I have been using Wiki Tree. for over a year now, although it took me a while to get into it. Why ? Because it has a very structured approach which is not always intuitive. However once I persevered and put the time into it, I found Wiki Tree was quite a good way of sharing your family tree. Maybe it would have been helpful if I found Paul Bech’s tips on WikiTree items on YouTube ?
People can find you or family members on WikiTree via Google Search. And it is another way to help break down brick walls, and connect with those unknown distant cousins. James Tanner has indicated in his blog, Genealogy’s Star, that so far he like WikiTree the most of what is available. I liked the thoughts of Kitty Cooper on using One World Trees like Wiki Tree
“The advantages of using a one world tree are:
- You are not constantly duplicating research that has already been done.
- It is online and searchable so distant cousins will find you.
- Other descendants of your ancestors may have pictures and documents to share that are already posted.
- When you connect your line into the tree you may find new ancestors that you did not know about.
- You can often figure out immediately how you are related to a new “DNA” cousin.
- It is easy to send family members and distant cousins links to the family tree.
- After you are dead and gone your research will live on.
The disadvantages of a one world tree can be that:
- Other people will change facts and information that you knew were correct.
- How can you be sure that another person’s research is reliable?
- You need to be sure that living people have their privacy protected.“
To be honest the first two disadvantages are those typical of any Wiki. However I have been contacted by a number of distant cousins when they have found common family members on Wiki Tree. Some I had contact with already, eg descendants of First Fleet Convicts, John Small and his wife Mary Parker. Of course we can communicate via a Facebook Family History Group eg the First Fleeter family, The Small Family in Australia.
So much amazing research was done by members of the Small Family in the 1980’s, culminating in a book, “The Small Family in Australia 1788-1988“, with 17,000 descendants listed.
Now, some people are only just discovering their Small Family connections. Facebook allows conversations and opportunities for these newly discovered descendants to connect up. However Wiki Tree allows us to collaborate in the continual and structured building of the tree, more effectively than any other approach.
Likewise with another First Fleeter family, the descendants of Peter Hibbs, an Able Seaman of the HMS Sirius, Flagship of the First Fleet. A lot of great research was done by the mid 1990’s and an extensive book, “Sailing on the Hibbs Line” was compiled by Allen Maunder. Yet again however, newly discovered members are surfacing. So some of us are collaborating with long known Hibbs family members, who also happen to be Wiki Tree “old hands”. Thus we can slowly incorporate those branches and leaves missing from the tree. And there is the umbrella group, The Fellowship of the First Fleeters, which is helpful on more generic First Fleeter issues.