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Familypedia Is Great for Genealogy and Family History

Updated on February 25, 2019
RobinForlongePa profile image

My mother got me interested in my family history in the 1950s. Since 1974 I have been a paid-up member of the NZ Society of Genealogists.

My father's parents - married on 16 February 1898 in Dunedin, New Zealand
My father's parents - married on 16 February 1898 in Dunedin, New Zealand | Source

Familypedia, the Genealogy and Family History Wikia

I'm using a free cooperative website to further my family history. You can join us and write up your own family or a friend's genealogy.

In 2004 I discovered Wikipedia. Hooray! Then in 2005 I found that my serious passion, genealogy, was the subject of a FREE website that used the same easy markup as I had learned for Wikipedia. See https://familypedia.wikia.com.

I was hooked! Of course I soon added a page about my great-great-great-
great-great-great-great-great-great-
uncle Oliver Cromwell. And information about less famous relatives, such as my father's parents, Will and Kathy, depicted above on their wedding day

Familypedia is not YET the biggest genealogy wiki. But it plans to be the smartest and best documented. It is growing almost exponentially with dozens of keen volunteers (including a few programmers) and good host support. Early 2019 saw the total number of "articles" top 250,000, though many of them are technically subpages, such as pages that display several generations of recorded ancestors of an individual - the "family tree".

Wikia software is practically the same as used on ten million Wikipedia articles and therefore has had so many thousands of intelligent people working on it that it is very easy to use for ordinary text, images, and lots of clever charts. Wikia has added some extensions, such as Semantic MediaWiki, that had not been used on Wikipedia; they produce even better charts and tables automatically.


Dick Eastman's genealogy newsletter gave Familypedia a superb review on Remembrance Day 2010. He updated it a few years later.

Overview

I want to help you use and enjoy Familypedia too

The free genealogy wiki "Familypedia" can help you in several ways:

Record "in black and white" (and millions of other colours) your family's reminiscences and hard facts about your ancestors and your famous or infamous or ordinary distant cousins;

Link to their times and places so that you can appreciate how they lived and maybe why they travelled or worked or played the way they did;

Talk to fellow-researchers about the best ways of displaying your data;

Find where to look for more old records;

And maybe find that someone else has already written about your relatives, making it even easier for you to get a complete picture.

(Talking of pictures - the above image is in the public domain and is housed on that wonderful repository Wikimedia Commons.)

Started your own family tree? - Fast-growing hobby in many countries

Now common in schools is an assignment for students to draw their own family tree. They often ask the older generation for information. The result can be great for self-knowledge and a feeling of self-worth.

Two main types of family tree:

(1) ancestors (of one person or group of siblings);

(2) descendants (of one person or couple)

Have you started your own family tree?

See results

What you need for using Familypedia

Internet, paper, and time!

(1) Computer

Connected to the World-wide Web - if you are reading this, you probably have that! Dial-up is OK. Er - you've forgotten what dial-up is? Not a problem.

(2) Papers

About your relatives, such as letters, newspaper clippings, marriage certificates, photos, school reports.

You can manage without any of that paper at first; but the more the better.

(3) Time

As much or as little as you like. Five minutes could be enough for you to create your first article. I think Familypedia's a good use of my time and I've made over 50,000 edits, with more to come (D.V.). One guy has made over 300,000.

(Public domain picture of ships at Seattle in 1900 - somebody's ancestors were on them and probably had their names recorded!)

Step 1: Find the Genealogy Wikia website

Three easy routes

Find Familypedia, the Genealogy Wikia, one of these ways:

(1) Click here

(2) Paste or type the following into your address bar: http://familypedia.wikia.com (and with Firefox you may get it without the http://)

(3) Google "Genealogy Wikia"

Step 2: See how the site helps you - Click or type "Help" or click a menu

Top section of main page
Top section of main page

Find a helpful-looking link on the front page - and click it. Several useful links appear on the drop-down menus nrear the top. If you can't see a really helpful-looking link, enter "help" in the search box near top right. That gives you an overview of what the site offers.

