WeRelate

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
This page is a proposal for a new Wikimedia Foundation Sister Project.
Status Under discussion
Prompt Response
What is the proposed name for the project? WeRelate (working name)
Project description
What is the project purpose? What will be its scope? How would it benefit to be part of Wikimedia?
The aim is to provide free, open access to genealogical data and the evidence that supports that data. Any deceased person can have an entry (and only one) with the entry linked to entries of known relatives. The approach proposed here is to build upon the existing functionality and data of WeRelate.org, a free MediaWiki-based site. Bringing WeRelate under Wikimedia would provide a place for data that does not belong in Wikipedia but parts of which are of interest to Wiki users. Cross-wiki links can provide access to genealogical information from sister projects, and the biographical and other material would be available from the genealogy entries. Having a centralized place for genealogical data has substantial benefits since connections to common persons occur as one goes back in ancestral lines. There are many other genealogical sites, but most are commercial and few have open data policies; having a Wikimedia-associated site would fill a longstanding need.
How many wikis?
Will there be many language versions or just on one multilingual wiki?
one wiki database, multilingual interfaces
How many languages?
Is the project going to be in one language or in many?
Multiple languages (currently English and Dutch)


Technical requirements
If the project requires any new features that the MediaWiki software currently doesn't have, please describe in detail. Are additional MediaWiki extensions needed for the project?
Coordination or integration of existing WeRelate extensions with newer MediaWiki version
Development wiki
Interested Participants:

WeRelate is the largest genealogical wiki in the world. WeRelate is a free, non-commercial wiki supported by tax-deductible donations and licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0 and GFDL. Standardized page formats are generated by fill in the blanks forms or by GEDCOM upload. It is now code complete, although we are still working on enhancements. To date WeRelate has over 115,000 ancestor wiki pages, more than 430,000 wiki pages for current and historical inhabited places, 115,000 given and surname wiki pages, and 1.3 million wiki source pages. Please watch our new video. WeRelate has expressed interest in some sort of affiliation with the Wikimedia Foundation.

Add your signature here!

Functionality[edit]

WeRelate uses MediaWiki, currently using Version 1.7.1, with plans to update. However, there are many additional features. The source code and more is available on GitHub.

Each person and family page consists of biographical data stored in XML, with a free-form section as well. The various data fields can contain references, notes, and images.

Namespaces[edit]

WeRelate features the standard namespaces of User, Project, Template, Help, Portal, MediaWiki, Image, and Category, as well as the following:

  • Article the "mainspace" for general information about multiple people/places.
  • Person for individual people; this is the most populated namespace.
  • Family for groups of parents and children.
  • Source for information about useful sources.
  • MySource for sources that are likely to be useful and/or trusted by only one user.
  • Transcript for transcripts of useful sources.
  • Repository for physical collections of sources located at an address.
  • Place for places, ranging from cemeteries to countries.
  • Givenname and Surname
  • Portal for collaborations.

Creating pages[edit]

When creating a new person or family page, adding data is very easy - just fill in the blanks. Pages are automatically standardized and formatted.

There is also a GEDCOM uploader, which allows people to create pages for their ancestors one at a time or by uploading GEDCOM files. Nicely formatted life stories including biographies, annotated photos, scanned source documents, and 44 different life events can be created without the need to enter them manually.

Family Tree Explorer[edit]

WeRelate recently released the online Family Tree Explorer, which makes creating and navigating family trees easier than ever before. The Family Tree Explorer displays pedigree, descendancy, or combined pedigree/descendancy views (showing as many generations as desired) on the left side of a split screen with detailed ancestor or family information on the right.

Citations, references and standardized place names[edit]

Participants are encouraged to include references, citations, family photos and document images on ancestor wiki pages. Auto-completion for places standardizes place names and links to the place wiki. Auto-completion for sources automatically accesses and creates references from over 1.3 million sources in the source namespace.

Annotated images[edit]

Researchers can upload all their documentation and family photos, so they can completely document their work online. They can also attach notes to their images. For example they can label each person in a group photograph, or point out information in a hard-to-read original document. See, annotated family picture and annotated document image.

Pedigree maps[edit]

Automatically generated pedigree maps show where the people in a five-generation pedigree chart migrated across time and place. See, pedigee map at bottom of pedigree page.

Policies[edit]

Living people[edit]

According to WeRelate:Policy#Living People

Information on living people will be removed unless the person is a notable individual documented on Wikipedia whose shared ancestry is likely to be of interest to the community. (This exception is used primarily for heads of state.)

Copyright[edit]

WeRelate is licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0 and GFDL. However, facts can not be copyrighted, so a lot of WeRelate's information may be legally used without any restrictions. See Help:Licensing#What is copyrightable?

