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
Overall902.54 out of 52.54 out of 52.54 out of 52.54 out of 52.54 out of 5 2.54
2014412.23 out of 52.23 out of 52.23 out of 52.23 out of 52.23 out of 5 2.23
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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90 Reviews of WikiTree     RSS 2.0 RSS     Showing 1 - 20                   Add Your Review

WikiTree Review by Miss Confederate,  5 days ago

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

This is a response to WHINE WHINE WHINE. I am not a junk genealogist. I have a doctorate in American History. I give wikitree one star because most of the people working there, indeed, many project leaders and supervisors, are junk genealogists. They grab one or two ’sources’ and fight tooth and nail against anyone who challenges their particular interpretation of the information. These people have no degree in any field of history, yet they set themselves up as experts. The area of LAST NAME AT BIRTH is one of particular concern. It has been decreed that every profile must have a SURNAME even if one has to be invented. My particular ancestor on wikitree, thus altered, was born a Strude. A recent debate at wikitree was whether or not to change ALL Strudes there to an alternate spelling that one of the leaders preferred. Strudes and Strouds, descended from a common ancestor were to be Strodes, whether or not that was the surname used by that particular branch. Champernownes and Champernouns have already been changed to Champernon. This is one of the reasons real genealogical researchers snicker when wikitree is mentioned in polite conversation. This response has been written by a researcher for CLAN DOUGLAS and CLAN MCKENZIE.

Biggest Pro: NOTHING
Biggest Con: EVERYTHING

WikiTree Review by Whine, whine, whine.,  6 days ago

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

The negative reviews on here are evidence of the great quantity of terrible genealogy floating around out there. Wikitree strives to create genealogy based on evidence, not the volume with which people shout their ‘truths.’ Some people simply don’t react well to having their construct poked at for veracity - they know best, and they heard something once from their MeeMaw, or “everyone knows that…” There is so much information put out on the internet without any real source, and the bottom line on Wikitree is: show your work, show your evidence. Find another site if you want to strut around proclaiming as absolute truth that Cleopatra was your 15G grandma without it being challenged.

I’ve been using the site for 6 months, and I’ve never encountered an “elder,” (whatever that is supposed to be.) The creator of the site responded to a question I had about the site helpfully and with enthusiasm. Other folks I’ve contacted on the site have been nothing but helpful - we’re all trying to get to the bottom-line evidence for a relationship or specific history.

It ain’t perfect - and if there weren’t so many petulant people giving this one star, I wouldn’t give it five. Collaboration isn’t always easy, particularly with people you don’t know. There are always egos involved, and reconciling conflicts isn’t always straightforward. People still get upset. But generally, it seems like disagreements are honest misunderstandings / mistakes rather than people out to attach someone else’s work. There’s no really good template for people working en masse, collaboratively, on a single family tree, so we’re all figuring it out as we go along, to some degree. The unfortunate thing is that some of the ego-driven people below may be the ones hoarding the family bible that could unlock a mystery. But hopefully some of those items will be digitized at some point by someone so they don’t rot in those folks’ attics.

As to the people that complain that there’s no direct access to census records or other source materials - for the best profiles, people have uploaded that information. If you find a profile without it, but on your big boy/girl pants and find those materials on familysearch or elsewhere and upload it for the next person. That’s called collaboration - it’s a two-way street.

Biggest Pro: The junk genealogists giving this one star aren’t around to make everyone’s life miserable.
Biggest Con: Trying to recruit serious genealogists who are tired of dealing with the junk genealogists on the internet.

WikiTree Review by Disgusted,  Dec 9, 2014

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

The latest thing going on at wikitree is a group of elders leading a program that creates profiles for celebrities - living minor luminaries like Rosie Perez and Britney Spears. These celebrities have not given their permission to be added to wikitree and likely don’t even know of its existence. And this effort is led by several of the leaders, the bosses, who could turn their labors to more useful things. Like many historic figures that languish without sources and proper biographies. This site has become a joke among real genealogists and antiquities researchers.

