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Add to the Manual of Style:
Each page must have a minimum 1500 characters
*For languages that use a non-Roman alphabet, a list of surnames with their transliteration in English is appropriate
*Information on naming practices belongs on country personal name pages.
*Information on naming practices belongs on country personal name pages and not as separate pages.
*A separate document can be created for surname lists to avoid surnames appearing in the Wiki search results.

A Wiki Manual of Style (or style guide) is a set of standards for the design and writing of wiki articles. The guide provides direction for visual and technical aspects as well as prose style, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and wiki etiquette. The consistent use of style guidelines provides uniformity in style and formatting of wiki articles, making them easier for readers to understand and utilize.

General Principles[edit | edit source]

Content: Any content found in the Wiki should follow the Purpose, Policies, and Procedures as determined by FamilySearch. Please review these guidelines before editing the Wiki.

Expectations: Before editing the Wiki, review FamilySearch Wiki:Etiquette Guidelines and Purpose, Policies, and Procedures to understand expectations of what is allowed in the Wiki.

Neutrality: Articles should be written neutral as possible. Descriptions should state facts and avoid negative or positive judgements. Using phrases such as "settlers from western Europe" rather than "poor, uneducated peasants" presents factual information without negativity.

Simplicity: Writing should be clear and simple. When a term is used that may be unfamiliar to readers (for example, "gazetteer"), it should be defined the first time it appears in the body of an article as in this sentence: "In some areas newspapers were called gazetteers."  Avoid using specialized terms or acronyms when a common term is available. As much as possible, the information should be understandable by every reader, even when English is not the user's first language.

Neutral tone: Writing should be factual and avoid stereotypes, judgments, and gender bias. However, quotes should not be changed to meet this guideline. If the quote has the potential to offend, find another quote.

  • Final determination about the appropriateness of content rests with FamilySearch.

Grammar and Style[edit | edit source]

Accepted authority: When there is uncertainty about grammar, follow an accepted authority such as the The Chicago Manual of Style or A Manual for Writers by Kate Turabian.

Consistent grammar style within an article: Grammar styles may vary by location and preference. When editing content, simplicity, clarity, consistency and use of proper grammar is the standard.

Avoid using pronouns like “he, she, we, I, you, they, them": As much as possible, avoid using pronouns.

Indexes can be used to find ancestral records quickly.
You can use indexes to find ancestral records quickly

Page Names in the Wiki[edit | edit source]

combine two pages FamilySearch Wiki:Naming a Page or Article
See FamilySearch Wiki:Manual of Style-Naming

Punctuation[edit | edit source]

Accepted authority. Because of the variety in the rules of punctuation, this list of guidelines is brief. When there is uncertainty about punctuation, follow an accepted authority such as, The Chicago Manual of Style .

Accepted authority: When there is uncertainty about grammar, follow an accepted authority such as, The Chicago Manual of Style.

Punctuation style. The rules of punctuation vary greatly (for example, whether a comma is placed before “and” in a series of items: red, white, and blue). Whatever style is chosen by the original contributor should be maintained throughout the article. Other contributors should follow the original style.

Commas with places. When a place is listed, each jurisdiction (governmental divisions such as country, province, state, county, and so on) is separated by a comma. In a sentence, a comma also comes after the final jurisdiction unless it ends the sentence.

Bannow, County Wexford, Ireland
He was born in Hardin County, Kentucky, in an area that is now part of LaRue County, Kentucky.
Bannow County Wexford

Punctuation in numbers. Use commas in numbers over 999 (for example, 1,000, 1,000,000, and so on). Use a period to indicate a fraction of a digit (for example .25, 3.76, and so on).

  • add information about when to use a dash for dates

Using a slash (/) between two years. Do not use a slash between two years unless you are writing an actual double date (see guideline 15.8). Use the word “or.”

In 1530 or 1531, the parish boundaries were changed.
In 1530/1531, the parish boundaries were changed.

Quotation marks. Use double quotation marks around quotes and titles of articles rather than single quotation marks.

Formatting[edit | edit source]

Capitalization[edit | edit source]

Merriam-Webster. When in doubt, follow Merriam-Webster.

Articles, buttons, or tabs. When referring to an article, button, or tab name, use the capitalization from the article title, button, or tab.

