Help:WikiTree Challenge

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Our next challenge is a special "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" event. Please join us! There will be slightly different rules than what you see below.

The WikiTree Challenge is our biggest community event ever. For one week, a team of WikiTree volunteers collaborates to make discoveries for a special guest star.


Guest Stars

Each week, a team of WikiTree volunteers focuses on the tree of a special guest star.

See our three-minute video.

In 2021, as the headline event of our "Year of Accuracy," the WikiTree Challenge was focused on "genealogy stars" such as bestselling author AJ Jacobs, leading genetic genealogist CeCe Moore, and host of PBS TV's "Finding Your Roots," Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Our guests were some of the world's leading genealogists and others who have made outstanding contributions in the field of genealogy. These guests were the most challenging. By working together in just one week, could our amateur genealogists make new discoveries for genealogy professionals? The answer: Yes! We broke 800 brick walls for our guests! This is a truly incredible accomplishment.

In 2022, as the headline event of our "Year of Family Connections," we are focused on guest stars who are not genealogists. If we can make discoveries for professional genealogists, what can we discover for non-genealogists? This promises to be fun for everyone.

If you have been invited to be a guest, please see Help:WikiTree Challenge Guests.


Challenges are running every other week in 2022. A challenge week is Thursday to Thursday. Each challenge has a G2G thread for registration, announcements and discussions. Everyone is invited to participate, even if they haven't registered, but only those who register have their points counted.

Collaboration and competition

This is a collaborative and competitive challenge. The participants in each challenge week are a team. Awards go to the top-scoring individuals in each challenge week, and to each member of the top-scoring team for the year.

Advance registration

Members who plan to participate are asked to register in advance. This enables us to coordinate teams and award points.

Registration is by week. It opens in G2G a few weeks before the start of the challenge. It will be "pinned" to the top of the G2G question list.

Participants who register for any challenge week get the 2022 participation badge.


Working with the guest

Before the week they are featured, we ask the guest what they already know about their genealogy. Mindy, the challenge coordinator, and the team captain work with the guest privately to create WikiTree profiles for their non-living grandparents or great-grandparents. These are our four to eight starting points for the week.

If the guest star provides any family tree information beyond their great-grandparents, we will make tree images available but not create WikiTree profiles. These ancestor profiles should be created during the challenge using independently-sourced research.

During the week of their challenge, the guest star just waits! We ask that they don't view anything on WikiTree so that they don't spoil the surprise. At the end of their week, we reveal our discoveries.

Privacy for the living and recently-deceased

Privacy is very important on WikiTree. This challenge is no exception.

  • Do not add any information about living people.
  • Don't hesitate to add family relationships and basic birth, death, and marriage data obtained from public sources for any non-living people.
  • Biographical information on people who lived within the past 100 years should only be added with strict adherence to WikiTree's policy on Help:Recently Deceased Strangers.

If the guest has expressed a wish for stricter privacy limits or that we avoid certain areas, this will be communicated by the team captain.

Team communication

Participants can choose to work independently, but frequent communication can make things more fun and collaborative.

The G2G post for the week will list the eight great-grandparents. You can comment under the line you are working on and let others know what you are working on, or ask questions.

There is a "Discord" live chat channel. Many of us use this. It's active almost 24 hours a day during the challenge.

There are five live Zoom video chats. You are invited to be in the room or just watch with your camera off.

  1. Mindy and the captain (when available) host two kick-off chats at the start of the week. The first is at kick-off which is noon EST (5pm GMT). The second is at 8pm EST (1am GMT). There may be announcements about interesting leads to pursue.
  2. Donna Baumann hosts the weekend check-in. This is when the brick walls are announced for bounty points. You can chat about how the research is going, or ask questions, here. This will always be at noon EST (5pm GMT)
  3. Mindy hosts two wrap-up chats at the end of the week. These are at noon EST (5pm GMT) and 8pm EST (1am GMT).We share our discoveries with each other and bounty points are awarded or announced for the most interesting ones.


Points for new profiles

  • Three points are awarded for creating a sourced profile of an ancestor of the guest star within 20 generations.
  • Two points are awarded for each nuclear relative of an ancestor within 20 generations.
  • One point is awarded for each additional person within four degrees of an ancestor within 10 generations.

Fine print:

  • This scoring is automatic. You do not need to track the profiles you create.
  • Scores are recalculated every hour.
  • Points will be removed if they were awarded for an ancestor who is later disconnected. That is, if points were awarded for adding ancestors who are later shown to be unrelated to the guest star, those points will not be counted when scores are recalculated. This could result in dramatic changes to scores. Similarly, points will be removed if they were awarded for an ancestor who is later merged into a profile that existed previously.

Bounty points

In addition to the points for creating profiles, participants can claim special 10-point bounties in the following three categories.

General notes:

  • To collect a bounty, post what you have found in the G2G thread for the week's challenge under the appropriate starting ancestor. After it is verified, a notice will be posted there that says the point bounty has been claimed.
  • Decisions about whether to award points are made by the team captain. They can be appealed to the challenge coordinator if there is any controversy.
  • Bounty points may be split if members worked together.
  • Bounty points may not immediately appear on the scoresheet since they are added manually.
Bounties for connections

A 10-point bounty can be claimed for the first unique connection to the global family tree for each starting ancestor (each grandparent or great-grandparent).

  • Connections are relationships to existing profiles on WikiTree that have relationships to all the other profiles in our 24+ million person global tree.
  • Connections must be unique. If a connection starts with the same person as the connection in another line, it will be disqualified.
  • Connections can be any distance from the starting ancestor in any direction.
  • If the connection path has a very weak link, e.g. an unsourced profile, it may be disqualified.
Bounties for brick walls broken

At the start of the week, our guests don't have "brick walls" (ancestors hidden behind stubborn research obstacles) because our guests aren't genealogists with well-developed family trees. We don't know where their brick walls will be until we hit them ourselves.

