Friday, March 11, 2011

Exploring WikiTree - Post 2: Navigating the Tree

As noted yesterday in WikiTree - Post 1: Getting Started, I uploaded a small GEDCOM file (2,860 persons, 10 generations of my ancestors and their children from my larger 40,000 person database) to WikiTree. 

I didn't note the time that I uploaded the GEDCOM file, but it was about 12:15 p.m.  I received an automated email at 2:19 p.m. from WikiTree noting that "The gedcom file that you uploaded to WikiTree has now been completely processed."  Then at 2:24 p.m. I received an email from Chris Whitten, the WikiTree webmaster, that said:

"As you may also see from a separate automated message, your gedcom has
been processed. Here's the report:

I went ahead and merged the page that the gedcom created for you into
your account page, so that your tree is integrated:

You may find you want to edit the bio sections of pages. We programmed
our gedcom import system to be very conservative so nothing gets lost.
What isn't processed into a database field is included in the body of
the page. It ends up having a very machine-generated feel. For
example, see your own bio
Many people choose to edit this into a more natural-language

Let me know when you have questions. I'm happy to help. With two
thousand people in your gedcom you're already a leading WikiTreer!
E-mail me anytime.

You can also browse our Help section  or post comments or
questions on our Facebook page
I don't know if Chris sends an email to each new GEDCOM submitter, but I was impressed.  WikiTree also has a Facebook page for questions and comments.  Cool.

I was anxious to see what my Tree looked like, and how I could navigate around the tree.  When I signed in this morning to WikiTree, I clicked on the "Tree" link in the top menu and saw:

There's My Tree.  On the "Tree," view, only the names of the persons in a five generation pedigree chart, plus their birth and death dates, are shown.  If there is no name in a position in the five generation tree, there is a link that enables you to add a person.

For the #1 person in the five generation tree, WikiTree displays a preferred picture, their birth date and death date, their siblings (with links), their spouse(s) and their children (with links).

I could click on any one of the underlined names in the tree, and see a Person Page (we'll do this in the next post).  The person in the #1 slot in the pedigree chart is highlighted at the top of the tree.  There is a menu line below this name with "Profile (public view)," "Edit," "Photos," "Family Tree," "Changes," "Privacy" and "Profile (private view)."  The user can click any one of these menu items and see the details. 

Below that menu line is a menu line in smaller type with (for my tree) the following links:  "Print Friendly," "My Tree," "Seaver Tree," "Richmond Tree," "Carringer Tree," and "Auble Tree."   There is also the note to use a "Tree" icon and a "Descendants" icon to navigate the tree.

What does the "Print Friendly" link do?  Here's the "print-friendly" tree for "My Tree:"

It prints on one 8.5 x 11 page.  There is not much decoration, but it's functional (although it doesn't have place names or marriage data on it).  Use your "Back" button to go back to the graphic Tree.

The use of the four grandparents (in my case Seaver, Richmond, Carringer and Auble) to easily navigate the Tree is very handy, and it may be unique in online family trees.  I don't recall seeing a similar feature.  I clicked on "Seaver Tree" and saw the tree of my paternal grandfather, Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942):

The "Richmond Tree" link showed me the tree of Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962), my paternal grandmother:

The tree of my maternal grandfather, Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976) in the "Carringer Tree:"

The tree of my maternal grandmother, Emily Kemp Auble (1899-1977) in the "Auble Tree:"

All of those are just one click away from anywhere in the tree (if you are on a person's page, you have to click the "Tree" button on the larger menu).

On the "Seaver Tree" page, I wanted to see Isaac Seaver's ancestors, so I clicked on the "Tree" icon (it's a small green pedigree chart to the left of the person's name in the tree chart - everybody has one), and saw:

The five-generation tree for the person selected appeared, and I could almost instantly see Isaac's ancestors.

What about descendants?  The small green "Descendants" icon is to the right of the person's name (it looks like a descendant's chart).  I clicked the one next to Isaac's name and saw:

A classic Descendants Chart was created.  The data on the chart includes the person's name, their birth and death dates and spouse's name(s), but not birth and death locations, marriage date and place, or spouses information.  To see that additional data, the user has to click on the "Profile" button for a person. 

To edit any data about a person, the user has to click on the Person's name or click on the "Edit" button. 
My first impressions after using the Tree and navigating it are: 

*  The Tree is graphical, but the Person pages are text based with links to other Person pages.

*  Navigation is fast - much faster than some other online editable family trees (e.g., Ancestry Member Trees).  That may be because there are very few profiles on the WikiTree right now.

We'll explore the "Person" page features in the next post in this series.


Randy Whited said...


Thanks for sharing your experiences with WikiTree. I had heard of it but only dove in deeply after reading your blog posting. And success! A profile existed for an ancestor of mine that included an obituary I had previously been unable to find.
Thanks again for the heads up,

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Thank you, Randy,
I had the very same experience, the note from Chris as well. And, when I replied to his follow-up note, he responded to it, just as he did to your posts, yesterday.
P.S. Reminded me of when my wife had emails from Jeff Bezos, when Amazon first started! Impressive! ;-)

Elyse said...

Hey Randy -

Thank you for sharing your experiences with WikiTree! I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying it thus far.

Chris is great about sending out emails to everyone. I really believes that he enjoys connecting with the users of WikiTree and understanding what the users like/dislike.

I'm looking forward to your next post!

WikiTree Evangelist

Chris Whitten said...

Thanks Randy, Randy and Dr. Bill. I really appreciate all the kind comments.

Feedback from users is great. Especially when there is flattery involved.

Seriously, I'm loving this series. Not only is it bringing in some great new WikiTreers, it's helping me see the site through your eyes. After three years of working on it I can't always see the forest for the trees.