16, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

Source Clean Up Project [4 August 2008]

We are looking for volunteers to help clean up the thousands of sources page in anticipation of a "Research Assistant" - a goal set for 2009. You can read more about this project here. Any questions or problems can be discussed on its appropriate talk page. It's a daunting task and any volunteer time you can offer, even if it's only a few minutes a day, will help! Thanks! --Ronni 15:58, 4 August 2008 (EDT)

Embedding Google maps? [14 August 2008]

Google Maps has a nice feature called "My Maps" that allows you to construct your own custom Google maps with pushpins (or other icons) wherever you'd like to put them. I'm playing around with it, as I've found it useful to plot the location of homes where various related families lived, churches they attended, etc. You can put descriptions that pop-up when you click on a given pushpin, and make them include links back to the relevant werelate person/family pages. Google allows you to embed their maps in other websites, but the way to do it is using a snippet of HTML they provide that has an "iframe" in it. (If you're curious, you can see an example of one such map here.) Obviously, I could simply put a link to the map from a Person or Family page, but it would be much cooler to actually embed the map. Is that possible? Alternatively, is there a way that I can extend the WeRelate Pedimaps to show additional geolocatable things - residences, churches, etc? --TomChatt 04:10, 14 August 2008 (EDT)

This has been the subject of past discussions. What you are speaking of would be a welcome addition. I believe someone (not Dallan) said that this was in the works. Personally, I'd just as soon copy an image, and insert on WeRelate as needed, but there are some licenseing restrictions about doing that. There are definite restrictions on using the aerial photoimages, but the restrictions on the pseudo 3D topo maps seems much less restrictive. Dallan was mulling the distinctions over awhile back, but I haven't heard what he concluded.

All of the Google map products (aerial, topos, Street maps, Street Views) have their uses. Since Topozone sold out to US Trails, having a source for USGS maps got a bit harder. (Theere were licensing restrictions at Topozone, such that their use on WeRelate was questionable, but at least you could get versions for person use. The implementation as US Trails pretty much requires a subscription to view the maps effectively, and all you can get there now is the 3D version, and a very small window at that. Personally, for our purposes the original USGS maps are better, because they provide more detail than the psuedo 3D versions of either USTrails or Google maps. There are still a couple of sources for the USGS topo's, but they are clumsier to use than old Topozone.

But I ramble.

Q 09:00, 14 August 2008 (EDT)

I don't know if it's quite what you're looking for, but you can add a reference to the google map template in the description field of an event/life-fact. Dallan was planning to special-case the handling of such items in the pedia-map by using that set of map coordinates in preference to the implied coordinates of the place associated with the event. A for example of the use of this stuff would be on my Grandfather's page - Person:James Mason (13) - where I am able to indicate details like where the family farm is.

While the map template may or may not give you what you are looking for presentation wise, it does let you preserve important details.--Jrm03063 09:22, 14 August 2008 (EDT)

Adding more mapping capability is something I really want to do soon. I need to spend a bit of time adding some match-merge functionality first, but I hope to have some additional mapping capability, including the embedded google maps, within two months.

The googlemap template should be working for the pedi-maps now.--Dallan 22:32, 14 August 2008 (EDT)

Network page of others? [22 August 2008]

Is there a way that I can look at the "network page" for another user? I assume there's some weird parameter string I can add to the end of the URL, but I can't guess what it might be...--Jrm03063 07:52, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

There really should be, but there's not. That's an oversight. I'll add one next week and update this page when I do.--Dallan 14:35, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

If you are going to fiddle with that function, perhaps you could set it to exclude "watercooler" and "User" pages from the mutal network? Most folks are going to edit something sometime on the watercooler, and it doesn't really tell others much to learn that someone else is watching the watercooler. Ditto, but less emphatically for user pages. Where the value of this function comes is from identifying folks interested in specific people articles. Q 18:12, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

That makes sense; I'll do that as well.--Dallan 10:44, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

HTML and Spreadsheets [21 August 2008]

Don't know exactly where to put this, but there's a nice technique for working with Excell Spreadsheets, and converting them into HTML tables on the web


While I've just found the above article, I've made use of this technique for years. Thought I'd pass it along in case someone else might find it handy. --Q 13:32, 21 August 2008 (EDT)

transcripts [25 August 2008]

Does anyone have pointers as the the "best" way to enter transcriptions? I have a partition document (dividing real estate among heirs) that I'd like to add to the person page but I'd like to be consistent with others?

Thanks--Jsadler 23:03, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

Sure - scan it, upload the jpeg's, and transcribe the text into the associated text area for the various jpegs. If there are several pages, associate them together in an article. I copied a transcribed interview I did of a grandparent while I was in HS back in the 70s. You can see that at Mason, James R. Interview of James C Mason.--Jrm03063 00:16, 23 August 2008 (EDT)

You can capture the document as suggested above, either as a transcription or as an image, or as both. The more interesting question is where you put it.

  • One way would be to attach it directly to a specific specific person article, but that would make it difficult to use it in any other context.
  • Another way would be to create a "source document" (either source or mysource); then the item could be cited/linked to from anywhere. The problem with that is that "sources" are supposed to be more along the lines of bibliographic citations, rather than actual documents.
  • You could create an "article" containing the material you're interested in, plus a "source" article describing it.
  • If you expect to want to place the transcription in multiple locations, then you might want to consider making it into a template. That way you could insert a template link (e.g., {{template:name of document}}, and that could be inserted where needed, and the transcription would display on the page where ever you put the template link.
  • An alternative (possibly the best) approach would be to place it (either the images, or the transcription, or even both) into the digital library. That's in Beta development so not generally available for use, but ultimately, that's going to be the place where things such as you mention are stored. An advantage/disadvantage of placeing things in the digital library is that they can't be modified---on the positive side, that means it will appear exactly the way you want it to appear, and you don't have to worry about anyone deciding it should read some way other than you think it should. On the negative side, that means its hard to get a correction in place once you've saved the file.

A number of folks have played with the digital library, but not many have made extensive use of it--I'm sure Dallan would be happy to have anyone work with it who wanted to. The most extensive use of this feature has been by the "Low Country Africana Project", with regular contributions since march, and about 500 items added to date. Not all of the bells and whistles on this feature are in place, and I guess it probably won't become generally available for awhile. Q 08:42, 23 August 2008 (EDT)

Here's another idea - see the will on this page - Person:Helen Lewis (6).--Jrm03063 09:17, 23 August 2008 (EDT)

Some of my attempts at transcripts can be seen MySource:Srblac/Wilson Research Report, Recipient: Scott Black, MySource:Srblac/Antony Broad Research Report and MySource:Srblac/Charles Cunningham Black Family History: Transcribed by Cheryl Ahner.

This is a completely different issues, but ... As you can see I have gone in the completely opposite direction with my MySource data. ("sources are supposed to be more along the lines of bibliographic citations, rather than actual documents.") I have been making all of MySources actual source documents themselves. I suppose that merits a separate discussion, but I want folks to be able to see actual source data rather than just a reference to it. Turning everything into an article and linking to it makes life harder for both the researcher and for the reader.--Srblac 15:42, 24 August 2008 (EDT)

I believe there was quite a bit of discussion on this at some point---probably contained in the archives. There seemed to be a variety of different approaches to using the "Sources". Some thought it was best used as a bibliographic citation, and others wanted it to be the actual information. Some of us (moi) confused things doing both. My recollection is that the conclusion was reached that they should be used as a bibliographic citation, because when the Digital Library came on-line, that would be the place to put actual documents. Those documents could then be linked to wherever they needed to be cited. Digital Library is still in Beta development (though it works fairly well). I think Dallan moved it up in the priority list to get it to the point where some groups could use it to enter their documents, but once it got to the point where it would work effectively, other priorities took over (my personal interpretation), and final fixes were postponed while he worked other pressing issues (like the very much improved sort function---which by itself is well worth the delay in finalizing the Digital Library.) In anycase, I don't know if it really makes much difference how an individual might choose to use the "Source" namespace. There might be a conflict at some point if your use conflicts with later changes that conform with the intended use. My personal choice has been to use the Source as a bibliogrpahic citation, and place the actual documents involved into the Digital Library. Q 17:55, 24 August 2008 (EDT)

I think you could appropriately put the transcription in a MySource, or in an article with a link from a Source page. The digital library is ultimately the best place to put it. The digital library works pretty well right now, but as Q says, future development (including better integration with the wiki) is on back-burner until matching + merging person and family pages in the wiki is working. If you want to play around with the digital library, let me know and I'll set up an account for you.--Dallan 23:31, 25 August 2008 (EDT)

Uploading gedcom to existing tree [5 September 2008]

I would like to upload a gedcom to an existing tree, but I wish the existing pages in the existing tree to remain in the tree. The new gedcom does not duplicate any pages already in the tree. Is this possible or is it necessary to upload the gedcom to a new tree and then copy the pages to the now existing tree?--Beth 10:11, 24 August 2008 (EDT)

I don't think it's necessary, but there are reasons to prefer an isolated upload. After a GEDCOM upload, I want to go back through all the pages and tidy up place names, remove duplicated sources (or useless sources like "one world tree", etc.). When I'm done with that initial tidying operation on the page, I drop it's membership in the tree I uploaded into and add it to my default tree.

But that said, I'm sure you can upload to an existing tree. Even when you have duplicated person and family pages, you just get a page with an incremented sequence number - you know "Family:John Doe and Mary Smith (2)", etc.--Jrm03063 10:35, 24 August 2008 (EDT)

Okay and thanks. If the gedcom just creates duplicated person and family pages; I should have uploaded my first gedcom into the existing tree. I have not used this gedcom feature before; so I was not clear on how it worked. But anyway this will work; all of the pages to be tidied up will be in one tree and the duplicates in the other. I will tidy up and merge the duplicates and eventually end up with everyone in one tree.--Beth 11:19, 24 August 2008 (EDT)

I have a similar problem. It is too time consuming for me to enter my information into WeRelate directly. Entering into my genealogy software goes 10 times faster, so I upload small gedcoms after I process a family unit.

  • I had uploaded a gedcom ( Clark family) and then got a break on a lot of information for one of the children in that gedcom Lydia Clark which included several generations for her into the present day.
  • I have deleted Gedcom's in the past and uploaded "new improved versions" of that same family, but this leaves behind all the "Lydia Clark (1)" and then creates "Lydia Clark (2)" for no reason. So rather than delete ( Clark family) I simply created a gedcom beginning with that one descendant, Lydia Clark, which included all the new data I have researched and uploaded it as an additional tree (I read somewhere we are NOT supposed to upload more than one Gedcom into any given tree). Then I merged the Lydia Clark in the Clark Tree with the Lydia Clark from the additional tree.
  • My problem now is that there does not seem to be an option to add persons from the Lydia Clark tree to the Clark tree without manually editing each person and putting a checkmark in the box next to the Clark tree at the bottom of each page. When I go into FTE all I get is grey for any of the members I have not yet edited in this way, saying they are not in the Clark Tree, but I want them there.
  • Did I do this all wrong? or what is the procedure? Yes I know that "one day" the upload a new gedcom will work better when the match merge thingy is working... but in the meantime I want to get my updates on WeRelate now, as I am hoping to get collaboration on this family group.
  • It seems to me that there "should" be an option under file in FTE to add persons from one tree to an existing tree. --Msscarlet1957 08:49, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
There are several things in here, so let me see if I can respond to it in parts.
  • I can understand being more familiar with one interface than another, and therefore being faster with something else. Allowing for differences in familiarity, what is less convenient about werelate?
Hello JRM I use [TMG (The Master Genealogist)] and with it we have the ability to repeat a citation last used simply by hitting F3. with WeRelate I have to jump though all the hoops, choosing type of source / finding the source (IF I remember how to type in the name of it and get it easily OR then having to go through the laborious task of finding it, YUK) and again entering page.. notations etc.. A good example is when entering a lot of data found on several persons from within a particular census page. In TMG, I can hit "F4" with opens typs of tags, and it self-completes as I type, and choose that which I need. I tab to date and enter, then from within that tag I can again hit "F4" which opens the "add a source" page and hit "F3" which automatically cites the WHOLE last source used with all its page numbers/notations/ etc. as an added bonus all I have to do is hit "ctrl" F3 to get a list of the last 15 used, arrow down to the one I want and hit enter, and viola. SO much easier to cite sources!!!
I find I am more and more just putting in the "personal history" section on the page that "the information on this page came from census records, contact me for further source info" and leaving it at that. (This is just one example of ease with use of software vs. WeRelate) --Msscarlet1957 14:38, 5 September 2008 (EDT)
  • In order to allow for everyone to work together without anyone accidentally destroying someone else's work, a true wiki never deletes anything. It just creates a new version. "werelate" departs from this a little, to allow delete of information that only you contributed to, but the name-space footprint of the stuff you had can not go away. Once a name comes into existence, the sequence number for that name is created and is ever increasing. I don't know if a "new page", could be created in a location freed up as a side-effect of a delete, but I suspect that's below the level of the code Dallan wants to work on (it's certainly not something wiki software wants to do).
  • You can't do anything "wrong", unless you're intentionally screwing up data. You can do things that are less convenient and more time consuming for you and others to work on, but that's not a crime to my knowledge. Keeping information synchronized across different application systems, whether a traditional business or an application like genealogy, has kept a lot of software engineers well paid for a long time. It is a highly challenging proposition, and I would discourage anyone from adopting that sort of work flow pattern if possible. Dallan is determined to try to implement something like this, and my hat's off to him for the effort, but GEDCOM really isn't set up to record the kind of information that would allow a smooth re-integration of former download. I suspect he'll solve the problem in the 90% case, but that 10% may make a user crazy...
  • A "tree" in werelate is different than a "tree" in other genealogy systems. Typically, a tree "contains" both the names of the people in it but also all their information. "Deleting" a tree therefore deletes both things. In "werelate", a tree is just a list of page names that are represented out in the common name spaces, like PERSON and FAMILY pages. In wiki-terms, delete of a tree should do nothing to the pages the tree points at. However, in order to make werelate a little more like the systems folks are familiar with, User:Dallan coded a side effect into the tree delete, such that PERSON and FAMILY pages - to which only you have contributed - are also deleted.
  • To my knowledge, you can load another GEDCOM into an existing tree, but you'll still get duplicate pages - they'll just be in one tree instead of two. When I load a secondary GEDCOM, I load it in it's own tree, and then use the upload tree as a guide for my work. I visit every page in that new tree, tidy up places and such, then drop it from the upload tree and add it to my default tree. When the upload tree is empty, I'm done so I delete it.
  • If there are pages that you really aren't interested in editing associated with a GEDCOM upload, it probably would be better if you just didn't upload them. It's sort of like dropping pages on the floor and expecting someone else to tidy them up, file them, redirect them to a better version of the page, etc. The general rule I would hope people would observe is to not upload what they don't want to maintain (or at least, tidy up and merge) after the upload. User:Jrm03063
JRM I do not think I ever said I do not want to edit pages, I am saying my pages are already edited within my own software BEFORE I upload them, thus I do not need to edit them, beyond doing merges where there are overlaps. I feel you think Gedcom uploads are junk, I am here to tell you that I do not feel that way. My goal with using WeRelate is for collaboration and that is all. If I can get cousins to see my pages and submit extra information and updates that will be wonderful, as I have already added all I knew and or could find, before I uploaded it. Now if someone does separately email me information, without at all posting it to my WeRelate pages, then I do go in and edit the pages. --Msscarlet1957 14:38, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

Can't personally speak to your question, but it sparks a question of my own. What is it about the data entry system on WeRelate that makes it so much slower than your genealogy software? Is this a layout issue? Is it an issue with the basic "Person page-Family page" style of organization? What could be done to make the direct data entry process faster? Personally, I don't make that much use of the data entry system myself, but use my own HTML programming to layout the information. Plus's and minus's with that approach, but "speed" certainly isn't one of its plus's. I personally find the WeRelate data entry system a bit cumbersome to use, but I'm not exactly sure what it is that makes it cumbersome. I think it has something to do with the "Person page-Family page" style of organization. I think this is unique to WeRelate, but its been so long since I explore genealogy programs, maybe its commonplace today. Not saying that it should be different---the WeRelate system is obviously geared toward GedCom downloading, and direct data entry is available for those that need it. But I'm wondering if there's a way to improve direct data entry? Q 10:58, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

Q to my knowledge there is no genealogy software that causes you to create both family pages and person pages, this is yet another reason I shy away from using WeRelate to directly enter information, it just takes too long to do all that, which is automatically done if I just do it from within my [own software TMG] --Msscarlet1957 14:38, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

I'm making a change in the next month or two that should help: the FTE window will be displayed on every person and family page (you won't run the FTE in a sidebar), and will show the people related to that person/family regardless of whether they're in your tree. So you'll be able to give your relatives a link to a person/family in your tree and they'll be able to navigate around by clicking on the boxes in the FTE window that is displayed on the page. They won't have to launch the FTE.

