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

In this portion of the article, we ask the community to supply a translation of the title in the record language (not included in articles for English records). 

Example - Known Title in the Language of the Record:

Argentina, Censo de 1869

Example - Unknown Title in the Language of the Record:

This section of the article is incomplete. You can help FamilySearch Wiki by supplying a translation of the title in Dutch here. 

Record Description

This section of the article is a description of the physical state of the items in the collection. Include the time period covered by the records and mention the physical state of the originals, such as:

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

Also describe the types of records included in the collection, the language, and what format they are written in.


This collection of census records covers the year of 1901. Census enumerations were recorded in registers with legal size papers in landscape orientation. Each book (libreto) is separated by a title page, which includes the name of the province, the section, and the type of population covered. It is followed by the enumeration sheets containing surname and names of the inhabitants, age, gender, and civil status, nationality, place of birth, occupation, literacy, and special conditions. At the end of each book (libretto) is a global summary page of the register. 

Record Content

This section should list the major genealogical items discovered in the records. Any sample images or tables should be included under Record Content as well. 


The census of 1869 includes the following information:

  • Name of the province
  • Name of the section or district
  • Type of population
  • Last name and given name
  • Age, gender, and civil status
  • Nationality and place of birth
  • Occupation
  • Literacy (ability to read and write) 

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

Add specific research strategies to this section of the guidance, if possible. If describing an index, outline who authored it. Also describe the fields that are indexed and how to find the indexed records. 


Begin your search by typing: the family surname, country (which is China most of the time), province, and then the county, if known. The title of the records from the county will be listed. Some of the records include a publication year, if known. Even though many records are from Guangdong Province where most of the families lived in the last century, some of the records are listed under the province and county where the ancestors originated. Some records list “unknown” as the family’s locality because the record itself does not specify any particular place or no single place can be used because the family is too widely scattered. 

Related Websites

The purpose of this section is to encourage the community to add links to websites for archives and other websites with related material. 

To create website links:

  1. Type the title of the related website that will be linked to the new article, then highlight it.
  2. Click on the “Insert/Edit link” icon (the Globe with a single chain link).
  3. Paste the website URL into the “Link” box.
  4. Click “OK”.
  5. You should be returned to the wiki article and the link should be created.

Example - No Website Links Provided:

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

Example - Website Link Provided

Chinese Genealogies

Related Wiki Articles

List wiki articles with material relating to the topic of this article.

To create the link:

  1. Type the title of the Related Wiki Article that will be linked to the new article, then highlight it.
  2. Click on the “Insert/Edit link” icon. (Globe with a single chain link)
  3. Type the name of the article that you wish to link to into the “Link” box. It should appear. Shortening the title is sometimes more useful than typing the entire title into the box.
  4. Once found, select the correct title and click “OK”.
  5. You should be returned to the new wiki article and the link should be created.


Argentina Census

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

In this section, add the “Contributor Invite” template by following these steps:

  • Click on the Template {T} Icon
  • Click on the “Manual” tab
  • Select “Template:Contributor_invite”

End Result:

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

Examples of Citations for Records Found in FamilySearch Historical Collections

Please add the following in normal text:

The following are examples of records found in other collections. Please add a citation for a record you found in this collection.

  • "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.

When the citation has been replaced with a citation specific to the collection being described, the heading should be changed to “Example of a Citation for a Record Found in This Collection”.

Citation 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. The User Guidance unit will create this citation.

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.

Information about creating source citations for FamilySearch Historical Collections is listed in the wiki article Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections