April is for About Cleanup!

Started by Private User on Thursday, March 31, 2011
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Private User
3/31/2011 at 6:49 AM

I'd like to humbly propose that we make April "'About' Cleanup Month." We've built a nice little queue of profiles that need attention, so perhaps we can collectively make it a goal to weed through as many as possible by tidying them up? I admit to feeling guilty that I seem to add more profiles to the project than I remove. Who's with me? :) Should we divide and conquer?

Private User
3/31/2011 at 9:41 AM

Go team!

3/31/2011 at 1:13 PM

I'll take care of Milo Andrus

3/31/2011 at 2:23 PM

I approve of this! I've been slowly making my way through the profiles I co-manage. (There are quite a few!) Hopefully in April, we can kick a bunch out!

4/1/2011 at 7:36 AM

Milo Andrus is now had an extensive editing pass. It took about 3 hours to go through because of the lengthy chronology and autobiography that are part of his profile. With 11 wives, and 57 children there was a lot of info to reformat. I went ahead and linked as many of non-immediate family profiles mentioned it his "about me" section to other geni profiles that I knew were on the site.

Private User
4/1/2011 at 9:56 AM

Great work Randy! Extensive, indeed. Whew...

4/1/2011 at 2:44 PM

Do we want to make these MP's as we clean them?

98% Cleaned: Wright Anderson Moore

Most of his About Me info is a family history narrative....it has typo's, but I did NOT fix them...should we?

4/1/2011 at 4:25 PM

Clean: Rev. John Mayo, of Boston & Yarmouth

Are we going to remove the profile from the project once it is clean? If so, I would suggest someone else reviews it first, and that we keep track, maybe on the project main page....???

4/1/2011 at 4:41 PM

Wright Anderson Moore

Great job!

My suggestions:

- In theory since only one or two managers not necessary to make MP. HOWEVER I believe that with an extensive (and looking neat and clean!) historic profile, it actually makes sense to MP as we declare "done" -- that way new users can more easily see in "search" or otherwise - merge with this profile, it's the single valid one, instead of making their own with Wikipedia "data dumps" etc.

- I believe Jenna and other curators would agree with me but let's hear from them as well. Too many Mormon pioneers:)

- Using discussions as a workflow tool might be best. Either make a new thread in this project -- ready for review and MPing - or just tag the profile when done.

- I will leave it to the profile manager to "remove from project" when done. But my making it MP includes my quick proofread and seal of course!

4/1/2011 at 4:48 PM

PS I would leave quotes from sources (Notes) as is unless it needs some extra clarification. 19th century typos can be charming and a source in and of itself.

4/1/2011 at 4:54 PM

Thanks Erica! I am done for tonight, will do a couple more tomorrow!

Private User
4/1/2011 at 5:33 PM

My thought -- We should MP them.

(MP doesn't mean it's perfect. Sometimes it's used as many multiples are merged to serve as a guide. Sometimes because it has some bio data, even if it hasn't been verified yet. Sometimes because they have photos or direct family associated and are likely to be most accurate... Then, you'll find as many variations on those and other similar themes as there are Curators! The process for adding documentation/media and sourcing is continuing to improve but still needs oodles of work. And then, even if we get them up to each of our standards, new users join and profiles continue to be added. Eventually, we hope to have the ability to "lock" individual fields of data, event tags, family relationships, etc. -- requiring contact/consultation with a Curator or Manager to be changed. Lastly, each of us will be guilty of human error!)

4/1/2011 at 5:57 PM

What Jenna said!

Also, there are lots of historic profiles with multiple managers that have "no info at all" in the about me!

Curators are trying to get to it but we soooo need everyone in the community to help this cause. Plus its fun.

One thought of something that can emerge from this Project that will help everyone -- maybe we can get it posted on the Geni public Wiki ---

How YOU can make a good Master Profile. I've been thinking about that issue. BTW Geni has made it soooo much easier now with the latest WikiMedia about me's and the enhancements to source documents. We're really ready to crank out this phase and I for one enjoy it much more than "human merge monkey" duty. :) :)

4/1/2011 at 9:10 PM

I cleaned up Miles P. Romney and removed him from the project.

4/1/2011 at 9:39 PM

Randy I made MP. That was an interesting read, thank you. (And an example of what you'll never find on Wikipedia.)

4/4/2011 at 11:35 AM

What is the definition of a "historical" profile for this project?

Profiles of people who made a significant contribution to history in some way, has some tie to a historically significant person or event (if so limited by a relationship/generation identifier) or any public profile?

i.e. Elizabeth Wells (Livingston) is Eleanor Roosevelt's great-grandmother...does she meet the historical requirements of this project, or does she just need to be cleaned up (I am finding nothing relevant about her for a biography other than that she is Eleanor's ggma).

