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
Overall1762.75 out of 52.75 out of 52.75 out of 52.75 out of 52.75 out of 5 2.75
2017192.96 out of 52.96 out of 52.96 out of 52.96 out of 52.96 out of 5 2.96
2016272.51 out of 52.51 out of 52.51 out of 52.51 out of 52.51 out of 5 2.51
Earlier1302.75 out of 52.75 out of 52.75 out of 52.75 out of 52.75 out of 5 2.75

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

WikiTree Review by cantfindwan,  Jul 21, 2017

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

This site is not intuitive. It is garbled and messy. The theory is good, but fails miserably. I took a few runs at it, and abandoned it. Its a Wikijoke.

Biggest Pro: theory
Biggest Con: execution

WikiTree Review by Julie Ricketts,  Jul 3, 2017

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

The description above isn’t wholly accurate. First of all, you don’t have to be invited by a family member. The website is open to anyone who wants to join. It’s free for everyone. If you don’t want to join, you can still use the site for reference, and you will have the ability to ask and answer questions in the forum, G2G.

By volunteering to be WikiTree Genealogist, you agree that you will follow the Honor Code (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Special:Honor_Code), which is how we manage to work successfully in a collaborative environment.

WikiTree is built to have one profile per person. In other words, it’s a shared tree, and we work together to make that tree as accurate as we can. It’s quite different from other websites where you have your tree, and I have my tree, and never the two shall meet.

The site is community-driven and managed by a group of volunteer leaders. It has a very small, part-time staff who handle administrative and technical issues. The policies that govern the website are developed by the active members of the community.

You will not find a more courteous and active community anywhere else. Members are eager to welcome newcomers and go out of their way to help them learn how to use the website, and many of the members enjoy helping people with their genealogy. Our members are also very protective of the nature of the community, and they are quick to correct people who come in with misunderstandings about how the website works.

Some of the unique features of the site include:
* A volunteer group of Mentors who work with individuals who are struggling with one aspect or another of the site.
* Projects that encompass everything from One Name Studies to Military and Wars to European Aristocrats, just to name a few. Members of these projects work together to properly document the related profiles.
* Challenges that encourage people to work together toward a common goal, e.g., Saturday Sourcing Spring, Spring Clean-a-Thon (focused on correcting errors in the database), Sourcerers (monthly challenge to source profiles)
* Procedures to manage conflicts that might arise between members.
* Profile-level privacy settings that allow you to set a separate privacy level for each profile that you manage
* Trusted Lists that allow you to share information on private profiles with close family members or others who share an interest.
* Watchlists that help you monitor changes to profiles you manage or for which you’re on the Trusted List.
* It’s free.

The WikiTree community is vibrant, involved, and fun. I can’t imagine doing genealogy any other way now.

Full disclosure: I recently became one of the small, part-time staff employed by WikiTree. My review would have been the same if that was not the case. I’ve been a member since 2011.

Biggest Pro: One shared tree
Biggest Con: Collaborative genealogy isn’t for everyone

WikiTree Review by Edward Antonio King,  Jun 29, 2017

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

I joined in February and have experienced few problems. I concur with Lynette. Hard, honest efforts will gain you rewards and advancement. What people need to understand, before joining, is that, once you enter information, you are donating it. There have been problems recently with new members who add their family trees and, though they have ancestors in common with other members, they attempt to keep “their family ” separate. If one of their ancestors is, for example, Archibald Woods, these separatists create a profile for Archibald, ignoring the fact that he already exists and the rule is, one profile per individual. In my four months on Wikitree, I’ve made genuine friends. My expertise in early American history has been recognized, appreciated and rewarded.
There are many educated, experienced, researchers working who gladly give their time to helping others with accurate data. Individual profiles must have documentation of the information in them. It isn’t acceptable to attach a child to the grandson of Pocahontas unless you can prove he is related to her and to you.
This is a community. There are, at times, disagreements. There is a team of moderators to negotiate between quarrelsome individuals. Those who can not understand the rules and continue to violate them are admonished and if their behavior is egregious, may have their membership terminated.
If your intent is to have “your tree” separate and apart, choose another site.