There's no way to add everyone from one tree to another (and I probably won't be adding one because with this change I'm trying to make it less necessary to worry about what tree(s) a page is in), but if you leave me a message with the names of the trees you want to merge, I can add them for you.--Dallan 13:27, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

Ettiquette and Conventions [5 September 2008]

It is likely I missed something, but I have watched the get-started video a couple of times, and what it presents is nearly intuitive where I find there are many non-intuitive issues that I wouldn't mind guidelines or rules for.

For example, what is the polite way to dissent with data input by others? Add a topic on the talk page with a explanation of why the data might be wrong, wait a month, and if no response, change the data?

For example, guidelines of what goes in family history and what goes on the talk page? Right now, not many people have talk pages, so one is worried that people don't check here, but this would seem to be the ideal place to explore discredited or alternate evidence.

For example, when using bet., bef. or aft. in dates, it might be reasonable to ask that people always include a source and probably also a note that explains how you arrived at the date. There is a myriad of date issues that could generate such conventions.

There is a hint of the type of rules I am looking for on the screen that describes how to pick Source or MySource. But there are many such decisions where it would help if all users could try to work the same way.

--Jrich 18:24, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

You'll find much discussion of this here and elsewhere, but in brief, if you have good reason to believe data is wrong, just fix it. If someone disagrees with you, they can start a discussion. If there's a dispute, add dates as alternates and explain. Some don't believe that any data is ever wrong, in which case you're free to be cautious, but I've fixed probably hundreds of errors and never gotten a complaint.--Amelia 22:18, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

I concur w/Amelia. It's just far too impractical to wait around for folks who might disagree. How do you know who's interested at that moment? Check out Person:John Alden (1), and look at the number of people watching on the left hand side. What would be a quorum?

It's part of the wiki-way to just make the changes. If a dispute arises you deal with it then, but you just can't allow the process to be crippled in the vast majority of cases because once in a very great while someone disagrees. I'm currently watching about 25,000 pages. Over 20,000 of those arise from merging duplicates and tidying up other people's pages. I think I've encountered a disagreement maybe three or four times - and it was never of a severe sort. More of an, are you sure and what do you think sort of thing. Even if it were awful, that's something like 3/20,000. Does that seem worth worrying about?--Jrm03063 22:53, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

Jrich, I applaud your concern with courtesty. I have a similar view, and would not witingly change a page I had not created without at least attempting communication with the author. There is an issue of courtesty with doing work in a wiki type site. WeRelate, despite what some folks think, does not follow the rules of the Wikipedia in several respects. Most importantly, on the Wikipedia there is an overriding emphasis on using published, peer reviewed documents as sources. Use of original research is prohibited. (Good reasons for those rules---without them the Wikipedia would quickly degenerate into into a something quite unreliable.) But if those rules were followed on Werelate, there'd be virtually nothing here---because almost all genealogy involves original research. True, people cite family histories as their sources, but such sources are rarely what could be called "peer reviewed"---perhaps widely read, and some folks think they are the "bible" for their line, but unless something has gone through a formal peer review process, it doesn't meet the wikipedia standards, and you won't be able to get an article based on this accepted long term on the Wikipedia. Try making a change on a wikipedia article based on your original research, and or based on a "family history", and see what happens. Here that's not a problem, but that's because this is not the Wikipedia, and despite what some seem to think, different rules do apply.

Another aspect of the differences between this and the Wikipedia, is that the readership base is much smaller here, than on the Wikipedia. On the Wikipedia you have roughly 40 to 100 Million hits a month. That's a lot of folks reading articles. Not all hits result in an edit, but many do. Here you have at most about 10-20K hits a month, with a corresponding reduction in edits. Half of the users of the Wikipedia are what might be called regulars---folks who habitually go to the Wikipedia to get or add information. On WeRelate most users (about 80%) are just passerbys [1] One look and they are gone. The base of people seriously working the WeRelate wiki is far smaller than that on the Wikipedia. As a result, far fewer folks are going to be paying attention to changes in articles. Some will, but the vast majority will never notice the change---even if they might have felt strongly about the change (one way or the other) they are probably not going to see it, and if they do see a change notice, probably won't invest the time to discuss the point. On the wikipedia, given the larger, more involved user base, you can pretty much guarantee it that if you make a change, its going to be a) noticed, and b) discussed, and maybe c) argued. Not here.

Given the smaller base, I think there's a need to be proactive in contacting folks with whom you disagree about some point of family history. How long you might wait for them to respond is an interesting question. Personally if I were inclined to change an article created by someone else (other than say cosmetic, spelling, etc.), I'd make the change, and then contact them directly by email, asking for their input. That would seriously cramp some peoples style, but I think there is such a thing as courtesty---and this is not the Wikipedia. Q 08:30, 27 August 2008 (EDT)


  1. These data are based on Quantcast results; Werelate is not registered with Quantcast, and the data quantcast presents for it are estimates. Those estimates may undercount actual use. I've observed that the counts went up substantially on another wiki after it was registered. Nonetheless, I'm confident that the traffic on WeRelate is a tiny fraction of the traffic on Wikipedia.

While I understand the "just change it" philosophy, I am not sure it will scale to high-volume use and mature data. I would hate to see dueling edits flip-flopping data back and forth in one of those numerous cases where the answer cannot be determined and multiple possibilities exist. I would prefer to see a convention for handling this set up now so most people come into WeRelate with it being the norm, and them not getting used to any other way. It is tempting to think we could have a moratorium in its infancy, but I think it should be established and people should start to use it as often as they can bring themselves to...

I was also curious about other issues. There are so many places to put information and it is not clear (perhaps just to me) which is the best for what: embedded in a source, put it in a note, or add it to family history. For example, a one-line statement of historical interest (say, 'Selectman in 1673')probably belongs in the family history section so that all data of a single type is in one location, but it fits so easily in the text section of a source, especially if one wants to attribute that item to that source. A standard set of conventions that most conscientious users follow would result in more readable and understandable pages. I could even see starting every person with a family history section having a standard set of topic headers, or similar framework.

Another issue is the formatting of dates. There are all sorts of practices in the various sources out there, many of which I happen to have an opinion on :-), and I thought the staff genealogist, or other appropriate person could write a quick outline of ideal practices.

I think of "WeRelate" as in perpetual Beta mode. Unlike most genealogy programs you buy, WeRelate is very adaptable---mostly because there's someone there willing to make changes on the fly to meet specific needs. There's been a lot of thinking gone into setting up WeRelate...much more so than other genealogy wiki's, I think. I'm sure not every idea has worked as well as someone wished it to, but by trial and error, what "works", survives, and what doesn't, dissappears. But there can be different solutions to the same problem in a system. and I think that's a good thing, as different people have different capabilities, and different needs. One solution does not fit every problem for every person. Sometimes you need multiple ways of getting at things. Q 13:54, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

Never shy about expressing my opinion, I will outline some of the date issues specifically. George E. Bowman of the Mayflower Descendant sometimes converted dates to new style, which technically meant adding 10 days. So if you saw a date in that magazine of 3 June 1632, you always wondered, is this really 3 June or was it 24 May converted to new style? For that reason, I prefer to leave the date as written in the source, only adding a second year for the months Jan-Mar if necessary, e.g., 24 Feb 1645[/6]. I prefer using brackets to show that I added the second year based on context, or no brackets if the second year format was used by the source, e.g., 24 Feb 1645/6. When quoting numeric dates, I like to quote the date and then give my interpretation in brackets to make it clear I have adjusted for the change in month numbering that occurred in 1753, e.g.: 4 (5) 66 [4 Jul 1666]. When I use aft. or bef. I like to have an explicit note explaining the significance of the date given, such as died bef. such and such a date because that was the date of the inventory. I hate the use of unadorned years which I frequently see, e.g., '1749', except in the sole case where that is all the source gives. If a will is dated 5 Jun 1749 and proved 8 Aug 1749, the death date should be bet. 5 Jun 1749-8 Aug 1749, not 1749. The term Abt. should be used for calculated ages with a 1 or 2 year precisions, e.g., from census entries, depositions, or gravestones, whereas some other term, such as 'Est.' or 'Say' should be used for the swags based on children's ages, date of marriage, etc. Obviously, the basis for all estimates should be explained in a note. I don't want to put words in the mouth of my source, or make it more or less precise than it was, and at the same time, I want to make it very clear what I added so others can check, and if necessary, correct my work. --Jrich 13:19, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

Another issue is the formatting of dates. There are all sorts of practices in the various sources out there, many of which I happen to have an opinion on :-), and I thought the staff genealogist, or other appropriate person could write a quick outline of ideal practices.

If the only thing someone puts down for a particular data element (say a DOD), then yes, some sort of rules are needed for that data element, and what is meant by (for example) "circa". That way others can interpret the value. Whether "Abt" means the same as "Circa", or whether either means "one or two years" in terms of precision seems sort of if'y. Why might some folks mean "within 3 years", or "within a decade or two". Not likely to be something that could be pinned down and have used consistent.
On the otherhand, if you include the reasoning for the date in question (ie, "falls within a five year period between the date the will was written, and the date probate was entered"), then "rules" are not needed so much. Including the reasoning though, is sometimes difficult to do---especially if all someone is doing is filling in the text boxes. There's are also some practical problems with that related to the wide variety of capabilities different people bring to genealogy. You can provide a short explanation there, but I suspect in most cases the logic of the answer put into the text box, is more complicated than that. Which is why I personally prefer text articles, rather than "fill in the box". Q 13:54, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
I agree that everything is fixed by an explanation. In regards to circa, about, estimated, etc. there are two different situations at least that I see. One is where you have a documented age on a given date and you can calculate some other date. This is not precise as it is subject to error of the document and usually the age is only given with a precision of a whole year, meaning it is probably only precise within a year or two. However, this is different from the swag based on typical age relationships, i.e., first child born at 25 and then the next children are born one every two years. It is useful when you see a name in a list to have an idea of which century they lived in, at least, but this kind of swag has a much lower authority/reliability than the first kind of estimated date. We can't change all the sources out there that have followed a million different practices, and probably can't isolate WeRelate from that either, since GEDCOM uploads will invariably bring in garbage, but a convention would tend to get used, which people would follow more and more as they see it used on various pages they view, and over time the pages would be more consistent, hence more understandable. I don't really care too much about what the convention is, but think it would be beneficial if there was one. --Jrich 14:32, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
Ok, here are my date conventions:
Date conventions are really important, as they should eventually serve as a basis for data consistency checks. A date string that uses an unusual form will not be able to be recognized by the software, so useful integrity checks could not be made.
  • <day of month> <month abbrev> <year> - Day of month is an ordinary integer, as is the year. The year is also an integer (w/AD implied) and can appear with a trailing "nn/nn+1" to indicate dates before the calendar shift (early 1600s?). Month abbreviations are the usual - "Jan", "Feb", "Mar", "Apr", "May", "Jun", "Jul", "Aug", "Sep", "Oct", "Nov", "Dec". These have a leading capital as would be appropriate if they were spelled out. No trailing ".".
  • before, after, about - "bef", "aft", "abt". No period, keep the lower case to take up less space and because "before", "after" and "about" would not correctly be upper case. The about characteristic can also be "ca".
  • If a date is an estimate, precede it by "Est.". This is meant for consistency with the usage in the WFT (which actually uses "WFT Est.").
  • Time ranges for an event w/duration (say, residence) - "from" <start_date> "to" <end_date>
  • Range within which an event is believed to have occurred - "bet" <start_date> "and" <end_date>

Never use an all-digit form (i.e., <yy>-<mm>-

) since there is often confusion between what field is the month and what field is the day. Never gratuitously capitalize - it takes up too much space.

I'd be happy for someone to create a Help:Conventions page and add conventions to it. I don't consider myself enough of an expert to have good opinions here over the basic "don't use all-digits" advice. Currently the software just looks for a 1-2 digit number for the day, an alphabetic word for the month, and a 3-4 digit number for the year. It ignores modifiers like bef, aft, abt, and uses just the first date of a range. (To handle those cases where people use all-digit dates, it checks to see if one of the numbers is between 1-12 and the other is between 1-30, and does the right thing in that case.)

Regarding where to put information, I plan to make a change this Fall that I think will make it more natural to put short explanations on the talk page: I want to list the talk page contents after the contents of the primary page, with an entry box for adding a quick comment to the talk page, like you see in blogs. I'm hoping that this change promotes two behaviors: (1) it will encourage newcomers to leave comments when they have something to say about a page -- filling in a comment entry box at the bottom of the page is a lot less intimidating than editing the page, and (2) it will encourage newcomers to leave their opinions about a page in the comment box rather than editing the page. Then others with more experience can decide whether to incorporate their comments into the primary page. People could be encouraged to leave comments rather than edit well-established pages directly.--Dallan 13:27, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

Preserving Copyright [5 October 2008]

As one of the benefits of WeRelate should be collaboration, I have been doing the genealogical equivalent of picking a fight: 'fixing' other people's data, and adding controversial individuals, hoping to encourage discussions of these interesting cases. Many of these cases hinge on other people having access to sources I do not, or vice versa.

In making my arguments, I frequently find myself wanting to quote my sources. Sometimes the actual text of a source is important. Having the text certainly seems to add authority in some cases, and shows exactly how limited that authority is in other cases. (A record giving the death date for "Wid. Parks" could easily be applied to the wrong person, but without the text, a reader might assume this is of the same quality as a source that says "Lydia, wife of Benjamin Parks".)

I suspect quoting one vital record with proper attribution would not be regarded as copyright infringement, but after 10 or 15 years of data input, will WeRelate collectively contain 75% of the vital records of towns such as Woburn, Concord, etc.? Would that now be considered copyright infringement?

As a lay person, I am not at all comfortable trying to interpret copyright law. I read some of the fair use links and such, but it might help to have examples of what WeRelate would consider good or ideal usage and improper usage.

Is abstracting a source with attribution always valid? To list a source without some indication of what that source supports could create erroneous appearances if the data gets changed. For example, I enter date-A supported by my source, and later the page is edited to say date-B. If the source is still there, it would now appear that that source is in support of date-B, which is incorrect.

--Jrich 18:48, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

Your use of Werelate sounds exciting. Have you stimulated discussions? Regarding copyright; facts cannot be copyrighted, but rather the format that is used to present the facts. So if you just quote the facts you are not violating any copyright law.--Beth 21:27, 26 August 2008 (EDT)
I have not as of yet stimulated any discussions. Unfortunately I do not think there are enough users active on WeRelate to make this a high probability. Also, most of my hard cases are hard because they do not have a wealth of information readily available so the chances of hitting an interested party may be smaller. --Jrich 13:30, 29 August 2008 (EDT)
We're not actively promoting WeRelate at present until we get match+merge working. But yet we continue to grow. Once we start actively promoting it early next year I expect we'll see a lot more users.--Dallan 13:27, 5 September 2008 (EDT)
A few more things - records from before 1923 are in the public domain, and that includes most of the New England vital records collections. Lengthy verbatim quotes (like copying entire entries out of Great Migration) are what's most likely to raise eyebrows, but that's much different than the selective quoting you're talking about. And as for someone changing the data attached to a source, that's why you always watch the pages you've edited, that way you can fix such errors.--Amelia 22:09, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

I'm not a lawyer either, but as others have said: facts are not copyrightable and if you put something in your own words you're not violating copyright. Also, I would think that quoting a few sentences verbatim from a copyrighted source along with proper attribution isn't a problem.--Dallan 16:44, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

As hinted by some of the answers, it appears most of my sources are old enough that it is not an issue. wikipedia article on duration of copyrights I was confused that more works aren't available on books.google.com and thought there must be some other complexity involved. (books.google.com is another example of how the next big changes to genealogy are going to revolve around the Internet. WeRelate is part of that too.) --Jrich 13:30, 29 August 2008 (EDT)

To see how I have dealt with this issue in the context of obituaries, see for instance MySource:Ceyockey/Obituary for Pearl Eugene Davis. Likewise, for SSN Applications and SSDI entries see MySource:Ceyockey/SSN application for Rebecca D Ashburn and MySource:Ceyockey/SSDI entry for Rebecca D. Ashburn. I think that none of these treatments infringe on relevant copyrights. --Ceyockey 11:54, 5 October 2008 (EDT)

Displaying marriages sorted by date [28 August 2008]

I have noticed that on Family pages, children can be entered in any order and will display sorted by their birth date. This is a great feature. On Person pages, however, when a person has been married multiple times, their marriages are not sorted by date. Is this possible to do other than ordering them correctly on the person’s edit page? Also, is it possible to display a person’s marriage date and location on their Person page?--JBS66 08:50, 27 August 2008 (EDT)

What I plan to do in the near future is display a mini-tree on the right-hand side of each person and family page. In this tree, the marriages and children would be listed in order by date.--Dallan 16:44, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

Place Names - the Netherlands [28 August 2008]

I have an observation on Place names - not sure if this is the proper place to post this.

