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The FamilySearch Research Wiki has published its 90,000th help article, with more added weekly. The free service launched 12 years ago to help patrons quickly with their personal family history research questions. Explore it for free at the FamilySearch Research Wiki.
The FamilySearch wiki is like discovering an unexpected treasure along your family history discovery journey. In a day when online consumers want what they are seeking within a few keystrokes and seconds, the FamilySearch wiki delivers. Go to the main page, and suddenly a world of databases, maps, countries and tutorials are at your fingertips.
The FamilySearch Research Wiki operates similar to Wikipedia. They are both wikis, allowing people to edit and create articles collaboratively. The FamilySearch wiki’s content is produced predominantly by staff and volunteers of the FamilySearch Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The wiki enables contributors to freely share their genealogical expertise with others. The inspiration for the content comes from patron interactions and questions and the ever-expanding historical record collections of FamilySearch.
So far in 2019, the wiki has had millions of viewers and 18 million page views. Nearly 7,600 new articles have already been published this year. The top five countries using the wiki are the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, and Germany. Content on the wiki is available in 10 languages as resources allow.
“The intriguingly interesting thing about the wiki is how diverse the 90,000 articles are,” said Danielle Batson, FamilySearch wiki content manager. “It is amazing to find such a wide variety of research subjects for locations all over the world.”
Here are just a few examples:
- Sweden Feast Day Calendars help determine the exact date for feast days found in the Swedish church records.
- English parish pages, including this example, give information about available records and parish history.
- Birth and Death Date Calculators. Tombstones and other historical records sometimes list only the age at the time of death instead of the birthdate. This page links you to several online date calculators to help you find the birthdate.
- United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards describes the historical records available, including a coverage table by state.
- Mexico Guided Research lists the best available collections for birth, marriage, and death in Mexico according to the user’s specified location.
- Archive of Free Monthly Family History Library Classes and Webinars gives links to webinars and handouts from past classes and webinars sponsored by the library.
The five most popular articles in 2019 are the following:
- Online Genealogy Records by Location Worldwide
- United States Genealogy
- United States Death Records
- Surname Distribution Maps
- United States Census Online Genealogy Records
The wiki is not the place to search by ancestral names—you’ll want to use FamilySearch’s vast record collections and Family Tree for that. Instead, it’s like having a team of reference specialists at your service to help you know what to try next in your family history quest. It provides research strategies and suggests records and resources that are most likely to help you discover the ancestors you’re seeking.
“It is the goal of our wiki teams to create, update, maintain, and add content. We encourage users to discover, gather, and connect to their family heritage. There is also a place on the wiki where people can contribute,” Batson said. Future content will focus on geographic locations that are still lacking reference resources.
To submit a wiki article, start your own project, or help edit, go to Get Involved in FamilySearch Wiki Projects.