(Copied on last weekend of 2006 then augmented in March 2007 with some pre-Sep-2006 items fully dealt with. )


Anyone who would like to be given the extra facility that goes with being a sysop or bureaucrat may edit Genealogy:Requests for adminship.

Submission to Cyndi's List[]

I've applied to have this site listed on Cyndi's List with the other quarter million! See the entry on the August 16, 2005, page of Robin Patterson

GEDCOM conversion[]

Weary of manually converting my html pages into pages for this site, I have taken an easier, if somewhat less elegant solution of writing a program. As I only started it two days ago, it is still somewhat crude and is not picking up all of the gedcom details. ... If any of you are interested in the program, with somewhat limited support, you can contact me. Yewenyi 11:01, 12 Sep 2005 (UTC)

(See Help:Loading Gedcoms)


We were the 5th-biggest wikicity in September 2005[]

3.5 MB according to

Thanks, Brian!!

Robin Patterson 05:18, 10 Oct 2005 (UTC)


As of a couple of hours ago, we have over 3,000 articles, thanks mostly to Brian in Sydney. Robin Patterson 01:22, 6 Nov 2005 (UTC)

Recently passed 4,000, thanks to Brian and some new contributors (not yet showing on the detailed statistics). Robin Patterson 00:42, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Multipurpose names, such as "Adam"[]

We have a page for the original "Adam". OK so far.

Soon, however, someone with an interest in that first name and/or the matching surname may want to create a separate article about it, along the lines of "Khan" and "Ferguson". Which one gets the plain single four-letter word as its page name?

Can we make a universal "rule" for it (to minimise confusion and rewriting)?

See (and please continue discussion on) separate new page Genealogy talk:page names. Robin Patterson 00:27, 20 Oct 2005 (UTC)

(moved some later discussion )

Hey, guys, you're doing well there, but this discussion was already threatening to be too big for the Watercooler when I added my (obviously not clear enough) request last year: "See separate new page Genealogy:page names" - Please create some new talk pages for specific subjects whenever discussion gets to be more than a couple of paragraphs! Robin Patterson 05:44, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

All Wikicities were down for several hours last week[]

I read about it in the wikicities email news. But one reason for having a couple of days without contributions is that nobody contributed. Never mind - most families last for ever; and some Wikicities are much less active than this one. Robin Patterson 00:42, 13 March 2006 (UTC)[]

I am interested in what you are doing here, but thought you might be interested in another family tree wiki, which has automatic tree generation and GEDCOM import. It is also trying to become a wikimedia project. You comments on this project would be greatly appreciated. -- 20:50, 24 March 2006 (UTC), (User:Bjwebb on Wikipedia, Meta and Rodovid)

Hi again. I noticed I recieved no reply. Rodovid would be interested in merging with the site you have here, what do you think?-- 13:51, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

WOW! I'm really impressed! I haven't been here in a while due to limited time, but having a form like that to enter information would be a dream! Robin, check it out if you haven't already. I really think Wikia should jump on this before Wikimedia does. Chadlupkes 22:41, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
Merging Rodovid with this site could be quite interesting. As I've been starting to work with this site, I realize that it provides half of what I've been missing. A wiki like this is a perfect forum for the collaborative work of genealogy, but what's missing here is the benefit of structured data, such as can be used to automatically generate a variety of useful charts (descendants, ancestor trees, ahnentafels, etc). A combination of the structured data (editable by everyone, with revision history, talk pages, etc) like Rodovid has plus the free-form narrative offered here would be a winner combo. -- TomChatt 07:57, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Template, etc, proposals[]

Places template[]

Please visit my User page for a proposal for a town and city template ("Genealogy:Place") in G-Wiki, arising from my recent conversation with Robin Patterson. If this was an article, rather than a template, I'd "be bold" and simply create it, but I'm deferring to older Wikipedians and other frequent editors here. Thanks in advance for your input! Nhprman 05:05, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

