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Sunday, January 11, 2009

WeRelate -- genealogical social network

WeRelate is billed as the world's largest genealogical wiki. It is a cross between a wiki and social networking site with individual pages for ancestors rather than social networking "friends." It is a project developed by the Foundation for On-Line Genealogy, Inc. in partnership with the Allen County Public Library. Because it is a wiki, individuals can add and change information in real time, allowing relatives to collaborate on the details of their individual families. Individual pages can contain photos and scanned documents and can contain as much, or little information as may be available. Information can be added or changed at any time.

Because it is a wiki, WeRelate is responsive to change. Pages can be created indivdually or by uploading a GEDCOM file which will create a page for every individual in your file. There is an upper limit of 10 megabytes to the size of the file that can be uploaded. Pages can contain both text and graphic. Scanned images can also be annotated by putting notes on the image. Photo images can be tagged with the names of the individuals. Data can be viewed in pedigree format, and on a variety of maps and timelines through the Family Tree Explorer.

Individual pages can be put on a "watch list" so that the those on the watch list will be notified if any changes are made to an individual page. The wiki also contains research helps, including article, maps, place name pages, alternate name index and a source index. WeRelate claims to have the largest historical and current inhabited place name index with over 430,000 inhabited places. Users can also search over 1.2 million sources, including the Family History Library Catalog.

Each user can have a dashboard showing the people who are watching the same pages you are and allowing individuals to connect and communicate in the wiki without using their personal E-mail address.

The non-traditional interface takes some time to get used to, but this is a site worth exploring.

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