Notes on “Getting the Most from the FamilySearch Research Wiki”

Notes from Presentation given at AGS Conference Edmonton 22 April 2017

What is the familysearch wiki?  Why should every genealogist be using it?

  1. Overview
      • What is the research wiki?
      • How to access the wiki
      • How to navigate the wiki
      • Helpful wiki pages to use
      • How to submit content or edit the wiki
      • How to use the wiki for research
  1. What is the Research Wiki? – started 2008 – there are now over 85,000 articles in English on the wiki
    • Free online genealogical guide – quick and easy to use
    • Created and maintained by FamilySearch
    • Community can add information
    • Started with the old Family History Research Outlines – FamilySearch had problems keeping then up to date – 87 available – 3 not location based – e.g. Jewish – including one for each province in Canada
  1. What can you find on the wiki?
    • Links to online genealogy resources
    • Strategies and guidance
    • Record types – what are they? when? how?
    • Pages by locality – with resources
    • Pages by topic e.g. Organize your work
  1. What you won’t find
    • Not a database of specific individuals
    • but it does help you find records that may list your ancestor
    • so
    • Don’t search by your ancestor’s name
    • Search by locality
    • This is not part of Wikipedia
  1. Wiki was upgraded in March 2016
    • Major software changes
    • All information transferred over
    • Navigation changed from the right side to the left
    • Country, province, state pages redesigned
    • Rich text editor replaced with Visual Editor
    • Can now edit on almost all browsers – not just a few
  1. How to access the wiki
  1. Navigating the wiki
    • Interactive maps
    • Search boxes
    • Sidebars – 5 sections to the sidebar
    • Breadcrumbs – should be familiar to Windows users – nice way to navigate – FamilySearch adds breadcrumbs manually
    • Table of Content links
  1. Types of links
    • External – look for the blue arrow – opens a new window – so current window stays open
    • Internal – changes the window you are on – no arrow – you go somewhere else on the wiki
    • Dark blue ink – indicates you have visited the page or website before
    • Red ink – sadly no page created yet
  1. Helpful pages to use
    • Pages linking to online genealogy – most popular feature on the site – online links are awesome – but please read the information in the articles first – links to BMD are used the most – shows links to north Free and Pay sites ($) – Blue button takes you to a single site – the link on the left of the screen takes you to a list of 218 pages (Alberta BMD section adopted by AGS – and up to date on recent BMD changes )
    • Links to Ask the Community – links to FamilySearch Genealogy Research Groups on Facebook – regional groups
    • “How to” pages – mostly only for USA for now but adding others  – step by step how to find a record such as a marriage in a State
  1. Contributing to the wiki
    • Research outlines
    • Genealogists who want to share
    • Projects – using volunteers
    • Always growing – so come back often to see what has changed
  1. How to add content to the wiki – spamming problem in 2016 – getting paid for ads they place – so locked down things a little and you need to ask permission the first time you want to Edit – there’s a form for that request
    • Use the submit to the wiki link on the left and fill in the form
    • Edit the wiki yourself after you receive permission – make sure you Save your changes
    • Report Problems – such as broken link – use the link on the left and fill in the form
  1. Examples of using the Wiki
    • what types of records are available
    • for what years
    • where are the records
  1. What Canadian Censuses are available online? Do I have to pay?
    • Go to Canada – then Census on right sidebar – then scroll down to table showing links to indexes and images for Canadian Censuses – table indicate which links are free, which are free in a FH Centre and links to Ancestry for those who have accounts
  1. Why can’t I search in the 1890 US Census? Article indicates it was 99% destroyed in a fire.  Are there alternatives? Look to see if there a State Census available.
  1. I can’t research in Ireland – all the records were destroyed in the Civil War.  Not true, but what records were destroyed? What records were not destroyed?  Wiki articles listing destroyed record sets and not destroyed. 
  2. Do I have to worry about burned down court houses in my US Research?  Key term:  burned  counties.  Yes, there are some county court houses that burned down.
  3. Final Words on the Wiki
    • Search by place not name
    • Always growing – so come back often
    • Help by editing or submitting or reporting any problems

Check the presentation in the Learning Centre at FamilySearch  – “FamilySearch Wiki:  What it can do for you” – by Danielle Batson – great resource.

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