WikiTree

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by Chris Whitten
The Worldwide Family Tree Wiki. Unlike many wikis the content is not completely open and public. Copyrights are kept by the contributors. Content is kept private through a unique “Trusted List” system that enables you to select the individuals you want to collaborate with and the specific content you want to share with them. This flexible system means everyone can be on one worldwide family tree but privacy isn’t sacrificed. Gedcom import is supported.

WikiTree is free but new members must be invited by a family member or fellow genealogist and must understand the Honor Code and mission before contributing.

Free • Online • Full Featured
http://www.wikitree.com
Overall772.95 out of 52.95 out of 52.95 out of 52.95 out of 52.95 out of 5 2.95
2014282.64 out of 52.64 out of 52.64 out of 52.64 out of 52.64 out of 5 2.64
2013153.25 out of 53.25 out of 53.25 out of 53.25 out of 53.25 out of 5 3.25
Earlier343.62 out of 53.62 out of 53.62 out of 53.62 out of 53.62 out of 5 3.62

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77 Reviews of WikiTree     RSS 2.0 RSS     Showing 1 - 20                   Add Your Review

WikiTree Review by John,  1 day ago

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

If you choose to upload anything to Wikitree beware that you cannot delete a gedcom and can lose access to even edit the profiles you uploaded. This is a huge deal for those that upload research notes and whatnot, especially. I know genealogist’s who have damaged relationships with research collaborators because they lost access to even delete the info they put up. If this is not an issue for you then go for it. As far as content it is like any other online tree service, rife with errors that compound daily. The website is also very messily laid out and not that intuitive or slick. Great place for internet genealogists who aren’t serious and don’t know really what they’re doing to help expand the mass of junk genealogy that is prevalent on the web. Serious researchers should mostly just dismiss the site. It has very little value.

Biggest Pro: Doesn’t cause cancer
Biggest Con: Can’t delete gedcom, poor layout, promotes erroneous junk genealogy

WikiTree Review by Searcher,  Aug 15, 2014

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

I believe that there is a great possibility for the success of Wiki Tree. This free site, which encourages documentation of genealogy data. When I read negative reviews, I am amazed. Do these Critics not realize that the very things they write of are rampant in commercial sites? Give this endeavor a chance.

Biggest Pro: Encourages documentation, accuracy and qualities you would like in collaborators.
Biggest Con: Some people will lie to connect to ancestors who will give them passage to DAR, SAR, DAC, SAC, etc.

WikiTree Review by Anna,  Jun 30, 2014

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

I was a little dubious 18 months ago when I joined wikitree, I liked the idea of a shared world tree, I liked the idea of a page celebrating every ancestor but I was not sure of the practicality of the site.

It turned out that joining was a big mistake, mainly because you lose control of your research. The trusted list idea only works for living or recently dead people, once you are a few generations back anyone can edit your work without informing you and with no control of accuracy, admittedly they could be improving your work if they have found sources you did not have, but in practice most changes are made without adding a source.

You might get fed up with all the untrained people changing stuff and decide to remove your research before it is altered out of all recognition, but still with your name as contributor, which can make it look like you are the stupid one. You then come across the big problem, you are not allowed to delete your data. There are ways to delete stuff but you need to be more subtle than the software, if you get caught you can be banned from wikitree, then you can no longer correct the mistakes others have made and eventually all your research can be adopted by other users.

There are many other problems that make using the site almost impossible, the search engine is worse than useless, it often misses obvious matches and normally produces lots of incorrect matches, with the added bonus that it often claims there are x matches but I will just show you some of them!

Gedcom import is not that clever, it cannot cope with middle name fields and basically creates a jumbled person profile for you to manually edit, or not, as the most people seem to ignore that. Exporting does support middle names but the name fields are so unconventional that you get a rubbish file back. Considering one of the emphasis points is sources, a gedcom from wikitree comes with no sources or citations, you need to ferret around in the notes to find the sources.

