Help:Wiki Basics

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Revision as of 05:33, 2 May 2014 by Myrasueharris (talk | contribs) (edit, rewording of text)

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Return to Contributor Help

Welcome to the Wiki community. Whether you are researching or contributing, the items below will help you understand various elements of the wiki, including how to navigate and contribute to it. The wiki is a community project, and you are now part of that community. If you have knowledge about how or where to search for genealogy records that are not already here, please contribute. Don't know how? Keep reading.

Navigation Menu

On the top left of the page, you will see a Contents box. It is a list of the major sections of the page. You can click on any heading in that table and be taken to that heading on the page. Smaller articles do not have a contents box.
On the right side of every page, there are three boxes which will enhance your Wiki experience.
  • The top box, Search Learning How-to's, is a search box. You can enter search terms in the box and then click on the magnifying glass to search the wiki. Or you can browse by clicking on by country or by topic.
  • The second box, Share Your Opinion! may change its focus from time to time and may be used for gathering information about the wiki.  We are most interested in your impressions of the Wiki.  Tell us what features you like and equally important to us; tell us what things you do not like. Feedback from users will eventually shape the wiki until it becomes a very valuable research tool for its community of users.

  • The bottom, purple box has five sections, separated by a thin white line: Research Articles, Volunteer, Views, Toolbox and Personal tools. Hover over any place on the bar with your mouse and it will turn dark purple. Click on the dark purple bar to open the section and reveal a number of tools and tasks. Click on the name to open the topic.

Research Articles

This section of the navigation bar:
  • Gives another opportunity to Browse by County.
  • Gives another opportunity to Browse by Topic.
  • Next is a page on the Research Process which covers the 5 basic steps in the process.
  • Wiki Tools reviews many of the tools in the Wiki that can be helpful.
  • About the Wiki is a quick overview of the Wiki.
  • Wiki Home takes you to the Main Page,


This section well help you as a volunteer:
  • FamilySearch Wiki:Content is an easy way to start contributing to the Wiki.
  • Community Center will help you link to groups that help the Wiki.
  • Community Meeting has links to some of our group meetings.
  • Contributor Help has links to most of our help pages.
  • Personal Sandbox takes you to your own sandbox.
  • Manual of Style will help you in presenting your contributions.
  • Guiding principles and policies has links to pages that help explain these goals.
  • Wiki Home goes to the Main page.


This section shows all the section connected to this page.
  • What type of page this page is, is first.
  • Then a link to the edit tool for this page.
  • Every page has a Talk page, this is next.
  • The history page shows all action on this page since its creation.
  • The watch tool shows if you have put a watch on this page. Then when any action happens on this page an email is sent to you.


These are a group of tools to help those who want to get to special links.
  • What links here show all the other Wiki pages linked to this page.
  • Related changes shows the changes made to this pages linked pages.
  • Special pages links to all the maintenance pages for the Wiki.
  • Upload file leads to a page where you can upload a image or file to be approved and put in the Wiki

Personal Tools

Registering on the Wiki

You do not need to be registered to look at Wiki pages. If you want to add or edit information, however, or ask a question, you must be registered. This allows others wiki community members to communicate with you.
Help:How to Register with the Wiki
Once you are signed into the Wiki, it will timeout after 2 hours idle.

Setting Your Preferences

You can customize your Wiki experience using your Personal Tools.

User Page

The User Page is where you have the opportunity to share information about yourself, or your research interests. This is a great way to get to know a little about a contributor to an article, or even find someone with the same interests. It also gives other users a way to communicate with you.
Help:User page

Watching a Page

If you are researching in a specific area, or have a page that interests you, you may want to "Watch" that page. If you are watching a page, you will be notified any time that page is edited. Editing will generate an email to you. This way you can keep up with the latest information available.

Talk Pages

All Wiki articles will have an associated Talk Page that you can access via a tab at the top left of your page. This page is where you leave a comment or question about the content of that page. Every user has a Talk page linked to their User Page, and this is where you can communicate with that user.
Help:Talk Pages


This link shows all edits to the pages you have contributed to or created.

Detailed Help

If you are ready to begin, and would like detailed instructions on adding or editing wiki content, choose one of the following links:
If you need a Help article that doesn't currently exist, you may request one here.


If you find that you need additional assistance once you have begun adding or editing Wiki content, you may request a Mentor. Mentors are also helpful in getting you started on a specific project.