Today, I received the following press release from WikiTree. WikiTree is a free resource for genealogists seeking to collaborate with other genealogists. More importantly, in the past couple of years, WikiTree has begun actively incorporating features for genetic genealogists.
6 November 2014: Today WikiTree.com is announcing two important features for genealogists who have taken DNA tests. These features make WikiTree’s Relationship Finder a uniquely powerful tool for genealogists who have taken 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and FTDNA Family Finder tests.
“One of the biggest challenges facing genetic genealogists,” according to Dr. Blaine Bettinger, author of the long-running blog The GeneticGenealogist, “is finding the elusive common ancestor. Finding genetic matches is easy, but finding the common ancestor from whom we inherited a segment DNA is very hard. WikiTree’s new Relationship Finder is a great tool for identifying the ancestors that two or more people share in common.”
All Common Ancestors
Genealogical relationship finders are generally designed to find the first common ancestor between two people. Genetic genealogists need to know about all the common ancestors they share with a match. Everyone’s family tree intertwines in multiple ways. The first shared ancestor may not be the reason for a shared segment of autosomal DNA.
WikiTree’s Relationship Finder now enables you to easily browse all your common ancestors.
Filtering for Multiple Matches
When a genealogist shares a segment of autosomal DNA with two or more other people who also match each other on that segment, it’s a big clue in discovering which ancestor it came from.
WikiTree’s Relationship Finder now enables you to filter the common ancestors shared by two people to only display common ancestors who are also shared by a third, fourth, or fifth person.
The Universal Family Tree
These Relationship Finder features are possible because WikiTree members are collaborating on a single tree for the entire human family.
“The genetic genealogy community absolutely must have a universal family tree,” says leading genetic genealogist Dr. Tim Janzen. “With smaller unlinked trees it’s frequently impossible to see all of the true genealogical connections with the people who share autosomal DNA with us. We are finally getting to the point where this vision is becoming a reality at WikiTree.”
WikiTree: The Free Family Tree has been growing since 2008. Community members privately collaborate with close family members on modern family history and publicly collaborate with other genealogists on deep ancestry. Since all the private and public profiles are connected on the same system this process is helping to grow a single, worldwide family tree that will eventually connect us all and thereby make it free and easy for anyone to discover their roots. See http://www.WikiTree.com.
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Thank you for your post. I will go there and read what they have to say. Like most people there may be some privacy issue I want to know about before I consider adding my DNA.
that’s indeed a great tool once you have a proven connection with a person that has a family tree. However my biggest problem right now is that out of the 167 relatives I have from my triangulated groups only one (1) is having a good enough researched family tree that we were able to find a common ancestor (and even then we’re missing the exact person he branches off).
WikiTree is for sure the right approach as it places a lot more emphasis on quality than other tree builders (like ancestry with their one-click “Hey, that name sounds similar so you must be my ancestor” approach). But again, quantity is the problem here.
Do you know how many profiles are at WikiTree right now? I found 6.7 million somewhere but that number is for sure outdated, yet this is far off 7 billion people living right now (not counting how many more lived the last 300 years). Any source to find out, WikiTree isn’t giving this number out, right?
When I uploaded all of my ancestors Gedcom I had not a single match, which can be one of two reasons:
1) I use baptised as the correct event from church (and not use this date as birth as so many seem to do which is just wrong unless the priest explicitly states the birth date as well, same for death and burial date BTW) and I didn’t fill up the birth date field in those cases with a “before” the baptised date (I’m in the process of doing this now though it takes ages).
2) The WikiTree seems to be biased towards the US as most users come from there and they hardly managed the jump back to Europe. If they did, it’s to Great Britain but not Germany where almost all of my ancestors are from. Hence no matches for my sometimes even pre-1600 people
What is your thought on these? How can we overcome these two problems? I don’t even know if you’re active at WikiTree as well
Good questions and I don’t have answers, but I know Chris follows this blog and hopefully he will answer.
Hi guys. To answer the easy question 🙂 … the number of profiles on WikiTree is updated on the home page every day. Today it’s 8.4 million.
Just made a quick trip to Wiki Tree and found incorrect/questionable information. Some information has been around so long that it is taken for truth when it isn’t. Tying this stuff to DNA is going to leave us all with a bunch of nonsense. How are we going to correct the bad genealogical data out there?
By attaching correct sources and showing that our researched data is correct whereas the “bunch of nonsense” is incorrect. It’s easy to say that but doing something about it would help a lot more
I’m afraid the goal of creating an accurate family tree for all of Manknd is unattainable.