At the mid-week check-in on Zoom, the team captain will announce up to eight (8) brick walls that need special attention. They can be on any of the starting ancestors' many lines. After the Zoom chat, the brick walls will be posted on the G2G thread for the appropriate starting ancestor.

The first participant to find a mother or father beyond each brick wall will get a 10-point bounty.

Only one 10-point bounty can be awarded for each brick wall. This is in addition to the automatic three points for adding the ancestor. Additional relatives and ancestors beyond the brick wall are scored normally.

Bounties for interesting discoveries

Participants who hunt for interesting stories to tell our guest can earn bounty points too.

Twenty-four hours before the end of the challenge, the team captain will compile a list of up to 20 interesting discoveries made by participants up until that point. These might be stories about ancestors or relatives that were published in newspapers ... connections to notable people, places, or events ... information about family homesteads ....

This list will then be sent to all participants. Each participant can vote for up to eight (8) favorites. The top eight vote-getters will earn 10-point bounties. These will be revealed in the video wrap-up on the final day.

  • To make sure your discovery is considered, report it on the G2G thread for the starting ancestor.
  • If there are eight or less reported discoveries, there will be no voting and all of them will earn bounty points.

Unscored statistics

The true value of genealogy contributions is impossible to measure. Scores are for fun. They are not meant to be comprehensive summaries of participants' contributions. For this challenge in particular, the scores are very narrowly focused on certain types of contributions, as described above.

In order to show a wider range of contributions, everyone who has edited an ancestor or nuclear family member of an ancestor of the guest star during the challenge is listed on the table. These are the columns for "Profiles Edited" and "Total Edits." The former shows the number of unique profiles that were edited by the participant while the latter shows the total number of edits.

Awards and badges

  • Everyone who participates gets a 2022 WikiTree Challenge participation badge.
  • Anyone who collects a point bounty gets a "Bounty Hunter" badge.
  • Every week's highest-scoring member gets a "Team MVP" badge. The team captain cannot be MVP.
  • Every participant in the highest-scoring week for the year gets a "WikiTree Challenge Winner" badge.
  • The team captain of the highest-scoring week for the year gets a physical trophy.

challenge_bounty_22.gif challenge_mvp_22.gif challenge_winner_22.gif

Challenge Leadership

Team captains

Each week's team is led by a team captain or co-captains.


The team captain role is very important in this challenge. Captains:

  • Work with the challenge coordinator, Mindy Silva, before the challenge to prepare the starting profiles of grandparents or great-grandparents.
  • Participate in the kick-off event to introduce participants to what is already known about the guest star's family tree.
  • Lead the collaboration during the week so that researchers are coordinating their work when they are investigating the same ancestors.
  • Monitor progress and provide gentle guidance if they notice participants getting off track, e.g. creating profiles without sources.
  • Work with Mindy to verify bounty point awards.
  • Participate in the check-ins and wrap-up event at the end of the week.

Like all genealogists on WikiTree, team captains are volunteers. Although they are not compensated, we can offer:

  • The sincere appreciation of our community.
  • A "Team Captain" badge.
  • A "WikiTree Challenge Team Captain" t-shirt or item of their choice.
  • A real, physical trophy if their team has the highest score for the year.

The current team captain list:

  • Cheryl Hess
  • Christine Daniels
  • Donna Baumann
  • Janet Wild
  • Joan Whitaker
  • Karen Lowe
  • Laura DeSpain
  • Maddy Hardman

Challenge coordinator

The challenge is administered by Mindy Silva. Mindy coordinates with team captains, helps with registration, and represents the WikiTree Team in what is our most ambitious event ever.

If you have any questions or problems regarding the challenge, contact Mindy.

Calendar and Archive

Finished and upcoming

  • Finished: 26 May - 1 June (1 week), WikiTree Challenge, Challenge 11 - Mary Roach, Tracker
  • Active: 2-8 June (1 week), WikiTree Challenge, Challenge 11 - Kevin Bacon, , Tracker
  • Upcoming: 9-15 June (1 week), WikiTree Challenge, Challenge 12 - Lois Bujold

Complete list

  • Finished: 5-11 January (1 week), WikiTree Challenge, Challenge 1 - Jimmy Wales, , Tracker
  • Finished: 20-26 January (1 week), WikiTree Challenge, Challenge 2 - Paul Gilmartin, , Tracker
  • Finished: 3-9 February (1 week), WikiTree Challenge, Challenge 3 - Hasse Fröberg, , Tracker
  • Finished: 17-23 February (1 week), WikiTree Challenge, Challenge 4 - Adrienne Wilkinson, , Tracker
  • Finished: 3-9 March (1 week), WikiTree Challenge, Challenge 5 - Oliver Wakeman, , Tracker
  • Finished: 17-23 March (1 week), WikiTree Challenge, Challenge 6 - Jimmie Fadden, , Tracker
  • Finished: 31 March - 6 April (1 week), WikiTree Challenge, Challenge 7 - Elizabeth Gracen, , Tracker
  • Finished: 14-20 April (1 week), WikiTree Challenge, Challenge 8 - CJ Cherryh, , Tracker
  • Finished: 28 April - 4 May (1 week), WikiTree Challenge, Challenge 9 - Derek Parra, , Tracker

Wrap-ups and video highlights

Jimmy Wales wrap-up and highlights video.
Paul Gilmartin wrap-up and highlights video.
Hasse Fröberg wrap-up and highlights video.

This page was last modified 12:52, 20 May 2022. This page has been accessed 50,386 times.