Development and history[edit]

The Foundation for On-Line Genealogy, Inc. will continue developing the software and hosting the web site, and the Allen County Public Library will provide administrative and support services. WeRelate is a FREE public service supported by tax-deductible donations. The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library houses over an acre of genealogy materials under one roof and is the second largest genealogy library in the world. The Foundation for On-Line Genealogy is a non-profit organization dedicated to making family history research easier, faster, and more rewarding.

The main person in charge is Dallan Quass, (userpages: here there). He has expressed interest in having WeRelate join the Wikimedia Foundation. He has taken an extended break from the website to focus on developing a new genealogy website for a third party. (The website's name is undisclosed.)

Similar sites[edit]

There are many similar websites, such as Ancestry.com and Geni.com. Both are much bigger than WeRelate, but they are non-free, for-profit websites. Rodovid, FamilyPedia (a Wikia site), and WikiTree are all free wikis, but WeRelate is the largest of them. Ultimately, it may be worth combining some of these, but that would be a separate undertaking.


See also[edit]

Supporters[edit]

  • SJ talk 
  • Ypnypn (talk)
  • --Giaccai (talk) 13:13, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
  • --Qardys (talk) 13:47, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
  • --DixonD (talk) 10:14, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Czech is Cyrillized (talk)
  • JakobSteenberg (talk) 21:35, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Makes more sense than OmegaWiki; it's role is not (yet) duplicated by any WMF projects. May change my mind if Wikidata comes up with a thing like this.--Seonookim (talk) 01:38, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Has potential, though there are a few lingering questions that should be answered in an RfC. JamesA (talk) 07:36, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
  • White Master (es) 20:20, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I've been looking for a free and open genealogy wiki, but ended up installing my own MediaWiki deoployment on my own server, because I didn't trust any of the services. We (Wikimedia) can guarantee quality of service and data protection. Dimi z (talk) 09:03, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Very cool idea, curious about the Werelate community's willingness to change to the "Wiki" prefix. Ross Hill (talk) 01:37, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I was considering proposing something like this myself. King jakob c 2 (talk) 18:58, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Nick1372 (talk) 21:16, 21 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I had actually thought about proposing a similar project not too long ago, but alas others beat me to the punch (which is great!) I am not in love with the name, and I see that other genealogy projects have been proposed, but generally speaking I support the idea of WMF hosting a genealogy project and would be interested in contributing. --Another Believer (talk) 15:55, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
  • LtPowers (talk) 19:26, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
  • WeRelate user here - I can't speak for everyone, but I think that re-naming the site would be fine with me - I'd love to see the site under the WikiMedia umbrella --Jdfoote (talk) 20:46, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
  • This sounds interesting and could benefit the world in general and support Wikipedia specifically. I worry though that it could become Wikipedia without notability requirements and all the problems that would come with that. Would Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons have to be followed? I support exploring the possibility, but issues would have to be resolved. SchreiberBike (talk) 02:44, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Great project! Meclee (talk) 14:50, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Mcnabber091 (talk) 04:30, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Definitely! I was once an avid user of Geni but eventually gave up after they made it increasingly harder for people to collaborate. I'd love to help a truly open genealogy project flourish under the WMF umbrella. --Waldir (talk) 02:26, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
  • ApisGirl(talk)11:39, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
  • With the perspective to also combine Rodovid as soon as possible. --Nemo 08:41, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Quadell 15:45, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
  • · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 07:39, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
  • --Good idea ! i'd like see the result in 2300, it will help historians. Sofian (talk) 16:32, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
  • I've been busy with ancestry research lately and have found these wiki ancestry websites to have some very interesting leads. A key thing for ancestry research is supporting facts/records. When creating this site it would be great if there was cooperation with Commons & Wikisource to allow the upload of pictures and documents relating to persons on this project (free of copyright, of course). AHeneen (talk) 02:39, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Some sort of genealogy site is useful. We could use it to keep track of non-notable bios still mentioned briefly on Wikipedia; there's some synergy. Plus, adding new pool of editors to WMF, and ensuring that a genealogy project is CC-BY-SA would be helpful for the world. --Piotrus (talk) 03:55, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support only if this can connect to the medical industry I am extremely interested in genetic databases and medical records. Genealogy projects without ties to genetic sequencing have no future, and genealogy projects with ties to genetic databases need to build upon existing privacy infrastructure. I would rather this massive and useful project be in non-profit hands than commercial hands and would love to see a Wikimedia tie-in. Compare 23andme. This would be a aggressive entry into international politics and business and I would love to see the Wikimedia Foundation make plans to take stronger positions in world government. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:13, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Plenty of good reasons above. Would be a great place to park all those non-notable bios, memorialised deaths and such like. Edwardx (talk) 19:27, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
  • This would be cool, especially if Lane's idea could be implemented. Kevin Rutherford (talk) 22:56, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
  • DerFussi 05:59, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Tentative support. Abyssal (talk) 16:31, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Alan (talk) 03:31, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
  • I strongly support a non-commercial collective environment for gathering information about personalities across times. I hope there would be close integration with the core Wikimedia products where notability issues prevent from adding information that has only marginal interest. A MediaWiki site might not be reliable enough for sensitive information about the living, your own account. I think that would require some attention. And of the options I have seen over the years WeRelate.org, I think, has the principles right. --Susannaanas (talk) 08:10, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Support! aashaa (talk)
  • Manse! Manse! Manse! --Great Brightstar (talk) 18:10, 14 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I'd love to help with the upgrade to the latest MediaWiki. — Sam Wilson ( TalkContribs ) … 11:21, 15 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. Filceolaire (talk) 19:13, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
  • - Abhijith Jayanthi (talk)
  • Support. A project of this nature has been often requested and proposed. Having a unified, central, update-able database makes a whole lot of sense. --R. S. Shaw (talk) 22:18, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Would be great to have. Jane023 (talk) 11:07, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I strongly support this proposal for several reasons. (1) There is a clear desire out there to collect geological data in online databases and there are numerous volunteer efforts to do this. This project can work. (2) However, most of these efforts are not freely licensed. This project solves a real problem. (3) Anecdotally at least, geological databases are frequently built by people that other Wikimedia projects struggle to attract (e.g., older people and women). (4) The arguments advanced against this proposal are not particularly convincing. We don't need need to be held the same standards (e.g., reliability). (5) This is fragmented but this proposal would not create a new project. By putting the weight, authority, and resources of our movement behind this broader issue, I suspect we could encourage consolidation among the freely-licensed efforts that there exists theoretical support so far. There are details to be ironed out but we should start working on that as soon as possible. —mako 01:48, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Support.--Alexandre.rozanov (talk) 21:38, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Support--Lidewij C J. (talk) 12:26, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Opponents[edit]