Consequently, I won’t waste my time on Wiki Tree
Hi Dan, I think it’s more of a vision than really an achievable goal. If we aim to low than we will fail, right? We all have lots of information that we collected over the years and I want this information to survive and help others, not being thrown away once I die. I just spend too much time on it, it deserves a permanent place and if it just helps one other researcher than it was all worth it.
I’m pretty sure WikiTree would be a bit better when you would add your information as well. I’m not talking making big steps towards that Mankind goal but a lot of little things been put together can still form a lot.
Give it a try by uploading your Gedcom and see if there are any potential matches that will help you. If you don’t do anything, your Gedcom is automatically deleted after 30 (?) days I think.
I tend to forget about WikiTree. Thanks for the reminder! I love your informative blog.
Sheila, yes correcting the bad data out there is a big problem. And, ancestry.com perpetuates it!!
I also had a look and totally agree with ALL the above comments. The family links tools they offer also exist elsewhere – such as Geneanet.org – and often much better displayed. It is totally US focussed and unable to handle French accents (or other languages which use accents) properly – example – the search tool could not find the Côté family, but browsing finds more than 800 COTE. So, after a quick glance, I will not want my data posted there either. Same issue regarding the lack of trees for tested people at 23&Me. Let’s face it, most people did it for health…
So a good idea – but quality control on genealogical data is a big issue since copy/paste has been invented and is encouraged by companies such as Ancestry.com. FamilySearch has also recognized the problem and are now using reviewing teams to validate their indexing data. If I was to link any DNA data, I would be more enclined to go there. FT-DNA also now has interesting databases of Y-DNA and Mt-DNA haplogroups – more focused. Same issue here, a lot of people don’t have genealogical info. However for those who do, it works quite well. The Mothers of Acadia project is a good example. They don’t allow you to post your data if the genealogy has not been verified.
Some good points Suzanne to which I mostly agree. We do have special characters in German as well, when I used them in categories for city names I haven’t found a problem. I think the biggest problem with all the accent and other alphabets will be that most of the WikiTree users can replicate them easily on their keyboard (though it’s easy on my Mac).
My biggest problem with WikiTree is that they demand a birth date (as part of their matching) which is completely wrong for the church book area (at least in Germany before the code Napoleon/civil was forced ahem, introduced to us) where the church book in most case ONLY has a baptised date but not a birth date. So per se all this data entered under birth is wrong! Same goes for death date which is in fact a burial date.
Now I have to add a new category of birth date and enter “bef” in all my ancestors data before uploading them to WikiTree.
But I stil think it’s the best (free) tree out there and will eventually give the best quality as well. I for one will try to deliver the best, so I’m reviewing my data again and again (to make it better).
I agree with SuzanneLesage. I have also been using Geneanet for several years and it does an excellent job. Apart from having all of the same tools as Wikitree it also has a cleaner interface and it is popular worldwide. Relatives from Europe and Latin America also use it and it is available in many languages at the click of a button. If I have the same tools elsewhere with a cleaner interface guess where my tree and my recommendation to my relatives goes. The only downside is that it doesn’t include a place to put DNA results but none of my relatives would be willing to put their DNA information into Wikitree anyway.
Armando, we’re not putting our detailed genes on Wikitree but only indicating what type of DNA test we did and linking it with an identifier (in the case of GedMatch and FTDNA, not 23andme yet) so that people can easily see that in order to verify a match it’s best to check GedMatch or FTDNA with their own results.
I just don’t get what your relatives (and many more) are afraid about? NSA is reading and listening to every phone call you make, to everything you do on the internet and every email you write. That’s something to be concerned but purely saying in writing that you did a DNA test at company ABC is doing no harm. No insurance will immediately cancel your policy as they went through WikiTree and “identified” one of their customer.
My relatives aren’t afraid of anything. They just aren’t interested.
For a continental European , Geneanet is far superior than Wikitree. I have both and find wikitree harder to maintain
I got involved with WikiTree a few weeks ago because of a comment on your site. I like it. It makes me look more closely at the data to make sure it is accurate. And if you do see a mistake or error, you can suggest a change and reasons for the change to the ‘moderator.’ It also lets you merge people who have more than one listing, which can prevent major confusion. That way all of the errors about a person are consolidated into one place, unlike Ancestry and FamilySearch where the errors are scattered about the various trees.
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