Harnessing My History: Discovering WikiTree (Part 3)

With my wish list in mind, I did some more searching for a suitable solution.  In some nondescript Google search result, I saw a website called “WikiTree.”  I had never heard of WikiTree before, but, figured it was worth just as much of a shot as anything else I had looked at.  And that’s where this story takes a dramatic turn toward Hallelujah, my prayers have been answered!  Why I had never heard of WikiTree before, I’m still not sure.

WikiTree isn’t just a family history website, it’s a community.  A community of family members and researchers, building one gigantic family tree.  The shared WikiTree is open to the world and everyone is invited to watch or participate in the tree being put together.  The goal is that each person – living or dead – has exactly one profile that is supported by source citations and filled with any information about the individual.  This is a drastically different approach than the majority of other solutions I looked at, where anyone can make their own family tree and one individual might exist hundreds of times in hundreds of different family trees.  At this very moment, WikiTree is home to 16,173,016 profiles! Everyone participating in growing the family tree (which is 485,753 people right now) shares information, works on the shared profiles and is encouraged to cite sources for as much information as possible.  WikiTree has And it’s completely free.  Forever.  After finding and learning about WikiTree, it was pretty easy to decide that WikiTree is where I would share my 18 years of family history research.

After a bunch of research about WikiTree, I determined But, that WikiTree completely satisfied my ENTIRE requirement list and then some!  Here were the points that sold me:

  • WikiTree is 100% free. All of the content on WikiTree has been added by volunteers.  It doesn’t cost anything to be a contributor and it doesn’t cost anything to view what others have contributed.  All the content is free and all the tools are free.  WikiTree’s website goes as far as saying: “Free is an essential part of our shared mission. We will never charge for access to the single family tree. And we will never knowingly and willingly sell or transfer the single family tree to any individual or organization that intends to charge for access to it.”

  • Sources are required. WikiTree volunteers are encouraged to read and agree to the WikiTree Honor Code.  Part of the Honor Code includes citing sources for included information.  WikiTree requires that sources be cited when information is added to WikiTree in an attempt to maintain accuracy and the ability for others to verify potential discrepancies further down the road.

  • Everything is unlimited. The ability to create and edit an unlimited number of profiles.  The ability to add an unlimited number of photos and source images.  The ability to invite an unlimited number of family members to contribute to the project.  An unlimited number of public or private family web pages.  It’s all unlimited, which creates unlimited potential.

  • Collaboration is key. WikiTree isn’t about my family tree or your family tree.  It’s about our family tree.  One giant family tree for the entire human family.  Since the internet has drastically changed the way family history can be completed and shared, it’s no longer necessary (or efficient) for everyone to grow their own, individual family tree.  The internet has made it possible for us to work in a completely collaborative way – all of us collaborating on the one family tree that we all share.


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