WikiTree is a free, online collaborative genealogy system. Families can go online and complete their family tree to the extent of their knowledge. As others build out their family trees, this builds and makes the entire WikiTree system more robust and complete. Users of WikiTree are asked to follow a sort of honor system when completing their family tree so as to maintain the integrity of the site. Families worldwide can use WikiTree to understand and learn about their family tree. The WikiTree homepage displays the top surnames that have the most activity that day. Either historians or family members themselves can contribute to the WikiTree database. Users of WikiTree can view the entire database or they can hide living people entirely from the list.
WikiTree was started by Chris Whitten and it is hosted by Interesting.com, Inc. The site launched in 2008 and has been growing ever since. It is a relatively low cost operation and the site doesn't pay much for advertising, customer service or overhead. Regardless, WikiTree has pledged to keep its service free.
WikiTree is compiled from genealogists or the families themselves. The service is a free collaborative family tree and they have committed to staying a free service which is probably the biggest differentiation between WikiTree and other services.
WikiTree has a very simple and basic design. Maneuvering the site for the first time can be a bit confusing since there is a lot of text and not a lot of icons or graphics indicating what the site is or what they do. Additionally, new members are only accepted based on an invite system so this seems a bit elitist and can turn off visitors who just stubble upon the site.
As stated, new users to WikiTree will need an invitation in order to join the community. There are a list of friendly members who welcome invitation requests.
Membership to WikiTree is 100% free and the site is virtually ad-free as well.
WikiTree is a solid site for anyone interested in their genealogy and their family's history. However for those who are serious about uncovering their roots, they should utilize a more valid and serious resource mechanism for researching their family.