Biggest Pro: Good people
Biggest Con: Bad people

WikiTree Review by Lynette,  Jun 27, 2017

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

I’ve read through several of the complaints of Wikitree. Most are from people who just don’t understand the concept of Wikitree.

First, it is a wiki. It was not intended to be a clone of any high $$$ paid subscription sites, where there are numerous trees all repeating the same correct or incorrect data.

2nd. Its premise is a ONE TREE. One profile per person. As people leave the paid subscription sites, and attempt to bring their trees with them, there are bound to be duplicates. These duplicates of interrupt the continuity of that ONE TREE. Of Jamestown and Plymouth Rock colonies, only about one third of the colonists survived. Of this small handful of people, there are about 25 million descendants in the USA today. So yes, if you join and put your tree in, there are going to be people who share your linage.

3. Privacy Profiles can be marked as Private, this is mandatory for Living People. The person and those on the Trust List can see those marked Private. But for someone else just looking, it shows as Private. The name name appear in an Index search but there will be a color coded dot that shows the status of the person. If the name with a red dot is clicked on, nothing can be seen in the profile. If you are that worried about privacy, don’t add living people. I only added my daughter and her children at her request. She is old enough to make that decision. I have not added my living relatives.

4. Difficult to use. Yes, there is a learning curve to using Wikitree. It does take patience.

5. Sourcing. ANY family researcher worth their salt is going to source. “This is what I found and this is how I found it.” Try joining one of the Societies without proving your linage. Write a college paper without citations. You will fail. Why should genealogy be any different?

6. Erroneous Information. How long have researchers been fighting erroneous information? But it keeps popping up as gospel. We have all made mistakes in our research and there are numerous books of family trees out there that also contain errors. The genealogies prepared by Gustave Anjou still lives and his style of genealogy still lives. (Don’t believe me, check some of the trees at those costly sites.) So tell me, how do we fight that? See #5 above.

7. Collaboration. This seems to be a foreign concept to those who have posted before me who have complained.

8. Your data is not yours once you enter it. OK, I have to be very blunt here… Did you not read the Terms of Service before you joined? Try removing your data from those paid sites? You can’t do it there either. And you have to pay them for that honor!

9. Account suspended. Well, there are several ways to get suspended. One is willful destruction of profiles. Another is not responding to someone who messages you repeatedly. Or not being active on the site for a extended period. And, yes, having a bad attitude worse then mine will get you suspended.

10. “It’s MY familiy!” Yes, it is. And after a certain period in time, its OUR family. I would actually love to see more descendants of my 2nd ggps on. But cousins have found me from my work at Wikitree. The only way it can be YOUR family alone, is if each generation only had ONE child. And we know that didn’t happen very often.

And Yes, I joined Wikitree because someone had my family line up. And they had people in it that didn’t belong. The biggest error other then that was the (relationship to me) 4th ggf was b. after his son. I have yet to figure that one out. But lets just say newby error. And after several attempts to contact the then profile manager who never responded to me, I reported him as an unresponsive manager. I also adopted several of his other profiles and worked with an arborist to merge several duplicates. I disconnected the son who was posted on an uncle and posted the research I had found on him, his mother and step-father. He’s still fatherless, sorry to say.

11. Bad Merges. Do they happen? YES. Can they be corrected? YES. not as easily, but they can be fixed. And it does take both profile managers to approve the merge. One can reject the merge with reason. I have rejected several merge proposals due to not enough data to validate the merge.

12. They are going to sell your research. Hmmm…. are they? Proof of that? Or just conspiracy mania. Oh! Did anyone complain when Broderbund did it? I also have a whole collection from Ancestry. Ooops. So if you don’t want your genealogy published, don’t do it on the internet. Frankly, I’m doing it on the internet because I want to make sure they have mine correct.

