Sasha Kopf's Celtic knot ring

Haeremai, welcome, talofa, Willkommen, bienvenue, welkom[]

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I and others would like to know how you discovered this site.

Anyone who comes from the land of The Prairie Home Companion is welcome here!!

I've given your people sensor pages and ancestor tabs. If you have a birth year estimate for Carsten Meyer, I'd encourage you to add it to Henry's page then use the link to create a page for Carsten. When Carsten gets a "Descendants tab" you will be able to see three generations automatically displayed.

Robin Patterson (Talk) 06:15, March 17, 2010 (UTC)

No dates for wife[]

Thanks for your question. There's a clear direct answer, which says you caused the problem, and there's a more philosophical roundabout answer, which says you were not to blame because the form has inadequate instructions:

  1. Your creation of the husband's page did not give the wife any dates, so the link on his page (copying exactly what it had been given) went to create a new page without dates; you "(Created page with '{{Showfacts person |given_name=Henry |middle_name=A. |surname=Meyer |sex=M |father=Carsten Meyer |mother=Anna Martens Meyer |skills=Farmer |joined_with=Margaret Heitmann |short_n…')"
  2. Our documentation is not perfect and should have asked you to enter the wife's "name" in the same format as would be required for her pagename, i.e. with dates; I think I've mentioned that on the "Guidance" page, but it should be on the form too. When I can find how to alter the form I'll be adding a number of guidelines there.

Does that cover it for now?

Thanks for sticking with it.

Robin Patterson (Talk) 04:14, March 18, 2010 (UTC)

Census images[]

Images welcome, and there are no standards for naming images (as long as you use ordinary keyboard characters). Captions and categories can be easily changed later if naming standards seem to want changes. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 00:49, March 27, 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, I see I forgot your supplementary question:

"1860 U.S. Census from Minnesota State, Wabasha County. I have several townships, so should I break them down further? Lake Township, Chester Township, etc?"

I suggest a separate image for each page or whatever the smallest unit is, and each in the category for the county. Leave a "census of Wabasha" category determination until later - unless the county category is getting too big! Then each image can be included in the page for its township. We've not gone far with townships yet. You can be a pioneer in that field. We may end up with them dealt with as Properties rather than categories.

Robin Patterson (Talk) 07:20, March 27, 2010 (UTC)

Is Familypedia still in "Beta"?[]

Only slightly. It's five years old, and nearly everything works OK and could go on for ever growing. But there are improvements being made, beyond the occasional upgrades that the basic MediaWiki software undergoes. The forms are part of the Beta, clearly (if one can judge by the last couple of days) needing a little more work. The related Sensor page system isn't perfect, but it's close, and it's a good solution to the problem of server overload that is caused by the cleverest software extensions, mainly the constant semi-automatic upgrading of every ancestor and descendant of every person. See Project Charlemagne for a glimpse of the potential.

There are indeed not many dozen contributors here who could be called "active". When I joined up in 2005, there were fewer than one dozen, and I think there were days with no edits. A few members have been very active then stopped. More have stayed. Special:Wikiastats gives an idea of how many active and semi-active contributors we have from month to month. It's growing. You'll be most welcome to contribute in any way you like. Look at the forums occasionally to see current ideas and problems, then jump in where you have an idea or opinion or problem. (You're too modest on your user page.)

Time for my next meal. See you! — Robin Patterson (Talk) 00:49, March 27, 2010 (UTC)

Forms problems[]

Oh, you're having that problem too? You're not alone. I seem to be lucky. Read the latest on Forum:Where is tech support?. Now I'm off to bed late again! — Robin Patterson (Talk) 13:24, March 31, 2010 (UTC)

Copying from Wikipedia[]

Good. But please include all of the categories and interwikis (commenting-out the latter). We may not need them all, but that's a simple deletion option once someone has examined the result, much easier than recopying or re-creating. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 04:38, April 2, 2010 (UTC)

