Help:Wiki Basics

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Welcome to the Wiki community. Whether you are researching or contributing, the items below will help you understand various elements of the wiki, including how to navigate and contribute to it. The wiki is a community project, and you are now part of that community. If you have knowledge about how or where to search for genealogy that is not already here, please contribute. Don't know how? Keep reading.

Navigation Menu

On the left side of the page, you may see a Table of Contents box. It is a list of the major sections of the page. You can click on any heading in that table and be taken to that heading on the  page. Smaller articles do not have a contents box.
On the right side of every page, there are three boxes which will enhance your Wiki experience.
  • The top box, Search Learning & How-to's, is a search box. You can enter search terms in the box and then click on the magnifying glass to search the wiki. Or you can browse by clicking on by country or by topic.
  • The second box, New to the Research Wiki, guides you to basic information on the Wiki. Click on the Learn More line.
  • The bottom, purple box has four sections, separated by a thin white line: Views, Toolbox, Community and Personal tools. Hover over any place on the bar with your mouse and it will turn dark purple. Click on the dark purple bar to open the section and reveal a number of tools and tasks. Hover over the name and a yellow pop-up box will display a brief explanation of the topic. Click on the name to open the topic..

Registering on the Wiki

You do not need to be registered to look at Wiki pages. If you want to add or edit information, however, or ask a question, you must be registered. This allows others wiki community members to communicate with you.
Help:How to Register with the Wiki
Once you are signed into the Wiki, it will timeout after 2 hours idle.

Setting Your Preferences

You can customize your Wiki experience using your Personal Tools.

User Page

The User Page is where you have the opportunity to share information about yourself, or your research interests.  This is a great way to get to know a little about a contributor to an article, or even find someone with the same interests.  It also gives other users a way to communicate with you.
Help:User page

Watching a Page

If you are researching in a specific area, or have a page that interests you, you may want to "Watch" that page.  If you are watching a page, you will be notified any time that page is edited.  This way you can keep up with the latest information available.


This feature allows you to determine how you are notified when there are changes to pages you are watching.

Discussion Pages

All Wiki articles will have an associated Discussion (also referred to as "Talk") Page that you can access via a tab at the top left of your page.  This page is where you leave a comment or question about the content of that page.  Every user has a Discussion page linked to their User Page, and this is where you can communicate with that user.
Help:Discussion Pages (Talk Pages)


If you have a research question, or a question about editing the Wiki, ask it at the FamilySearch Forums. There are genealogists to help you with a research item, and very experienced Wiki users to help with an editing question.

 Detailed Help

If you are ready to begin, and would like detailed instructions on adding or editing wiki content, choose one of the following links:
If you need a Help article that doesn't currently exist, you may request one here.


Once you get started adding or editing Wiki content, if you find you need additional help, or if you have a specific task you wish to accomplish, you may request a Mentor to work with you.