I think the Place template will be very helpful. Among other uses, I can imagine a wiki-style community-maintained equivalent of Cyndi's list for place-specific resources. One suggestion: make it very clear in the template that page names should be complete. I don't know how many times I've been reading through other people's genealogy records and found references to places such as "Newport, Lincoln". Um, what state? What country? --TomChatt 07:57, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
Tom, I agree up to a point; but don't overdo it. We don't need "Handsworth, Birmingham, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom, Europe". If in doubt, I'd use the Wikipedia pagename. (By the way, does "<em>" have any advantage over "''"?) Robin Patterson 06:08, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Now (since 5 months ago actually) we have Genealogy:Place Template, so please go there, improve it, and use its talk page ad lib. Robin Patterson 06:08, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Place categories[]

How about setting up places as categories, under which Family Name categories can be connected as subcategories, with the people entries that fit there connected? See Category:Grafschaft-Bentheim, Prussia for an example of this. -Briantice 22:54, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Brian, I'm sorry I missed a few days. We already have Category:Places. Please integrate with your excellent additional place categories! (If there has been some duplication, we can work it out.) Robin Patterson 06:08, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Records, Repositories, and things other than Persons[]

Is this site only intended to have pages for specific Persons using the Person template, or is it appropriate to create other related pages? One thing I'm thinking of is a source record, especially of the sort not publicly available, for example a personal letter or diary written by an ancestor. I'd like to have a separate page where I can put a transcript, image scan, and other info relating to such a source. What would be the appropriate way to name such a page? Some possibilities:

  • Diary of Joseph Bloggs (1812-1888)
  • Joseph Bloggs (1812-1888) (diary)
  • Joseph Bloggs (1812-1888) / Diary
  • Record:Joseph Bloggs (1812-1888) / Diary

I'm new to this Wiki thing, so I'm not familiar enough with whatever protocols (as well as technical ramifications) there may be concerning namespaces, use of parenthesis, use of other special characters like '/', etc. in page names. Also, I don't know how this fits in with any intended ontology for this wiki. I notice there's been a "Place" template introduced, which is a good thing. There are a number of other entities that may be relevant (I'm thinking of the GENTECH data model as a guide.) Another useful entity might be "Repository", for example, "Records of the New Amsterdam Dutch Church", a page which describes what sort of records are available, where they're available, what condition they're in, any special notes on interpretation, etc. The source citations on Person pages could refer to Repository pages and save having to repeat a bunch of common information. -- TomChatt 07:57, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

A slash in a page name creates a subpage. Has its uses. Try one. Round brackets are no problem - just another character. Repository pages are a great idea - go for them! Robin Patterson 07:41, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Note about names and birth/death dates[]

Can I just leave a brief note here about naming articles about people? It would be wise, when naming, to use birth/death dates, when known. "John Brown" as an article name, for instance, is a problem, since it could be any one of hundreds of John Browns. However, [[John Brown (1854-1903)]] narrows the pool considerably, lessons confusion, and makes it easier to browse. - Nhprman 18:34, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

I think that's a good convention to follow. But I wonder what to do about forward refs to articles that don't exist yet, especially when you may not know birth-death years yet. Suppose I'm doing "Joseph Bloggs (1831-1896)" and that article makes reference to his father James Bloggs, about whom I don't know anything yet other than his name (e.g., I had some "Joseph, son of James" ref). In writing the Joseph article, should I (a) not make James a link, (b) link to "James Bloggs", (c) link to "James Bloggs (?-?)". If we do (b) or (c), how much does the Wiki software automatically help us out? I notice on Wikipedia that if you look for an article by some name, and they have several articles with the same name, differentiated by parentheticals, you get a "disambiguation page". Does that happen automagically when several articles have the same name not counting the parentheses? Or do those have to be manually crafted and maintained? (This is the sort of thing we should work out ahead of time, before the project really scales up and the trees actually start to connect!)
TomChatt 07:34, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
I think it's manual at present, but see below. And no harm in putting a John Doe link in at any time, with or without "(?-?)". Robin Patterson 07:41, 7 July 2006 (UTC)


Just made Nhprman and Robin Patterson Admins. Sorry about the delay.

Please welcome them in their new roles. Roles that they, in large part, will help define--with the rest of us nudging them all the way. I know they will help make the Wiki much bigger and better.