My current research involves the Netherlands, specifically the province of Friesland. The Netherlands is divided into provinces and each province is further divided into municipalities. So, I would be inclined to record the town of Fewerd as such: Ferwerd, Ferwerderadeel, Friesland, Netherlands. (town), (municipality), (province), (country). This would be similar to the divisions in France. I noticed that Werelate’s Place pages for France are recorded in this manner (ie: Place:Igé, Orne, Basse-Normandie, France). However, the Place pages for the Netherlands do not include the municipality (ie: Place:Ferwerd, Friesland, Netherlands). It would be helpful to know the municipality in which a town is located for easier searching. I have noticed that websites for Friesland research include municipality information to further limit searches. I wasn't sure if it was possible to make changes to the place pages to add this information.--JBS66 15:49, 27 August 2008 (EDT)

Hello JBS66,

Many of us enter our location names is it was when the event occurred. As I understand it that creates a problem for the mapping system since the mapping is based on present time location names, and it creates issues in Werelate because of that. If I understand correctly you can enter your locations as you wish, and in time those locations will be redirected by Werelate to the present time locations page.

Dallan or others probably understand this much better than I do though. Debbie Freeman--DFree 16:18, 27 August 2008 (EDT)

The short answer is yes! The reason we have only three levels for the Netherlands (and many other European countries) is because the data that we used to construct the Netherlands places (Wikipedia, Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names, and the Family History Library Catalog) largely had only three levels for most European countries. These countries stay in their current state until someone decides to improve them. For example, User:Scot is currently doing this for Portugal. Others have done it for Sweden, Scotland, Poland, and many other countries (see WeRelate:Place review for information about a large review project last Fall).

If you're interested in working on adding municipalities to the Netherlands, leave a message on my talk page and I'll help you get started. For Europe we tend to title places according to the hierarchy they were in around 1900-1930, and earlier/later hierarchies are listed as also-located-in places. The Netherlands seems to have been relatively stable for the past 100 years, so this won't be an issue for Netherlands.

One final thing: I'm starting a process to automatically edit 750,000 Source pages for the sources in the Family History Library Catalog. During the next few days while this is running, I'd rather not have a lot of place reorganization underway, but you could start around the end of next week if you're interested.--Dallan 16:44, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

Howto Export GEDCOM or Backup Tree [28 August 2008]

I was wondering how I can export data from weRelate to a gedcom. It's a feature that we can see in the future ? The only way that I can see to backup my tree is to use a web crawler / spider and make an offline copy (is a really bad idea, but it's the only that I can imagine now).--fbarriga 22:39, 27 August 2008 (EDT)

There's supposed to be a GEDCOM download one of these days, but we're waiting on Dallan on that one. It's somewhere on his dance card.

I want it for the same reason you do. Also, since there really aren't plans for werelate to offer anything in the way of report generation, it would allow you to dump a section of data to the report-generating facility of your choice.--Jrm03063 10:18, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

I am also looking forward to the day that this is possible. It is too time consuming to enter data on WeRelate and a genie program. I found a new site on line; you can upload your gedcom and create a custom family tree and export your tree and have it printed. There is no charge for the service but you do have to contribute your family tree. Here is the link, but I have not tried the service. The creators of the web site were formerly associated with Family Tree Legends and GenCircles. The link: [9]--Beth 10:41, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

I should have mentioned previously, there is an ongoing discussion at werelate talk:Merging and downloading trees.--Jrm03063 14:44, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

I'm the bottleneck on this one unfortunately. I expect by the end of the year we'll have GEDCOM export ready. Need to get matching+merging working first.--Dallan 16:44, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

Convention for Two Family Names [28 August 2008]

In Chile and others countries, the wife don't loose their family names and we all have two family names. Example: I'm "Felipe Barriga Richards", son of "Arturo Barriga Apparcel" and "Heidi Richards Staab". At this time, I was using the two family names, but I don't know if there is a convention to deal with that.--fbarriga 22:43, 27 August 2008 (EDT)

Local and contemporary custom is most important. I'm not aware of any customs on this particular issue, but if I understand it correctly, you're saying:

    <given name> <parent surname 1> <parent surname 2>

Where the "effective" surname is "<parent surname 1> <parent surname 2>". I think that you would simply put the two parts of the effective surname in the surname field, because that's what they are. My children have their Mother's surname as their middle name, but that's not what you describe. I'm familiar with other customs as well, where children take a hyphenated version of their parents surnames - <parent surname 1>-<parent surname 2>. I suppose this latter situation is most like the one you describe, but apparently use of the "-" character isn't a typical custom where you are? Do folks sometimes put the parent surnames together with a "-" so that they will not be mistaken for a middle then a last name?--Jrm03063 23:18, 27 August 2008 (EDT)

I agree with User:Jrm03063. Put both surnames in the surname field; you can hyphenate them or not. The surnames will be individually-searchable, so if a person's surname field is "Barriga Apparcel" and someone searches on Barriga or on Apparcel, that person will be returned.--Dallan 16:44, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

Checkout the newest browser Google Chrome [15 September 2008]

The new browser from Google is great for merging pages. You can actually have two or more windows open at the same time. Check it out. --Beth 19:48, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

Understand that Chrome is based on the same underlying programming as went into Apple's Safari---which has had this capability for some time. Q 19:56, 5 September 2008 (EDT)
Hi Bill, I had Safari on my computer but never really checked it out; did not know that it had the capability or I would have used it; but the downloads from the Apple site for updating the Ipod typically mess up on my laptop and I have to download them from the site. --Beth 20:15, 5 September 2008 (EDT)
Believe it comes with OS X. Initially I wasn't especially impressed, but then Microsoft stopped supporting IE for the Mac. Figured if they didn't think they were competitive, then the handwriting was on the wall. I never particularly noticed that having multiple windows open was unique to Safari. Figured it was so obvious that all browsers would support it by now. So your note took me by surprize. Didn't know I had it so good. Q 20:36, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

Son said that the Safari windows version has issues; but don't know if that is still the case. Yes, Bill you have been having a good time and didn't let us know. <g> I have been opening WeRelate in my laptop and desktop to merge pages. --Beth 20:44, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

I do something similar. While I'm entering data on a WeRelate page I'll open the source page in another window, then copy and paste between the two. Beats continuously opening a page, capturing the data, then navigating to the destination page, pasting, then navigating back to the source for something else. Q 21:58, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

Tabs are definitely awesome. Firefox and IE7 also have them. I just downloaded Google Chrome to check it out.--Dallan 00:45, 7 September 2008 (EDT)

Dallan, with Chrome when you open 2 or more tabs; you can just drag one of the tabs to a new window so you can have multiple tabs open in different windows at the same time. Can you do that with Firefox or IE7? If so I don't know how. I can have multiple tabs, but have to switch from one or the other; I cannot view both of them at the same time with Firefox or IE7--Beth 02:17, 7 September 2008 (EDT)
I see what you're saying now. I just tried it. That is pretty cool. I also like that it lets me use nearly my entire screen for the webpage (very little is used for their menus). I don't like that it crashed on me while I was editing a page though. I think I'll give it another month to mature, and then I'm planning to switch over and make it my main browser.--Dallan 13:35, 8 September 2008 (EDT)

My hubby says the "buzz" on the net is that Google created this "Chrome" without any collaboration with other "browser makers" and thus it is full of security leaks and other problems, which other established browsers have already "fixed" in their versions. Just an FYI --Msscarlet1957 23:14, 15 September 2008 (EDT)

18th Century Trade Faire at Fort Loudon, Vonore, TN [6 September 2008]

My major interest in WeRelate is in developing a feeling for how our ancestors lived, particularly on the Virginia Frontier in the late 18th Century. The Southwest Virginia Project is part of how I'm attempting to do this. One of the things that I think helps are images that help create a sense of the context of our ancestors lives. My wife and I recently attended an "18th Century Trade Faire", at Fort Loudon, Vonore, TN. Fort Loudon was the site of an ill-fated British Fort that came into existence during the French and Indian War. Each September the Fort Loudon Association puts on the Trade Faire. You can read about it here.

I took a number of photographs, and placed a few of them in a temporary starter article. Some of these photos will probably make their way into illustrations for the Southwest Virginia Project Q 00:18, 7 September 2008 (EDT)

These are some terrific pictures!--Dallan 00:45, 7 September 2008 (EDT)

Transferring information from data fields [7 September 2008]


Is there code that can be used in an article page that will transfer the content of edit input boxes (e.g, date of birth input box) into text placed in the article? Q 13:47, 7 September 2008 (EDT)

Sorry, it's a good idea, but there isn't anything to do that right now.--Dallan 13:35, 8 September 2008 (EDT)

Editions of Sources [8 September 2008]

Many of the sources found in the Source namespace are FHL microfilms or ancestry.com databases. But they are merely reproductions of real books which may also be found in libraries.

When you use find/add to locate a source, the list presents the title only with no hint about the edition (except those where ancestry.com or FHL film number gets stuck in the title).

I have been using these reproductions and the underlying sources interchangeably, since I assume if the data is the same, others will just want to know the most convenient form for themselves. I.e., if I can find the book in a nearby library, why rent a microfilm at a Family History Center which takes at least 2 weeks to arrive? For some I have taken the time to add in the author and original dates of publication, even though the source is nominally referring to a FHL microfilm, to provide more descriptive information about the source.

Recently an "automated update" changed one of these entries to enter the date of filming, overwriting the publication date of the underlying book I had entered. It also undid my edit which had moved the subtitle to the subtitle field and instead put everything back in the title field so that the title is once again long and impossible to input except by cutting and pasting.

Sorry - the automated update is not supposed to overwrite human changes. Could you let me know the title of the Source page so that I can try to figure out what went wrong? And if you haven't already, I'll put it back the way you had it.
I believe it was Source:A history of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania : from the earliest settlements to the present time including much valuable information for the use of schools, families,‎. It is not even one I care about but I was adding information to differentiate it from Charles Roberts History of Lehigh County. --Jrich 21:42, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
I found it and fixed it.--Dallan 11:52, 10 September 2008 (EDT)

First, I would argue that in terms of assessing the quality and type of data, the date of filming is useless. It depends on the publication date of the underlying material.

Good point. In cases where you find the publication date of the original material, please feel free to replace the one written by the automated update.

Second, most of these entries abuse the title field, and clearly combine both the title and subtitle into the title field instead of properly using the subtitle field. This makes it very difficult to type the source names by any manner than cutting and pasting when you want to add a [[Source:xxx]] type link to your notes.

I agree that the FHLC titles are often overly-long. But it's difficult for an automated program to know where best to split the title. Currently it splits it on a colon or semi-colon when the FHLC title is longer then 80 characters. If there's a better place to split, please feel free to update the Title and Subtitle fields to split at the better location. Also, feel free to rename the Source page to have the shorter title. Around the end of the year we'll run another automated process to rename the Source pages to use a "place. title" format for Source pages for geographically-oriented record collections or a "first-author. title" format for books/articles, which conforms to the standard for titling Source pages.
I recognize that this is personal opinion, but since I type a lot of stuff in manually, instead of GEDCOM uploads, I find the long titles very annoying to get exactly right.
Excellent point! Not to mention making a very messing looking article if you are writing extensive text, as opposed to putting information into text boxes. Like yourself, most of my input is manual. That appears to be a very small minority on WeRelate. Perhaps our needs are different from the majority. Fortunately, Dallan doesn't seem too hard over about folks following their own drummer. Q 21:54, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
Not only are the FHLC titles long, but adding place and/or author before the title makes them too long. Most place oriented items have the place name in their title anyway so it becomes redundant when you add it in front. And adding the FHLC number to make each title unique instead of listing all the filmings in the text of a single page also screws up the title. I expect the title to be the title. Is this just compensating because the listing of titles after you do a search on the find/add screen doesn't specify the author, etc? I haven't memorized the FHLC film numbers so I still have to follow the FHL link to read the description to find out what the different versions of the same title are. --Jrich 21:42, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
Actually, not having the author/place as part of the Source page title is why so many titles currently include the FHLC number -- because several items in the FHLC catalog have the same title (often just something like "Parish registers 1800-1850") so we had to add the FHLC number to a Source page title in order to make the title unique. When we rename FHLC sources to include the author/place in the title later this year we'll be able to drop the FHLC number (and the subtitle) from the Source page title.
In cases where there are multiple filmings of the same item, I hope that over time people will redirect the Source pages to a single Source. If you find that you're citing the same source over and over, feel free to create a Source page with an abbreviated title and redirect that source page to the longer-title source page.--Dallan 11:52, 10 September 2008 (EDT)

But, that said, there are times when editions become an important issue, as in when things get updated or there is an error in one edition. But is there a need to treat each different edition on each different media as a different item in the Source namespace?

Not generally. If there are multiple editions, It's best to put that information into the text of the Source page. I realize there's only one publication field; in cases where the item has multiple editions, feel free to leave the publication field empty and put the publication information for the various editions in the text. We're encouraging people to put the edition information in the citation. Another possibility is to create a "redirect" (see below) for each edition, with the publication year in parentheses in the title of the redirect, and have the redirects point to the Source page that covers all editions. You could then cite the (redirected) Source page containing the publication year in the title in your source citation.

If so, it seems that the process to select from the list of known sources needs to change. Perhaps the first step is to pick the title/author and then a second step would be to identify the edition/format.

I guess this touches on my earlier question about conventions. Different people might think different organizations are more optimal than others. But the one thing that won't work is to have everybody each do their own thing. What is the best way to deal with this?

Two things: First, there has been a lot of discussion around the best way to title source pages, and as we are currently reviewing the online source pages, the rules are being refined. I think they're pretty stable now and in fact I'm about to update the help pages to reflect the latest thinking later today. In the future when people create sources that don't conform to the rules we'll be able to educate them on what the guidelines are.
I will go read the help pages and try to follow the preferred way of doing things. Perhaps you should require new users to take a test to make sure they have read all the recommended help pages before screwing up the system. --Jrich 21:42, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
The help instructions at the bottom of the "Add Source" screen are hopefully a little clearer now.--Dallan 11:52, 10 September 2008 (EDT)
Second, we can use redirects. If you create a Source page and put "#redirect [[Source:target source title]]" as the only text in the text field, then the title of that Source page becomes a "synonym" for the target source. This is pretty useful, because if the same source is available in book form, in microfilm form, or online, and people naturally use different Source page titles to refer to the different forms of the source, we can have the alternate titles redirect to the original title. Redirection can also be used to create abbreviations for commonly-referenced items with long titles.
--Dallan 13:35, 8 September 2008 (EDT)

--Jrich 09:14, 8 September 2008 (EDT)

Your point about not citing specific editions is an excellent one. That is something that should always be done, where it applies, and usually the distinction between editions is based on the date of publication. Works published in different years oft contain different information---sometimes contradictory---so knowing which edition you are using can be very important, and needs to be included in the citation. In theory, the citation format preferred here includes that information, though not as part of the article title. Unfortuantely, I've seen sources here where the date of publication was not specified---apparently whoever wrote the article felt the title alone was sufficient. In most cases it is, but not in all, and good form should always include the date I think.

Here's and example Source:Marriages by Rev. George Wack If you read this work you see that it was created by a 'bot', and that the date is not included. If you open the page up for editing, you'll note that there is an input box for "issue date" (really that should be publication date in most cases, but perhaps "issue" fits a more global interpretation. (ie, something that was never "published", just printed up on a certain date.)

So if "Marriages..." was first released in 1890, and then reissued in 1895 (perhaps with corrections or with additional marriages), just citing "Marriages by Rev. George Wack" would be quite inadequate. The date the specific document examined should have been included in the bibliographic citation. Personally, I think it should be included in the articles title, but that's personal preference. In anycase, the date should be in the pages data.

But suppose "Marriages by Rev. George Wack" was indeed released in 1890 and 1895. How would you direct someone to one version or the other---even if you figured out a way to include both dates in the description, just calling out the articles title [[Source:Marriages by Rev. George Wack]] would not allow you to point to the specific edition. Perhaps you could fiddle with the article title itself "Marriages by Rev. George Wack, first edition" or "Marriages by Rev. George Wack, second edition". Citing "Wack, 1890" seems easier, but that's just me perhaps.

On consistency, One can expend an awful lot of effort in making things consistent.there are circumstances where consistency is important and needs to be achieved. There are other circumstances where it accomplishes little, and simply drains time and effort. Depends on the goals. in anycase:

There are five major citation styles in use in the United States. Here's a summary of examples for each Style, as given on World Cat, for a specific work.

Citation Styles for "Annals of southwest Virginia, 1769-1800,"

APA Summers, L. P., Bickley, G. W. L., & Coale, C. B. (1929). Annals of southwest Virginia, 1769-1800. Abingdon, Va: L.P. Summers.
Chicago (Author-Date) Summers, Lewis Preston, George W. L. Bickley, and Charles B. Coale. 1929. Annals of southwest Virginia, 1769-1800. Abingdon, Va: L.P. Summers.
Harvard SUMMERS, L. P., BICKLEY, G. W. L., & COALE, C. B. (1929). Annals of southwest Virginia, 1769-1800. Abingdon, Va, L.P. Summers.
MLA Summers, Lewis Preston, George W. L. Bickley, and Charles B. Coale. Annals of Southwest Virginia, 1769-1800. Abingdon, Va: L.P. Summers, 1929.
Turabian Summers, Lewis Preston, George W. L. Bickley, and Charles B. Coale. Annals of Southwest Virginia, 1769-1800. Abingdon, Va: L.P. Summers, 1929.

