Breadcrumb Trails

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FamilySearch Wiki:Manual of Style Gotoarrow.png Breadcrumb Trails

It is a term that comes from the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. It is a story of two children who break off pieces of bread to leave a trail they can follow to get back home if they should get lost as they travel into a dark forest.

What is a breadcrumb trail?

  • Breadcrumb trail consist of links that shows a user’s location in a string of articles that has a hierarchical order such as Country, State, County, City.

  • Breadcrumb trails are usually at the top of an article in FamilySearch Wiki.

Breadcrumb trail or the Back button?

  • One of the really useful things about breadcrumb trails is that you may have come to a page that has sparked your interest. However, you may have come from a page that has nothing to do with the subject that now has caught your interest.

  • If the subject is something of which you want to learn more, you know that clicking the back button will not lead you to more articles of the same subject. It will only take you back where to the article you came from.

  • To find other articles on this subject you will have to type something in the search field and hope it will reveal more articles on this subject.

Advantage of Breadcrumb Trails

  • Breadcrumb trails display other articles on the same subject of the page you are now reading. Again you don’t have to use the search box. The breadcrumb trail shows you other possibilities.

  • Breadcrumb trails show a hierarchical site order. You can see the page you are now on may be a sub-article on a larger topic. For example, a county page is a sub-article of a state page.

  • You may have come to a county page, but you also want to look for other counties in the state. If the breadcrumb trail displays the state link, you can click on it and be taken to the state page. Thus you avoid having to use the search box. As you know, if you search with the name of that state you will probably end up with a very long list of sites that you will have to go through before you find what you are looking for.

  • In addition, if the page does have a breadcrumb trail, it shows you how to get back to the original article that may have been the starting point for the article you are now reading.

  • An item to keep in mind. When you see a breadcrumb trail, it does not show links further down the order or what the other subtopics are. For example, if you should be on a state page it will not show the county links, for example.

Breadcrumb Example

  • Here is an example of a breadcrumb trail for an Irish parish:

Ireland Gotoarrow.png Counties of Ireland Gotoarrow.png County Antrim Gotoarrow.png Aghagallon, Antrim.

  • Notice the hierarchy of this breadcrumb trail:
Country > List of Counties > County > Parish. It goes from the largest entity to the smallest.
  • For a city in the United States:
United States of America > List of States > State > List of Counties > Counties > List of Cities > City.
  • The above examples are both examples of hierarchical order.

How to code a Breadcrumb Trail

Here's how the breadcrumb trail looks in Wikitext:

''[[Ireland]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Counties of Ireland]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[County Antrim]]'' [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[{{PAGENAME}}]].

Let’s look at the parts of this breadcrumb trail.

  • [[Ireland]]. The first set of [[ ]] shows the first page of the hierarchical order of articles. Ireland is the first page of the order. (The double brackets indicate an article within FamilySearch Wiki, not a link to an article outside of the wiki which has only a single set of brackets [ ].)

  • [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]]. Next comes an arrow pointing to the next article in this hierarchical order. Notice that it is an image not a link. You can use a "greater than sign" ">" instead of the image, if you want. This arrow is pointing to:

  • [[Counties of Ireland]]. The link to the next article in the order. It is a link to the article “Counties of Ireland.”

  • [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]]. Another image of an arrow which is pointing to:

  • [[County Antrim]]. The next link in the order: “County Antrim.”

  • [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]]. Then another image of an arrow which is pointing to:.

  • [[{{PAGENAME}}]]. The last link of the order which is normally the last page of the order and the one you are now reading. The {{PAGENAME}} template automatically puts the name of the article you are now reading in this place on the breadcrumb trail. Saves you from having to typle it in manually.

  • You might have noticed the two apostrophes (it is not a quotation mark) '' before [[Ireland}} and after [[County Antrim]]. This codes the breadcrumb trail to be italicized. Some editors like the breadcrumb in italics except for the name of the page you are on. However, you are free to use another style if you like.

Advantages of Breadcrumbs

  • You can see where the idea for this article came from. What was the starting subject.
  • You can go to any of the articles in this breadcrumb trail. You are not limited to the starting subject.
  • You can easily add other articles in the breadcrumb trail.
  • Last but not least you might see the need to create an intermediate article between two links in the breadcrumb trail.