There's a brief reply to your comment on my page. Maybe I should write more on the help page. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 01:58, April 3, 2010 (UTC)

{I think I did write more on that help page since the above.) Responses to Baden-W questions are on my talk page. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 13:45, April 23, 2010 (UTC)

Pleasing to see Prussia making an appearance. But I think it's time for you do a two-minute refresher course on Help:Copying from Wikipedia, with regard to the acknowledgment (a choice of two or three templates!) and how to tidy a link that we are redirecting to Wikipedia if it has no pipe. (I'm very glad you managed to overcome your login problem!) — Robin Patterson (Talk) 14:45, June 25, 2010 (UTC)

Progress with Henry Behle (1842-1898)[]

He already has a descendants page and a tree page, though they don't display properly yet.

One thing about people whose death year is unknown - those question-marks can cause coding problems, and it's OK to have just the birth date, e.g.Robin Forlonge Patterson (1940), even when death is known to have occurred some time. I'd be inclined to edit his children facts for that, before you use any as links.

Now I'm off to bed. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 14:47, April 7, 2010 (UTC)

Descendant subpages[]

Nothing seems to be broken, but there is room for misinterpretation. The "With..." refers to the spouse of the person whose page it is and with whom the listed child was produced. Ours is not the only website to use that arrangement: click here for the same thing on a Quebec site I've been consulting. However, WorldConnect and the now related FTM list the spouse before all the relevant children and do it for every generation. I hope that that will be the next improvement here. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 21:17, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

Links to other wikis[]

  • English Wikipedia: [[wikipedia:pagename]]
  • Wikimedia Commons: [[commons:pagename]]
  • Central Wikia: [[w:pagename]]

Robin Patterson (Talk) 15:36, April 23, 2010 (UTC)


You've mastered census pages, I expect. Now cemeteries. Good except for shortage of categories. One day we may have all our cemetery pages and plots and grave markers searchable with SMW, but we want categories until that happens.

Please read Familypedia:Cemeteries. Not Gospel, though. See also its talk page and the main category. I disagree with some of what User:Zephyrinus did with categorization, but I haven't "fixed" many of what I thought were mistakes (such as putting into Category:France every cemetery that contained someone from France).

User:Wittichen is probably our cemeteries expert now, but his visits are a little spasmodic, as explained on his user page. (His user page is worth a visit on its own.) Chat to him if you think any of the category ideas or other suggestions would be better revised.

You can add to the talk page if you have ideas for change, and add a line to Forum:Cemetery names and categories saying you're putting ideas on the talk page, so that other active contributors are more likely to notice and help. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 14:49, April 28, 2010 (UTC)

Sensor error[]

You do seem to have fixed that wife/mother problem. I can't offer a quicker way to fix such relationship problems: things collected on the sensor page do generally take a while. rtol is the current active expert on such matters. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 14:39, June 4, 2010 (UTC)


With your addition of individuals' pages to potentially huge and thus fairly unusable categories such as "Born in the United States", you may be ready to start creating Concepts. We have had a few for nearly a year, but you could still be something of a pioneer. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 14:39, June 4, 2010 (UTC)

Moving templates around[]

Did you too use "Edit with form"? -

From rereading one of Phlox's blog posts, I realised what happens to things that aren't part of the standard top group and bottom group of what is created or updated with "Edit with form". Although the hour was late, I restored your page than added a section to the main guidance page explaining what could go wrong. I hope I got it right.

Kind regards. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 01:41, June 10, 2010 (UTC)

I was giving the siblings a heading so that they don't come under "Children". Apology for messing your page up. Not my only error last night (and the other one affected your page too). I hope you noticed the praise on another page.

Do the forms actually delete your data or do they just hide it until the second save?