For the most part, there's not a whit worth of real difference between these styles---all provide the same basic information. None specify edition, but all specify date of publication---just in different places, and in different "styles". What's preferred on WeRelate (not my personal preference, by the way) is MLA or Turabian. (It doesn't appear here, but the difference between MLA and Turabian is that in Turabian, the title is underlined.)

These different styles exist, I presume, because they meet specific needs. These styles are preferred and used by different groups of writers. In part, what they use is simply a matter of convention. Someone "liked it" early on, and that like turned into a standard within that group. It is likely, however, that some of the styles developed in response to specific needs of specific groups---because the style emphasized things that were important to that group. APA and Chicago, for example, are used in the Sciences, Harvard in law, and MLA, and Turabian are probably encountered more in the arts (including English, which is significant because that's the style most folks are going to be familiar with. The distinction between Science and the Arts in terms of citation style probably reflects what these groups want to emphasize. Ignoring content, for Science, the important thing is not what you call your document, but who wrote it and when. Priority of discovery is based on precedence, and who said it first, and when, is what is important to science authors. In the arts, what's important is who made it and what they called it.: No one refers to "Shakespeare, 1589", instead they refer to "Shakespeare's Hamlet". Among scientists, on the otherhand, when writing technically would prefer "Darwin, 1859", over "Darwin, Origin of the Species"---though they might use the latter form in more casual reference, simply because Origin of the species has become iconic.

If there is a standard in genealogy, its probably MLA and Turabian. The NEHGS prefers something similar to MLA, but its not quite the same. Other journals use, I believe, different source formats, but they are probably most similar to MLA or Turabian.

Does it really matter which format is used? That depends on the purpose. Obviously, if you want to create a bibliography for your work, you'd prefer to be consistent within that work. That doesn't mean you have to be consistent BETWEEN works, just within that one work. After all, purposes and objectives might change, and different format serve different purposes. But in the broad scheme of things, it doesn't really matter which of several formats you choose---what's important is that the needed information is present. That way, if a bibliography needs to be developed necessary to support an article in a particular journal (say NEGHS), then you'd have all the information needed to support that article. One day there may even be a Bibliography Tool here to do that for you. You could specify the format (MLA, for instance), give it a list of articles, and it would punch out the bibliography according to the needed specifications. Send it to a different Journal (say one that prefers Harvard), you could get a bibliography in that format. That would be a very cool tool to have, even if you weren't into publication, and it wouldn't make much difference if the format's of the original source articles differed---as long as the data was there. Q 12:38, 8 September 2008 (EDT)

Also, we have to walk a line between having Source page titles that look similar to accepted styles for source citation and titles that are short and easy to remember. So we've chosen to include just the first author in the Source page titles for books, and to include the place, but not the full agency name, in Source page titles for geographically-oriented record collections. All authors are included in the Authors field though.--Dallan 13:35, 8 September 2008 (EDT)

Blog badges [8 November 2008]

Is there a badge we can add to our blogs that would link back either to the WeRelate homepage or to our profile page? More and more sites are offering that feature to their members/users. I think it would be a neat way to drum up a little more traffic for the site (and it would look cool on our blogs ;-) --Ajcrow 08:45, 11 September 2008 (EDT)

I presume you are looking for an icon of some sort. There's the WeRelate Icon Image:WeRelate.gif which might serve your purposes. Q 08:54, 11 September 2008 (EDT)

Good idea! How about <a href="http://www.werelate.org/wiki/User:Dallan"><img src="http://www.werelate.org/w/skins/common/images/badge.png"></a> ? You probably want to replace my user page with your own :-)--Dallan 11:39, 17 September 2008 (EDT)

This advice has been added in modified form to WeRelate:Explore at some time in the past. --ceyockey 15:36, 8 November 2008 (EST)

Protocol for untended to Gedcom uploads [17 September 2008]

I'm preparing to merge my individuals where duplicates exist with other users. I came across a user that uploaded a Gedcom with over 11,000 individuals. They have not made any contributions since, and their work contains duplicates. Should I go through the effort to merge into their work or can we consider deleting this tree as suggested for another user on User talk:Jrm03063?--JBS66 17:23, 13 September 2008 (EDT)

As you've noted, there has been much discussion on this issue and the reason I would say for a lack of response here is we are at a stand-still on the topic. I don't recall that a decision was ever made on what to do about such GEDCOMs. We'll have to wait for Dallan to chime I believe. :)

I wonder though if instead of deleting the entire GEDCOM (which some people oppose for fear of losing some crucial data yet undiscovered) if the pages couldn't be moved to a ... graveyard of some sort? Gone but not forgotten? --Ronni 08:20, 15 September 2008 (EDT)

If the original GEDCOM is still around somewhere, that might help. Without that, I don't know how you structure the stuff you're pulling off. If the original GEDCOM exists still, then perhaps it could be dropped as an archive on the digital library. Thinking out loud here - I wonder if there's a decent GEDCOM to pdf report (simple and complete, easy to search - not necessarilly cosmetically beautiful), such that we could have both in the digital library. GEDCOMs aren't very useful to werelate unless you upload the whole thing, so you couldn't easily inspect a GEDCOM for bits and pieces of information. --Jrm03063
I don't know about a GEDCOM to pdf format, but the program Behold Genealogy reports everything in a GEDCOM on one page which can then be exported to HTML or RTF. Neat program which I've been using for about a year now. BTW, I'm on the delete-the-GEDCOM side of this issue. --Ronni 15:10, 15 September 2008 (EDT)

I think we treat abandoned GEDCOMs like abandoned property. Make some reasonable attempts to contact the person who did the upload to see what their intentions are. If we don't hear anything, then it belongs to the community and we can do what we want. If anyone in particular has worked with the materials in question, then I think Dallan will generally respect that person's opinion on whether the material is worth retaining or not.

I've covered a lot of ground on stuff like this - could you please advise what user/tree you're looking at? Thanks...--Jrm03063 10:38, 15 September 2008 (EDT)

The user I keep coming across is User:Rrhoule.

Strangely, I havn't crossed paths with anything from that user, but I looked after seeing your remarks. I checked a small sample of their person pages and found repeated and pretty much useless pro forma sources. I can't say exactly how much duplication there is, but there seems to be a lot. I grabbed the last page of their contributions and found that 50 of 500 families had an index greater than 1. Rashly estimating, that means that there could be as much as 10% duplication associated with this GEDCOM. If we further assume that merging about 100 pages a day is doing well, and that the 10% holds across the 11000 page tree, User:Rrhoule has kindly presumed upon the werelate community, a task of some 100 user-days, to which they have so far contributed....0. I would second the nomination for delete. --User:Jrm03063.

I've been trying out some merging this morning thanks to the great tips on User talk:Jrm03063 and User talk:Scot. 1/5 of the Gedcom families that I uploaded have potential duplicates. I'm glad I only uploaded a portion of my data!

What happens with families that have been deleted such as Family:Charles Cloutier and Louise Morin (1). Actually, this family is indexed under (1)-(12), 10 of which have been deleted. Can the lower index numbered pages be reused? So, can I redirect my [Family:Charles Cloutier and Louise Morin (12)] to [Family:Charles Cloutier and Louise Morin (1)] to keep the index numbers low?

It seems so easy to upload a Gedcom, and so incredibly time consuming to clean up the results. I look at why I uploaded a Gedcom instead of entering by hand. I thought entering by hand would take too long, and I wasn't sure how much of my data was common to WeRelate's. I only uploaded names/basic dates/marriages and planned to go back and add in sources. Perhaps there could be some sort of happy medium. I could upload my Gedcom, but if the program notices the family currently being uploaded shares a title, it will put that into a log file instead of creating new pages. Then, I would be responsible for checking the log file to see what I needed to enter by hand. It would be a whole lot easier to enter in a few pieces of missing data on a page then to match/merge multiple pages. Just a thought... I do have to say that I love the concept of WeRelate. It's great to have a site where work can be done collaboratively on unique pages.--JBS66 12:22, 15 September 2008 (EDT)

I definitely try to keep the index numbers low. If index "1" was previously deleted however, you'll need to recreate it before you redirect to it. That's easy enough of course, because when you try to go to the deleted address location you'll get a chance to create the page anew.--Jrm03063 12:54, 15 September 2008 (EDT)

So, how do we go about deleting this tree? This user holds the coveted (1) page on many of my merges, so I'll hold off on merging those until that tree is deleted.

This might be a silly question but I came across a few cases like Family:Marin Banne and Isabeau Boire (2) where there are no other duplicates but the Family:Marin Banne and Isabeau Boire (1) spot was deleted. Would you suggest redirecting to the (1) page, even though this family is not duplicated, just to have the (1) spot? It would make it easier to see that it wasn't a duplicate, but would it create a needless redirect page?

Thank you!--JBS66 07:02, 16 September 2008 (EDT)

As for deleting the tree, we wait for Dallan to get around to reading the watercooler or someone sends him e-mail. W.R.T. redirecting 2->1, I often do for precisely the reason you give. There are bazillions of redirects out there already, a few more makes no difference. --User:Jrm03063
In just a few months of real usage by the genealogical community, the (1) label will loose all special meaning. Even in this small dataset there are multiple hundreds of John Wheelers. Some names (John Smith) will probably routinely have 5 and 6 digit numbers after it, and of course, to the person related to him, that last John Smith is as important as the first one. --Jrich 09:22, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
For person pages, you're right. However, for what I call "fully qualified" family names (both given and surname for husband and wife - no "unknown"), the probability of duplication seems to be extremely remote. I made a stab at some statistics on the subject, based on my experience searching out duplication so far. My claim a few months ago was, "Cases of identical family page names being associated with different actual families are extremely rare, and occur less often than one per one thousand duplications (possibly even less)." I have seen no indication that duplication of such fully-qualified names is any more common now (with a "person" population of 1.5M). If we assume that this strategy is useful so long as the percentage of duplicates is below 10% (even then, judicious use of "1" and "2" probably extends the approach indefinitely), then I think we get a progression like this: {(1.5M, 0.1%), (3M, 0.2%), (6M, 0.4%), (12M, 0.8%), (14M, 1.6%), (28M, 3.2%), (56M, 6.4%), (112M, 12.8%)}. So I think redirection to "(1)" for fully-qualified families is going to be worth it for quite a while yet. Even if we discarded it if/when the person population exceeds 100M, it will help get us there. --User:Jrm03063
Good point. What I should do is lower the last-index-number counter when a page with the highest index number is deleted.--Dallan 10:10, 18 September 2008 (EDT)

I'm sorry for not chiming in earlier; the last few days have been overflowing with various things that had to be done.

I'll contact User:Rrhoule and let them know that I'm deleting their tree. I'm working right now on tools that will make merging easier, and in the future part of the GEDCOM upload process will be to merge into existing pages before the new pages get created. Until those tools are in place, the policy is that GEDCOM's that are going to cause a lot of merge work that are uploaded by people who are no longer active, are deleted upon request.

We keep every GEDCOM that's been uploaded, but a lot of the GEDCOM's contain information on living people to I'm reluctant to automatically put existing GEDCOM's into the digital library. Sometime next year though I plan to add an option to the GEDCOM import where people can say explicitly that they want their GEDCOM to be added to the digital library, and I'll make a "gedcom viewer" available (similar to the FTE) so that people can view the GEDCOM files online.

As for renaming/redirecting pages to (1) indexes, you're free to do that, although I agree with Jrich that ultimately a (1) index often won't have any special meaning.--Dallan 11:39, 17 September 2008 (EDT)

Button Link [17 September 2008]

Is there a button link I can use to link werelate to my blog? I already have a text link but buttons are better because they stand out. --Brannon 18:21, 15 September 2008 (EDT)

Brannon, I don't think Dallan has a specific button link, but could you use the little WeRelate icon that appears in the upper left corner of this page? Just embed a link in it and put it on your website? --Ronni 12:32, 16 September 2008 (EDT)

Try <a href="http://www.werelate.org/wiki/User:Dallan"><img src="http://www.werelate.org/w/skins/common/images/badge.png"></a> . I just created it this morning using this website.--Dallan 11:39, 17 September 2008 (EDT)

Chinese surnames [18 September 2008]

How should Chinese surnames be handled? The Chinese surname 伍 has the pinyin Wu, but most natives of this surname originate from Guangdong and go by Ng or Eng in western countries. And Wu is used by other surnames, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_(surname).--Ronengyoung 21:51, 17 September 2008 (EDT)

Here are two possible suggestions:

  • Since Wu is used as the transliteration for several different characters, I would add 伍 as an alternate name on the Person page (or maybe list 伍 as the surname and list Wu as an alternate name - your choice) so that people know which character you mean. To keep things simpler for others though, it would be best if Wu, not 伍, were used in the page title.
  • If you edit the Surname:Wu page and list Ng and Eng in the "Related names" field, then searches for Wu will also find people named Ng or Eng. And vice-versa, if you edit the Surname:Ng and Surname:Eng pages and list Wu as a related name, then searches for Ng and Eng will also return people named Wu. Changes like this require 4-6 hours to start having an effect on searches.--Dallan 10:10, 18 September 2008 (EDT)

Google maps not working? [23 September 2008]

I am not able to see any of the Google Maps. Is it my browser? or is it a problem at Google? or some problem here at WeRelate? --Msscarlet1957 10:29, 18 September 2008 (EDT)

Working ok for me... --User:Jrm03063--Jrm03063 10:49, 18 September 2008 (EDT)

not working for me most of the time but does work once in a while along with several other features. i think the problem is in the werelate program. i am using vista & internet explorer. --Jimlatimer 13:46, 22 September 2008 (EDT)

Google maps is working fine for me. I use Firefox, Google Chrome, and also tried it out on MS Internet Explorer.--JBS66 13:58, 22 September 2008 (EDT)

I'm able to repeat the problem with IE7 on XP, but I haven't found out what's causing it yet. I'll look at it more tonight.--Dallan 18:20, 22 September 2008 (EDT)

It turns out that at least in my case, the problem was due to my web filtering software. I had the same problem seeing maps on WeRelate as well as on an example on the google website (can you see the map in this example?), so in my case I figured it was a browser settings problem. But none of the things I tried -- clearing the cache, disabling add-ons, resetting to the default IE settings, even upgrading to the new IE8 beta, did any good. Then when I turned off the web filter, the problem went away. I don't know if that's the same problem in your case. If you're still having difficulties after pressing control-F5 (or clicking on the refresh button while holding down the control key) to clear the cache, and you can see the map in the google example but not on WeRelate, would you please let me know?--Dallan 01:26, 23 September 2008 (EDT)

still not working -- i did control-F5 and nothing changed, i did control-refresh and nothing changed, i turned off protected mode and nothing changed. i am not sure what you mean by turn off web filter. i do not have parental control turned on.--Jimlatimer 11:57, 23 September 2008 (EDT)

Google maps (on WeRelate) is now not working for me. Tried it on Firefox, Chrome, and IE. On IE last night, an error box that said "Maps Loaded" came up. Your example site, Google Maps, and Acme Mapper all do work.--JBS66 12:53, 23 September 2008 (EDT)

I'm sorry. How embarrassing -- I ended up breaking maps completely last night and didn't realize it until tonight. Maps should be working finally now.--Dallan 00:23, 24 September 2008 (EDT)

Famous Living People [22 September 2008]

What's the protocol for pages that have been created for famous living people? Example: Person:George Bush (3). There's also a page for Prince Charles around that does actually have data. One one hand, yes, we say no living people. On the other hand, George Bush's vitals are available in approximately a zillion places already, and the ability to hook into a famous person's ancestry is probably a perk of our system.--Amelia 13:56, 21 September 2008 (EDT)

There's a lot to be said for the absolute nature of living/dead. If you decide on fame, then you have to decide on a metric that is relatively objective. My choice would be whether or not they have a wikipedia page, but again, I don't have a strong preference.--Jrm03063 16:50, 21 September 2008 (EDT)

Let's go with what User:Jrm03063 suggests -- this lets us rely upon Wikipedia's metric rather than create one of our own.--Dallan 18:20, 22 September 2008 (EDT)

Ditto-Clipboard Extension [22 September 2008]

I don't think that I have posted information about this program on the Watercooler before. The program is very useful; especially for me since I am spoiled by the clipboard features available in Legacy.

The program is free. Access the download here.



Ditto is an extension to the standard windows clipboard. It saves each item placed on the clipboard allowing you access to any of those items at a later time. Ditto allows you to save any type of information that can be put on the clipboard, text, images, html, custom formats, .....--Beth 23:11, 22 September 2008 (EDT)

Watched pages [24 September 2008]

I am so excited as finally I have two cousins who have joined WeRelate, AND have adopted the appropriate tree I have online, AND they are collaborating. It is a dream come true! OK, so now I have this "new" problem.

