Friday, January 16, 2009

FamilySearch Wiki

There is a little known project going on over at FamilySearch Labs, it's called the Research Wiki. Some of you might be familiar with it by another name FamilySearch Wiki. I have attended several presentations on the FamilySearch Wiki, the last being just last week at the UVPAFUG monthly meeting. This little article about them is way over due!

If you go the the FamilySearch Wiki website at you will find the best description of what it is: "Free family history research advice for the community, by the community".

The wiki has been set up to gather information on localities, where to find records, who to contact, etc., it is not for actual genealogies or family information. You wouldn't find your great-grandfather's birth date there, but rather it is the place for posting information about doing actual genealogy research. Think of it as an encyclopedia for genealogists.

This will replace the old 'Research Guidance', simply put, all that information is static, and much of it is actually rather stale, as in some cases addresses changed, locations that records are at were moved, etc., so a wiki is the best way to get the latest information on repositories, research strategies, etc., out to everyone.

The beauty of it is that all the information can be updated at any time by any user. Information will be kept current and fresh. The big process now is getting actual materials into the wiki. Much has been done, but it's now time to contribute the knowledge you have gained from your own personal experience in doing research with others.

I received this call for help from the FamilySearch Wiki team yesterday.
Dear FamilySearch Wiki member,

Here's a quick note to tell you about a project being developed by the FamilySearch Wiki community: the Maryland Barn Raising. A wiki barn raising is a short, focused community effort to create or revise content relating to a single topic such as "genealogical research in Maryland." During this barn raising, we will revise the Maryland Portal and all the Topics pages it links to. At the end of the barn raising, the wiki will contain information about all the latest and best records to use to find Maryland ancestors.

The wiki community needs your help to make this effort a success! We'd love it if you would pitch in and contribute a few edits to the Maryland pages. You don't need to be a Maryland expert to contribute, but experts are certainly welcome! To see a list of pages we plan to update and also a list of simple tasks that non-experts can do, take a look at our Maryland Barn Raising Tasks page at

This first barn raising is proving to be a lot of fun, and we're learning things that will be foundational to barn raisings for other areas of the world. Hope to see you soon on the wiki!


Michael Ritchey
Community & Content Coordinator
Community Services Team
The community, and that means you, have been invited to help build the wiki. The barn raising has begun. So, bring your dictionaries and grammar books with you, if that is your specialty. If you have actual experience in Maryland research then bring your brains. Your talents are needed and the party is just getting started. Hope to see you there.

See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day!

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