The site has what it calls an honour code, 9 rules to live by. I think 90% of users ignore or forget at least one of these a month, in fact more than half seem to ignore more than half the rules all the time. It seems that more than half the people added to the tree have no sources, another few million only have some other tree listed as source when what they really mean is repository without sources.

In short it is not a genealogy site, it does not follow many, if any, conventionally understood genealogy conventions, it is quite good for standard modern US names but falls down badly with people from other areas or eras. It might work OK as a US family historian site, provided you are happy for your data to be out of your control. It has also turned away from genealogy to the cult of celebrity, apparently the main focus of the site is now to link yourself to some minor US celebrity.

Biggest Pro: almost a good idea
Biggest Con: just about everything about it

WikiTree Review by Rob,  Jun 26, 2014

2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

Any person seriously interested in Genealogy will have spent many valuable hours researching, collecting, documenting and verifying records of theirs and related families. Any system that purports to support that process should respect the intellectual property inherent in an individuals set of records, and ensure that any record amendment process allows all parties to understand, challenge and accept or reject proposed changes. Should the process cause or enable individuals to lose control of, or the rights to their data, then the process is seriously flawed, and anyone who decides to expose their data to that risk will have to face the fact that the cost of services provided ‘for free’ can be much more than you bargained for.

Biggest Pro: The unfulfilled potential for a great service
Biggest Con: Process failures damaging confidence of individuals to participate

WikiTree Review by Kathleen Spence,  May 30, 2014

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

I was really excited to join WikiTree until a couple of days into it. I had to enter mine, then my parents information in order to enter my ancestors going back. Once I got to my great grandfather I had to get permission to add him because someone else “owned” him. I got permission and edited his then tried to move on to his wife, children and siblings but they were locked up too. I couldn’t fix or add anything without permission for each of them. So many things were wrong and I was so frustrated. I had actual documents for those people, which I thought was what they wanted. The lady who “owned” the line had not done the research for them, it came from files of the LDS (which was most likely submitted by my own family, but some was wrong or missing back then). The lady offered to add my info or change things, but I had hundreds of things to add/change and I have the lines going back many generations beyond hers. I don’t mind sharing but I might want to add or change things in the future if I need to. It felt like a pyramid scheme, all the ones at the top grabbing up the info submitted by the newbies and taking it over. This wasn’t for me.

Biggest Pro: It sounded like a good idea.
Biggest Con: No control over your own family information.

WikiTree Review by Alan,  May 24, 2014

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

I was thinking of joining Wikitree but as soon as I read the first review which said other members can change details you have submitted for deceased persons, I will give it a miss. No way will I be a party to that sort of system

Biggest Pro: none
Biggest Con: What I said

WikiTree Review by Bridgette Page,  Apr 15, 2014

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

This site is very difficult to navigate and there is no access to census records, birth certificates, etc. You just look up your relatives and hope someone responds to you. So once you start building your family tree, anyone can come in and change your information on your non-living ancestors whether right or wrong. The “collaboration” is not there, new people just come in and change the information you have input. The “trusted list” only applies to living people, and when you are researching ancestors going back 3 or more generations it doesn’t apply. I find their claim that their content is not completely open or public laughable because a new member came in and in one day altered at least dozen of my records without opposing documentation. And these were silly minor edits, adding a letter to a name, changing a death date by a day, etc. Don’t waste your time. The member that changed all my records did so without being invited, before signing the honor code and after I alerted them that I was being barraged with e-mails from this person to get on my trusted list, access to my private records, etc. So….Don’t put your family or your private history in the hands of WikiTree…

Biggest Pro: none
Biggest Con: poorly managed, too much public access, sets up conflicts with members, NO PRIVACY

WikiTree Review by Laura Scott,  Mar 31, 2014

4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

I love WikiTree. I have doing family history for about 40 years. I have seen the changes brought about by technology. I have my databases (mine, my husband’s & my son’s) up a FamilySearch and Worldconnect. WikiTree is the only one that allows me to build a web page for each ancestor. I see my people/profiles more clearly, now that they are not hidden in a database. I do not recommend the folks upload huge gedcoms because you should monitor each profile and clean it up and dress it up. Add smaller gedcoms each month till you get the biggest part of your database up.