If another style guideline is needed, list the issue on the Talk page.
If another style guideline is needed, list the issue on the talk page.

Spelling[edit | edit source]

Spelling variations of English. Variations of English are acceptable. For example, either colour (British) or color (United States) is acceptable. Each article should use only one variation of English. When editing, use the variation of English already established in the article.

Links - Linking to Wiki Articles[edit | edit source]

See Manual of Style-Linking

Preferred terms[edit | edit source]

The following terms are preferred. or the FamilySearch website

(Do not refer to the website as FamilySearch. Legally, FamilySearch is the name of the organization responsible for and other family history projects.)
Correct: You can search historical record collections at
Incorrect: You can search historical record collections at FamilySearch.

FamilySearch Research Wiki (just "Wiki" or Research Wiki is also acceptable)

Correct: Creating a new article in the FamilySearch Research Wiki
Incorrect: Creating a new article in the FamilySearch wiki

Latin abbreviations. Do not use ca., etc., e.g., or viz. Use simple English instead.

ca. (Use "about")
e.g. (Use "for example.")
etc. (Use "and so on" or "and so forth.")
i.e. (This term actually means "that is," and is often used incorrectly to mean "for example." Depending on meaning, use "that is," "such as," or "for example.")
viz. (Use "namely.")

Currencies[edit | edit source]

Listing costs of services. When referring users to a site or institution that charges for its services, it is appropriate to let users know there will be a charge. However, because prices change often, it is best to avoid listing the exact cost of the services.

Correct: There is a fee to get a copy of a deceased ancestor’s Social Security application.
Incorrect: There is a US$27-$29 fee to get a copy of a deceased ancestor’s Social Security application.

Identifying the currency listed. If it is important to indicate an amount of money, indicate both the amount and which currency is listed (Canadian dollars, Japanese yen, Mexican pesos, British pounds, and so on). Frequently, an abbreviation for the country is listed in front of the amount (for example, US$25). The original price and the equivalent in today’s money may be listed.

Correct: In 1800, a private in the British infantry was paid 1 shilling a day.
Correct: For the Louisiana Territory, the United States paid France US$15,000,000.
Incorrect: For the Louisiana Territory, the United States paid France almost $190 million in today’s money.

References to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the FamilySearch Wiki[edit | edit source]

In compliance to the Style Guide released 5 March 2019 regarding the usage of the official name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the unofficial references, such as, "LDS" and "Mormon" have been removed from the FamilySearch Research Wiki except in the following instances:

  • Historical References: The term "Mormon" will remain when used in proper names, such as, the Mormon Battalion or when used as an adjective in such historical expressions as "Mormon Trail."
  • References to the "Mormon Church": To clarify to the general public that “Mormon Church” is referring to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a parenthetical reference will be made. Example, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church).
  • Published Sources: References to books, articles, databases, and collections that include "LDS" or "Mormon" in the title will remain in the Wiki. For example, Journals, Diaries, Biographies, Autobiographies and Letters of Some Early Mormons and Others Who Knew Joseph Smith, Jr. and/or His Contemporaries and LDS Family History Suite 2.
  • Organizations and Websites: Organizations and websites that are not affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that continue to use "Mormon" or "LDS" in their title, will remain in the Wiki. For example, Mormon History Association and LDS Genealogy website.
  • Classes and Handouts: Wiki pages, including Wiki article titles, that are previously presented classes or published handouts before the 5 March 2019 announcement that include "Mormon" or "LDS," will remain intact.
  • Wiki Meetings and Projects: Agendas and minutes taken during a Wiki meeting and Wiki projects completed previously will remain as is to preserve the context on the Wiki pages.
  • Article Redirects: Articles containing "Mormon" or "LDS" will be redirected to correctly titled Wiki articles. This will assist users in locating previously visited pages.
  • Questions?: Any comments or questions should be directed to

Reviewed Wiki Articles[edit | edit source]

  • The MormonLDSRemoval template will be placed on Wiki pages containing any of the above instances to clarify that the content on the Wiki page has been reviewed and approved by FamilySearch.

Supporting documents regarding proper reference to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints[edit | edit source]

Related articles[edit | edit source]

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