Robin Patterson (Talk) 14:23, June 10, 2010 (UTC)

Surname ARTICLES[]

I hope you've noticed the significant improvements Thurstan has been making. See Template:SurnameArticle/doc. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 01:02, June 26, 2010 (UTC)

Cooperative genealogy[]

The Wisconsin people are not for me, but I'll change some birth years in the morning unless you've done it by then. Thanks, pal! — Robin Patterson (Talk) 14:39, July 3, 2010 (UTC)

Minor edits in large numbers[]

Lanica, your industriousness becomes more impressive by the month! Already over 3,600 edits. For those of us who like to go through the "Recent changes" to look at newbies' work or interesting developments by experienced users such as you, there can be a difficulty if someone has done hundreds of edits in a day: there's a numerical limit (1000, I think) to how many "Recent changes" will display. The list sometimes stops before one has seen everything that is new since one's last look. Part of the solution is to hide one's own edits. One can also hide the logs and/or "anonymous" edits, though those moves risk missing changes that ought to be seen. The other main way to reduce the proportion of edits, and thus see a list that extends back for more hours, is to hide minor edits. Thurstan is very good at marking his routine edits as "minor"; I try to do the same. I would be grateful if you could do the same more often, on any day when you are doing lots of routine edits such as creating surname categories or articles or importing from Wikipedia or just tweaking existing pages.


Robin Patterson (Talk) 03:16, July 15, 2010 (UTC)

Germany and Ireland[]


I am from Germany and Ireland as well. I was wondering if you had ever come across any Rosenbergs in Germany or any Orrisons or Messits (all last names) in Ireland. I'm trying to find out more about my ancestry, and I have reached a dead end.


Hermione524 15:12, August 18, 2010 (UTC)

More Germans to your sector of America[]

Joseph Bolda (1864-1937); I was not the Robin who posted the original. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 10:02, September 13, 2010 (UTC)

Now there's a Heinz family. I got them from the Biographical Wiki, I don't know whether "57" is part of their heritage. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 22:46, October 24, 2010 (UTC)

Claus Meyer[]

It appears that I deleted most of the info from the above page. I was trying too add info on his wife, Katie.


Larry C. 02:21, October 24, 2010 (UTC)

Larry has found how to "Undo". Anyone can "undo" an edit. And to go back two or more edits you can simply open the history, take the last proper version, and edit and save that. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 22:42, October 24, 2010 (UTC)

Article display[]

Problem seems to be breaking all proper "facts" articles. How do they look to you? — Robin Patterson (Talk) 00:24, November 13, 2010 (UTC)

Welcome back![]

The above-mentioned problem has only partially gone away. You can read about it in some of the forums. And last month we got more, when Wikia upgraded our Semantic Forms to version 2.0.8. We've had to forgo some of the multilingualism since November, and the minibiography now has various display problems probably related to "short name". Robin Patterson (Talk) 10:03, February 24, 2011 (UTC)

Just to be friendly, I gave one of your newer creations the standard subpages. And I saw that Margaret P was listing under S so I found out why and fixed her page. --- Robin Patterson (Talk to me) 13:04, March 5, 2011 (UTC)

Problems with forms?[]

Hey, girl, I noticed your recent additions in the "Recent changes". The two women seem to have been done with the form without the proper browser. Sex=M, and so on. I've not checked further. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 01:43, July 14, 2011 (UTC)

Green Valley, Wisconsin[]

I notice you have several pages linking to Green Valley, Wisconsin. Unfortunately, there are at least two different towns in Wisconsin called "Green Valley", so you have to specify the county to show which one you mean. Thurstan 21:16, July 17, 2011 (UTC)

Murdoch, Minnesota[]

Looking at the page Effie Larson (1897-1985), I find that Wikipedia doesn't have a page for Murdoch, Minnesota, but does have a page for Murdock, Minnesota. Is that the place that you meant? If you did mean "Murdoch", what county is it in? Thurstan 06:43, September 14, 2011 (UTC)

Tulas, Oklahoma[]

You have people dying in Tulas, Oklahoma, but I can't find such a place in Wikipedia: which county is it in? Thurstan 07:24, September 25, 2011 (UTC)

I assume you meant Tulsa, Oklahoma? Thurstan 07:31, September 25, 2011 (UTC)


You are using some very old code there. I'm surprised you got some results.