Also, if we are MP'ing, shouldn't we have a standard format to use? Can a curator get Geni to state something along hte lines of "a profile will contain X at the top of hte About Me section before it will be MP'd. Other date may be added following these standards:".... where X is something like Erica has provided as an example (applied on this profile: Nicolas "Nic" Stampfler): name in bold, birth and death dates, one or two lines of bio, then parents, marriages, and children listed out, then free style Notes and Source sections, with wiki formatting used consistently.

Perhaps an idea is to pre-fill each new profile with those standards all ready in place (i.e. bio, parents, marriage, children, notes, sources)...with an option to apply those standards with a check box on existing profiles?

As i have said before, do it the same way each time, then it only has to be done once and it is done accurately. Blanks are easily spotted for research purposes, and all profiles have the same look in about me as the formatted Geni profile section above has.

4/4/2011 at 1:06 PM

And, in cleaning the Elizabeth Livingston added to the project, I found that she is NOT related to Eleanor Roosevelt! Not at all sure who she is now...guess I found my project for the evening!

Private User
4/4/2011 at 4:25 PM

Anita, as a newbie I've been looking for exactly the sort of standard you mentioned in discussing MP files... have figured out from following discussions pretty much exactly what you've listed here but can you please explain when 'wiki formatting' is and where I can go to learn that? Thanks!

4/4/2011 at 6:04 PM

Jennifer, wiki formatting is how to get the bold text, the header style on "notes", the numbering on the children on an internet page...it is basically the same as in a Microsoft Office application, but you have to tell it what you want to do sometimes, rather than just clicking the icon.

You can get a lot of it easily by using the "formatting help" link after you click on edit in about me. Either add the text indicated to what you want to format, or highlight the item you want to format and then click the button for it (just like in Word). I learned what I know that is NOT in the help by editing profiles that have the formatting and then copying how they did it.

Erica...can you post the link to the full wiki formatting info again? I can never find it! I think there is a project for it, as well, that shows some tricks.

Private User
4/4/2011 at 7:34 PM

Oh, very cool, Anita! I've already figured out some of it the same way you did. Would love the link if you can find it, Erica, otherwise will just keep learning from other files. MP files are a WEALTH of info! Thanks so much, Anita, I appreciate the info.

4/4/2011 at 9:22 PM

I'll take care of the cleanup for these direct line ancestors of mine:

Jacobine Goad

Andrew Willett (1562 - 1621)

Thomas Hooker (July 5, 1586 – July 7, 1647)

Susanna (Susan) Garbrand (1593 - 1676)

After they are cleaned up I'll remove them from the project.


4/4/2011 at 10:39 PM

BTW these pages are from the "Wiki" hyperlink at the bottom of every Geni page

What is a Master Profile?

Project Template

Overview tab
It makes it easier to read a profile if the "about me" information is filled out in this fashion:
(vitals, summary)
example profile: Stephen Hopkins Mayflower Passenger

Wikipedia's WikiMedia cheatsheet

We don't yet have "template" files for profile "about me's" although of course we've discussed it.

What I've found is that they don't always apply -- for instance, you can go on and on about everything about [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Boru Brian Boru on Wikipedia] (I'm in an Irish mood) except fill in his children correctly.

And some of the Mormons (and Royalty) won't fit a profile template neatly.

Soo my hint? I have a preformatted "notepad file" I copy & paste. Feel free to steal it, next post.

Private User
4/4/2011 at 11:04 PM

Thanks, Erica! Sorry, I generally ignore Wikis when it comes to genealogy, so never paid any attention to the Wiki link down below. Thanks for the nudge!

And I do the same thing in using notepad boilerplate for tons of diff uses, it's just so fast and easy! Will look forward to "stealing" yours for About Me listings...

4/4/2011 at 11:26 PM

Erica's Master Profile Cheat Sheet, notes in parentheses. I'll do the explanation version first and then a clean version for people to copy & paste. General note: Leave off altogether if info not known by you; put in "not known" if info not known by historical source.

First Name (bold) Middle Name (bold) Last Name (bold) was born XX Month XXXX in (place name, historically appropriate, present day name), and died XX Month XXXX. (baptism / christening / burial data as known.) S/he was also known as (nicknames, other languages, etc.)

IF it applies: a nice Wikipedia type line summarizing a Notable such as "He was an Irish Politician active in the Cromwell era." "Originally a Quaker missionary, she became a noted abolitionist and public speaker." It helps orient a reader in time and place to have this kind of one liner.

Parents: (child # of) (father and mother with their dates / places) [n.b. some like father & mother on separate lines; I actually find it saves space & usually fits together fine on one line]

# (include date, place, name, dates of spouse, their parents, number of children with spouse)
# (I put in "long term liaisons" particularly if there are known children and / or it's historically interesting :))

Children of (name) and (spouse1): in date order, oldest to youngest (n.b. you'd be surprised to see how often that's not always the case when copying from a source document)
# full name, dates in parentheses, place, who married. More details should go in a footnote perhaps.
# note that the # sign makes a nice neat numbered list. You can also apply Wikimedia formatting after it's typed in.