So are you ready to change your mind on how internet genealogy should be handled or do you want to stay in a rut just to prove your Royal descent, which is totally meaningless, because there are probably more people then can be counted who descend from John of Gaunt and Katherine Swinford.

Biggest Pro: Its free. ts a wiki. Its a collaboration.
Biggest Con: Learning curve.

WikiTree Review by Voltaire,  Jun 9, 2017

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

It’s free and truly collaborative. Aims to have be one single tree rather than the commercial online offerings where you find a collection of individual trees and you need to subscribe to collaborate.

Biggest Pro: Collaboration
Biggest Con: Slow to make updates and changes

WikiTree Review by Jethrude Hipolito,  May 30, 2017

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

Its great, maybe the reason why they give out bad reviews is because they don’t actually know how to use it. It is really one of the best out there, once you get the hang of it.

Biggest Pro: Its Free
Biggest Con: A little bit difficult to navigate

WikiTree Review by A-ole,  May 14, 2017

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

this webs site is bogus. there is no privacy only the illusion of privacy. anyone with a certain type of rewards badge can go into your personal data and not only view but alter it as well. having different levels of privacy is only for show. then when you bring this to Chris’ attention you get blocked out of your own profiles private and everything else you contribute. I have a written e-mail wanting me to sign off my rights to my private files on this site.

Biggest Pro: nothing
Biggest Con: Privacy, lack of communication, altering profiles without contacting the contributor, mass file cleanings.

WikiTree Review by Jesse,  May 7, 2017

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

Truly an awful site. Time consuming, ridiculous requirements for stating sources, terrible layout, there’s not a lot of good with this trash. I can’t use it because of a complete lack of cooperation between careless profile managers.

Biggest Pro: None
Biggest Con: Everything

WikiTree Review by Patricia Prickett Hickin,  Apr 25, 2017

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

Wikitree does take some getting used to, but I love and think it is by far the best genealogy website around. The focus is on the individual person and the format is highly flexible — you can include really log biographies; you can illustrate them profusely; you can document your information; you can write little side essays and link to them in a variety of ways.

It is collaborative so you have the advantage of other people’s input. You get to “meet” other people who are working on the same families and you can collaborate with them.

There is lots of help available thru the “G2G” Forum and questions are answered really quickly.

Biggest Pro: It’s unlimited, collaborative, flexible; info is easy to document and illustrate.
Biggest Con: Takes a while to learn your way around, but worth it!!

WikiTree Review by Beryl Meehan,  Apr 11, 2017

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

You have taken the best of my data and now you block me. Complaints to mentors or arborists are not dealt with. So your game is to take the best data people have and then block them.
Someone below charge that 1/4 of the Wiktree data is fiction, after my experience with another member this past month and all her duplicate and erroneous data I’m out, banned for complaining about her guess work.

Biggest Pro: seemed great idea at the time
Biggest Con: accepting gedcom data without real sources, rude behaviour of some mentors with who, you have had previously no contact

WikiTree Review by Ken,  Mar 30, 2017

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

This site has helped me learn a lot when compared to the other sites. I find the vast majority of the people on the forums to be very helpful. I do belong to several other Genealogical Websites and find that each has its own merits, but WikiTree seems to have the best interaction amongst members. I really like the relationship finder that allows you to see where you fit into your family tree, and where things may be a bit questionable. DNA Information is great also.
The biggest problem I’ve run across is that sometimes those with a highly scientific backgrounds have difficulty in understanding simple concepts. Sometimes folks are just looking for a simple answer and end up getting three pages worth of stuff they may not understand.

Biggest Pro: Interaction with others and the Relationship Finder
Biggest Con: Too many locked profiles or unresponsive profile managers

WikiTree Review by Laura Bozzay,  Mar 30, 2017

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

No site is perfect But the majority of the people I have had the pleasure (and I DO MEAN PLEASURE) of interacting with have been passionate, caring, and decent and KNOWLEDGEABLE. You can go to many very expensive pay sites and find trees that are so badly sourced they are laughable (I found one where in the 1700s they had two men married because the name for one appeared to the untrained to be female (Christian is female in Scotland and England but male in Germany).

