Help:Practice Editing in Your Sandbox

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Practice Editing in Your Sandbox

For New Contributors[edit | edit source]

FamilySearch Wiki Sandboxes are pages designed for creating new content, and testing or experimenting with wiki syntax. As a new contributor, it is a good idea to create your own Sandbox page. However, until you have requested and been granted editing rights, you will not be able to create a Sandbox. You can request editing rights by clicking here.

The Sandbox was created as a place with fewer rules and policies than other pages on FamilySearch Wiki. For example, you don't have to follow the Manual of Style or reach community consensus before making a major change. However, it must not be used for malicious purposes, and policies such as no personal attacks[1], civility[2], and copyrights still apply.

If you have a FamilySearch Account, you can create your own sandbox in your user space. You can find your user sandbox here. (And if it doesn't exist yet, feel free to create it!)

 See About the Sandbox to learn more.

Where the Sandbox is located[edit | edit source]

After receiving editing rights, there are a few different ways to locate your personal sandbox:

  • Click on the links saying "Sandbox". One is located in the sidebar on the left under the heading "Edit the Wiki" as "Personal Sandbox," and the other is located at the top of the page directly under the "Help" and Messages" links. Both of these links will take you directly to your personal sandbox page.
  • In the Wiki search bar, type in user:USERNAME/sandbox

Create the sandbox[edit | edit source]

  • Once you have located your sandbox, you will then need to click "create source" in order to finish creating your sandbox. Once the page has opened for editing, type in [[Category:Sandbox]] at the bottom of the page, and then save it. Now you have finished creating your sandbox! You will click on "edit source" to edit your sandbox.

You may use the exercise below to practice in your sandbox for the first time.

Editing Skills[edit | edit source]

These are a few of the editing skills that would be useful for you to practice:

Exercise[edit | edit source]

In your sandbox, use the sample text below to practice some of the editing skills you have learned. You can paste this text into your user sandbox. To practice:

  • Copy the text
  • Make sure you are logged in to the wiki
  • Follow this link to your user sandbox. (The link will only work if you are logged in.)
  • Click Edit this page to edit your sandbox
  • Paste the text
  • Start practicing

Creating Multiple Sandbox Pages[edit | edit source]

If you want to create more than one sandbox page, there are two ways to do this:

  • Create a new user sandbox page by adding a link on your user sandbox page to a new page. This is done by typing in the URL link of into your sandbox. Type in your username where the word USERNAME is, and put in what number of sandbox it is where the word NUMBER is. A completed example would look like: Next, save the page, click on the link, and then click the "create source" button to create the page.
  • Type User:USERNAME/Sandbox/NUMBER in the search bar on the upper right-hand side of the Wiki. After clicking search, this will come up "There is currently no text in this page. You can search for this page title in other pages, search the related logs, or create this page." Click on the "create this page" option.

Sample Text[edit | edit source]

The Erie Canal in New York allowed boats from New York City on the Hudson River to reach rural upstate New York and Lake Erie. Eventually the Great Lakes were also connected to the Ohio River and Mississippi River systems by other canals. As canals developed in America settlers were attracted to nearby communities because the canals provided access to markets. They could sell their products at distant markets, and buy products made far away. If an ancestor settled near a canal, you may be able to trace back to a place of origin on a connecting waterway.

Historical Background

The construction of the Erie Canal began in 1817. As more Irish laborers arrived the pace of construction picked up and overcame significant barriers. For example, during summer construction in a marsh, 1,000 workers died of swamp fever, so survivors were moved to another part of the canal until winter when it was safer to work in the frozen marsh. Sections of the canal opened as follows:

1819 Rome to Utica

1820 Utica to Syracuse

1823 Brockport to Albany (Champlain Canal connecting the Hudson River to Lake Champlain was completed at the same time)

1824 Lockport locks

1825 Onondago Ridge finishing the entire canal.

The Erie Canal contributed to the wealth and importance of New York City, Buffalo, and New York State. It increased trade throughout the nation by opening eastern and overseas markets to Midwestern farm products and enabling migration to the West. New ethnic Irish communities formed in towns along the canal, as Irish immigrants were a large portion of labor force involved in its construction.

The University of Rochester and the Family History Library Catalog have more information about the history of the Erie Canal.

Settlers and Records

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Because so many immigrants traveled on the canal, many genealogists would like to find copies of canal passenger lists. Unfortunately, apart from the years 1827-1829, canal boat operators were not required to record or report passenger names to the New York State government. Those 1827-1829 passenger lists survive today in the New York State Archives.

Prior to the building of the Erie Canal the settlers in upstate New York were often from New England, especially Vermont. Once the Canal was finished, setters along the canal and farther west into Ohio would have reached the Erie Canal from New York City, or from along the Hudson River in New York, or from Vermont via the Champlain Canal. Most of the men who labored to build the Erie Canal were from Ireland and many of them settled near it.


  1. Respond to the content rather than the contributor. In most cases jumping to conclusions is wasted effort and is usually completely wrong. Personal attacks damage the community feeling.
  2. Rude, insensitive, argumentative, impolite communications are unacceptable in the Wiki community.