Help:Wiki Basics

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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, there is 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.

Navigation Boxes (right side of page)

  • Search Learning How-to's, is at the top and is the general purpose 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.
  • Share Your Opinion! is the second box and may change its focus from time to time.  It may be used for gathering information about the wiki.  We are interested in your impressions of the Wiki.  Tell us what features you like, and equally important to us; tell us the things you don't like. Feedback from users will eventually shape the wiki until it becomes a valuable and user-friendly research tool for all.
  • Getting Started is the bottom box and has five headings, separated by thin white lines: Getting Started, Volunteers and Helpers, 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.

Getting Started

  • Wiki Home is the easy way to return to the Home Page and the various sections of the wiki that are listed there.
  • New To The Wiki is a page designed to introduce the new user to the Wiki. It contains easy links to various commonly used research areas.
  • Wiki Tools will explain the different tools that are available to you to enhance your Wiki experience.
  • Find an Ancestor is the page that describes the ways that the Wiki can help you to find your ancestors and build your family tree.
  • Research Help An important and useful feature of the wiki is that we have volunteers available to answer your questions in a number of different ways: including email, instant message and phone. If you have questions,don't hesitate to contact the Wiki.

Volunteer and Helper

  • Submit Wiki Content Will show you how easy it is to start contributing to the Wiki.
  • Family History Centers Will help you to find the physical locations of Family History Centers in your locale.
  • Contributor Help has links to most of our help pages.
  • Personal Sandbox takes you to your own sandbox. Your sandbox should be viewed as your own personal scratch pad. You can write in your sandbox and add to the Wiki when your work is finished.
  • Research Outlines will introduce you to hard copies that you may wish to copy for your genealogy work.
  • Manual of Style will help you to understand the general principles of wiki contributions.
  • Guiding principles and policies has links to pages that help explain these goals.
  • Wiki Home takes you back to the Main page.

The other links in this section are self-explanatory.


  • 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.