On WikiTree active people seem to care about accuracy and we even try to fix errors where other sites don’t even want to know they have errors.

I have seen people disagree on some issues but I have not seen out right bullying. Can it occur? Sure but I think other WikiTreers will call out the person acting as a bully. Disagreement is good the best answer is probably somewhere in the middle.

The staff listens. They may take a while to act because they are balancing resources which anyone who has ever run a company or a non-profit knows is not easy to do. You will never please everyone.

Does WikiTree have some issues… sure but so do all sites. Are they worse than other sites? Well do you want a free site that allows everyone to participate especially those on fixed or smaller incomes instead of catering only to the rich? Or do you want a site you have to pay for and you may get a bit faster response but you will also not get the cross spectrum of users sharing their gene pool. So for me, it is no worse than other sites and in many ways better!

For me, WikiTree is a great asset and while there may be problems like unresponsive or inactive PMs, it is in my opinion something that is part of growing pains and part of an open Wiki philosophy. Can some tweaks be made to solve it, yes but I like the fact that the staff is listening and evaluating the best course of action. That is what caring staff do…

This is not a bad system it is not intuitive because that takes more money, but if you take a few hours you can learn it. Any new system requires some learning to use it properly. It needs you to volunteer and help make it better. It has processes for you to do that!

Biggest Pro: Requires sources, has active members looking for errors to make trees more accurate, FREE site
Biggest Con: Requires a little bit of learning to get the hang of it, but they provide mentors to help

WikiTree Review by Grizel McDowell,  Mar 25, 2017

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

There is talk of removing the public/privacy setting which gives the public access to information but unless one is on the trusted list changes can not be made. The privacy levels as they are are one of the things credible genealogical bloggers have praised about the site;

“”The WikiTree site is easy to use, easy to understand and most importantly, it ‘gets’ concepts that are important to its users such as privacy.”
— Thomas MacEntee, from a review on GeneaBloggers”

“”[Y]ou can find many online sites for publishing your genealogy information but not all of them provide privacy controls. … WikiTree incorporates a ‘Trusted List’ system to customize the access you give to distant relatives. Each person, place, or thing listed in WikiTree has its own Trusted List. Similar to ‘Friends Lists’ on social networking sites, each user on a Trusted List has to be individually approved by the person who uploaded the information.”
— Dick Eastman, from a review in Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter”

There is no longer point in putting effort into wikitree unless you are comfortable placing the profiles of your ancestors into the hands of randoms and know-it-alls.

Sadly too it is not as claimed “the friendliest site on the web”. There is a bully culture alive and well on wikitree.

My advice, don’t go there.

Biggest Pro: It’s vision
Biggest Con: It’s reality

WikiTree Review by Dennis Stewart,  Mar 16, 2017

3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

I’m a genealogist and member of the Jamestown Society. I’ve been studying pedigrees on
wikitree for the last 2 and a half years. I was able to prove that, at least from my study,
that about one quarter of wikitree genealogies are total fabrications. I suspect mostly people
creating false pedigrees in order to connect to some historic icon. Too many contributors do
not abide by honor code. For them wikitree is a “toy” to try to deceive subscribers. I even had
some research done in England to prove that certain wikitree project managers are complete liars.
—Dennis Stewart

Biggest Pro: Quick access to family trees
Biggest Con: Wikitree is infested with “Ancestor Collectors”, down right dishonest people !

WikiTree Review by Sam,  Mar 2, 2017

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

Your kidding right? The biggest joke for genealogy on the net. Just a bunch of novice people changing profiles that they themselves never researched. The owner Whitten seriously needs to wake up and see the mess this Web site he made has created. Security is a joke. You can do a search and every name within wiki displayed. Whitten will be charged one day for lack of privacy control.

