FamilySearch Wiki:Manual of Style-Formatting

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The following includes information regarding formatting in the Research Wiki Manual of Style.

Character Formatting[edit | edit source]


Regardless of the font you paste into the wiki edit screen, your work will be saved in the system's default font.


To be used in headings and the beginning of collection links to emphasize information, such as, dates and surnames. Otherwise, bold should be used sparingly.


Use italics if a word must be emphasized. List book titles in italics. Do not use italics for quoted text.


Do not use underline as a way to emphasize text because the use of underline indicates text with a hyperlink. Do not underline book titles.

Collection Links[edit | edit source]

Although there is no one absolute way to list a database in the Wiki, the following are guidelines to provide a more user-friendly experience.

Summary of elements in a database link:

  1. Bullet list: Start each database link with a bullet.
  2. List Dates: If dates are known regarding the database, repeat the dates in bold at directly after the bullet and before the database link. Do not use a hyphen after the dates or before the database link.
  3. Hyphen and bold: Use a hyphen between the dates and bold the dates
  4. Exact title: When it is possible, list the exact title of the database in the clickable link to the database
  5. List website: To inform the website/company providing the database, put "at" and the name of the website. To increase readability, do not link the name of the website to a general search page or main page. The only time a link should be added is when the websites are found in a database link listing multiple websites. Include a link directly to the database for that website. Use the Guidelines for more formatting instructions.
  6. Index/Images: Add whether the database contains an index, images, or both. Place that after an m-dash (preferred, but not required). Use the guidelines found below.
  7. ($): If the database is on a subscription website, indicate it by putting a dollar sign in parenthesis ($) at the very end of the database link. Use the guidelines found below.
  8. Other info: Add any additional notes that would be helpful for users to know about this database. This can include information about locality coverage or any other important information.
  9. Identical Databases on Multiple Websites Use the Guidelines for formatting a database link that is available on multiple websites.

Databases[edit | edit source]

Below is an example of how to format a database collection. This is especially helpful for a list of collections found on a Wiki page.

*'''DATE RANGE''' [URL DATABASENAME] at WEBSITENAME — index & images, ($)


Example wikitext code:

*'''1880-1920''' [ Sweden Household Examination Books, 1880-1920] at MyHeritage — index & images, ($)

Guidelines for "Index & Images" Phrases[edit | edit source]

Give information regarding how complete the collection is, what it covers, or additional helpful information at the end of the database line, by using an m-dash (preferred, but not required) and one of the following phrases:

  • "index & images": used for collections that have indexes with images attached or browsable images available
  • "index": used for databases that are only an index and no images
  • "images": used for databases that only have browsable images available


Linking to Websites[edit | edit source]

  • List the website the database is located on by stating, "at WEBSITENAME" after the name of the database
  • Put a dash after the website name to list further information regarding index, images, subscription fees, completeness of database, and other important notes regarding the database collection.
  • To increase readability, do not add a link to the website name.

Identical Collection Databases on Multiple Websites[edit | edit source]

  • Some databases are shared on more than one genealogical website.
  • The first website listed should be formatted as found above.
  • Subsequent websites with the same database should be listed adding the relevant link to the website name.
  • FamilySearch databases should be listed first, when applicable.
  • The phrase, Also at: should be added before the list of additional websites.
  • Below is an example of the preferred way to list a database available on multiple websites:


Example Wikitext Code:

*'''1849-1940''' {{RecordSearch|1520594|Sweden Baptisms}} at FamilySearch — [[Sweden Baptisms - FamilySearch Historical Records|How to Use this Collection]]; index & images; ''Also at: [ Ancestry]($), [ MyHeritage]($), [ FindMyPast]($)''

Free and Subscription Websites[edit | edit source]

Free Websites[edit | edit source]

  • Websites that are free and do not require a payment to view their information, do not require any indication in the link.
  • It can be assumed that databases without a "($)" are free.

Subscription Websites[edit | edit source]

  • If you refer to a subscription website or one which has a charge to obtain information, use the "($)" to indicate that there may be a fee for the site.
  • For websites requiring pound sterling, use "(£)."


Free Collections on Subscription Websites[edit | edit source]

  • When a collection is free to the public but housed on a subscription website, you can use the phrase, (Free collection) to make this indication.
  • NOTE: Websites that are free do not require any indication in the link. It can be assumed by the user that any database listed without a ($) is free.


Example wikitext code:

*'''1849-1985''' [ Web: Minnesota, Naturalization Index, 1849-1985] at Ancestry (Free collection)

Free Indexes and Images for Pay[edit | edit source]

  • When a website offers free access to their index, but requires payment to access the records, use, "free index, images ($)" at the end of the link.


Example wikitext code:

*'''1900-1934''' [ Minnesota Births, 1900-1934] at Minnesota Historical Society — free index, images ($)

FamilySearch Historical Records Collections[edit | edit source]

1. RecordSearch template: For FamilySearch Historical Records collections, use the RecordSearch template instead of an external link for any FamilySearch Historical Records databases.