Your no-longer-lonely-Admin and Founder, --IFaqeer 09:39, 14 July 2006 (UTC)


I'd like to set up a Portal for Walker researchers, similar to that used on the Wikipedia. I checked ... their Portal construction guidance page .... Guidance requested. Bill (Aug 2006)

(See Genealogy talk:Portals for response and later discussion.)


Categories for Wigton Walkers[]

Also working to fix problems with categories in the Wigton Walker pages. Haven't quite got a picture in my mind of how to make that work for us. Getting there though. Bill 19:34, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

MediaWiki ToolBar[]

I notice that the MediaWiki ToolBar is now missing ... User talk:WMWillis (Aug 2006)

I checked this out...---this is indeed a browser issue. EditBar doesn't work properly with Safari, but does work with FireFox. ... Bill 21:45, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

See Help talk:Toolbar for the rest of this discussion and follow-up.

Potential for good - or trainwrecks?[]

(This followed straight on from the "categories" discussion that has been moved.)

More good suggestions. Its clear from browsing the Wikipedia that there are a substantial number of schemes suitable for dealing with a large number of articles. I'm fairly new to the Wikipedia system. I've been looking it over for perhaps 6 months, and saw its obvious applicability to doing genealogy---then found (as others have done before for the same reasons) this site. I think there's great potential here, but here's also a lot of work that needs to be done in terms of underlying implementation. The category problem is only a small component of that. Doesn't much matter to me how the problems get fixed, as long as they get fixed. Its more a matter of somone in a position takeing on the task (essential an Admin). Robin can't do all of that by himself. As you point out, there's a potential trainwreck in some of these problem areas, waiting to happen.

Let me explain my perspective on this.

  • There are roughly 4K worth of articles on this site. Most of them were input using an automated GEDCOM program, and probably represent 20% of someone's personal ancestry---(all those ancestors whose given names began from roughly A to D (or something)). They were obviously dumping articles in right and left, and then for some reason, quit. That was almost a year ago. Nothing much has happened since. Even the site statistics are not being updated. I'm curious why to all of the above.
Yewenyi's upload system is available for others. Robin Patterson 07:45, 12 September 2006 (UTC)
I'm sure. If you want to be in the business of GEDCOM dumps, it will probably do the job nicely. (I presume a dump would come out in the "standard" template format---definitely not a broadly accepted format in the industry. If you want that non-industry standard format, there you go.) However, my point was, after dumping in a few thousand entries, that process stopped. That's why the list of site articles is top heavy for people whose first names begin with 'A' through 'D' or something. Yewenyi apparently got through some portion of his alphbetized list of ancestors, and decided it wasn't worth his time to do it anymore---least wise, he didn't complete the task. Why?
Well, I've asked on his user-page, which is our only contact. He may be indisposed or worse. We may never know. Anyway, his system still had some flaws, he said; but any of you who are interested should take a look. (I doubt if it's restricted to a particular entry template.) Robin Patterson 06:56, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
At some point I'm going to need to look at that system closely. However, I suspect the reason for his absence is fairly obvious. Look at the date and context of his last edit...that is likely to be the undelrying reason for him going elsewhere. There is an additional component as well, another interaction occurring about the same time, that may also be part of the reason.Bill 11:00, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
  • By comparison, the Wikipedia has something like 1.4 million articles as of today.
  • By comparison, has the equivlalent of over 14 Million articles. They are the most successful online genealogy system going, though their approach has severe limitations. (Limitations which this site can overcome, if it chooses).
  • If this site really has in mind meeting its stated mission objective of getting lineages for everyone on the world into its database, it would have lineages for 6.6 Billion people---just counting people alive today. That's going to be a moderately hefty database. As you said, a trainwreck waiting to happen. Bill 16:45, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

Special page: MiniUpload[]

  • An item has appeared in the Special page category at
  • It does not have the usual page layout for the Wiki, and in particular has no trace on the page history---so you don't know who loaded it, or when it was loaded. Can anyone identify the origin of this file? Since use of this page involves access to an end-user's hard drive, I'd thnk we'd want to know what its history was.Bill 16:37, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
Doesn't look more dangerous than the normal upload page, but I've asked at Central Wikia: --Robin Patterson 08:55, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
I'm a conservative soul. When I find something that doesn't fit the pattern (in this case, no history), I like to know why. I also get nervous when things access my hard drive, as that could be a vehicle for doing things I wouldn't want done. I especially get nervous when those things don't fit the pattern I expect. I didn't see anything obvious when I looked at the underlying source material for the page, but I don't consider myself a programmer, and would rather have a professional grade opinion on something like this. Appreciate your checking on it.Bill 12:33, 15 September 2006 (UTC)


