| This help article will guide you as you edit in the Wiki. See Contributor Help for more help articles.|
The quickest way to find information in the Research Wiki is to look it up directly. On the right-hand side of your screen there is a "Search Learning & How-To's" box with two buttons under it labeled "by country" and "by topic".
How Search Works
- Keywords, Search the FamilySearch Wiki like you search Wikipedia, by keywords like DAR or Daughters of the American Revolution.
- Not Phrases, Do not search with phrases like "How do I find records for the DAR." Phrases can be used to search both Google and Yahoo but the Wiki search engine is not designed for this type of search.
- Enter the place, subject, record type or the name of the article in the search box. (Family names and information on specific families are not found on the FamilySearch Wiki. Go to FamilySearch to look for your deceased family members. Go to Get Help to ask questions about your family history research.)
The FamilySearch Wiki search engine locates the keywords in Wiki article headings, titles, and in the content of the article. The resulting articles may contain one or all of the keywords searched. Articles containing the keywords many times throughout the article will rank higher in the search results than those that contain the search terms once or twice.
Searching for a specific article in the FamilySearch Wiki is simple if you know the exact title. If you don't know the exact title, search for words that appear in the title or body of the article.
If you don't know the title of a wiki article, search for a topic or a category.
(a) At the bottom of every article there should be a category. Click the category name to see a list of all articles in that category.
(b) Search the list of articles in the category for similar or related articles.
Watch a video demonstration of how to search for articles.
Also see the separate article on Search Tips.
Step-by-step Search Instructions
Use the following steps to search for articles on localities or topics in the Wiki.
- Locate the "search box."
- Type the keywords, search terms, or the title of the article you want to find into the search box. You do not have to enter the exact title of the article. For example, you may type "United States census" or "New York City birth records."
- Click the Search button.
- After clicking the Search button, a list of search results will appear.
- Shown below, the number of results is displayed for the search. To see more results than those shown on the first page, click on Next 20 or 20, 50, 100, 250 or 500.
- Locate the title of the article you want to read. Note that: Article titles will always be at the top of the page.
- Text that is inside articles and that may match your request will always be at the bottom of the page.
Click on the title of the article you want to read. If after clicking on the title, you determine that another article will better match your search criteria, click the back button on your Internet browser to return to the list of search results and select another article.
- Results with keywords in the Article Titles will always be listed first.
- Results with keywords in the body of the article will be listed next.
- The search looks for the words in the title first
- Next, article content is searched in its raw (wikitext) form - i.e., it searches the text that appears in the edit box when you click “edit”, not the rendered page. This means that content coming from an included template will not be picked up, but the target of piped links will be.
- Even if you enclose a phrase in quotes, the search looks for each word individually. e.g., if you enter "world war 2" it will return pages that contain "world" and "war" and "2".
- The search is not case-sensitive, so "FamilySearch", "familysearch" and "FAMILYSEARCH" all give the same result.
Restricting the search
On the search results page, you'll see "Advanced Search" on the left. This searches "namespaces," a broad category of types of articles that are in the Research Wiki. The "Main" namespace includes all research help articles. The User namespace includes information about the people who contribute to the wiki. See more information about namespaces.
By default only the namespaces specified in your preferences will be searched. Logged-in users can change their preferences to specify the namespaces they want to search by default. This can be done by selecting and deselecting boxes in the ”search” section of user preferences.
Learn more about using the wiki:
Wiki Search Tips
Keys to Success Using the Wiki
Case Study on Using the Wiki