Biggest Pro: The ability to work with other to complete our family tree.
Biggest Con: It is time consuming, especially if you have an additive personality. But I love it@

WikiTree Review by cannae,  Mar 22, 2014

2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

It is entirely “what could be”. But, far too much of it is full of error, speculation and unsupported assertion. If you are “stuck”, it can be a good place to look for clues.

Biggest Pro: Potential
Biggest Con: Too many errors that are far beyond correction.

WikiTree Review by Jen1963,  Mar 18, 2014

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

WikiTree was a great idea back in 2011, and it hints of that potential still. However, of its many projects, many are like social cliques. Some are above the rules and can do what they want, while others are Blocked from access or told to leave for being frustrated with the double standard. It is overly political, heavily to the left. It has, what seems like hundreds of “Supervisors”, most, it seems, with no genealogical experience.The paid members and a couple of “supervisors” have gotten in good and cozy with the owner and can do no wrong, so they go policing around like big brother while forgetting the so-called honour code in their path. The site hasso much potential but it is all thrown out the window because the owner does not hold his team accountable…

Biggest Pro: Potential
Biggest Con: Drama, Big Brother Making Sure You Smile, Cliques

WikiTree Review by Edwin Poor,  Mar 18, 2014

4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

I saw a comment it wasn’t right to change some of the oldest data…….Well some of that has been around for a hundred years or more and it has been discovered to be incorrect and corrected but still hasn’t been removed.
William Beville died 1637 leaving a will (over looked or ignored by Welles.in his William Buell genealogy
Thomas Roberts died in 1644 left a will . Not the one to immigrate. His father’s name has been wrongly given as Thomas but was known for years as John.
Priscilla wife of Mathew Grant of Windsor. Assumed to be Anthony Grey’s daughter who was born 8 years after Mathew Grant’s declaration that his wife’s birth date was 1601 not 1609. Also Priscilla has her birth, marriage and death date on her families church monument. Plus her husbands name. This also questions the accuracy of Mathew’s parentage. Never shown are any documents of any events.
Thomas Roberts above has the assumed wife Rebecca Hilton. No marriage record with any name. No list showing anyone with that name coming to New Hampshire.
The Newberry of CT genealogy a few years ago was found to have a fraudulent changed generation cutting it short significantly.
I know a few more but I’ll stop with those. Point is you can’t lock them because they have been around so long

Biggest Pro: Ease of entry
Biggest Con: Embarressment of showing others their mistakes. And my own by entering name

WikiTree Review by April Dauenhauer,  Mar 18, 2014

Not Rated

Yesterday I merged an ancestor I imported in a GedCom into the same ancestor who was already on WikiTree with a different spelling (which is why I didn’t catch it as a duplicate before importing).

With that one connection of an ancestor born in 1669, my family tree suddenly grew multiple branches going back to the 1400s, the 1200s and even back to Charlemagne.

This is the power of Collaboration, the first article in our Honor Code at WikiTree: 1. We Collaborate. When we share ancestors we work together on the same ancestor profiles.

I spend eight hours a week, minimum, doing volunteer work for the community at WikiTree, and so do thousands of other members. We do this because the leaders of the community have our trust and confidence, and what builds the community benefits all of us as we enlarge our Free, World Wide Tree.

I love the thank you’s I get from other members when a source or a connection I have added benefits their line of research, and I have sent many thank you notes to other members who have improved my tree by what they have added. This is the incredible power of the Internet and people sharing their discoveries on mutual ancestors.

Biggest Pro: The joy of sharing information about my ancestors with other descendants as we all learn from each other.
Biggest Con: The disappointment when someone keeps their sources secret and acts like they have exclusive ownership of a mutual ancestor (rare but is happens).

