Thursday, May 8, 2008

The WeRelate Genealogy Wiki

When the WeRelate web site (http://www.werelate.org/) started up last year, I was really impressed by the potential of the web site and the wiki concept. Like several others, I uploaded one of my databases to try it out, and found that it was easy to use. I posted about my experiences at http://randysmusings.blogspot.com/2007/08/testing-werelateorg-wikigenea.html.

My WeRelate home page is at http://www.werelate.org/wiki/User:Rjseaver. I noted today that four other people are "watching" my page - including bloggers Harold Henderson, Denise Olson and Apple.

Occasionally, I receive a notice via email that someone has edited one of my pages and I check it out. However, I haven't added anything to my people/families since I uploaded the database in August 2007.

I really like the wiki concept. The site is very readable once you figure out how to navigate it. I haven't fully explored it myself -- and I need to, I think, in order to better understand and use it. They have some tutorials for users at http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Help:Tutorials. The creators and dedicated users of WeRelate are trying hard to improve the web site and make it user-friendly.

The main page for WeRelate claims that there are over 1,500,000 people/families in this genealogy and family history wiki. This pales in comparison to other "user-submitted" web sites, but it is the most for a wiki site. On WeRelate, each person and family has an "article."

There is an interesting discussion about "junk genealogy" and some visitor statistics in the article at http://www.werelate.org/wiki/WeRelate_talk:Junk_Genealogy. The visit statistics for April show that they had 11,432 unique hits.

I wonder why more people aren't using the site? It may be just a lack of publicity, or it may be the fear that the submitted data will be "stolen" or "sold." Some people seem to be loyal to the web site where they have placed their data.

My opinion is that every web site of this type needs a "critical mass" of information before the larger group of "family tree genealogists" find it, no matter how many announcements and blog posts are written. People check Ancestry One World Tree and Public Member Trees, FamilySearch Ancestral File, Rootsweb WorldConnect and other user-submitted databases to find others researching the same person or family because they have submitted data to them or know about them.

Apparently, WeRelate doesn't have that critical mass yet. I hope they do soon, because I think it can be a real benefit to genealogy researchers everywhere. I fear that only a small percentage of researchers are aware of WeRelate.

If you are thinking about uploading your genealogy database (in a GEDCOM file format) to a FREE database, I encourage you to do so at www.werelate.org. It has, in my opinion, the best ease of use, user interfaces, person and family information, and highest potential to be of real help to the genealogy researcher community.

2 comments:

Apple said...

I thought WeRelate would be great for working together with cousins to share information and have one database that we are all working on but so far I've only been able to get one cousin to sign up and she only edited one page. I really think the potential is there but I don't know how to get others to contribute. I haven't added anything to the site in some time and I really should.

MyMormonLife said...

One thing you can do on WeRelate.org is to e-mail your family tree that you have to others. If you sign in on WeRelate.org, then go to "MyRelate" -> Trees, you will see a list of your family trees. From there, you can click on "e-mail", which will take you to an e-mail form you can use to share your tree with others. You can either use the provided web form to send the e-mail, or you can copy and paste the text and link and use your own e-mail program to send the message. (Using your own e-mail program will allow you to use your contact list you've probably already built up of your cousins). Hope this helps!

-Nathan

My personal page is at:

http://www.werelate.org/wiki/User:Npowell