I’ve ignored WikiTree for some time, due to my misunderstanding of their “collaborative tree” idea. Now I’ve read up some of their tutorials, I’m starting to like it very much.
First, forget the idea of uploading your tree, and then searching for a tree member who appears in other trees. Yes, you can upload your GEDCOM. But WikiTree is about collaborating, so there’s only one profile page for a person, regardless of how many trees they belong to. So after your upload, WikiTree will produce a list of possible matches. You are expected to go through this list, checking to see if any are true matches. If so, you can ask to have them merged. If you’re sure they are someone new, you tell WikiTree to create a new profile.
Surnames from your GEDCOM are added to your “watchlist”; when another member edits a surname that appears there, you’ll be notified. You can check if it’s someone you’re managing – although only people you’ve added to your “Trusted” list for that profile can make changes.
Privacy is important too; there are several levels of privacy that can be assigned to a profile, with defaults that are put in place depending on factors such as living or dead. Managers can edit these levels.
Now I’ve updated my main website to show some of my WikiTree trees. I had used GRAMPS to generate my site, but I found it more complex than I really wanted, with more information than was wise or necessary.
You can add widgets to your main site or blog, showing various styles of tree, what you’ve been doing recently on WikiTree, or just an image linking to your profile. Only one drawback – my blog is hosted on WordPress.com, and iframes aren’t allowed, so I can’t include them in this blog. They do work on many other blogging platforms though, and if you’re hosting your WordPress blog somewhere else they’ll work OK.
I started my blog on 3 January 2011 to encourage myself not to give up on researches. I’ve had several longish periods of time in 2011 when I haven’t had time to do anything, but it has persuaded me to take up my researches again when time is available. According to the WordPress stats, I did make 52 posts, so an average of one each week is OK.
Sites I started using this year:
http://beta.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/ - browsing and searching is free, seeing the full results needs a subscription. Worth doing the searches, and then if you find anything you can decide on credits or subscription.
http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=easter_family – moved my family trees here. Still getting used to it – you upload your whole GEDCOM each time, and I’ve found duplicates that aren’t in my original GEDCOM. I have searched and found others researching the same families, but no replies to contacts yet.
http://mocavo.co.uk launched the UK version – can’t see a lot of difference to the .com version yet – most results are still from my trees. Again it depends how many people upload their trees. A recent update lets you mark search results as already read, and whether they were relevant to your researches.
http://maps.osi.ie/publicviewer/ - OS maps for Ireland. Set preview (right) to historic, and select “Historic layers”. If your ancestry is Irish, it’s worth taking a look.
http://www.lerwill-life.org.uk/history/devtales.htm Devon History Selection – links to many resources for Devon family history and genealogy.
Joined more groups at Genealogywise – I wish this genealogy networking site was more active, it would be an excellent hub. Take a look if you haven’t visited it yet.
Several contacts have come through this blog and my main website, so if you have the time and don’t already have a blog or site it’s worth considering. If you’re not a techie, using one of the blog providers is easy and free – I use wordpress.com but there are several others.
I’m thinking about watermarking my gallery photos – some have been donated by other family members. I’ve no objection to relatives downloading them, but I wouldn’t be happy about commercial bots harvesting them and using them for profit. I could include a note on the gallery telling any relatives to contact me for unmarked copies.
Collecting information from people who have contacted me and adding it to the main family history site. Thanks Lucy, Jane, Glyn, Dom, Gill, Patricia, Dorothy, Mary, Lynn.
Increasing the gallery. Several people have offered photos.