Sunday, May 19, 2024

Experiencing the WikiTree Challenge

 I was asked in April if I would be willing to be the "guest star" for WikiTree Challenge #5 from 2 to 9 May 2024.  The WikiTree Challenge is intended to add profiles to WikiTree that are withing 7 degrees (each degree is a relationship - my wife is 1 degree, my brothers' children are 2 degrees, my aunts and uncles are 2 degrees, my first cousins are 3 degrees, my 2nd great-grandparents are 4 degrees, my 5th great-grandparents are 7 degrees, etc.).  

The Challenge is a contest in which experienced WikiTreers compete to add the most connections within 7 degrees of the guest star, plus bounties for finding connections for specific ancestors.   Some WikiTreers specialize in improving biographies, source citations, etc.  

I agreed to the challenge, but wondered if many connections would be added.  I added about 7,000 profiles to WikiTree back in 2011 using a GEDCOM file which added names, relationships, events, dates, places, sources, notes, media, etc.  Most of the profiles that I added in 2011 were deceased ancestors and siblings of my ancestors, back 10 generations.  I haven't done much more since then due to other interests and challenges.  I never took enough time to learn how to add or edit biographies and sources to a profile.

The WikiTree Challenge #5 was called and documented in 2024 WikiTree Challenge 5: Research for Randy Seaver.  There were three YouTube videos during the Challenge and one Reveal video one week later.  The links are:

Entering the challenge, I had  1,138 Connections on my Connection Count for 7 Degrees (CC7) list.  At the end of the Challenge week on 9 May, I had 2,467 Connections within 7 degrees of myself.  During the challenge, I added my wife as an anonymous person linked to her parents, and some WikiTreers added profiles for her ancestry.  Some WikiTreers added profiles for the spouses of my aunts and uncles, and my grandaunts and uncles, and their ancestors and siblings. 

There is a list of my CC7 connections that grew as the week went on.  Here is the top of the CC7 list (on my profile, I click on Tree Apps > CC7 Views):

And further down the page, ordered by Creation Date:

From this chart, I can see what WikiTreers have added over time and can add content to my RootsMagic family tree.  Plus, I can add content to those WikiTree profiles to improve them further.  

The number of profiles added to WikiTree during the Challenge appears to be:

  • Degree 1:  0
  • Degree 2:  5 
  • Degree 3:  17 
  • Degree 4:  88 
  • Degree 5:  268 
  • Degree 6:  730
  • Degree 7:  1336 
The Total is 2,468, but I had 1138 at the beginning.  So an increase of 1,330..  Note that those are not all profiles from my direct-line ancestral families, but they are within 7 degrees from me.  Also, some may have been added by non-contestants during the challenge week. 

WikiTreers like to use the following chart to show the seven degrees - it's called the Six Degrees chart (on my profile, I click Find > Apps > SixDegrees):

I  called that the "Meatball" chart on the Reveal video - each dot is a CC7 profile, each degree is a different color (from 1 to 7 degrees), but there are no names on the dots.  There is an option to add names by clicking the "All" button at the top of the chart.  I zoomed into that and you can see part of a really big chart:

I couldn't find a way to save that chart.  Now if the WikiTree developers could connect each dot to their relatives, it would be a "Spaghetti and Meatballs" chart.

The WikiTreers really like the Map showing the birth and death locations of the CC7 profiles.  I couldn't find that chart, so I used a screen shot from the Reveal video:

We noted that there were two blue dots (deaths) in or near Africa.  One is for a profile who died in Zimbabwe, and the other is probably an "unknown" death location which is put at 0 degrees latitude, 0 degrees longitude.

How did the participants in the Challenge do?  Here is the final score sheet:

What did I learn from this Challenge?  
  • WikiTree is very full-featured and very complex to learn how to use it efficiently.
  • There are relatively new Tools to search and find relatives of a profile, write biographies, and to bring sources from and, 
  • I added information to several profiles on WikiTree after the challenge using the tools, and added content to some of my RootsMagic profiles based on WikiTree profiles.
  • There were several Interesting Finds discussed in the Reveal video and I will add those to my tree also.  
  • One of the Finds was that a brick wall ancestor (Mary Palmer (1790-1845) of Somerset, England) was mentioned in the will of an uncle - a brother of her unknown father, so that is a clue for me to try to find the father's name and information.
Thank you to the WikiTree contestants, leaders, researchers and Zoomers for making my Challenge week fun and productive.  I enjoyed the entire two weeks exploring WikiTree and trying to improve my profiles.


Copyright (c) 2024, Randall J. Seaver

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Marian B. Wood said...

Wow, look how many ancestors the WikiTree folks were able to add to your tree! Plus now you have a brick wall buster. Congrats. Also I really like the 6-degrees app, which I tried just now after seeing yours.

Linda Stufflebean said...

Congratulations on being selected for the challenge. I was wondering how much new information they would find for you, given the years of effort you've devoted to genealogy. What fun that they found a new clue for brick wall Mary Palmer. I think that would have excited me more than anything else!