As I find more information, Say.. John Doe had NO wife or kids entered when my cousins adopted the tree. Now I find more info and add the wife and kids. I find that the wife and kids are now "not" being watched by the two cousins, so they don't know anything when I even find more and add a second generation to the original John Doe. So I have write to them and have them go in and manually open each of the new kids and click edit in FTE and click on "add this person to the tree." Is it unreasonable to somehow have new people pages within an adopted tree, added to the my collaborating cousin's watchlist automatically? --Msscarlet1957 20:11, 23 September 2008 (EDT)

Fantastic. But it does not work that way. If you trust them you can allow them to use your user name and password and then you would not have to notify the cousins about new pages. --Beth 20:18, 23 September 2008 (EDT)

I think though if your cousins are watching John Doe and then you add a spouse to him, your cousins should get a message that changes were made to the John Doe page. When they look at what has changed, they should see something like Propagating changes to a family member and then they can see the newly added page and choose to "watch" it. I think this is how it works. I don't have my preferences set to receive email when changes are made so I'm not sure about notification, but when I look at my Watchlist, I see this kind of change all the time.

And btw, congrats on the new collaboration! :)

--Ronni 20:34, 23 September 2008 (EDT)

I agree with Ronni's comment -- your cousins should get an email about the Family page being changed, and when they view the changed page they can decide if they want to watch the newly-added pages. Having them use your user name and password could also work, but then they wouldn't get email notifications since the emails would all go to you.

The issue with their needing to also add the pages to their adopted tree is a pain I agree. For reasons like this I want to get rid of the notion of "trees" later this year and instead display the FTE window on every Person and Family page. I think this will make things simpler. I could also provide an option to "watch every page that user X watches", but that's lower in priority for now.--Dallan 00:23, 24 September 2008 (EDT)

Both cousins already have their own user name and password. and the whole idea of collaboration is for us to get emails when any of us makes changes. so having them use my password would mute the whole collaboration concept for me.

The option to "watch every page that user X watches" would not be good, in my humble opinion, as I am watching all pages from my other trees, which have no connection what so ever to the folks in the tree which the two cousins are collaborating on, thus that action would add a bunch of pages they don't need to be getting emails about when updated.

Let me ask, if they just go to the page and click "watch" in the upper right hand corner, does that do the same thing as when you go up to "edit" and then select "add this page to tree"? I did not think it did, I was thinking that only makes them watch the page, but these newly watched pages would "not" show up in the FTE window. I was thinking that when you go up to "edit" and then select "add this page to tree" -that cause you to watch the page AND to have it added to the adopted tree, thus the new children and spouses will now show up in the FTE window. Do I have that correct? I am attempting to "guide" my cousins, I don't want to get them discouraged, now that I finally have someone willing to Collaborate!! --Msscarlet1957 09:41, 24 September 2008 (EDT)

What you want to ask them to do is click on "Tree +" in the upper right corner. This is the same as clicking on "Edit" and then "Add this page to tree". If they do this the page will be added to their tree so it will show up in the FTE, and it will also be added to their watchlist, so they'll get notified about changes. (And I agree it's confusing right now - hopefully it will get streamlined before the end of the year. And congrats on your collaboration!--Dallan 15:05, 24 September 2008 (EDT)

Search sources by subject and availability [24 September 2008]

You can now search sources by subject and availability. Just click on Search in the main menu, then on WeRelate, then click "Sources" on the left-hand side. Try entering a place and clicking on Search. All of the sources that cover that place are listed, and you get a list of the number of sources for each subject along with a list of the number of sources that are online websites, microfilms viewable at a family history center, etc. on the left. And thanks to the people who are reviewing the online sources, we should have a lot more websites categorized by early next year, which should make this source search engine a very useful function!--Dallan 15:05, 24 September 2008 (EDT)

Finding duplicates [24 September 2008]

There is a new "Find duplicates" menu option under the "More" menu in the uper right corner of Person and Family pages. This is the first half of the upcoming Merge function. Even though the actual "Merge" part is not yet implemented, I thought that this "compare" part might be useful for those who are trying to find duplicate person and family pages. If you're interested, please check it out. Here's an example family page that has a duplicate family: Family:Daniel Phillips and Ella Grey (1).--Dallan 15:05, 24 September 2008 (EDT)

This is great! This is so much easier than having multiple browser pages open side-by-side and trying to compare. I also like the colors to help differentiate the fields that are identical and those that differ. The option of being able to merge family and children all at once will save a lot of time. Can't wait!--JBS66 15:43, 24 September 2008 (EDT)

Multi-Part Surnames [29 September 2008]

Is there a particular convention when creating a title for person pages for someone with a surname such as de la Croix? I have seen it filed under Croix (de la), LaCroix (de), La Croix (de), Delacroix, and de la Croix. It may also make a difference that these person pages are for individuals from 1600-1700 France where their surname was associated with the location they lived in. I know that I could put just part of the surname (such as Croix) into the title, and then add the (de la) into the surname field after the page is named.--JBS66 15:22, 24 September 2008 (EDT)

I don't know what the genealogical convention would be, but if you were to write it as "Delacroix" or "de la croix" in the surname field, then it would be found in searches for "delacroix" or "de la croix" or even "de lacroix" (the variations are interchangable). Whatever you decide, I'd keep the page title and the main surname the same. You could put variations if you wanted as alternate surnames.

So, can I add additional info/names into the other fields (given, title prefix/suffix) of the primary name line, or does that first name line need to remain identical to the title? Regarding dit names such as Ballard dit Latour - should the dit name be put into the Title suffix field?--JBS66 14:15, 26 September 2008 (EDT)

The first name doesn't have to remain identical to the title. In fact it won't be if you add a middle name. Regarding dit names, I would put "Ballard dit Latour" all into the Surname field. The title prefix/suffix isn't currently indexed by the search engine. This could be changed, but currently I assume that the title prefix/suffix fields generally contain things that aren't very useful for searching like Dr., III, Sr, Capt., etc. If you enter "Ballard dit Latour" in the surname field, then it will be found for searches on "Ballard", "Latour" and "Ballard dit Latour".--Dallan 18:22, 26 September 2008 (EDT)
In the example Person:Archange Brien Dit Desrochers (1), Brien dit Desrochers is placed in the surname field. I can return it when I search for Brien or ditDesrochers (without a space), but not when searching for Desrochers. It still concatenates the dit with the following name. I know that in BMD records, you may find this person as Archange Brien, Archange Desrochers, or Archange Brien dit Desrochers. I would caution against removing the term 'dit' from the field, as dit is used in the actual records. I can see where putting it in the Title Suffix field isn't such a good idea! Maybe one solution would be to add another line in the alternate name pull-down menu for dit name. However, I'm really not trying to be too picky here, but I would like to see it all together as Brien dit Desrochers for greatest accuracy. I do want to thank you for your responses on this. I just want to make sure that when doing my edits & renamings that it's done correctly.--JBS66 09:23, 27 September 2008 (EDT)
"dit" looks like a case where the less-than-four-letters rule fails. I'll make an exception for dit and index dit as a separate word. Then you'll be able to find Archange's page by searching for Brien, Desrochers, or Brien dit Desrochers. Thanks for pointing it out.--Dallan 22:57, 27 September 2008 (EDT)

One additional comment: if you write it as "de la croix", then it currently won't be found by searches for the surname "croix", since "de la croix" gets indexed as a single word "delacroix". I did this so that names like "Mc Williams" did not get returned for searches on "Williams". I could possibly change this behavior though.--Dallan 00:06, 25 September 2008 (EDT)

Well that is interesting, I never put a space in my "Mc" names. or any multi-part names. For example, I would enter that name as McWilliams. At familysearch.com I am "pretty sure" that is how they do it to for their indexes. --Msscarlet1957 08:00, 25 September 2008 (EDT)

I've seen names like this written both ways, so when indexing surnames the system combines words less than four characters long together (so for example "Mc Williams" becomes "McWilliams", "de la Croix" becomes "Delacroix", "O'Hara" becomes "Ohara", and "Van Den Berg" becomes "VanDenBerg". This seemed like the most straightforward way to handle them.--Dallan 14:27, 25 September 2008 (EDT)

I went to Wikipedia, and wanted to see what a search for de la Hoya would look like. I could pull up Oscar de la Hoya with searches for de la Hoya, la Hoya, or just Hoya. My opinion - I would think that WeRelate searches could benefit from this same approach. I can't, however, speak for how it would effect people with surnames of other origins such as Scottish, Germanic...--JBS66 14:15, 26 September 2008 (EDT)

Yes, but you can't find "De la hoya" in Wikipedia if you search for "De LaHoya" or "Delahoya". That's the problem I was trying to solve, since it seemed to me that the more common problem is for certain surnames to be written sometimes with embedded spaces or apostrophes and sometimes not. I could possibly add returning "De la hoya" also on searches for "Hoya" (I don't know how important this is - comments?), but searches for "Hoya" still wouldn't find "Delahoya".--Dallan 18:22, 26 September 2008 (EDT)

The "dit" names bug has been fixed; i.e., the surname "Brien dit Desrochers" is indexed as three separate words and can be found by searching "Brien", "Desrochers" or "Brien dit Desrochers". Newly-added/edited pages are being indexed correctly, but existing pages need to be re-indexed, which should be complete in 2-3 days. Unfortunately this means that "dit" names will not be searchable during the next 2-3 days until they get reindexed.--Dallan 13:05, 29 September 2008 (EDT)

Naming conventions [4 October 2008]

The above thread on Multi-part surnames brings up additional naming questions. What about names such as Jean Baptiste or Marie Madeleine? It was a common custom in Quebec to name boys/girls Joseph/Marie in addition to another first name. For me, it would be helpful to distinguish exactly which Marie we're talking about in a family. PRDH states "It is difficult to distinguish true double first names – those written with a hyphen – from juxtaposed first names, which could be used separately. In the PRDH, we circumvented this problem by separating all first names into their elements. Thus, the PRDH treats the name Jean-Baptiste as two names, Jean and Baptiste, and name searches in the data base can be made according to either one." [11]. So, following the convention in the above thread, if a page is titled Marie Madeleine, will it not be found by searches for Madeleine?

Next thought, what about names such as Francois or Etienne? I'm not well versed in French, but from what I can see in source documents, it is more accurate that these names be spelled François and Étienne. How does this affect searches/merging functions and is there a proper convention?--JBS66 07:58, 25 September 2008 (EDT)

I also noticed that when searching and sorting by title, Étienne appears at the end - after the names that begin with Z. Also, a search for Francois does not bring up any François entries. I guess either the program would have to recognize that c and ç are interchangeable, or that it wouldn't allow titles with those characters (automatically changing É to E and c to ç). --JBS66 08:20, 25 September 2008 (EDT)

Hyphenated given names are indexed separately. So a name "Jean-Baptiste" should match a search for "Jean-Baptiste", "Jean Baptiste", "Jean" or "Baptiste". The only time the system combines name words is in surnames if the word is less than four characters long. All other name words can be searched individually.

Accented characters are supposed to be treated the same as unaccented characters in searches, but it looks like they're not. I'll have to fix that. Thank-you for pointing that out!--Dallan 14:27, 25 September 2008 (EDT)

Two questions: 1. Do multiple first names then have to be hyphenated in the First Name field? So, I should be entering Jean-Baptiste as such? In names such as Marie Madeleine, I'm leaning toward including both names in the title instead of just Marie. 2. Does it create a computing problem if there is a page titled François Bourdon (1) and another titled Francois Bourdon (1)?--JBS66 13:03, 26 September 2008 (EDT)

1. No, multiple first names don't have to be hyphenated in the first name field. If you enter "Jean-Baptiste" or "Jean Baptiste" it's indexed the same and returned for searches on "Jean", "Baptiste", or "Jean Baptiste".

2. No, there's not a computing problem. The system treats the titles as different titles. The real problem is getting the system to treat accented characters similar to unaccented ones - so that searches for Francois return people named François. (I thought I had done this, but unfortunately not. I have to fix this and re-index the pages next week.)--Dallan 18:22, 26 September 2008 (EDT)

The accented characters bug has been fixed; i.e., the name Étienne can be found in searches for Etienne (and vice-versa, the name Etienne can be found in searches for Étienne). Newly-added/edited pages are being indexed correctly, but existing pages need to be re-indexed, which should be complete in 2-3 days. Unfortunately this means that names with accented characters will not be searchable during the next 2-3 days until they get reindexed.

At present, when you choose to sort search results alphabetically by title I'm still sorting Étienne after Z at the end of the alphabet. Technically É sorts after Z, and this is the order you get if you ever use "Browse Pages" in the "Admin" menu. But I could make an exception to sorting by title in search results so that accented characters sort the same as if they were unaccented. Comments?--Dallan 13:05, 29 September 2008 (EDT)

If you mean 'technically' in a computer sense, then the browse pages are certainly sorting according to the character's ASCII code (in order: À(0192) - Á(0193) - Â(0194)...). Technically in terms of how each nationality would sort those proper names is another matter. I was able to find an overview of the problems here http://www.rostra.dk/alphabet/alpha_en.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collating_sequence. I think the browser pages sort order of: Francois - Frank - François is confusing. Person:Francois Despres (2) and Person:François Després (2) are the same person, but they are sorted apart. From what I am able to deduce, French accented characters are sorted as their similar letter without the accent. Not sure what to do when faced with the Danish Æ. Bottom line, when a single character has an identical English counterpart, I would like to see them sorted together. Currently, WeRelate does not have too many names with characters, but I believe this will change. I'm curious, why would search results be sorted any differently than the Browse pages?--JBS66 08:25, 30 September 2008 (EDT)

I stand corrected. I've seen accented characters sort at the end (after Z) so often that I didn't realize accented characters are generally supposed to sort the same as or just after their unaccented counterparts in most languages. I'll change title sorting in search results so that accented characters sort the same as their unaccented counterparts as you suggest. Also, special characters like Æ and ß will sort as "ae" and "ss". This will make names like Francois and François sort together. I see from the articles you've referenced that sorting accented and unaccented characters that same isn't the correct thing to do for all languages (e.g., in Swedish Å, Ä, and Ö are supposed to sort at the end after Z), but always sorting accented and unaccented characters the same is straightfoward to implement and to explain, and it's at least close to the correct sort order most of the time.

I'm also going to start ignoring case differences in sorting, so that "Van Der Walt" sorts the same as "Van der Walt", which it does not presently.

In order to make these changes I need to make sorting by title unavailable for the next two days while the pages get re-indexed.

The reason that "Browse pages" gives a different sort order is that in "Browse pages", page titles have to appear in the order that the database sorts them, whereas in search results I can change the order.--Dallan 13:21, 1 October 2008 (EDT)

Sorting by title is working again. Accented characters are now sorted the same as their unaccented counterparts.--Dallan 00:44, 4 October 2008 (EDT)

Dallan, thanks for all your efforts on the sorting issues this week. I really like the way your changes improve the search functionality.--JBS66 17:11, 4 October 2008 (EDT)

Place names for the Indian Territory in Oklahoma [2 July 2017]

I am researching families who lived in the Chickasaw Nation in the Indian Territory now in present day Oklahoma. My preference for the redirected name is Place:Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, Oklahoma, United States but this name has now been redirected to Place:Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma, United States by the bot, I think.

Opinions on this please? I suppose Indian Territory and Oklahoma are repetitive. so I guess maybe the present method is appropriate.

For towns and counties, one example is Pontotoc; I assume that I would enter Pontotoc, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, United States and then redirect to Pontotoc, Johnston, Oklahoma, United States. --Beth 08:42, 28 September 2008 (EDT)

It was by the bot last year, I think because we didn't have a place called "Place:Indian Territory, Oklahoma, United States", so it put Chickasaw Nation directly under Oklahoma.

I'm not an expert in Native American places; was there a place called "Indian Territory" that was located within Oklahoma? If so, then creating a "Place:Indian Territory, Oklahoma, United States" would make sense, and we could "unredirect" Place:Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, Oklahoma, United States.

Alternatively, if the Indian Territory referred to a larger region that encompassed several present-day states, then perhaps creating a Place:Indian Territory, United States directly subordinate to the United States would make more sense (I see there is already a place by this name)? In this case maybe we'd want to have a place called Place:Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, United States and redirect Place:Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, Oklahoma, United States and Place:Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma, United States to this place?--Dallan 13:05, 29 September 2008 (EDT)

Hi Dallan, I only know about the Indian Territory that is in present day Oklahoma. These nations were moved by the U.S. government from several Southern States. See this article on Wikipedia: [12]. It seems from this article that possibly part of the Indian territory was in Arkansas but by an unknown date all of the Indian Territory was in present day Oklahoma. In 1890 half of present day Oklahama was called the Oklahoma Territory and the other half Indian Territory.

There is a helpful table here [13]; however it is incomplete. From this table you can use the Enumeration District from the census data to determine the present day county in Oklahoma for the completed sections. I think that there is only one other user who is linked to these places; so I am fine with any decision. Just need a decision for consistency. Perhaps there is a user who has more knowledge on this subject.

