Updated 15 February 2021
The FamilySearch Research Wiki is my go-to resource to discover what genealogical record collections might exist to document ancestors. However, what happens when the wiki lacks collections and resources that exist elsewhere, online or off?
What is the FamilySearch Wiki?
The Family History Research Wiki contains volunteer generated reference content to help family history researchers learn methodologies and discover record availability for the location their ancestors lived.
Links to online databases, archives, and resources that assist in researching an ancestor’s records
Instructions on how to find, search and interpret genealogical records.
Definitions of legal terms, occupations, and other historical terms that benefit genealogists.
Volunteers worldwide contribute to these free research guides for specific locations to help others quickly access the necessary reference material.
According to a FamilySearch Press release, the FamilySearch Wiki is available in 10 languages. The top five countries using the wiki include the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, and Germany.
Why Should You Edit the Family History Research Wiki?
Many genealogy training and credential programs recommend you create your own locality research guide.
The locality guide helps professional genealogists quickly access a listing of records available for a specific location and where to access them. In the past, this took the form of printed books such as Val Greenwood’s The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy or the Research in the States guides offered by the National Genealogy Society.
As a busy mom and business owner, I don't particularly appreciate wasting time when there is a suitable alternative. Why would we ever want to waste 8 or 80 hours migrating the resources from different reference guides hoping that we can make something better than what's already available?
In short, why reinvent the wheel when you can make small enhancements?
That's when I switched gears and began using and improving the FamilySearch Research Wiki.
As Helen Keller apparently said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” The FamilySearch Wiki is an example of the power of the crowd.
For no-cost, I can access guides generated with the help of other researchers. Many of the resources I could have found in the books and the NGS guides are already on the wiki and hyperlinked for easy access.
Secondly, many of the locations have well-organized and searchable content, with moderators and volunteers adding new content regularly.
Finally, if I ever find something on another website or resource that the Wiki lacks, I can easily submit edits.
↪️ Are you looking for more genealogy resources?
Grab your copy of this FREE Genealogy Research Guide:
Who can edit the FamilySearch Research Wiki?
At the time of this post, I have not found any restrictions on who can edit the FamilySearch Wiki. The Wiki has policies and guidelines, and the site administrators block those who violate the rules. Otherwise, you and I can add to and enhance this powerful resource.
What Can You Change on the Wiki?
Since the FamilySearch.org website features an open edit concept on the tree and wiki pages, there are so many aspects of the reference guides that we can improve. These changes include:
Links to genealogical repositories, society, libraries, and other pertinent archival institutions (link updates welcomed)
Links to new online genealogy databases
Lists of resources found in an archive or library
Updates to inaccurate historical or geographical information
How to Edit The FamilySearch Wiki
If we have small changes and/or do not want to learn how to edit the Wiki (the process is a little scary for some), then we can submit improvements to a specific locality page via this link.
If we want to make more significant changes, we need to request editing privileges through this page. Watch the video below for a guided tour on adding links and reference material to the website.
Watch this video on YouTube.
Please help make the FamilySearch Wiki the best resource for yourself and your genealogy buddies by submitting changes. That way, you can spend more time researching your family tree or writing your ancestor's stories.
More Tips on Using FamilySearch
Discover how to better utilize the free genealogy website, FamilySearch, by reading these posts: