Friday, August 6, 2010

Searching the Wiki - Post 2

In Post 1 of this series, I demonstrated how easy it was to search the inter-connected online family tree website for a specific person, and the information that might be found for a specific person.

In this post, we'll explore some of the links to other people, to places and to articles.

First, starting from the previous screen in Post 1, I can click on one of the parents, a sibling, a spouse or a child of George Soule, the Mayflower Pilgrim. All names that go to a Person Page are linked. I clicked on Nathaniel Soule, son of George and Mary (Bucket) Soule, and saw his Person Page:

A user can quickly navigate from one person to another, up a tree, down a tree, sideways in a tree to siblings, etc. This works very quickly and efficiently. I ran up the online tree from Nathaniel Soule to my great-grandmother, Julia White (1848-1913), and then back down her White line to William White, the Mayflower Pilgrim just to see if there were any other researchers that had submitted information about these specific families. Usually, only the first two or three generations from the immigrants have submittals from other researchers.

The References at the end of each sketch, if listed, may be linked to a Source Page. Here is the Source Page for the Robert Charles Anderson book, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633:

On each Person Page, each place listed for Facts and Events are linked to a Place Page. Here is the Place Page for Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts:

Using the "Search" tab in the menu line, a user can search for articles about people, places, topics, events, users and anything else that might have been submitted. I searched for a number of surnames. One of the articles that came up was this one for William Bassett (1595?-1667) that was submitted:

Note that the article above was not submitted as information into the Person Page for William Bassett, but was submitted as an article. It does link to the Person Page for William Bassett, the Person Pages for others mentioned in the article, the Place Page for Plymouth Colony, etc.

The wiki is a place that a user can submit almost anything related to genealogy - persons, places, topics, etc., and it will be accepted and used. They encourage member submissions. This can be a wonderful website for family information, genealogy education, genealogy projects, etc., but people have to use it and contribute to it. Right now, I think that it's a "hidden gem."

Go explore the Community Portal to see what has been added with a focus on a specific area or time frame. The introduction to the Community Portal says:

"Welcome to your community portal. This is where you can find out what's happening at WeRelate, read and participate in ongoing discussions, join a WeRelate project, make announcements, invite collaborators, ask questions, and learn what tasks need to be done."

There is so much more to the wiki - I will try to explore more features in the next few posts in this series.

I'm curious - has any reader used, or decided not to use it? I would appreciate comments as to why (or why not) readers have used it. What are the problems with it? How could it be improved? Readers could also provide feedback on the website - I'm sure that Dallan Quass and his team would appreciate that.


Anonymous said...

Why does a person have to register just to view the site? I can see registration for those who want to edit and add information, but why should a person have to register just to view a free web site?

Martin said...

I didn't have a pleasant experience. I wrote about it three months ago at:

The ideal is great. The reality is always different. If someone posts something that is untrue or unsubstantiated, what do you do? Do you correct? There are very nice people out there in genealogy land, but I've met more than my fair share that are not nice. Some well meaning people do some bad genealogy, post it online, and when you try to correct it, it's like you've killed their family pet. Until they can take that scenario into account, I find the online family tree/wiki thing untenable. You'll certainly never attract the scholarly crowd. Look now. do you see anyone from that crowd with an online family tree, blog or message posting? Nope.