There were five nations: Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole. At some date some of the Western Indians also had Reservations created in Oklahoma; the Apaches were one. --Beth 07:45, 30 September 2008 (EDT)

After reading the Wikipedia article, I'd recommend using the Place:Indian Territory, United States, since it appears that the Indian Territory started out encompassing land outside of Oklahoma. Also, when Oklahoma attained statehood the Indian Territory was abolished, so although it was part of Oklahoma territory it was never part of the state of Oklahoma. I'd redirect the existing place "Place:Indian Territory, Oklahoma, United States" to this place.

I'd also create a place Place:Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, United States (which looks like it's already been created), and redirect the existing places Place:Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, Oklahoma, United States and Place:Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma, United States to this place.

For towns like Place:Pontotoc, Johnston, Oklahoma, United States, you could add "Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, United States" as an also-located-in place to Pontotoc, so that events in Pontotoc show up in searches for Chickasaw Nation. If you also wanted "Pontotoc, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, United States" to appear in place drop-down lists, then also create a Place:Pontotoc, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, United States that redirects to Place:Pontotoc, Johnston, Oklahoma, United States.

--Dallan 14:49, 1 October 2008 (EDT)

Thanks; I have changed all the places correctly I hope. --Beth 20:30, 1 October 2008 (EDT)

Maintenance: Removed links to non-existent page to remove it from the Wanted pages list. --cos1776 19:40, 2 July 2017 (UTC)

How about Indian names? [5 October 2008]

Speaking of name conventions.. and then Indian territories, brings to my mind a new problem I have. So far in my genealogy I have only had European ancestors. Suddenly last week I find that a female ancestor was a full blooded Cherokee! YIKES! so how does one enter that? I have at this time no known "given name" or "surname" other than "White Feather" --Kristy 18:24, 1 October 2008 (EDT)

Wow - good question. I know this isn't correct, but "White" as a given name and "Feather" as the surname makes the page title work out.--Dallan 00:44, 4 October 2008 (EDT)

The problem is broader than "just Indian names". There are a number of cultures today where a single name is used to identify a person---no given name, no surname per se---just a single epithet that serves all purposes. This is common enough in the near east as well as the far east where some persons simply go by the single epithet of "Mohammed", etc. Q 20:41, 5 October 2008 (EDT)

Accented Characters and Sources [3 October 2008]

Continuing on the theme of accented characters... I noticed that when I enter a source (in this case, onto a Person Page), the auto fill-in list that is generated from my entry appears to require the exact accented character. Example: if I type in Répertoire I will see a completely different list than if I type Repertoire.--JBS66 08:46, 2 October 2008 (EDT)

I see the same thing happens when I type in a name to choose a new Parent & Siblings Group Page. If I type in Andre a different list is returned than if I type in André.--JBS66 08:51, 2 October 2008 (EDT)

Yes, this is a problem. Treating accented and unaccented characters the same in drop-down lists is more complex than treating them the same in search results. I'd like to postpone trying to treat accented characters in drop-down lists the same as unaccented characters until later next year.--Dallan 00:44, 4 October 2008 (EDT)

Category Pages and 'dit' names in Surname field [3 October 2008]

This question relates to the Category Pages that appear at the bottom of the Person Pages (I hadn't really noticed them until today!). When I put a 'dit' name in the Surname field (such as Langlois dit LaChapelle), WeRelate automatically creates links to category pages Category:Langlois Dit LaChapelle surname and Category:Langlois Dit LaChapelle in Canada (two examples). However, it would be helpful if links could be created for Langlois (or any other surname that appears prior to the word 'dit'). Is this possible?--JBS66 08:37, 3 October 2008 (EDT)

While WeRelate has a very nice feature automatically creating category pages for surnames, you can always create a category to you own specification---eg [[Category:Langloise surname]].Q 20:50, 3 October 2008 (EDT)

Q is right. Also, in the next few months I'm planning to replace the automatically-created surname category pages with links to search results for the surname. I'll handle the dit names specially then. It should be an easy change to make.--Dallan 00:44, 4 October 2008 (EDT)

Merge screen is available for comments [14 October 2008]

I didn't get as much time to work on merging as I had hoped this week, but a merge screen is now available for people to see what it's going to look like. The only thing it doesn't do is actually perform the merges, but you can specify what data elements from each of the to-be-merge pages you want included on the merge target. I'd appreciate any comments that you have. I hope that merging will be implemented by the end of next week.

For an example, visit Family:Daniel Phillips and Ella Grey (1), click on the "More" menu, then on "Find duplicates". Check the first page in the result list (it's a duplicate) and click the "Compare" button. You could check additional pages to compare as well if you like. On the side-by-side comparison screen, check the "Merge" box at the top of the second column and click on the "Merge" button at the bottom of the page. This takes you to the actual merge screen. Here you specify which data elements to include in the merge target. When this screen is fully implemented, there will be another "Merge" button at the bottom of the page that you can click on to actually perform the merge.--Dallan 00:44, 4 October 2008 (EDT)

The merge page is exciting. It would be nice to separate the date and place for merging so that one could merge the date but not the place. What happens when you merge 2 different dates, i.e. the 03 Jun 1844 and 04 Jun 1844? Is one listed as an alternate? Are we dropping the "living children" when merging? Thanks. --Beth 08:48, 9 October 2008 (EDT)

We could separate the place and date for merging, but it would make more boxes to check so I'd like to start with the simpler approach and see if separating dates and places becomes necessary. To answer your questions, if you keep both events then the event from the merging page is included as an alternate. Also, living children aren't dropped when merging.--Dallan 20:58, 14 October 2008 (EDT)

Merging is ready [21 October 2008]

Merging is finally ready! I've spent most of the day testing and I think I've worked all of the bugs out, but if you notice anything strange happening or have further suggestions for improvement, please let me know.--Dallan 20:58, 14 October 2008 (EDT)

Fantastic, Dallan; from Beth in sunny Panama Beach, Florida. Exactly how does one implement it; are you running some type of automatic merging yet? --Beth 21:21, 14 October 2008 (EDT)
So far you have to click on "Find duplicates" from the "More" menu for a family or person page that you think might have duplicates. (I recommend merging families rather than people because when you merge two families you get a chance to merge their spouses and children at the same time.) I'll post a list of family pages with the same title except for the index number in the next day or two. Going through that list should take care of most of the duplicates. Then later this year or early next I'll post some additional tools for finding the remaining duplicates, and I'll change GEDCOM import to require people to review and merge duplicates as part of the upload process.--Dallan 16:36, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

I'm a bit confused on one part of the merging so far.

  • Example: Family:Daniel Leblanc and Françoise Gaudet (1). I want this family to be primary (it has the correct title spelling). So, while in that family page, I choose find duplicates.
  • I click on the first option box Family:Daniel Leblanc and Francoise Gaudet (3). I want to compare this #3 version with my other #1 version.
  • After comparing the pages, I click on merge. At this point, my assumption is the #3 page will be merged into the #1 page. However, the next screen says "Pages will be merged into the one on the right." If this happens, #1 page will be merged into the #3 page. Not quite what I wanted.
  • To remedy this, I could backtrack, go to the #3 page - proceed to the merge screen - and then #3 will merge into #1. However, oftentimes, I would have only just created the #1 page (to correct spelling etc) and it won't show up as a page to compare to until the next indexing.--JBS66 08:20, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

Oh man! I think I just found a bug. Let me apologize upfront JBS. I was going through your example, step by step and was wanting to see how the merge process would work. When I got to the final step, I know I hit cancel, but it didn't cancel, it went ahead and merged the family. Again, I am certain I hit the cancel button. I am so sorry JBS for making matters worse. Dallan, can we unmerge? --Ronni 11:22, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

Ronni, Don't worry about it - really!! There are so many versions of this same family- this inadvertent merge won't hurt anything. I see Dallan has beaten me to unmerging this family :>) I can see where you likely did press the cancel button, but it proceeded ahead anyway. I was on the first of the two merge pages, pressed cancel, and it went ahead to the second merge page. Probably a small glitch in the cancel button - that's what Beta testing is for right?--JBS66 14:10, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

Thanks JBS and I'm so glad Dallan was able to unmerge the pages for you. My heart sank and the look on my face must have been priceless when I saw all those pages merge. :) --Ronni 14:52, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

I see that when I am on the first merge page (after choosing a family to consider merging), if I click on cancel it does come to a cancel screen "No pages to merge. Please use the "back" button on your browser to go back and check the boxes above the pages to merge." However, if I instead click on the merge option-box at the top of the screen, under the family name, and then click the Cancel button, it proceeds ahead to the next screen.--JBS66 14:35, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

I'm the one to apologize. I was so focused on the "merge" button that I completely forgot about the "cancel" button. Pressing cancel did the same thing as pressing merge. I'm sorry about that. I unmerged the pages and implemented "Cancel" :-).

Regarding the merge order, it's currently based upon the order the pages were created. Newer pages merge into older pages. The assumption is that older pages have been around longer so they're more likely to have more people watching them and more likely to have good information. This also keeps newcomers from changing the titles of well-established pages by merging older pages into their pages.

Having said that, the assumption is probably not valid today, so I could allow you to select which page is the merge target, but I'll want to enforce the "newer into older" once the majority of the current merges get done. What do you think?--Dallan 16:36, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

I can see that merging into the more established page is ideal. It would probably be best to keep that theory consistent, rather than allowing users to temporarily select the target page. I keep fumbling with one concept though. Say there are 3 duplicate pages, (3)-->(1)<--(2). But, say the title of (1) isn't quite right - in my case, it's probably because it's missing an accent mark - I'm becoming the queen of accent marks :~) So, I re-title (1) to (1'). Now, there are double-redirects. If I had merged the pages manually, I would have done (3)-->(1'), (2)-->(1') and (1)-->(1'). But, your merge function is so much quicker. I'm sure that I'm over analyzing this - but which is the best way to proceed?--JBS66 08:42, 18 October 2008 (EDT)

I think you're doing it the right way. I can write a program early next year to automatically update the double-redirects to point at the final target.--Dallan 11:05, 21 October 2008 (EDT)

"Celebrity" genealogy pages [23 October 2008]

By celebrity I don't mean Angelina Jolie, though I suppose she would qualify. What I mean is anyone of sufficient note to have a backing wikipedia page.

I've recently expanded my colonial merge efforts to include our extensive, yet thinly sourced, set of pages on medieval royalty. A few notable pages, King Edward I of England for example, are very good and add something useful. Many other pages however, even after consolidating all the various GEDCOMs that contributed related pages (15 to 20 or more in some cases), wind up devoid of almost any content. Still others contain little more than a quick couple of lines pasted from wikipedia.

The matter of medeival genealogy has been discussed before, and there have been suggestions that it's pretty useless on werelate and ought to be deleted wholesale. I'm sympathetic to that position. My experience however, is that sifting this stuff out for delete is at least as much trouble as just consolidating it and adding an appropriate wikipedia reference - which brings me to my questions about "celebrity" genealogy.

When a person has a wikipedia page that reasonably covers their entire public and private life, perhaps we should defer to that content more or less wholesale. If someone has important scholarship to add they should be encouraged to attempt to add it to the wikipedia page instead of the werealate page. There may be some cases where someone has information, not appropriate for the wikipedia page, that needs to go on a hybrid werelate/wikipedia page. In still others, we may only want to have a wikipedia source reference. Are there constructs that we can use on the werelate page, that could support an automatic extraction - either on the fly or from time to time - of wikipedia content within the body of a werelate page (leaving parent, spouse, and other fact information in the margin for consistency)? In all cases, the werelate "talk" page could remain a place for genealogically centric and werelate-specific discussion.--Jrm03063 10:54, 14 October 2008 (EDT)

Deferring to wikipedia sounds like the right way to go for people who have wikipedia articles. Linking to a wikipedia article is pretty easy, just put "wikipedia" as the namespace: [[wikipedia:article title]]. Copying from a wikipedia is also do-able, although I don't run the program to update the articles as often as I should. Here's how you do it (see most Place pages for examples):

  1. First, create a template to hold the wikipedia text. The title of the template is "Template:Wp-title of the wikipedia article" if you want to copy the introductory text (the text before the first section heading) of an article, or it's "Template:Wp-title of the wikipedia article-section heading" if you want to copy text from a particular section of the article. The first line of the template should be {{copy-wikipedia|title of the wikipedia article}} if you want to copy the introductory text of an article, or {{copy-wikipedia|title of the wikipedia article#section heading}}. The second line of the template should be something like: "<!-- This text is copied from wikipedia. Any changes made will be overwritten during the next update. -->" to warn people not to edit this template. The rest of the template should contain the text from the wikipedia article. Edit the following page to see an example: Template:Wp-Germany. This text will be updated the next time I update all of the wikipedia templates, Which as I say, currently happens only once a year or so.
  2. Second, edit the page you want the wikipedia text included on, and include the template you just created (e.g., {{wp-Germany}}) where you want the wikipedia text to appear. To give proper attribution to wikipedia, you'll also need to include the following: {{wikipedia-notice|title of the wikipedia article}} at the bottom of the page. Include just the article title and omit the section heading in this last template. Edit the following page to see an exmaple: Place:Germany.

That's pretty much it. You'll have to manually copy the text from wikipedia into the template when you initially create the template, but it will get updated automatically in the future.--Dallan 20:58, 14 October 2008 (EDT)

I've taken a swipe at this. Could someone familiar with this process look at Person:Thomas De Holland (5)?--Jrm03063 22:03, 14 October 2008 (EDT)

One more thing - I'm content to let the next refresh (whenver that is) pick up the needed content for a page. Is there any harm in the initial content of the template (after the warning line about overwrite) being a mere searchable string "pending_initial_update_from_wikipedia" (or similar)? The manual copy (fixing the wikipedia links particularly) takes longer than I want to invest in a single individual. I have too much ground to cover, especially if it's going to get taken care of automatically at some point in the future.--Jrm03063 10:28, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

That looks perfect! And yes, you can make the initial content anything you want. I agree that changing all of the links takes a very long time.--Dallan 16:36, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

Dallan, is there still a legal issue with copying Wikipedia biographies? A while back I had to rewrite some articles because WeRelate didn't have the right license.--CTfrog 18:00, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

I thought about that as well. The issue has been that Person and Family pages are dual-licensed under GFDL (the license that Wikipedia uses) and also CC-BY-SA (a newer license with fewer restrictions). The rest of the pages in WeRelate are licensed under GFDL only. Using the approach of putting the wikipedia content in Template pages, and then including template references in the Person and Family pages, it seems like we're in a gray area: the Wikipedia content is copied onto the Template pages, which are licensed under the same license that GFDL uses, but shown on dual-licensed pages. If you edit the Person and Family pages you see the template reference but not the content. I think with the notice at the bottom of the Person/Family page letting people know that the Wikipedia content shown on the page is available under GFDL, we ought to be ok. We're not co-mingling the GFDL-only Wikipedia content with the dual-license WeRelate content, so if someone complains it would be easy to change the notice at the bottom of the page to be clearer about the GFDL-only license of the Wikipedia content shown on the page. (I hadn't thought about using templates when we talked earlier about copying wikipedia text.)--Dallan 16:56, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

Not to pick on JRM, but I thought I'd open this topic in a public forum. When editing pages to add the Wikipedia template, the wikipedia source cite is being removed. It's my understanding that just the text of the article, which may or may not include dates and places, is being inserted. So right now there's no source for the info in the leftcolumn, and later it will only be implied. I'm not a fan.--Amelia 23:52, 22 October 2008 (EDT)

I think you're saying that in addition to the {{wikipedia-notice}} template at the bottom of the page, which is a citation for the text, we should also include a wikipedia source citation for the data elements (birth, death) that we're getting from wikipedia, right? If so, I agree.--Dallan 14:16, 23 October 2008 (EDT)

Considering that the warning template included a link to the article, adding it as a source seemed redundant. On the other hand, I can see where having that as an attached source for events would be highly desireable - especially when we eventually generate GEDCOMs. I'll adjust.--Jrm03063 14:43, 23 October 2008 (EDT)

The little word: "of" [8 November 2008]

Maybe I'm late to this party, but I think we've been treating "of" as a busy-word, instead of a meaningful modifier of a birth place. When I first started sifting through the werelate database, I didn't appreciate why so many early ancestors had a birth place indicated as "of <such and such>". After a while, I've realized that what it really means is that we don't really know where they were born, but we do know where they spent at least some of their early life. So instead of just adding "of" as a part of the place label, I've taken to indicating such places as a Residence with the actual birth place left empty.