  • Not so great. Even if you exclude living people, there are severe legal issues about dead people. Genealogic data could only be useful for people dead 70 years ago or more. For other poeple, there are privacy issues about the kind of info you'll allow inserting about someone that cannot defend its personality. If this is just to collect data about civil records, this data will be subject to many national laws. They are NOT extensible internationaly and CANNOT be free knowledge (notably the licences allowing modifications will be incompatible with these laws).
Seriously, such project should remain within private projects monitored by authorized people that take full responsability and audit the data they republish under specific authorization or legal rights, but this right is NOT freely transferable. I strongly oppose this project, except for people died more than 1 century ago (that must NOT be linked to their successors living or not : the names of children must be hidden, and given mean life time about 75 years, this means that NO birth later than 175 years ago should be listed, if we don't know that these successors are dead since more than 100 years). And which kind of data would be useful ? We are not focusing on creating online fac simile backups of national people registries.
Anyway this project is extremely badly named, it should be more descriptive with something like "GeneaWiki". May be some parts of Wikidata should be transfered here, using the same wikidata extension, but with specific visual tools to help building and navigating in genealogic trees. And with tools facilitating the exchange of information between existing communities of genealogists (the wiki format is not the best option for massive imports of lots of hostoric trees, and genealogists will want to track the original sources, which are much more important than the data themselves).
Not that even if these are facts and facts are not copyrightable by themselves (in US), this does not mean that there's no private rights applicable because the project is all about personal data.
verdy_p (talk) 05:45, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose --Timmaexx (talk) 23:04, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose This seems to be a poorly structured, poor quality, and filterless duplication of what we're already doing. There are genealogical diagrams for notable families on Wikipeida already. There are biographies for notable people and write-ups of notable places on Wikipedia already. I don't see a value in a WMF supported project to start tracking non-notable people and non-notable families. When I look at the selected content, I see things like this write up of a domestic servant. I'm not saying that there isn't a value to a project like WeRelate. Plenty of people are interested in ancestry tracking, albeit mostly tracking their own ancestries or those of famous people. What I am saying though is that I don't see a value in adopting this as a WMF project. Aside from the grave privacy concerns that comments like BlueRasberry's (about bringing in genetic data) raise, I simply don't think that this project fits well within the WMF's mission. Does it provide knowledge? Yes. Does it provide broadly usable knowledge? No. The WMF needs to concentrate its resouces on projects that have the potential to do the greatest amount of good, and certainly doesn't need to have one of every type of knowledge medium/source if a good case for having it hasn't been made. I don't see a good case for having this, and so I am in opposition to adopting it. Sven Manguard (talk) 04:16, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose - due to problems with reliable sourcing. There are few fields of scholarship, historically, where the signal-to-noise ratio is worse. --Orange Mike (talk) 21:20, 6 September 2013 (UTC)