An Introduction to Collaborative Genealogy, WikiTree – September 19, 2020, 11am-12pm, ISBGFH – International Society for British Genealogy and Family History.
Working your family lines on sites like Ancestry, Geni and Family Search are great ways to move your research forward IF you can find people willing to collaborate with you. One of the biggest complaints about doing just that, collaborating, keeps many from delving into this part of Genealogy.
WikiTree has an answer. WikiTree is where genealogists collaborate and it works. Join Mags as she discusses WikiTree and the many ways to work with other genealogists to find the facts in the ancestor profiles as well as what to do when there is a disagreement on the facts (or lack of facts).
After working with DNA Painter and GEDmatch matches I discovered that 15% of my DNA matches are actively collaborating in genealogy.
Yesterday Roberta Estes wrote a blog about DNA Painter (she Actually has a series on DNA Painter – see below). Reading her latest sent me into a distracted by DNA Painter Day. Thank you Roberta.
I like DNA Painter and have used it to help my with working out information for my work, but today I decided to paint a bit of my own lines:
I opened GEDmatch and went to my one-to-many matches list. Over on the left hand side of my matches is a column with links to GEDCOM’s uploaded to GEDmatch or a WikiTree8 Generation pedigree.
I have used these links many times when doing quick look-ups on how a DNA match might be related to me or clients, are there common surnames? or are there common ancestors? It’s a great way to use what other people have shared to see who you are.
I followed the information in the GEDCOM File or WikiTree Pedigree and connected 12 new DNA matches to 5 of my ancestor couples using DNA Painter. Nice!
I made some obversations
Of the first 222 matches on my list 37 had GEDCOM’s or WikiTree links, three of the GEDCOM’s listed actually had no GEDCOM’s. That leaves a total of 34 total shared family files to go along with the DNA.
From this we can estimate that 15% of the people in my lines are sharing their genealogy. It’s a rough estimate for sure. Is this a good rough estimate for the amount of people who are willing to share their genealogy? It is a very low number.
Email Tennis Example
I have been working with a client to help identify her mother’s birth family. It’s a hard one because her mother was born in 1916. It’s a hard one because the information on the original birth certificate appears to be “made-up”. The first clue here was that the delivery doctor’s surname was given as the child’s middle name.
I have sent out many runs of emails to groups who match this lady (there is a second cousin match with no identifying information who has not answered many attempts to contact them via the testing companies messaging system – oh if they would!). Yesterday I sent another run to 10 matches asking if they would share a tree or pedigree with me. One person answered with asking me to give him her parents names.
I gave him the adoptees story and why I don’t have that information. I sent him to the research for this adoptee listed on her WikiTree profile. He said he would do his own research into her parents, if I could only give him that then he could see if she matched anyone in his tree.
We sent several volleys of emails in this vein and his suggestion I upload the DNA to other sites might help me find an aunt or uncle…no, no aunt or uncle would be alive… Frustration would be a good word to use to describe the volley. The last email I sent was very polite and specific about how sharing genealogy with someone, literally, can help that person find out who they are.
The Little Exercise
I walked through 10% of my total matches on GEDmatch to find shared genealogies and found how many were collaborative Genealogists. The percentage I got was 15%. Is this indicative of Genealogy as a whole?
WikiTree boasts 554,626 collaborative Genealogists. What percentage of all Genealogist’s (from Hobbyists to professionals) is this number?
How do we get the word out to all the DNA testers that there is more to their DNA test than just “What geographic region do their ancestors come from”?
This is our third 72-hour sourcing marathon. The first one in 2016 was lots of fun and together we added sources to over 22,000 profiles. Last year we had almost 500 participants and added sources to over 53,000 profiles!
Our goal is to clear out the Unsourced Profiles category on WikiTree. Although including sources is in our community’s Honor Code, inexperienced genealogists don’t always record them. Sometimes the source is “Aunt Mabel,” as Mags put it. This doesn’t mean the information isn’t worth preserving or sharing. It’s a starting point — information waiting to be confirmed.
Like a marathon, this is a competition, but most participants won’t be serious competitors. Most of us will be doing it for the challenge of sourcing as many profiles as they can, for the mission, and for the fun of it.
We will be hosting live Google Hangouts throughout the weekend to cheer each other on. During every chat we will draw a winner for a door prize. Every participant who is online and adding sources during that time will be eligible.
The party starts Friday morning, September 28, at 8 AM (ET) and runs until Monday, October 1, at 8 AM (ET). (Eastern Daylight Time is GMT -4.) Genealogists from all over the world will be participating at the same time.