Maybe this also means that, when a birth place or date is not known, our werelate pages should insert the first residence with a modifying prefix label "of".--Jrm03063 11:21, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

I kind of prefer leaving it there if it's possible it was the birthplace, as it probably was for a lot of pre-Colonial English, for example. It puts the place somewhere easily viewable, and it's already there. On the other hand, I'm all for moving the ones that say "born 1600 Of Hartford, Connecticut" - clearly impossible and just junk.--Amelia 11:52, 16 October 2008 (EDT)
As more people use WeRelate, I suspect the Family History section will collect documentation on the various movements during a persons life. So it might be more appropriate to provide exactly what is known on the family history page, e.g., received a grant in Salem, MA in 1642, but leave the birth location blank to show it is not known. Obviously just my two cents. --Jrich 12:39, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

I think that what I'm saying is that "of" means that the location is a residence and that the place of birth is unknown.--Jrm03063 14:05, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

Sure, that is a common usage. But I object to institutionalizing this practice for several reasons. First, saying "of Podunk" in the birth field doesn't communicate any of the details about when such residence occurred, if say, it is based on inclusion in a tax list at the age of 25, or based on a deed or however the residence was established. Hence my previous remark that eventually people would be better off documenting a person's lifetime migration, if any, on the family history page. Also, I think it hides the fact that the birth location is not known, and I think it is possible that some people may not understand the distinction of such a "little word". Finally, it seems like it would mess up the linking to the Place namespace. --Jrich 15:33, 16 October 2008 (EDT)
I'm saying that I turn it into a separate residence and empty place of birth, but that I think our page display code, when it finds a person who's location of birth is unknown, but a residence is known, should emit an inactive "of" followed by an active place link for the residence. I don't want to preserve the practice for anything but benign reporting, and I think our GEDCOM interpreter should junk it on the way in (creating a separate residence fact).

I'm planning to modify the person pages to display events in date order, so the residence event would be shown as the first event. I think this is preferable to displaying a fake birth event with the word "Of" before the residence place. I don't have a strong opinion on whether to convert "Of" birth events into residence events. A side-effect of this is that residence events don't get propagated to family pages, so you wouldn't see the person's "Of" birthplace on their parents or spouse-family page. Also, residence events don't show up on search-results pages and aren't as prominent on the pedigree-maps.--Dallan 16:56, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

I really like the idea of sorting the events by date - sort of a little timeline within a page. I think it will provide a useful structure that will avoid certain errors and make other connections between the data more apparent. --Jrich 18:32, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

Maybe I've spent too much time reading old Scottish parish registers, but in old Scottish and English records, that little word "of" has a very specific and important meaning, which is different from what is being suggested here. In those records, you'll see references to people like "Archibald Farquharson of Finzean" or "Alexander Smart in Boghead". The use of "of" and "in" are not haphazard variation, but are precise and significant. "Of" means the person was a "laird" and owned the place, while "in" meant someone who just lived there, e.g., as a tenant farmer. So be careful how you toss around that "little word"! --TomChatt 04:31, 8 November 2008 (EST)

Reminder to nominate pages [16 October 2008]

Just wanted to remind the community that while browsing the WeRelate pages if you see a page that strikes your fancy, impresses your socks off, or just otherwise catches your eye, if you wouldn't care to take a moment to nominate it as a featured page. For our new members, the Featured Page is an article, person, family, place or source page that gets highlighted on the Main Page. While it showcases the time and efforts of our members' contributions, it also provides visitors to the site a quick jump into the heart of WeRelate and hopefully will encourage others to make similar contributions. You can even nominate a page that you've worked on. Don't be shy! :) To nominate a page, simply click Admin in the blue menu bar at the top, then Nominate. Thanks everyone! --Ronni 15:30, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

Probable duplicate families report [16 October 2008]

I've posted a list of probable-duplicate families at WeRelate:Duplicate review. Jrm03063 originally suggested this report, and I finally implemented it. There are about 18,000 duplicate families. If you're interested in helping to merge or delete duplicates, (I hope you are!), please leave a message on the talk page.--Dallan 16:56, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

Page Title for Canada Census Sources [21 October 2008]

I want to suggest an addition to the Help:Source page titles page.

  • 2 Census Records
    • 2.1 Canada
    • 2.2 United States

Under 2.1 Canada, I would add:

The suggested title for Canada's census records is:

  • Country level: Canada. XXXX Census of Canada
  • Province level: Canada, province name. XXXX Census of Canada
    • In the "Places covered by the record set" field, enter: province name, Canada (For example: Québec, Canada)
    • In the "Title" field, enter: XXXX Census of Canada
  • County level: Canada, province name, county name. XXXX Census of Canada
    • In the "Places covered by the record set" field, enter: county name, province name, Canada (For example: Chambly, Québec, Canada)
    • In the "Title" field, enter: XXXX Census of Canada

I am suggesting the term Census of Canada to reflect the terminology used on various Canadian governmental websites. Any objections?--JBS66 11:17, 18 October 2008 (EDT)

Looks good to me. Thanks!--Dallan 11:05, 21 October 2008 (EDT)

All set - I added this to the Help:Source page titles page. Thanks for the OK.--JBS66 11:29, 21 October 2008 (EDT)

mergeing [21 October 2008]

i tried the MERGE page & have wound up with two versions of John Baldwin (21). he was married to two different ladies, Mary Camp & Mary Bruen. now each has a different version of John Baldwin (21). i don't know how to fix this.--Jimlatimer 14:27, 18 October 2008 (EDT)

This is interesting... I start off at Person:John Baldwin (21). Click both of his spouses:

Each of the above family pages shows different summaries on the left of Person:John Baldwin (21). Sorry, don't know how to help here... Dallan?--JBS66 15:35, 18 October 2008 (EDT)

I saw something similar yesterday, and the page was right today, so I think it might have something to do with caching or updating. Just editing the page doesn't seem to work.--Amelia 21:18, 18 October 2008 (EDT)

Yes, I'm sorry about this. There was a bug in merging that I just fixed yesterday: Changes made to the names, birth, and death events weren't getting copied properly to the family pages. It won't happen in the future, but pages that have already been merged are going to continue to show the old names/dates/places for the individual on the family pages. I'll write a program to update them early next year. In the meantime, if you want to see the updated information you can edit the person page, delete a birth/death date (you only have to remove one date, even if multiple things are wrong) and save the page, then re-add the date and save the page again. This will cause the family page to be updated with the correct date.--Dallan 11:05, 21 October 2008 (EDT)

Merging and copyright issues [21 October 2008]

I must say that I know very little about the legalities of Wikipedia and copyright issues. I was reading a few pages at Wikipedia that state "When a cut-and-paste move is done, the page history of an article or talk page can be split among two or more different pages. This is very undesirable, because we need to keep the history with the content for copyright reasons." wikipedia:wikipedia:How_to_fix_cut-and-paste_moves.

  • When I RENAME a page, the page's history is transferred to the newly named page.
  • However, when I use the #REDIRECT function, (I #REDIRECTED Place:Gaspé-Est, Quebec, Canada to Place:Gaspé, Quebec, Canada), the new page does not contain the history of the former page.
  • In using the new merge function, I notice the newly created "unique" page, that was an amalgamation of many people's work, does not include the history of each of the merged pages.

Not sure if this is an issue or not.--JBS66 09:08, 20 October 2008 (EDT)

In principle, you can find your way back to such history. By looking at "More->what links here", you'll find redirection pages. You can force your way onto such pages and then see the history that resides there. It's a bit tortured of course, but history is discoverable if you are determined.--Jrm03063 10:44, 20 October 2008 (EDT)

Are you concerned about wikipedia copyright? We're already duplicating wikipedia on place pages with appropriate tags and so forth.

I was primarily concerned with the wording I came across that "we need to keep the history with the content for copyright reasons." I found the same gist here Wikipedia:How_to_rename_a_page which says "Do not move or rename a page by copying/pasting its content, because doing so destroys the edit history. (The GFDL requires acknowledgement of all contributors, and editors continue to hold copyright on their contributions unless they specifically give up this right. Hence it is required that edit histories be preserved for all major contributions until the normal copyright expires.)" Again, I know very little about this subject, just wanted to it out there for discussion. You may very well be correct that going back to the original page's history is sufficient.--JBS66 15:31, 20 October 2008 (EDT)

In addition to "what links here", there is also a comment in the history listing the pages that were merged into the target. So although it takes a couple of extra clicks, it's possible to see the other contributors. Merging isn't a common activity; I would think that the extra clicks required to see all of the contributors when it happens is acceptable.--Dallan 11:05, 21 October 2008 (EDT)

Merging Messiness [24 October 2008]

I would appreciate opinions from others who have been involved in merging families. I went to merge this family: [14]. At a glance, there appear to be at least 10 families that match. My question is with a possible duplicate like: Person:Abraham Dugas (17). There are a lot of sources on this page, extraneous dates... What would you suggest to avoid creating a mess? Also, what do you do when/if you find obvious errors - like incorrect parents?--JBS66 09:02, 23 October 2008 (EDT)

Wow, the highest number I have merged are families with three matches. Since the "compare" page puts it all in columns, I would guess the page would become quite huge. Dallan, is it possible to break down such a mess into several "small merges" like maybe just begin with merging the first three possible matches.. and then go back and do three more... etc? Or do you think it is easier to tackle all 10 matches at one time? As far as the "wrong" parents goes, I think that once your merge is complete, you click on the finished matched person who had wrong parents. On that person's page will show more than one set of parents. From here you can edit the page to remove the wrong set(s).--Kristy 09:29, 23 October 2008 (EDT)

I've merged up to ten families and, while it does work, you have to be pretty systematic in sorting out the children. Indeed, it is easier, and probably wiser, to break that up into a set of sub-merges where you're less likly to get information overload. I've done that when I had a group of merges where several were obvious duplicates and some others were less clear. I think you can safely rely that the wiki software doesn't care whether you perform a small number of large merges or a larger number of small merges.
I also take the opportunity to junk stuff that I wouldn't keep, were I editing the page by hand, by simply making sure that the corresponding "keep" checkbox is clear for stuff I want to discard. I don't keep duplicate or near duplicate date information, but would suggest that keeping anything that you have doubts about is probably best. --jrm03063

You can't merge more than 10 families at a time. (I didn't expect anyone would want to merge more than that.) I agree with Jrm03063 that breaking it up into several sub-merges first then merging those results, is going to be easier. You can remove the incorrect parents either before or after the merge. Regarding the sources on Person:Abraham Dugas (17), a lot of these just cite Family Tree Maker files. I'd say that if you have a better source, keep the better source and discard these "junk" sources. (I'd keep junk sources only when you don't have a better source just to let people know that something isn't particularly-well sourced.)--Dallan 14:16, 23 October 2008 (EDT)

Thank you all for your ideas! This helps me to come up with a plan on how to tackle these merges. I think merging in sub-groups is very wise. I also like the thought that when I find more appropriate sources, I can delete the "junk" - yeah! Thanks again for your help.--JBS66 10:09, 24 October 2008 (EDT)

Time between page creation and indexing for internal search [25 October 2008]

paraphrased and transferred to Help:FAQ#I just created a page. Why does it not show up in search results? --ceyockey 09:49, 25 October 2008 (EDT)

List of enhancements / bug fixes that are in the pipeline [25 October 2008]

Is there a page here that provides a list of enhancements and bug fixes that are in the pipeline for being addressed? I guess another way of asking this is whether the change control process for the WeRelate system is exposed for general viewing or not? I do understand that where there are only a small number of developers, a formal change control infrastructure can be a lot of overhead with minimal benefit, but I thought I would ask considering this environment is rapidly maturing. Regards, --ceyockey 09:59, 25 October 2008 (EDT)

Yes, that's the master list. I just updated it. The goal is to come out of beta early next year. I hope we'll have the high-priority todo's implemented then.--Dallan 00:41, 26 October 2008 (EDT)

Categories [29 October 2008]

I see there has been some talk at User talk:Dallan about categories. I'm currently reorganizing the places under Québec. I had not considered that I may need to manually add categories. Category:Quebec, Canada is being automatically generated (showing up as red-linked although clicking on it does produce a page).

  1. Do I need to edit Category:Quebec, Canada so that it is a real page?
  2. I see some work has been done on Massachusetts categories, with pages being created for towns and counties. Should I be adding categories for Québec historical counties and towns as well as its current regional county municipality?--JBS66 07:20, 28 October 2008 (EDT)

Let's have this discussion at Help talk:Categories. User:Ceyockey started a discussion there. I haven't responded yet because I've been busy with merging, but I plan to respond tomorrow.--Dallan 00:34, 30 October 2008 (EDT)

Removing the concept of "tree" from WeRelate [31 October 2008]

This discussion has taken on a life of its own so has now been moved to WeRelate talk:The Tree Concept in WeRelate. --Ronni 12:22, 31 October 2008 (EDT)

Quaker Meetings [28 October 2008]

Some of the duplications of dates/places in the families that I have been working on are due to variations in the naming of Quaker meetings, for example: Hopewell, Hopewell MM, Hopewell Monthly Meeting, Hopewell Meeting House. Do we have a standard for dealing with this? If not, I think we need one.--Bevbh 19:44, 28 October 2008 (EDT)

We don't have a standard for this. How about if you propose one here and see what people think?--Dallan 00:34, 30 October 2008 (EDT)

Forum [8 November 2008]

I'm thinking about replacing the watercooler with a forum in the future. Here are three possibilities I've looked into.

  1. Wikia-like forums - shared login, every topic is a wiki page so you can watch it, view a history, edit the entire page, use wiki markup, etc. very simple, basic functionality.
  2. AWC forum - shared login, forum posts use wiki markup, but they are not wiki pages, so you can't watch them or view histories.
  3. phpBB - we could probably implement a shared login, forum looks good, but forum posts do not use wiki markup, are not wiki pages, and searching forum pages is separate from searching the wiki.

Any thoughts?--Dallan 00:34, 30 October 2008 (EDT)

I like the Wikia like forum - #1.--Beth 19:31, 30 October 2008 (EDT)

I'm voting for #1 as well based on features like being able to watch the page, view history, etc. I suspect, however, that folks brand new to the Wiki format would probably prefer either one of the other two. If forum choice #1 was voted down, I would prefer #3 as my second preference.

Seems like I remember a suggestion at one time that we have a separate forum for beginners where they could ask beginner questions without feeling intimidated or out of place. --Ronni 13:19, 2 November 2008 (EST)

We did have a sort of discussion. Thanks for bringing that up. The watercooler should be on #1; where should we locate the newbie forum? We could have a mailing list on Rootsweb. --Beth 19:24, 2 November 2008 (EST)

Personally, I feel that I need to understand a bit more about the various forum features before I can decide which option I like better. Here are some features/differences in forum options. Please feel free to edit this list to add your thoughts!


  • Watching/Notification of new posts
    • phpBB has email notification; wikia would use Watchlists (WeRelate's current method of notification)
    • Visual notice upon visiting the forum page.
      • phpBB forums will indicate which threads have messages that you have not yet read if you are registered.
      • wikia forums also indicate which topics have messages that you have not read, so long as you read the forum from the same computer (they rely upon your browser knowing which links you have visited, and they add the timestamp of the last message to the topic link, so if the topic is updated your browser thinks it's a new link). This is nice in that you don't have to be registered for it to work, but once you visit the topic you're on your own to figure out which messages you haven't read (by using the history screen or the timestamps on the comments).
  • Threading of messages: Wikipedia:Internet_forum#Thread
    • threads are the same as topics; phpBB supports topics; the wikia forums use 1 page per topic (thread).
  • Searching
    • searching phpBB would be separate from searching the wiki; searching wikia forums would be integrated with searching the wiki
  • Opinion Polls: Wikipedia:Internet_forum#Poll
    • phpBB allows opinion polls; wikia forums do not
  • Format of Posts
    • phpBB uses some HTML and their own markup language (e.g., I believe [B]bold[/B] is used for bold); wikia forums use wiki markup
  • Editing: Edit entire page, Edit only your post
    • in phpBB you can edit your own posts or you can add new posts to the end of the page but you cannot edit others posts or add your comments in the middle of the page; in the wikia forums you can edit the entire page, and we could extend them to make it easy to add new comments to the end of the page.



  • What is the thought in replacing only the Watercooler? Wouldn't a forum (whichever format is chosen) work well for discussion pages in general (such as WeRelate talk:Source review or any WeRelate_talk page)?
  • Could a beginners' forum exist on WeRelate's site? I'm wondering why we would want to put it at RootsWeb.--JBS66 09:37, 3 November 2008 (EST)

I am not a forum export. If you narrow the choices down to 2 forums, then I can vote. I assume that one would be able to access all of the WeRelate forums from one page. One login should be available for all forums. One should be notified of new topics via email. You should have the ability to watch the entire forum and be notified of any changes. Ease of use and readability should be considered.

The reason I through out the idea of having the beginners' forum on Rootsweb was to eliminate the confusion that may arise from 2 forums i.e. which forum should I use for this question; hopefully one would not post the same question on both. Personally I have no objection to the present Watercooler.--Beth 07:34, 4 November 2008 (EST)

If we used a forum for the watercooler, I'm thinking that we would use it also for other high-traffic discussion pages like WeRelate talk:Source review. A rootsweb mailing list for newbie discussions seems like a good idea, but I requested a mailing list for WeRelate a few months ago and was turned down (I asked why but did not get a reply).

