As I was walking around the exhibit hall at the FGS Conference, I passed the Allen County Library booth and was asked if I had heard of WeRelate. I hadn’t even though it has been around for a few years. I think very few people have heard of this website even though it was voted one of the best websites of 2009 by Family Tree Magazine
WeRelate is a genealogy wiki. That means that it is a website that can be added to or edited by anyone. In this case you have to register first but you only have to give a valid e-mail address. Then you can create a user page (or not). If you see a person of interest already in the wiki then you can add facts or edit facts. When you edit an existing person page, it sends a notice to the person that uploaded the data that a change has taken place. There are also wiki pages for places (like Rochester, NY) and you can add to those also.
You can also upload a GEDCOM to WeRelate. It is complicated!. First they want places standardized as “Town, County, State and Country.” I didn’t have the country on any places in the US and I ended up editing my GEDCOM using Notepad; which I wouldn’t recommend for most people. I think that if you don’t have the country in your GEDCOM it may be added by the website after you upload the file. After the GEDCOM is uploaded then you will directed to go through some steps and check the file you uploaded. You have to check places first. Then I had a warning that one family had a son after aged 35; which was true. I had one person that matched a person that was already on WeRelate so I verified that and it merged the families. I only uploaded two families with 35 people total so it took almost no time for the website to create the wiki pages (one for each person; one for each family). Then I noticed that my two sources looked awful. My GEDCOM from RootsMagic had repeated the source text three times. I edited both sources so they looked at least a little closer to what a source should look like.
Next I uploaded a tombstone picture to a person’s page. That was the easiest thing I did. If you have a picture of a family group, you can annotate the picture; that is, you can point out each known person.
On thing that I look for on any website that wants my data is if you or the website ends up owning the data. The short answer is that you can delete any data that you upload as long as no one else has added to a page. If the page has been added to, you can delete your data but it is slightly more complicated. So you own your data.
WeRelate is a free service in partnership with the Allen County (Indiana) Public Library and is supported by donations. This is a unique solution in making family genealogy a collaboration. I don’t know as it will ever be as popular as some of the larger genealogy websites but you may want to check it out and see if it of interest to you.