FamilySearch Wiki:WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records/Guidelines for Articles

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Blue check.png This page documents a guideline. It is a generally accepted standard that contributors should attempt to follow, though it is best treated with common sense and the occasional exception.

Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.
 We need your help! Below is a style guide to assist you in editing and authoring desciptions of wiki articles that describe FamilySearch digital collections.

Some style notes:

FamilySearch Collections are found in the new version of They are titled "Historical Record Collections".

Wiki articles that are created to describe FamilySearch Collections are written to assist wiki users who may or may not be genealogical experts. The articles should be written in a basic language style, using simple words. Descriptions of each section of a Family Search Collection wiki article are listed below.


The title of the wiki article reflects the title of the collection(s) in
Wiki article titles should be created following this format:

  • List the name of the locality first, beginning with the largest locality and ending with the smallest. It is not necessary to list the United States, but other countries should be listed in the title.
  • Include dates in the title only for wiki articles about census records.
  • List the record type along with important data, such as the denomination and the name of the specific religious organization, such as a diocese, ward, or parish.
  • To tell User Guidance articles apart from other wiki articles, add the phrase “(FamilySearch Historical Records)” to the end of the title. This qualifier also allows both our unit and others to create titles that would be duplicates without the qualifier.


  • Illinois Belleville Catholic Church Records
  • British Columbia Births
  • New York Census 1904

Add the phrase (FamilySearch Historical Records) to the end of the title in parenthesis. This phrase distinguishes articles that describe specific Record Search/Historical Collections from other wiki articles.


England, Durham Diocese Marriage Bonds and Allegations (FamilySearch Historical Records).

FamilySearch Collection Template

The template brands the article as describing a collection from the FamilySearch website and creates links to digital collections. Add the FamilySearch Collection template by following these directions:

  • Click on “Edit”.
  • Click on the “Rich Editor” icon if you are not already in Rich Editor.
  • Click on the Template {T} icon on the top line of the Rich editor icons.
  • The Template Properties box will appear. Click on the “Manual” tab.
  • Click on the drop-down menu in the “(Pick up a template manual here)” box.
  • Select the “Template: FamilySearch_Collection”.
  • It should appear in the box.
  • Click on “OK”. 

The end result should be the template icon: {{FamilySearch Collection}}

Members of the User Guidance Unit will add the required Collection Identification number to the FamilySearch Collection Template. 

Title in the Language of the Records

List the title of the collection in the language of the records.

Record Description

Describe the physical state of the originals, including:

  • Water damage
  • Torn pages
  • Bleed-through
  • Fire damage

Describe the types of records included in the collection, the language of the record's text and the format used in the records.

Record Content

This section includes sub-headers in bold text for the major record types found within the collection. A phrase similar to "Most (record type) contain the following important genealogical facts:" should be followed by the significant genealogical data found in the records, usually in the form of a bulleted list. Some collections contain several types of records and may need a list for each record type.


Key genealogical facts found in the collection are listed below:

  •  Child’s name
  •  Child’s sex
  •  Number of children of mother

Sample Images

Samples of images from the collection will be added to this section individually, or with a number of images, in galleries. Images in other languages may include callouts of major phrases in the document or a translation of the document. Images should be placed above or next to the record content section that describes each image.

How to Use the Record

Explain to wiki users how the records can help them find out more about their ancestors. Describe research strategies that are helpful when dealing with the collection. Explain what the next step would generally be in order to follow on the information obtained in the collection. If describing an index, describe how to find the records that were indexed in the collection.

Related Websites:

Create links to websites outside of the wiki that contain information related to the collection being described. Addresses and other information about an archive or other site could be added to this section of the wiki article as well. Do not list the URLs as a link; rather, use a short phrase that describes the site as the link.

A sentence is input into this section by the User Guidance Unit to encourage wiki users to add helpful wiki sites. If you feel that the correct websites have been added, feel free to delete the sentence, which reads:

This section of the article is incomplete. You can help FamilySearch Wiki by supplying links to related websites here.

Related Wiki Articles:

Create internal links to wiki articles that contain information related to the collection being described.

Known Issues With This Collection

This header will be added as needed by World Wide Support Staff and Missionaries when they add information about problems with the collection.

Contributions to This Article

Please add the Contributor invite template to encourage wiki user participation:

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.


Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

Please add the following in normal text:

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Example of a Source Citation for a  Record Found in This Collection:

Many articles include examples of a citation based on a search of this collection listed. If there isn't an example listed for the collection, please add the examples listed below the text in normal text with bullets:

  • "Delaware Marriage Records," index and images, FamilySearch ( accessed 4 March 2011), entry for William Anderson and Elizabeth Baynard Henry, married 23 November 1913; citing marriage certificate no. 859; FHL microfilm 2,025,063; Delaware Bureau of Archives and Records Management, Dover.
  • “El Salvador Civil Registration,” index and images, FamilySearch ( accessed 21 March 2011), entry for Jose Maria Antonio del Carmen, born 9 April 1880; citing La Libertad, San Juan Opico, Nacimientos 1879-1893, image 50; Ministerio Archivo Civil de la Alcaldia Municipal de San Salvador.

Once an example is added to a wiki article that cites the collection being described, the generic examples should be removed from the article. 

Sources of Information for This Collection:

The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records. Detailed instructions for adding citations of records used by the FamilySearch Wiki are also listed in the wiki article Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.

To assist wiki patrons with making citations that describe their findings, the User Guidance unit will create a bibliographic source citation that describes the digital collection in this section of the wiki article.

Source Citation Example:

Canada. Lower Canada Census 1831. Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. Canada. Lower Canada Census 1831. Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.