I think the question boils down to phpBB vs the wikia forums. I just updated the features list above with the differences. After thinking about it and reading the above responses, here's what I would like to vote on:

  1. Keep using the current talk pages for the current discussions, but create a phpBB forum on WeRelate for newbie questions (under the assumption that editing the watercooler is intimidating for new users, which I believe it is). Don't try to tie the two registration systems together (you would have to register separately for the phpBB forum), but allow people to post to the phpBB forum without needing to register. You would need to register on the forum only if you wanted to be notified of changes to certain topics. This is a very quick solution - 1-2 days' work.
  2. Use phpBB for all high-traffic discussion pages and also for newbie questions. If we do this, I think it would be worth it to tie the two registration systems together so you wouldn't have to register twice. But you would still search the phpBB forums separately than the rest of WeRelate. This option is probably 3-4 days' work.
  3. Use wikia forums for the high-traffic discussion pages and for newbie questions. This option is more work (5-6 days) since wikia doesn't make their forum software available and I would have to re-invent it. But it's definitely do-able and worth it if it makes the website easier to use.

If you want to try using phpBB to see how you like it, feel free to try this forum. You can add whatever posts you want. I'll delete all of the posts at the end of next week.

Would people please vote on this?--Dallan 14:28, 7 November 2008 (EST)

Dick Eastman created the EOGN Discussion Forum in October. Check out its functions at [16]. Why not ask if a sub-forum for WeRelate could set up within the EOGN Forum? --Bgwiehle 13:42, 8 November 2008 (EST)

Searching for places [7 November 2008]

When you search for a place on WeRelate you should search for the place in the state or country. Searching for the place Benevola located in Pickens had no matches, but searching for Benevola in Alabama or Benevola in the United States shows matches for the community of Benevola.--Beth 07:07, 2 November 2008 (EST)

I think there is a problem with the place: West Virginia, United States page here: [[17]]. This page has all the info historical info plus some links to sites of genealogical interest. But the category on the bottom of the page is Place: West Virginia, United States in red - as if this page hadn't been created yet. When I click on that red link it takes me to a page that says it is just a stub; but the info there is a list of pages that connect to place: West Virginia, United States. This doesn't seem right, but I don't the correct way to fix it since it already has info on the page.

--Janiejac 09:26, 2 November 2008 (EST)

Hi Janie, Thanks for the heads up about West Virginia; I fixed it; now you see a nice blue link. The category page did not have the category in the text field. Go to Place:West Virginia, United States; select the category and note that I added [[Category:United States|West Virginia]] in the text field on the edit page. That gives one the blue link. --Beth 10:06, 3 November 2008 (EST)

Beth, thanks for pointing out the bug about not being able to search for Benevola in Pickens. I'll fix that later today.

Janiejac, Category pages are a little different than "normal" pages: they show up as red links even if there are pages in the category. You can turn the red link into a blue link by clicking on the red link and clicking "Edit" to create the category page. You can put any text in the category page that you want.--Dallan 14:28, 7 November 2008 (EST)

FAQ needed on page length [7 November 2008]

We need a FAQ on page length, i.e., maximum length (if there is one), tips on how to organize a lengthy page, can sub-pages be created? etc. Would someone have time to put together a Help page on this topic? --Ronni 13:06, 2 November 2008 (EST) -- Hi Ronni, you know that I don't no much about this topic. I only have the answers from you and Dallan. I am not quite sure under what conditions you would want to have a second page. I would not recommend moving the sources or images that are cited on the first page to another page. Perhaps you could have a gallery of images on another page or a transcription of a lengthy document. I am a visual person; could someone show examples of additional pages. Exactly how would you divide the page? --Beth 07:41, 4 November 2008 (EST)

I havn't yet seen a page where length alone was such an issue that it would suggest breaking up the page. As to what the software can handle, I've created some absolutely monstrous pages using the output of scripts (I collected my watch list into a file and then turned it into a table that I dropped in a page for purposes of finding duplication). I just don't think anyone is going to hit it, whatever it is.

On the other hand, if you have a real interest in someone, and lots of biographical material, perhaps the right thing to do is to create it as an article/short biography page. Then, the "person" page can remain a fairly tight encyclopedia-type entry that references the article as a source.

I've also considered breaking up some pages that were associated with my own family members, where the body narrative contains lots of my own personal recollections. That material probably belongs in a secondary article "recollections of Jrm03063....", rather than being embedded on the person page.--Jrm03063 09:29, 4 November 2008 (EST)

Personally, I would not suggest breaking your recollections off to another page. Rather, leave them integrated and source them to your personal recollections. I would argue that more is gained from integration of disparate information quality types than in keeping information compartmentalized by source. --ceyockey 20:18, 4 November 2008 (EST)

I see Ronni has created a FAQ entry on page length. Solveig will update it today. The bottom line is that the software handles pretty long pages fairly well -- this watercooler page sometimes has over 500,000 characters in it when I archive old topics -- so I don't think you have to break up long pages, but if you want to, I suggest that you create an article for the content and link to the article. Articles can have "subpages" (pages whose titles start with the article title followed by a slash; e.g., "Article title/subpage title"), so you can further break up the content of the article by breaking it up into subpages.--Dallan 14:28, 7 November 2008 (EST)

Dallan, could you make it so we have an automatic link to the article and by the way I never get email messages about changes to the watercooler or your talk page anymore. The reason I don't trust relying on notification of changes via email on my pages. --Beth 20:19, 7 November 2008 (EST)

Compare options unexpectedly missing [7 November 2008]

For the person, Person:William Taillefer (3), I've got a boatload of parent pages and spouses. How come the "more" pull-down isn't giving me compare parents and/or compare spouses? I've seen this sort of thing before, and I don't see a rhyme or reason why sometimes these options don't appear (even though there are duplicates that justify them).--Jrm03063 17:01, 5 November 2008 (EST)

Thank-you! With that example I was finally able to track down and fix the problem. You should always see the compare options now. (The problem happened when one of the duplicate titles contained an apostrophe.)--Dallan 14:28, 7 November 2008 (EST)

Veterans and military service [14 November 2008]

It would be great to have an icon on the person pages of veterans and have categories for service in the various military wars. Not sure exactly how to obtain an icon to use and how to setup the categories.--Beth 19:40, 5 November 2008 (EST)

You could upload an icon as an image, then link to it from the Person page. You could also create an "Army Veteran" template page containing a link to the uploaded icon and also a link to the category, then include the template on the Person page. This would automatically put the person into the corresponding category.--Dallan 14:28, 7 November 2008 (EST)

Okay Dallan, I will have to table this project until much later; maybe we have a military buff who would like to volunteer to set this up???--Beth 20:23, 7 November 2008 (EST)

I can't even find an icon online to use; where are they? I have two brothers whose death certificates say they served in WWI Army Aviation. I don't know the unit or the years of service. Is it okay to setup a category for World War I Army Aviation? If the records are available, some were destroyed in a fire, is there are a charge for them? Does anyone know?--Beth 22:49, 14 November 2008 (EST)

Scoring used by searching [9 November 2008]

I am adding people. I like the Find/Add screen, especially the way it uses the birth and death date I put as search criteria to populate the new page created when I decide to Add a new page.

However, because of the way the results are sorted, I get penalized for providing so much data. I get better results if I type in just the name.

I recently did a search for a uncommon name of which there was only one in the system so far. On the Find/Add screen I had entered a complete birth and death, and that one entry matching the name I asked for sorted several down in the list. I almost didn't scroll down far enough to notice it.

The problem seems to be that really insignificant data matches, like the town they were born in, gets weighted equally or almost equally with the name. This is very non-intuitive. In my case, there were many cousins of the same surname born in the same town, and many of them sorted before the one whose name matched exactly, even ones of the wrong sex.

I understand that names can be mispelled, either by me or the existing page, so there needs to be some kind of fuzzy matching allowed. That said, I would envision a more intuitive ordering that places more emphasis on name and birthdate , i.e., something like:

  • exact name matches to come first, then ordered by proximity to the birthdate I provided, then by some scoring
  • then surname name with same first initial matches ordered as above
  • then surname only matches ordered as above
  • then the rest ordered as above

Blue sky idea (probably not realistic): allows a user preference to set the desired ordering.

--Jrich 09:53, 6 November 2008 (EST)

Yes, I need to tweak the weights on the searching a bit. I'll add that to the todo list. In the meantime, the following approach doesn't work in all cases, but it will allow you to increase the search weights at least for exact-matching given and surnames: Follow the name with "^2". This sets "weight" of the search term to 2 instead of the default value of 1. For example, enter John^2 and Smith^2 in the given and surname fields to weight those fields higher than dates and places. You can use this trick with different weights on the name and keywords fields, but it probably won't work on dates or places.--Dallan 14:28, 7 November 2008 (EST)

The '^2' trick worked fine for sorting, but unfortunately when I hit add because there were no matches, the '^2' got put into the person's given name and also the page title. So I guess I need to remember to change the name fields before I push add if I want to use this feature. --Jrich 11:42, 8 November 2008 (EST)
Even if you change the fields the '^2' is still entered into the name and page title. I assume you must change the fields and select find/add again to eliminate this problem.--Beth 09:42, 9 November 2008 (EST)

Privacy issues; Living people and social security numbers of deceased [9 November 2008]

There is a pre-existing conversation on this topic found at WeRelate talk:Living people, which accompanies the policy page WeRelate:Living people. I suggest that this thread be moved to WeRelate talk:Living people. The section above, "Active discussions taking place at other pages", could be extended to include the subsequent off-page discussion. --ceyockey 17:50, 8 November 2008 (EST)

Discussion has been moved. Thanks.--Beth 09:54, 9 November 2008 (EST)

I need some clarification on living people. On WeRelate I know that people are considered living if they were born 110 years ago unless one can establish a death date; but what information may be entered? I have chosen not to name the person Living Jones; I usually enter the sex, birth date and place in the text section on the family page - no name. Is this okay?

What about death certificates that name living people or obituaries?

Another question regarding social security numbers for the deceased; because of complaints on other sites about entering one's social security I have not entered the number although it is readily available on free sites. Do y'all have any opinions on this issue? --Beth 20:33, 7 November 2008 (EST)

The way that I got around the issue of including a person's SS# on a page was to link to the SSDI at FamilySearch (example Person:Mary Botnick (1)). I figured that I wasn't actually putting in the number, but was just linking to the site that did provide that information, and I'm completely comfortable with that.--JBS66 08:41, 8 November 2008 (EST)

Just SSN topic — This is a good discussion point. I've wondered about the negative consequences of exposing the SSN of the deceased and have not gotten any concrete information on what those negative consequences might be. Could those be related here without bean stuffing going on? On the topic of best practice, I have put SSN information in here, but I haven't felt very comfortable doing so. I do plan to remove SSN content from my contributions because of this personal feeling of discomfort. About linking to SSDI, one can link to SSDI records without using the SSN with about the same level of specificity ... at least in the cast of the SSDI hosted by Rootsweb; I have described how to do that at Repository:Rootsweb Social Security Death Index (SSDI). Similar use of URL-delivered parameters would likely be possible for other SSDI mirrors. --ceyockey 09:28, 8 November 2008 (EST)

What Links Here [18 November 2008]

Is there a bit of code that can be used to create a list of "what links here" articles". I'd like to incorporate such a list directly into certain articles. (Yes, I know you can get it from the pulldown menu, but for various reasons, that's not the best route for my purposes). Q 08:28, 8 November 2008 (EST)

how about Special:Whatlinkshere/WeRelate talk:Watercooler? That's the closest thing I can come up with.--Dallan 00:12, 19 November 2008 (EST)

Renaming Images [18 November 2008]

I was uploading some images and clashed on the file name Marriage License. I thought - "well, duh". I wonder who did that? Of course, it was me. I had also cleverly used the name Family Picture. I wanted to fix this by going in and renaming my images to something better qualified, but found there was no menu choice to rename images. Is this a mistake? Is there a reason images can't be renamed? If so, could my poorly named pages be administratively renamed to "Black Becker Marriage License" and "Hyde Butt Family Picture"?

Unfortunately there's no way to rename pictures. I'm hoping that a future version of the mediawiki software will allow this. If not, I'll add it to the WeRelate:ToDo List.--Dallan 00:12, 19 November 2008 (EST)

Latitude and longitude for Board Church Cemetery, Comanche County, Texas [11 November 2008]


Need some help finding the latitude and longitude for the above location. If you find it please explain how you found the L-L.--Beth 20:44, 10 November 2008 (EST)

Check out http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txlndmrk/comanche.htm which not only has an answer (315322N 0982808W), it also explains how to get it. I think its the right answer. It is the location of Board Church, so if the cemetery is by the church, then it's right. I got there by Googling "Board Church Cemetery Comanche County latitude"--Srblac 20:58, 10 November 2008 (EST)

Hi thanks, I found that also but it would be an assumption on my part that Board Church cemetery is by the church; I have no idea. --Beth 21:08, 10 November 2008 (EST)

If you can locate what you're trying to find on a map or a satellite image, you can use [18]. Locate to the thing you're looking for, zoom in and use satellite imagery or whatever. Put the cross hairs on whatever it is and you'll have the lat/long numbers in the box on the lower right-hand box of the display.--Jrm03063 21:43, 10 November 2008 (EST)

I found a Board Branch cemetery, Llano Co., Texas and that is the only match with the word "Board" in all of Texas at the GNIS Website. Narrowing it down a bit more, to just Comanche Co. shows only one cemetery in that county with the word "church" in it's title, and that is Rock Church cemetery. I realize it is not what you want, but at least it narrows down a place "not" to look. --Kristy 00:13, 11 November 2008 (EST)

Thanks everyone; I cannot find it either, so I will just leave the lat/long blank.--Beth 08:06, 11 November 2008 (EST)

You might try reaching out to the public library for that area...--Jrm03063 09:59, 11 November 2008 (EST)

My Family Tree is Gone [11 November 2008]

I haven't been on for awhile, but I went to look something up on my FTE. I used to have 3 or 4 trees on their and now none are listed. I'm not sure where they went or why, or what I can do about it. --Brannon 10:37, 11 November 2008 (EST)

Nevermind, it miraculously shows up now. Sorry to waste space. You can delete this. --Brannon 10:39, 11 November 2008 (EST)

Parishes and Villages - one in the same? [15 November 2008]

I'm currently reorganizing the places in Place:Quebec, Canada, and I'm running into a situation where I could use opinions. There are many instances where there was a parish established, like Saint-Liboire (est. in 1856). Then, a village would break off from the parish, and be named the same thing - Saint-Liboire (village, est. 1919). This remains until ~1990, when they merged to form the municipality of - you guessed it - Saint-Liboire. In gazetteers, many maps, FHLC... they are listed solely as Saint-Liboire, with no distinction between the parish and the village. I have, however, seen where census pages will differentiate. My instinct is there should be only one page for these places, instead of creating Saint-Liboire (parish), and Saint-Liboire (village). I think it would be less confusing. I could then put in the text, Saint-Liboire was a parish and a village in the county of..., and indicate both in the type field. Any thoughts, objections, expert wisdom???--JBS66 17:58, 11 November 2008 (EST)

Isn't there a basic ambiguity in this namespace anyway? Basically we are applying a 2-dimensional item (town name-latitude and longitude) over a 3-dimensional space (town plus time). For example, there is one place where the Vermont-Massachusetts border shifted by 40 miles. What was once Massachusetts is now Vermont. So what it is called now, and what it was called then are different. In other words, what the name meant then and what the name meant today is all different. What county it was in then, what county it is in now, what county the records are stored in? Can the description field be used to solve some of your questions? --Jrich 22:35, 11 November 2008 (EST)

I agree that when a single location changes over time, that could be reflected in the page's description field. In this case, there were 2 entities co-existing. I think it might be similar to Scotland, where the parish of Place:Kingsbarns, Fife, Scotland contains the village of Place:Kingsbarns, Kingsbarns, Fife, Scotland. However, would it simply be said that a person was from Kingsbarns, without differentiating between the parish and the village? I have no knowledge about Scottish genealogy, but I would suspect the system is similar to what I'm facing in Québec. Many of the resources say a person is simply from Saint-Liboire, there are only a few cases where it distinguishes between the parish and the village. I want to create a consistent system of naming for Québec, without adding confusion.--JBS66 15:02, 15 November 2008 (EST)

Actually I was referring to the description field following the birth, death location. For a baptism, I have used this field to name the church, for example. That might be one approach.
There is some ambiguity in this discussion about whether the parish is a source or a location. I suspect the organization of parishes may not fit nicely inside the country-province-district-town hierarchy used by the place namespace. Somewhere there might be a single parish that includes parts of two or more governmental places? So, indicating the location maybe refers to the governmental entity whereas the parish is the source of the records being used? --Jrich 17:57, 15 November 2008 (EST)

In Scotland we have gone with the village and parish as separate entities, with the village located within the parish. Scottish parishes were also used as governmental entities, so early civil registration and censuses are listed by parish. A parish might also include more than one village or town. I don't know if the system in Quebec is similar. --Lauren 21:10, 15 November 2008 (EST)

If there's a way to mess up, I seem to find it!! [1 January 2009]

Yesterday I created a family page for David Jackson and Mary Morrison here: http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Family:David_