Biggest Pro: none
Biggest Con: stupidity

WikiTree Review by Judy Davisson,  Dec 4, 2014

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

that happened to me, too. I used to answer questions and one women on the wikitree staff told me to register and join. I responded that I was not inclined to do that and put my family tree, which is quite extensive and part of Clan Douglas where it could be tampered with by people who knew nothing about the Clan. I was very polite in saying this. I have been unable to visit wikitree since then, locked out

Biggest Pro: none
Biggest Con: not nice

WikiTree Review by Miss Confederate,  Dec 4, 2014

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

I’m not a member of wikitree but I do visit the site and read the questions in the forum. Recently, I have answered some questions that have gone unanswered, always with a documented source for the bygone person involved. I thought I’d take a look today only to find I am locked out. Apparently this is done by blocking my computer IP address from accessing the g2g question forum. A big red note comes up that says I need PERMISSION to just read the questions. The members of wikitree who normally answer the g2g questions don’t like the fact that I can find information that they can’t. The powers that be at wikitree tout this site as a big happy cooperative friendly family BUT THEY AREN’T.

Biggest Pro: none
Biggest Con: closed minds and hearts

WikiTree Review by Outsider,  Nov 12, 2014

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

This is a closed society, with a pecking order. Newcomers have limited rights. Don’t think the promises they make will be kept. Your work is scrutinized. The valuable is taken over. You lose control. There are paid administrative staff members who will hop at you for the least thing. There are longtimers, leaders, supervisors whose arrogance is intolerable. The hello sweetie, welcome home doesn’t last long.

Biggest Pro: nothing
Biggest Con: everything

WikiTree Review by kay Rawson,  Nov 8, 2014

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

Been a bit of a nightmare. The first person to merge with my tree was not related and it took ages to clear her out. I was locked out of my own tree several times. When I rejected a merge because it was so wrong I returned two weeks later to find the merge had taken place anyway courtesy of wikibot. What the hell is a wikibot? I have received abusive emails from various wanting me to clean out the multiple repeats of the same ancestor but have been locked out so I can’t even be mildly sarcastic in response. It is a shame as it is easy to use and showed great promise.

Biggest Pro: Ease of use
Biggest Con: Easy to be locked out by others who merge

WikiTree Review by injustice,  Nov 5, 2014

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

Bobby Smith got locked out of Wikitree yesterday. Bobby refused to merge his Major Loggins ancestor with a brand new Major Loggins profile created by a young woman seeking a connection to the historic. The young lady in question had an ancestress named Lucinda. She insisted this was an hitherto unknown daughter of Major Loggins. She had no real proof[birth certificate, named by Major in his will, etc] She insisted that a death notice for Lucinda LEGGINS Evans printed in a church magazine proved her case. Words were exchanged, strong words. The result; all Bobby’s hard work has been taken by others. And little miss I WANNA BE SOMEBODY is in control of a grand family history that she had put no work into and likely has no blood connection with.

Biggest Pro: none
Biggest Con: high handedness

WikiTree Review by no longer such a fan,  Oct 14, 2014

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

WikiTree is a GREAT idea. Only one profile per person, courtesy, collaboration to improve profiles — great idea. The execution, though? Not so much. There is a small group of “leaders” who are exempt from the courtesy and collaboration rules. They feel they can do anything they want to any profile, with or without sources, and if you don’t like it, too bad. Contrary to one review below, this isn’t a case of profile managers claiming “fiefdoms.” It’s a simple request for courtesy, as is required of everyone else on the site.

Until the arrogance of this small group is reined in, WikiTree will never be what it could be. And that’s sad.

Biggest Pro: one profile per person, can work with others on the same profile
Biggest Con: some of the leaders and arborists

WikiTree Review by found on wikitree,  Oct 13, 2014

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

Why would you erase my profile layout?

Why would you tell others to leave this site and go to another (find a grave)?

Why would you add unsourced data?