Children of (name) and (spouse2):
n.b. this is a tad controversial: some prefer the spouse and children together rather than wives together / children together. Obviously I seem to prefer a list of wives and then a list of children. :)
# [fn1] for instance to refer someone to a footnoted reference on source data; otherwise I assume it comes from the more general weblink

Sections are made by this:
= very bold =
== not quite as bold == what I use most often
=== boldish ===

Soooo -- my section after the Vitals is usually (but not always!)


That's where I love getting unique, including with the name of the section. Often research digs up something really cool about an ancestor, my own personal tree favorite being "Abijah Ross and the Bear Dogs Treeing a Wildcat." This is the telling anecdote that gives you the flavor of a man or woman.

I mean, wouldn't you read on if you saw:

"Red Mary was said to have 25 husbands. In truth she was tried for the murder attempt of one of them, but acquitted (see below)."

Optional but frequently used other sections include:
Biographical Summary (I have this as optional because unfortunately (or not) we have plenty of obscure ancestors we can only build the biography *after* we get the facts such as events into the profile).
Immigration (to dig up the ancestral embarkation point / ship and actual data on it? Are you kidding? So important!)
Wills (a gold mine)
Land transactions
Quotes (if they said something cool)
Quotations about (hagiography lives!)
Events (nice neat list using the asterik * which starts a new line)
Grave Inscriptions (a tear jerker)
Career (can be as short as "was made Freeman and might be covered in events).

*Not* so optional are your sources! I feel pretty strongly about this. If there isn't a link how would I know if you're making it up? Of course if you have documents such as census attached I'll see that -- but it doesn't hurt to note that the census is attached (I cover that in "events" usually as it is documenting "residence/ year" most of all).

Sources can be done in a variety of ways and it's all good. But I like breaking it out sometimes.

* web page, aliased or bold
* I also like to put in links to "official" websites, youtube search results, google / flkr image search results, etc. The interweb is hyperlinked & dimensional, let's use that
* I also like *place* orientation and there some good websites on places - towns, houses, histories, etc.

particularly important for book references. I copy & paste a paragrph from a google book / archives.org book result for instance for the bio section and give the full reference here.

how is this different from links? Wikipedia could be your link, and within the Wiki article are citations. So you copy & paste that source info.

The devil is in the details and footnotes are the place for the devil! They're not nice & easy (yet) like Wikipedia but doesn't mean they don't come up and shouldn't be used.

4/5/2011 at 12:10 AM

Name, Vitals

If a notable, summary line of why they're famous.

Parents: son of / daughter of


Children of



* secondary and tertiary sources


* primary sources


n.b. either is acceptable and used

4/5/2011 at 12:21 AM

Here are two examples, one from "history" (therefore more -- but different! -- info available) and one from "my own historical tree" (my 5th great grandfather).

Neither are perfect by a long shot. I wish! But good enough to be an MP and merge *into* (at least I hope so). For instance, I have yet to add the census reports for John Hopkins as "source documents" ... track down his wife's family ... his Am Rev War pension application ... and the profile image is cheesy, I can do better (wince wince).

Now I need the "Geni To Do Application" we have as a wishlist / enhancement request, go vote for that here "Help" link at bottom of every page: http://help.geni.com/entries/506776-research-to-do-list

John Hankins

4/5/2011 at 7:17 AM

Awesome info Erica...and at 3AM, too! Thanks!!!

4/5/2011 at 7:35 AM

Thanks Erica for your info.

4/5/2011 at 8:03 AM

I've been meaning to do this for a long time so thank you all for the opportunity and motivation.

And you all are inspiring *me* to do more cleanup of the "about me's."

One of the awful results of merging together historical profiles is 20 copies of the same wikipedia article pasted together into the "about me." (Shudders). We curators are making traction on getting that cleaned up but Dang it's a big job -- particularly since Wikipedia has vastly improved in the last couple of years. :) That's part of why it's better to put in a "live link."

Another point Jennifer may not know as being more a newbie: the enhancement to the "documents" aspect of Geni was only released a few weeks ago.

It was really just a tweak to existing functionality, but it's made it so much easier to source & cite facts as you go along that there's almost no excuse *not* to use it as you make your profiles now.

If I was doing the John Hankins profile today, I would have ancestry.com open in another window, download census reports, label properly, upload to Geni and cite as "facts" immediately. But unlike in an Ancestry tree, I can *also* go into *other sources* and hyperlink /PDF file those pages and link as facts / sources / documents. Totally sweet.

4/5/2011 at 8:08 AM

How much is Ancestry.com to get to where you can actually download stuff?

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