From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
This is a proposal for a new Wikimedia sister project.
WeRelate (working name)
Status of the proposal
Reasonno interest. Pecopteris (talk) 07:09, 19 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Details of the proposal
Project descriptionThe 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.
Is it a multilingual wiki?one wiki database, multilingual interfaces
Potential number of languagesMultiple languages (currently English and Dutch)
Technical requirements
New features to requireCoordination or integration of existing WeRelate extensions with newer MediaWiki version
Interested participants
Feel free to join. Also see this page: WeRelate/supporters.

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.

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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.


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.


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.)


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 as well. Ultimately, it may be worth combining some of these, but that would be a separate undertaking.

See also[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)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose --Timmaexx (talk) 23:04, 30 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • 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)[reply]
  • 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)[reply]
  • A genealogical wiki is a valid project for the Wikimedia Foundation. The nominated website, werelate.org, is not suited for inclusion in WM. This is based on about 4 months of use, in 2 periods. There is a right-wing anti-intellectual tone on Werelate manifested in policies concerning display and importation of data. As an example, look for the country specified in President Obama's birthplace: http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Person:Barack_Obama_%282%29. (check the history before 9 May 2014 if there is a country other than Hawaii). Some vocal Werelate contributers would support display of Hawaii as the country of Obama's birth based on an unwritten rule of the site regarding place names (see discussion here: http://www.werelate.org/wiki/User_talk:Susan_Irish#Anachronistic_places_.5B15_March_2014.5D ). An additional problem of the site is that there was no vetting of imported genealogical data when the site started. This mass of uncurated data still hangs over the site. The current import policy is reactionary with arbitrary restrictions. In summary, the culture of this site is unsuitable for incorporation within Wikimedia. I spoke with a representative of the ACPL about this site. She was reluctant to bring it up, and when I did she had a look of depressed disappointment and offered no support of the site. It seems that genealogists interested in a reflective, intellectual community have already abandoned Werelate. Ggpauly (talk) 01:50, 10 May 2014 (UTC)[reply]