2. How to Use this Collection link: Add a link titled, "How to Use this Collection" to the corresponding Historical Records collection Wiki page.

a. From the collection details page, click the link that says "How to Use this Collection".
b. Use the code below to create the internal link.
Hr screenshot.PNG

[[NAME OF PAGE|How to Use this Collection]]
c. Copy the name of the page and paste it to replace NAME OF PAGE in the code use above.

3. Add additional info: Add any additional information as shown in the examples above after the "How to Use this Collection" link.


Example wikitext code:

*'''1817–1979''' {{RecordSearch|2061549|Arkansas Probate Records 1817-1979|access=browse}} at FamilySearch — [[Arkansas Probate Records - FamilySearch Historical Records|How to Use this Collection]]; images; includes guardianship records

FamilySearch Catalog Links[edit | edit source]

FamilySearch Catalog Link to Digital Images[edit | edit source]

  • Used to link to catalog entries that have links to digital images.


Example wikitext code:

*'''1853-1860''' {{FHL|8815|item|disp=Abstract of original entries, 1853-1860 : duplicate of original entries, 1854-1858}} at FamilySearch Catalog — images

Source Citations[edit | edit source]

There is no one way to create a source. Many sources in the reference section of wiki pages follow The Chicago Manual of Style, but all are acceptable. Below are some suggested formatting regarding citations.

Reference Bibliography[edit | edit source]

When adding a reference to information within a Wiki article, use the following code:


Chile’s official language is Spanish.[1]

Example wikitext code:

Chile’s official language is Spanish.<ref>Wikipedia contributors, "Chile," in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'',, accessed 24 March 2016.</ref>

Adding References Heading[edit | edit source]

Add a heading 2 or heading 3 (whichever is more appropriate for the page) named References as the last header on the page; i.e. at the bottom of the page before the NAVBOX and Category templates. The reference list tag is added below the header in the following format:

== References ==
<references />

More information can be found on Source Citation Formats

Bibliography List in Body of the Wiki Page[edit | edit source]

When there are long lists of books or articles within a Wiki page, use the suggested format. This allows users to easily scan a list of pertinent resources.
Add the information in the following order, left to right:
1. First element: add a bullet at the beginning of each book/article citation
2. Second element: Title of book in italics
3. Year of publication
4. Add the word “By” and then put the author’s full name, starting with first name
5. Add publication information, using the following: publication location, followed by colon, publisher.
6. Add the words "Online at:" at the end following the publisher.


  • Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Adams, Clay, Hall and Hamilton Counties, Nebraska. 1890. Chicago, Illinois: Goodspeed Pub. Co. Online at:

Example wikitext code:

*''Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Adams, Clay, Hall and Hamilton Counties, Nebraska.'' 1890. Chicago, Illinois: Goodspeed Pub. Co. Online at: 

Formatting Guidelines:

  • Capitalize the complete title.
  • If the title is really long, just give the first portion of the title and leave off the rest.
  • If there is ever information missing use the following guidelines:
    • Missing author: leave it blank and move on to the publisher information.
    • Missing publication date: use n.d.
    • Missing publication place: use n.p.
    • Missing publisher: use n.p.

Example of no author, no date of publication, no place of publication, and no publisher information:

Niobrara Centennial 1856-1956. N.d. N.p: n.p.

Repositories - Contact Information[edit | edit source]

Below is the suggested format for listing information about a specific repository in the Wiki:

ADDRESS ADDRESS ADDRESS Telephone: ####### Email: Website: [URL WEBSITENAME]
(optional: brief description of institution hours/services, etc.)

Seychelles National Archives
5th June Avenue
P.O. Box 720
Victoria, Mahe
Telephone: +248 4 321 333

Family history research is done Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00am to 12:00pm on appointment.
Genealogical Research at the National Archives has a fee.

Example wikitext code:

'''Seychelles National Archives'''<br>
5th June Avenue<br>
P.O. Box 720<br
Victoria, Mahe<br>
'''Telephone:''' +248 4 321 333<br>
'''Website:''' []<br><br>
:Family history research is done Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00am to 12:00pm on appointment.<br>
:Genealogical Research at the National Archives has a fee.<br>

Geographical Names[edit | edit source]

See Naming Conventions for Geographic Names for more information.

Acronyms and Abbreviations[edit | edit source]

  • The first time you use a term that can be abbreviated, write it out and put the acronym in parentheses.

The International Genealogical Index (IGI) was a computer file created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Naming Subheadings within Articles[edit | edit source]

Organizing Information[edit | edit source]

In an article, subheadings or sections should be used to organize the content and keep similar information together. Subheadings should help users scan an article to find the information they need.

Guidelines for Subheadings/section Titles[edit | edit source]

Use the guidelines for article titles with the following differences. Once you put in a title it can't be changed by you but subtitles can be changed, removed and reorganized by you.

  1. There are many templates that will help to organize a page. Two great examples:
  1. Use Help pages. They are guides to assist in the detailing of a page. An example:
  1. Another guide that will help you organize a page is Headings for Articles about Records
  1. Then go to Editing the Wiki. This page gives many ways to add to your page and options to use.
    1. Wikipedia contributors, "Chile," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 24 March 2016.