FamilySearch Wiki ~ The Hidden Gem

Many genealogists aren’t aware of a research Gem that is a bit hidden on the FamilySearch site.   When I’ve asked people in my genealogy classes and presentations if they have heard of the FamilySearch Research Wiki, less than 5% respond “Yes”. 

That is a real tragedy.  It affects the success of their genealogy research efforts.  Use of the Wiki could dramatically reduce the time researchers spend looking for research resources as well as teaching how to most effectively use them.

This series of articles will explore many of the features on the Wiki.  Let’s start by showing you how to find it on the FamilySearch site. (Click on the images to see them full size.)


Finding the Wiki on the FamilySearch site


Go to the FamliySearch Main page.  Click on the Learn link on the top of the screen.


The link takes you to the Wiki, Courses and Discussion portal.


Click on the Wiki link to go to the Main Wiki page.  Alternately, you can enter the URL and it will resolve to the portal page.

The Wiki main page includes a search field as well as links to Tour, Write articles and Connect with other members of the Wiki Community.


As of the date of this post, there are over 66,000 articles on the Wiki.  The number of articles grows constantly.  New articles are posted by contributors from FamilySearch personnel as well as thousands of folks like you and me who have gained knowledge about specific research areas or topics and are willing to share that knowledge with the genealogy community.

Watch the article counter continue to increase as more Wiki users contribute to the site.


Searching for Articles


Let’s look at a two sample research topics by starting with New Hampshire Vital Records.


Our search results in 145 articles about vital records in New Hampshire.


Scroll though them and read the related articles and links in them to help in your research quest.

Let’s click on the first article, “New Hampshire Vital Records”

The top of that page gives us a list of Contents on it:


When I’m demonstrating the Wiki to researchers, I typically hear “WOW!” “This is wounderful!” at this point of the presentation.  When I go on by showing the great content and links on each of the articles, they become even more enthused.

Next, let’s look for Parish Records in England.  We know that there were thousands of parishes in England over time.


The results page has the same presentation as we saw in our New Hampshire search.


Let’s choose the top article, “England Parishes”.


From here we can click on the county links to further refine our search results. When we then click on the link for a specific parish or group of parishes, the article related to them will be displayed.

Take some time today to search for articles on the Wiki  that will help in your own ancestral quest.  I’ll post additional articles here in future weeks that will help you become a “FamilySearch Wiki Expert” or at least an experienced user, so you can put the “WOW” on the faces of other researchers when you show the Wiki to them for the first time.

Let’s end this post with a reminder to take a few minutes and to explore the Tour, Write and Connect features on the Wiki.


If want to contribute to the Wiki and don’t have a free FamilySearch account, just click on the link “Sign In” link on the top right corner of the page to create a free account.

Copyright (c) Lee Drew 2012-01-24 11:51:00
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About lineagekeeper

Family history research is a favored avenue of relaxation. It is a Sherlock-like activity that can continue almost anywhere at any time. By leveraging a lifetime involvement in technology, my research efforts have resulted in terabytes of ancestral data, earning me the moniker of Lineagekeeper. And yes - We are all related to Royalty.