WikiProject: Rural Records of the Southern United States/Welcome

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Welcome to the team!

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Welcome to each of you who have joined J. Mark Lowe’s agricultural records project! Mark indicates that you will be sowing a new field, writing genealogical advice on valuable records that most genealogists overlook, but which are key to unlocking the history of rural Southern families.. That’s exciting, and we appreciate the opportunity to work with you. That you’ve chosen to add this content to FamilySearch Wiki is also exciting because our focus is to offer the genealogical community dynamic research guidance that they can access for free. We’re grateful to be able to help you share your legacy of knowledge with others.

Support from FamilySearch employees

Since you already know Mark, it’s probably a good idea for me to introduce Vicki Standing and me – two FamilySearch employees who will help with the project. Vicki is a Reference Consultant who works for Family History Library Public Affairs, a group that, among its other duties, researches the family lines of VIPs such as U.S. presidents and congressmen. Vicki has also worked in Reference at the library and was a freelance professional genealogist before coming to FamilySearch. She’s a fine researcher – a real pit bull when she locks onto a research case. We’ve been friends since we were project partners as genealogy students at Brigham Young University.

Although I also started my career as a freelance professional researcher and then a genealogical reference librarian, I’ve since transformed into more of a project manager and tool builder. After working in Reference at the Family History Library for three years, I left to manage the genealogical Research Support call center. While working in that role, I led the team that brainstormed and built FamilySearch Wiki. What this means is that I'm no longer cutting-edge in genealogical methodology, but I can help you figure out the wiki tool and also help improve its usefulness to you.

Introduction to FamilySearch Wiki

I suppose I should also introduce FamilySearch Wiki. The wiki was birthed by a 5-person team of people a lot like you – folks who like to do genealogy research and who wanted a medium where genealogists could widely circulate information the research community sorely needs without experiencing the traditional technological and bureaucratic barriers associated with building a Website. We wanted a tool where the content could be published and updated quickly and dynamically by genealogists. We wanted something grass-roots and democratic. Just so you understand the effort you’ve joined, this wiki has grown from a project with no budget, programmers, project or product managers or high-level management sponsorship to a project that is backed by an 11-employee tech team, scores of employee writers, 20,000+ hours per year of employee writing time, a volunteer base of 14,000 who contribute more edits than even the employees do, and an annual growth of 105,000 edits and 863,000,000 characters. In other words, you’ve joined a community that is sharing genealogical knowledge at an amazing rate. This project is special, you make it more special, and we appreciate the chance to work with you.


Michael Ritchey, RitcheyMT
Community Project Manager