Biggest Con: Privacy control and glorified amateur research groups

WikiTree Review by Marg,  Feb 27, 2017

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

wow. what a joke this wikitree.com is. nothing is private, despite what the owner of this site Chris Whitten says. team leaders go into private files and alter name spellings without notifying you about it. like they are that person that they are changing the names spelling in the profile.. what the F%$^? how can anyone trust a web site that allows anyone into privatized files. I now have to contact my family of the private files that were violated to check their credit reports because some jerk can not stay out of the private files. but also the joke is on them. for every file that was violated their are now 2 false files in my listings. deal with that jerks!

Biggest Pro: nothing
Biggest Con: privacy

WikiTree Review by Amanda Hancox,  Feb 19, 2017

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

I am very happy with this database - specifically because it is open (free) and records are linked (all one big family tree)- i.e. if you add a record for a person and that name already exists in someone’s tree it will ask you to check if it is the same person. Thus avoiding duplicates and enabling you to connect with a relatives’ tree.

I been able to share all sorts of information with ‘new’ relatives and add information to their record and have them add to mine.

As well, there is plenty of room to add material - documents, photos, etc. Also reference citation is required which is terrific.

Biggest Pro: All trees are inter-connected
Biggest Con: navigation between records isn’t particularly intuitive.

WikiTree Review by Michael,  Feb 17, 2017

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

When I first started with wikitree.com it was ok. People actual worked and spoken with one another. Now I feel this Web site is the biggest joke for genealogy. No one reads profiles before they merge them, and if you try contacting the wiki team members you get brushed off or locked out of your files. Their privacy settings are a joke. No one respects them.

Biggest Pro: nothing
Biggest Con: privacy not respected, Web site is just glorified I.D. theft

WikiTree Review by LisaC,  Jan 7, 2017

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

It gets as high a rating as it does for what it taught me, and what it brought me–and those lessons and that gift would have had me rate it a five only a week ago. First, the positive. I had added to my tree on Ancestry.com with every hint, not thinking of the quality of the source–to the point it had me tracing my paternal line to Eleanor of Aquitaine and beyond! Because I took seriously their idea each profile should be sourced, and because through WikiTree I learned of FamilySearch.com, I climbed each branch of my tree and tested each thoroughly and found a lot of rotten wood. I thought that lesson invaluable and one I wouldn’t have learned if I had blithely continued to use Ancestry alone. Second, I found a sister I never knew I had! Her mother had married my father before he met my mother. She knew of a brother (I hadn’t–we’re still looking) but not a sister. She found the profile I’d put up of our father with his pictures and through that found me.

The bad. There was a lot of free-floating junk that came in with the GED import, some of which I had learned didn’t connect to my tree and connected no where else. I took my responsibility for those profiles seriously and didn’t want to leave them there with all this GED junk. I saw advice in one of their forums how to get rid of it since they have no mechanism to delete profiles. So I merged profiles that should have never been on my tree, that connected to no one else’s tree, and that no one had worked on but me. Took me not even an hour. I then get an email that my account is now blocked because of my “destructive merging” No warning. I sent an email back apologizing if I had caused any problems to anyone but myself. No answer back, and I’ve realized I may never get one. I can’t even edit my own profile now–and I just got my new sister all excited and she joined. If we still didn’t have a brother out there, I’d have told them to put it–well, you know. As it is, I groveled. But that’s months of work I now have no control over. I’ve seen this again and again with these kinds of groups. It attracts self-righteous busybodies quite willing and able to control your work. I simply can’t recommend anyone investing their time here given my experience. No wonder they have so many orphaned files! Also, half my heritage is Puerto Rican. I started closing down the privacy settings for those profiles when someone who hadn’t looked at the sources, didn’t know Spanish or Spanish surname customs changed the genders on me. Bottom line is–even if this gets resolved? I don’t trust them. And I don’t think anyone else should either.

Biggest Pro: Teaching a Newbie the Value of Sourcing; Great “cousin bait” if you’re looking for family
Biggest Con: You can be cut off from your own profiles, your own family tree, your own pictures, without warning

WikiTree Review by William,  Dec 28, 2016

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

Very good, very simple and intuitive.

Biggest Pro: intuitive

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