Comment moved to wikia:Forum:Spam hurdle too much — MrDolomite | Talk 20:53, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
Hey, I don't mind having the extra Special:Captcha screen pop up when the edit has external links. If it helps stop vandalspam, I am for it. But, when the question popped up, it removed my edit summary without telling me. Can this be changed not to wipe that out. I would hate to solve one problem but then create another. :)  — MrDolomite | Talk 14:30, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

Is this related to the MiniUpload question, or is it a different problem. If it's different could you point me to where you are seeing thisBill 14:42, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
Nope, different question. It happened when I was making an edit which included an external link, like this [] [2]  — MrDolomite | Talk 20:53, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. That helps clear that up. Seems like there should be a history on the item if it appears under Genealogy, but apparently not. By the way, I noticed your input system for adding a comment on your user page. Nice approach. I imagine its used elsewhere as well. At anyrate, I found it useful enough to copy the technique for another purpose. Thanks for that too.Bill 22:20, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

List of contributors[]

Because of the wikicities structure, there seems to be no easy way to list those who contribute to this wikicity. Or have I missed something? Unless there's a better place, how about Genealogy:Contributors? Robin Patterson 23:34, 31 Jul 2005 (UTC)

Our very own Wikia Tour[]

Do a brief guided tour as part of the Wikia tour system. Then you can suggest pages that we should add to it. There you may also discuss the TourBusStop. --Robin Patterson 06:34, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

A Better way?[]

An extensive discussion of ways to simplify data input was carried out by various parties beginning in January of 2006. Ultimately this led to the creation of a "Create a Page" link on the sidebar that takes people to a page where they can select from various templates for the creation of "People Articles". To simplify the watercooler (getting hard to see the trees for the forest) most of that discussion has been transferred to a subpage .

The original "People template" is highly detailed, and provides considerable information of use to users trying to create a new page. On the other hand, it requires a lot of editing if one wants to get rid of those helpful explanations when trying to set up a new page. To a novice computer user, it might be fairly daunting. I think something simpler would help people get started with this. ...

"it requires a lot of editing to get rid of those helpful explanations when trying to set up a new page." - it shouldn't; it wasn't meant to; you can leave alone all the things inside "comment" tags unless one of us old hands has goofed in not closing some. Robin Patterson 06:38, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
Hi Robin. As you may notice I've pared this discussion down, and placed the original in a subpage where it can be viewed for reference purposes. If you feel this older material needs to be retained on the discussion page I'll revert it.
Per your comment above, I think there's some benefit to be had for providing those explanations---particularly for new users. The "standard template" is in fact fairly complex. When I first used it, I found the inserted explanations very helpful in figuring out how to use it, and why things were set up as they were. After the first use or two, those explanations started getting in the way. Since they were inside "comment brackets" they didn't detract from the article---but they got in the way of the editing. This is particularly the case when building a long article. So, when I reached the point where the comments were becoming a hinderance rather than an asset, I created a new template to fit my specific needs---and in the process got rid of the "comment brackets". Now I have templates that are a bit easier to find the parts that are needed. But others may find the explanations useful, particularly when starting out. That's the reason for leaving the "standard template" intact.

We now have a range of templates that can be used to meet different peoples needs.

  • Blank
  • Simple
  • Standard
  • Resarch

Also, there's no reason someone has to use the same template all the time. Usually I personally want a research template, but sometimes, just a blank page will do, or perhaps just the basic "simple template". Depends on the context. We will probably need to tweak these templates, and we may need others as well, but this seems to cover the range of needs. In any case, what I'm trying for are templates that are pretty much easy to use, and don't get in the way of the user.Bill 11:37, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Going well, Bill. (And I've pruned some of the above even more, as it is now on the subpage.) --Robin