The site is a "wiki", which means it is a website that anyone can edit. It is one of over three hundred thousand communities hosted by a commercial organization called Wikia, Inc., based in the United States but with staff on at least three continents and over a million volunteer contributors. Together we have developed an extensive system of "Help" pages for operating the sites generally, with each "Wikia" wiki adding its own help pages specific to using that wiki. Most of the sites now use the brand name "FANDOM".

"Help" pages usually have names starting with "Help:". You can see the whole list of those on the relevant "Special" page, but the important ones for beginners are listed on a page that's called just "Help", and the one about creating articles is in the top line of links below the banner ad.

There is also a "help desk", which is a forum where you can ask questions and hope some more experienced user will give you an answer soon. Usually you will wait less than a day, and meantime there's plenty to do!

Step 3: Optionally, register with a user-name

(not required if you are registered on another Wikia site)

Create an account for yourself by clicking on the "Create an account" link (near the top right corner of most pages) and filling the required boxes.

Not compulsory, but highly recommended because it:

* is free

* takes only a minute

* lets you upload images

* will make other contributors more likely to help you.

* screens out the most obtrusive ads leaving just a few polite messages via Gooooooogle

*actually gives you MORE CHANCE TO BE ANONYMOUS if you wish

Choose your user name with some care. Some of us are happy to use our real names, some use short or disguised versions, and some pick a name from history, such as "Thurstan" or "Zephyrinus". Best not to make it too long, because you and others will want to type it occasionally.

If your user name gives no clue who you really are, no ordinary user of the site will know unless you tell them, and only the managers (who haven't time to check anyone except obvious troublemakers) will have the power to dig into the system to find where in the world your computer is sitting and how to collar you.

The managers hate spam more than you do, so they will not tell anyone else your email address, nor your date of birth (which they need only because U.S. law doesn't let such sites have members aged under 13).

Then, or later, find your "Preferences" link. You can set:

* language interface (to one of several dozen options)

* timezone

* display "skin"

* size of edit box

and several other things.

You have your very own public "User page" (as on many modern sites). It's good for displaying your ancestry tree as far as it goes, with easy links to individuals' pages and other web pages you have found helpful. A good example is Kborland's user page

There is a matching "User talk page", where other contributors will write messages addressed to you. And once you start editing you will be able to see a record of every edit under "Contributions".

Serendipitously relevant video from YouTube - (Not mine, but it rang bells when I saw it!!)

The following YouTube video shows how hard it is to get your family history on Wikipedia. That's where Familypedia scores.

OK, we are half-way through

Familypedia is more use for your family history than Wikipedia

As I said, that video wasn't mine. BUT it illustrates some good points about the Genealogy Wikia:

Wikipedia won't accept all of your family history even if your name is Barack Obama, but the Genealogy Wikia will! You can't have even a little Wikipedia article about yourself unless you're more famous than CapnOAwesome, but on Familypedia, the Genealogy Wikia, you can have many pages about yourself. Familypedia shows far more of the Obama ancestry than Wikipedia shows.

Top section of a finished page
Top section of a finished page

Step 4: Create a page for a person

Penny plain or tuppence coloured?

If you can type and click (which I know you can, or you wouldn't be reading this), you can create a wiki page. Type or paste whatever data you have so that the software can put it together. However, it may start life rather prosaic. Maybe not a very exciting page, and it probably won't have links to where you want it to.

Invest a couple of minutes extra, though, by following the current recommended process, to create a "person" page with an automatically-generated infobox and maybe other automatically-generated features such as categories, mini-biography, tables of children and siblings, even an Ahnentafel.

To use the super-fast form, either point to the "Create or edit article" menu near the top of the page and click the menu item "Form:Person" or click here: https://familypedia.wikia.com/wiki/Form:Person. You type or paste what you know in each box of the form, same as on your genealogy program. Tab or scroll to the next box you want to use.

Some of the sections have "Show" and "Hide" links at top right to reduce scrolling. "Show" the ones that start off hidden, in case you have data to go there.

Then click "Publish". The page may not show everything it should yet, but that's a software trick. Don't panic!!!!. (You want a technical answer? - the page display "calls" some of its own "properties", which it can't do before it's published, so it may need to be "published" again.)