Why would you erase credit due to wikitree members? Original profile creator? Myself? My Cousins?
AND THE ANSWER GIVEN TO THIS PERSON WAS Who was “there first” does not matter. WikiTree is a collaborative project. We share the same profiles [ answered by Chris Whitten

Biggest Pro: none
Biggest Con: everything

WikiTree Review by from trudy to dale,  Oct 13, 2014

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

I feel your pain, been there had it happen. I personally have a pet profile that is very important to me, that has 2 incorrect sibblings listed causing 100s of wrong relatives , no valid sources. And I have stated my objections to them being in the profile, but I would never detach them or remove the sources. This kind of disrespect is always followed with comments about ” for the good of wikitree” or ” that’s the way crowd sourcing works” . I personally don’t see this site surviving for long if this continues. I too will state on a profile if I am not totally convinced a source is correct. And when I manage a profile I find it to be disrespectful for someone who is not a manager to make sweeping changes. And I get the editing part. REMOVING sources and randomly detaching profiles is wrong. I’m hanging in here , but I’ve gotten to the point where I will remove my self from management of a profile if a certain pm ends up as manager on the same profile. And I’m afraid this pm will get hold of some profiles I check them everyday.I have learned so much from so many people on this site. And I have made mistakes and had people patiently get me on track. But kind of thing is different .

Biggest Pro: none
Biggest Con: the managers, leaders, etc

WikiTree Review by dale,  Oct 13, 2014

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

I am seriously thinking about throwing in the towel on WikiTree because of the “Leaders” I received the following email from a Leader and Profile Improvement member

Hello Mr. Byers, I am deeply sorry for removing the sources you posted on XXXXXXXX profile and marked it “Unsourced”. The profile states your sources are “Suspect and Unproven”. We, here at WikiTree, try to post “Proven” facts. Marking these profiles as Unsourced, allows someone else to find proven facts and post them. Again, I deeply apologize for upsetting you and in the future, W will watch what I remove from a profile. Thank you for your comment. If this Leader is removing sources and then marking the profile as unsourced how is this trying to post “Proven” facts?? This was not the first time that this happened on a profile that I manage, and the same person did it before

WikiTree Review by Sven Ryelsdorn,  Oct 8, 2014

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

The biggest problem in genealogy is the ego of people who derive their specialness from ‘ownership’ of ‘their’ genealogical material. They love their little fiefdoms where they have ultimate control of the information they deem to be irrefutable. They do not play well with others. Ancestry caters to these folks, because they have their ‘own’ trees - and if you’ve ever researched family trees on Ancestry, with any rigor, you realize quickly that most family trees are sourced from other family trees, which are sourced from other family trees,… which are sourced from the first trees you looked at. People think they are sourcing some ‘fact’ because they have a link to someone else’s tree. Who can figure out whether this endless ‘telephone’ game of ~facts actually has a reasonable source somewhere?

Wikitree is a breath of fresh air in this mess. A person has one profile. One. Repetition of 500 profiles for one person is a mistake on Wikitree, not a feature. Yes, other people might edit ‘your’ data. Get over it. This is a bunch of dead people we’re talking about - if you take it seriously enough that you get up in arms over edits because your data is precious, you need a new hobby.

Wikitree isn’t perfect; the entry interface is fine, but navigation of complicated trees is cumbersome. I’d be happy to have a scrollable graphical tree view to navigate. There’s a dearth of more interesting events than BMD to add, and complicated relationships aren’t straightforward to input. But given that the site is free, I’m certainly willing to cut it some slack. Stuff that’s sitting in old file cabinets and moldy church records shouldn’t be behind a pay wall just because it made it to the internet.

I hope some of the family-specific/proprietary sites that were built back in the early days of HTML (you know the ones, with the repeating background image and abundant use of colored fonts and the tag) dump their data into Wikitree to help build the site.

Biggest Pro: One profile per person, collaboration, one family tree rather than 5000 bad ones, free
Biggest Con: Interface could be better, behind the big pay sites in terms of data quantity

WikiTree Review by John,  Sep 29, 2014

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

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