{{same name}} is the way to go. rtol 19:21, September 27, 2011 (UTC)

In theory, it is possible to include name variations. In practice, it is not. I can't get Concept:Richard (and hence John) to work. rtol 21:07, September 27, 2011 (UTC)
See experiment on Joannes Ockenfels. It's clumsy but it works. rtol 21:14, September 27, 2011 (UTC)

Concept:Peter works fine for me, as does its application on Peter Ockenfels. I guess we were editing it at the same time and the computer got confused. rtol 12:57, September 28, 2011 (UTC)

Wife of Michael Wagner (c1805-aft1880)[]

I suspect that Michael Wagner (c1805-aft1880) didn't really marry Mary, mother of God. You may want to add some more details for his wife. Thurstan 21:34, October 10, 2011 (UTC)

A problem?[]

I find an oddity with a married couple of yours:

His wife:

There seems to be a confusion here. Thurstan 22:00, February 8, 2012 (UTC)

Another placename problem[]

You have John Brecht (1869-1942) born in Muskingum, Ohio. However, when I search in Wikipedia, I find Muskingum County, Ohio, Muskingum Township, Muskingum County, Ohio and Muskingum Township, Washington County, Ohio. Can you sort this out please? Thurstan 21:25, February 14, 2012 (UTC)

I have put this in a footnotes on the page. Thurstan (talk) 06:50, August 17, 2012 (UTC)


"Robin for Mayor

" I think you have what it takes to build your own bustling city. Come on down to CityVille 2. "

Thank you! That must be my reward or punishment for nominating you as an admin of the Familypedia page on Facebook.

It's over a year since I stopped playing Facebook games apart from Fairyland. At 72, life's too short.

Warm regards

-- Robin Patterson (Talk) 12:42, December 28, 2012 (UTC)

Ockenfels family[]

Hello Lanica,

like you, I am a family historian, livin in Germany, however. I am having problems with the Ockenfels branch of my wife's tree. I'd very much like to discuss this with you off-site. Would you mind writing to ahnenfan (a) vexilli (dot) net?

BTW: Every now and then I'm coming across the location "Stala". I am pretty sure that this isn't a location but a source, named Statistisches Landesamt (State Office of Statistics) where somebody might have found some details. There is definitively no town called Stala.

Winfried Schrödter Ahnenfan (talk) 08:54, April 14, 2013 (UTC)

Improved some of "your" pages[]

Hello again, friend. I'm pleased to see that you have a possible new distant-cousin-in-law.

Glancing at your contribs list I checked a few articles and saw that some of our recent software improvements could make quite a difference. So I improved a few. Notably: removing "Siblings" heading because the improved {{Siblings}} creates a heading even if there's no automatic table; giving a few people trees and descendant tables; copying some of your persondata (or whateveritis) parameter data to the standard visible person template; adding a few "bdm" subpages to places.

Enough to encourage you to resume your former energetic activity here?

Best, anyway. ---- Robin Patterson (Talk) 13:20, April 14, 2013 (UTC)


Lanica, you may be pleasantly surprised if you fix any of your people who are at Special:WhatLinksHere/Eastham. I've done Constance, after disambiguating her redirect. She probably now appears on Eastham, Massachusetts/bdm. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 22:55, October 14, 2013 (UTC)

Hello Lanica,   My name is Mike Ockenfels.  We've talked before but it's been years.  I've recently come across some Ockenfels information that I think you will find interesting.   You may contact me at my home email: to discuss this. 

2600:1014:B10F:D531:D8D3:287C:B248:E7D5 01:45, December 14, 2018 (UTC)Mike Ockenfels