Tag - citation

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WikiTree
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Hello, World: first post on new genealogy blog

WikiTree

As you have probably figured out by now, I really like the wiki format. That is to say, I like the MediaWiki software. But it is not the only way to build a wiki. The concept of wiki is simply a collaborative website, frequently one that allows anyone to create an account and add to it. In these days of hackers and spammers that isn’t always practical, but the idea of an easy to use markup language still works, even if it might be too easy for the bad guys to “contribute” their stuff, as I found to my chagrin when I didn’t lock down the wiki on this site.

WikiTree

Anyway, last week I discovered a site called WikiTree, which combines the concept of audience participation or collaboration with family trees. So I spent a couple of days adding some of my own family info to the “world tree” they are building there, and in the process learning how this site works. They have a feature that finds potential matches for people as you add them to the site, and tools to let you merge your own info with that added by others if they have already documented some of the same people. It is possible to simply upload a GEDCOM file if you have one, but I choose to enter each name individually, to avoid duplication errors. At the same time, when I spot a bit of missing data or source citations, I can go off and research that before resuming my data entry.

One of the first things that grabbed me about this site was a match for my great-great-great grandfather, Jane Cattell‘s first husband, Sylvester Hutchinson. Sylvester had been a particular brick wall of mine for many years, not least because he had a cousin with the same name who lived in the same state and born just a year or two apart. Not much family history had been passed down about him since he died when my great-great grandmother was a child, and his widow apparently didn’t talk about him much. A few months ago a cousin and I spent a few weeks chipping away at that wall, and we made a lot of progress, but finding this family online with more details, siblings and citations was very encouraging! At least it confirms that we were on the right track, and now we can link our branches of the family together with what more distant cousins have entered online.

Another aspect of WikiTree that I haven’t been able to take advantage of yet is their inclusion of DNA test results. When 23andme delivers my report, this will be one of the first places I enter the data. There are five or six other cousins on the “other end” of that link who may have some matches for us, in the autosomal genetics if not direct Y-DNA or mtDNA, so I am anxious to see what we come up with.

Have you tried WikiTree? What do you think about it? What about other collaborative online family trees? Let us know your opinions in the comments.

Hello, World: first post on new genealogy blog

There is still a lot of work to do in the background, but the FrayedGenes site is live now. This is about doing genealogy, not necessarily about my own family’s story, although I may use bits and pieces of it from time to time to illustrate a point.

I have been “doing” genealogy and family history research for over 40 years now, learning as I go along as we all do. The first time I found a reference to one of my ancestors in a book at a library, in about 1974, I learned a valuable lesson, in fact. I didn’t write down the citation, and I have yet to find that particular mention in all the years of looking since then. Keep track of your sources, people!

One of my purposes in writing this blog is to help less experienced knowledge seekers with tips, links to research tools, and reviews of things I’ve found useful in my own researching efforts. Since I also have some background in the technology of data archiving and publishing, these topics will be covered from time to time as well.

On this site I plan to take a slightly different approach from a straight blog. In addition to the narrative format afforded by the blogging medium, I will have a wiki where information can be stored in an organized, easier to locate structure.

So, let the fun commence! I’m glad you’re here.

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