WikiTree Review by Theodore W. Palmer,  Mar 18, 2014

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

I found Wikitree more than a year ago and was delighted to have a resource that was totally free. I am NOT a modern genealogist and know little about the wonderful technology now available. I inherited information (names, relationships, birth and death dates and sometimes places) for many thousands of relatives from my family that had an interest in genealogy for many generations. Professional genealogists (all (sometimes distant) relatives and many friends) have greatly expanded my information. I am slowly typing in my information as time permits. Despite its lack of accepted modern documentation I very seldom find disagreement with my sources. I have gotten lots of interesting new information from Wikitree. I have found some information farfetched (e.g. the many ancestors of Charlemagne) but any public Wiki cannot avoid receiving mistakes and even rubbish.

I am very disturbed about Harry Maltby and other’s complaints (completely unknown to me until a few minutes ago). Harry and I are distant cousins (previously unknown) and have thus had several useful correspondences.

I am sure administering a genealogical Wiki leads to all sorts of difficulties. Users are not allowed to remove profiles (only merge them) and supervisors should very seldom do so. I am sure some things Harry added which may now be gone were of value to me.

I have a small complaint to mention, not big enough to list as a big con. I generally search for all profiles for people with the same names as those I have entered. I am puzzled by listings that give a name but no (even approximate) date or place or relative. There is no way to figure out whether the person entering this might have been thinking of my relative or definitely was not.

Biggest Pro: Free and comprehensive. Cooperative editing usually works well.
Biggest Con: Difficulty on sometimes agreeing on cooperative editing. Completely unsupported material.

WikiTree Review by Harry Maltby,  Mar 18, 2014

Not Rated

Please do not go on to the site called WikiTree.com. I believe it is following the model (High schools students asked to read) as seen in the series books “The Uglies”, “The Pretties”, “The Specials” and the “The Extras” by author Scott Westerfeld. The number of hits his site gets, the more money and fame the owner get. Unsuspecting amateur naive genealogist are providing data that then he gets to use as a way of enticing you to come and visit. This would be great if it wasn’t for their modifying and upsetting the authors of the data and then blocking any further communications such that they then inherit the data and attempt to sell it out to other unsuspecting amateur genealogist or family members.

WikiTree Review by Harry Maltby,  Mar 18, 2014

Not Rated

Please do not become complicit by “adopting” a profile (especially to merge it with your profile). As far as I can tell, I and other genealogist did not give up our right to our profile data just because we entered it into WikiTree. By them (G+ community) taking, modifying and locking out the true owner of the data, I believe they are performing a type of genocide on our hard earned (what should be thought of as proprietary) data. It is very offense to see my personal profile, my parents, my grandparents and great grandparents listed as being up for adoption with a note at the bottom of: This is an “orphaned” profile — there’s no Profile Manager to watch over it. If you’re a descendant of William Betts or have a special interest in honoring his life, please adopt this profile.” Please do not click on “No Profile Manager [adopt this profile]“

WikiTree Review by Harry Maltby,  Mar 17, 2014

Not Rated

No Chris, I sent this:
Chris,

Several on your team seem to think they can destroy whatever they want so pleas help me delete all of my files. I want them all removed.

Thanks,
Harry

Biggest Pro: none now that you blocked and kicked my IP out of communicating with the site.
Biggest Con: That is what this site is: a “Con” just not sure how or why since we had a great working relationship

*** Moderator note: A reference in this review to someone else’s personal site was deleted on request of that person.

WikiTree Review by Harry Maltby,  Mar 15, 2014

Not Rated

I see that all of my profiles have been put up for adoption. I should have put two and two together in that during these last few months I had been coming upon more and more suggestions that I merge with someone else profile only to find I had to adopt the profile before I could merge the two. Guess this has been happening for quite a while. Stealing is not just limited to tangible things any more. Probably the control of information is becoming a big business and to some extent that is why I had quite working on the Ancestory.com years ago. I did think it right that I freely gave them my family data and then they turned around and were selling it. Not sure where WikiTree is going with this but they definitely have a big piece in the new world of how to impose your presence on others. mhmaltby@hotmail.com is also completely blocked from communicating with them. Very strange. Changes to Profile of Rachel Swartwout
10 March 2014

