FANs and WikiTree

This week, the WikiTree Family News (an optional newsletter for WikiTreers) highlighted a blog by Kathleen Hill Tesluk with the following quote:

Elizabeth Shown Mills reminds us to study in depth each friend, associate, or neighbor our ancestor interacted with in order to learn more about the context of their lives and break down brick walls. WikiTree is the perfect platform to record this information in a convenient place. … it combines the power of analytical narrative with the visualization of a tree.

Kathleen Hill Tesluck, “WikiTree and the FAN Principle,” Voices from a distant past (https://voicesfromadistantpast.blogspot.com/2022/08/wikitree-and-fan-principle.html : accessed 9 August 2022).

That had my attention right away. I recently started a Free Space Profile (FSP) on WikiTree to share the letters my 3x-great grandfather wrote in the middle 1800’s. Throughout the letters he mentions neighbors and colleagues, particularly from his two chosen fields of endeavour, medicine and religion. (He also farmed, and I suspect his wife Elizabeth kept that going!) As part of my certificate in the University of Washington’s Genealogy and Family History Program, I researched the letters and created a spreadsheet of everyone mentioned and did preliminary research on them. The final result is available here. (Note: This project was written when the Genealogical Proof Standard and Elizabeth Shown Mill’s amazing contributions around citation and evidence were just beginning to take hold.)

Uploading the letters to the FSP will take time, since I need to adjust the images of the letters, turn them into PDFs and review my transcriptions. Creating the FSP gave me the opportunity to learn some new formatting techniques on WikiTree and I am grateful for the opportunity. And thanks to Kathleen’s blog, I can begin to link the people in the letters or his biography to other WikiTree profiles. I connected the first one today, Col. Thomas Baker, who was a California Senator.

I am simultaneously working on upgrading Thomas’ WikiTree profile to Level 3. For more about WikiTree biography standards, check out this post from the Profile Improvement Team.

The power of WikiTree to capture information, share knowledge, and connect people continues to grow.

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