22:57: Maggie N. edited the Biography for Rachel Swartwout. [Thank Maggie for this]22:57: Maggie N. added Maggie N. as manager for profile of Rachel Swartwout. [Thank Maggie for this]22:44: You edited the Biography for Rachel Swartwout.12:21: Al Adams proposed a merge of Swartwout-47 and Swartwout-232. [Thank Al for this]
30 August 2011

22:17: You imported the data for Rachel Swartwout from Maltby master 08282011.GED

Chris Whitten (chris@wikitree.com)
Add to contacts
3/12/14
To: Harry Maltby
Cc: T. WikiTree

Hi Harry,

I thought you asked to have your account closed. Here is what I read:
“pleas help me delete all of my files. I want them all removed.”

And then later: “I just do not want to deal with this any more.”

Deletions and demands for account closings need to be taken seriously
here. I’m sorry if your intentions were misunderstood.

Now that private profiles have been deleted and your account has been
closed, there is no reversing things. This is why we have so many help
pages and instructions on the topic.

Also, please understand, as a free website we cannot offer a lot of
intensive one-on-one “customer service.” I hardly deal with any of it
personally, so your personal message to me was taken seriously. The
account is now closed.

Chris

Biggest Pro: none
Biggest Con: Interest in genealogy, or helping connection to your Surname, this is not a site for you.

WikiTree Review by Harry Maltby,  Mar 13, 2014

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

Very Sorry I did not look at these reviews before entering 15,000+ profiles of my family. Big mistake in that just as a reviewer stated, I caught one of the staff Maggie jumping into one of my profiles I had just merged with another genealogist and she deleted most if not all of my data relative to the source and background for no reason at all would be deleted. I tried to complain to Chris and suggested that if they were going to delete and/or change my data without my permission I wanted to be allow remove them. I know they had a problem with me because I had a code that they objected to so maybe that is what provided the sore spot. In any case, I no longer can get this computer and email address to communicate with their service. Chris and Maggie are something else! After 100+ years of my family researching and collecting this, he takes it.

Biggest Pro: I have loved this site for 3 years and now all of all of that is erased in an instant.
Biggest Con: Power play or some very devious thinking going on.

WikiTree Review by Ray Jones, Ph.D.,  Mar 1, 2014

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

I am a management professor at the University of Pittsburgh with years of training in academic research, with a personal interest in genealogy (i.e. it is my hobby, not a professional activity).

For this reason, Wikitree has been my go-to site, for the simple reason that it allows me to create profiles on my ancestors that are fully accessible by anyone via Google searches/any internet site. I have created several hundred profiles on the site over the past three years, and have been contacted by a wide range of distant cousins who have found my profiles on internet searches. This has led me to documents and photographs of ancestors that I would not have found otherwise, and the site allows people who find me online to send me messages directly.

Based on what I see on Wikitree, I can also see that this openness has some drawbacks - particularly for people with an interest in the genealogy of famous/historically-significant people. When there are multiple Wikitree users interested in working on a profile (which often happens with royalty or celebrities), collaboration can lead to conflict over the research and issues related to the Wikitree software/process. My ancestors are mostly working-people from Pittsburgh, so this isn’t an issue for me.

All-in-all though, it is an amazing site with a great community of people. If you are a strong communicator and are looking to get serious about your research, the site could be a difference-maker for your work.

Biggest Pro: Incredibly valuable if one wants to share their research and make it accessible online - especially if you are looking to connect with distant relatives
Biggest Con: The site’s collaborative features are more frustrating for people with an interest in the genealogy of historically-significant people

WikiTree Review by Martin Allen,  Feb 28, 2014

Not Rated

For the record, I am not a Wikitree supervisor (see review of Jan 23 2014). I have no official role of any sort on Wikitree, nor do I crave one.

One comment I will add to my previous: Wikitreers come in all sorts and we don’t always agree. That’s the way of the world and it is healthy. I tend to be UK-centric and it probably comes across. Others are US-centric etc. etc. A bit of common sense overcomes any of that.

Vive la différence.

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