Having published your first Familypedia page, go and follow the "guidance" pages for detail of how best to start a page and to create related pages, including automatically-generated ancestor chart and descendant table. (The "guidelines" are what you reach by clicking on the "Create or edit article" menu header near the top.)

Very soon your article will be done (though, like a HubPages article, it may invite more work later) and will have tabs leading .to ancestry and descendants (if any are mentioned on the site - which may depend on you!).

The article will probably show a surname category at the top or bottom - click the name to see whether other people with that surname might be related.

NOW - if you haven't already - TRY IT! Yes, you can try it right now...

But it is a good idea to register first so as not to seem nameless and for lots of other good reasons. See "step 3" above.

...

Form ready for typing or pasting data
Form ready for typing or pasting data

TRY IT YOURSELF HERE AND NOW

(Yes, right this minute - if you haven't already)

Go to the "start" page.

Type a real person's name in the "Create or edit" box.

Make it your own name if you like. (I have one for myself.) Or a deceased parent or grandparent, maybe. Just the full name (preferably "birth" name), with an exact or approximate birth year. Add birth year in round brackets, like "Barack Obama (1961-)". Dates are not encouraged for living persons (except famous people) but reduce the chance of ambiguity.

Click the "Create or edit" button, and you get taken to a form ready for editing (as shown here). Fill in "Given name", "surname", and "short name". And anything else you can. (Or nothing else at this stage; you can always come back and add later.) If the person had children, you may save some fiddly coding if you put at least one child's name in the box.

Once you've added a few facts, you're nearly there.

Click the "Publish" button.

Feel the flush of pleasure at creating a Familypedia page?

But if you still haven't registered, maybe you should first go up this page to what I called "Step 3", and register. See you there!

The finished article

(well, "finished" until the next improvement)

Data from a boring-looking edit box gets transformed by clever templates into a Wikipedia-style article about your ancestor or some other worthy person. There are links to pages about places, dates, and maybe other relatives.

*****

I plan to add more "how-to" modules soon. Ask or tell me if you think any particular issue needs early inclusion. The half-dozen links below should be a good intro for most new users.

Any more questions? Someone on the Wikia is sure to be able to help you (though possibly not to break down your genealogy brick wall!). Check the Familypedia help desk. It's under "Forums".

Interested? - Have I raised a spark of interest today?

No matter whether or how you answered the first poll, I'd like you to give me feedback on whether this lens has encouraged you to have a look (or another look) at Familypedia.

Quick poll, and if possible a few words of text below it.

Are you likely to look at the Genealogy Wikia soon?

See results

Starter pages on Familypedia - A few good entry points covering various needs

Users of Familypedia have differing requirements.

Some want to see if their relatives have been written about. Some want to find a specific family. Some want background on the county where their ancestors lived.

Active users want to write about their relatives and show links between them all and display family trees; while some like using their wiki and programming skills to improve the site and help others build up a great resource.

All constructive comment about Familypedia or this article welcome!

Particularly ideas for making this article more directly useful.

Reader feedback - What do you think of the article - and Familypedia?

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    • RobinForlongePa profile imageAUTHOR

      Robin Forlonge Patterson 

      5 years ago from New Zealand

      @Ann Hinds: Your Message Subject or TitleReplying, approving that comment.

      Robin F Patterson, 88 Motuhara Road,

      Plimmerton, Porirua City, New Zealand

      http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/robin.f.patterson

      http://twitter.com/#!/Robin_Patterson

      http://www.linkedin.com/pub/robin-patterson/36/56a...

      http://genealogy.wikia.com/wiki/User:Robin_Patters...

      http://newzealand.wikia.com/wiki/User:Robin_Patter...

      ----- Original Message -----

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 

      5 years ago from So Cal

      This is new to me so I will certainly check it out. I figure anything that moves my research forward is a great idea. Thanks

    • ManipledMutineer profile image

      ManipledMutineer 

      6 years ago

      A very well-written lens about an interesting resource.

    • OldStones LM profile image

      OldStones LM 

      7 years ago

      Great information I have been very invovled in tracking our family history. Familypedia maybe useful in breaking a few brick walls in a couple of lines.

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 

      7 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      My cousin has started a family tree and can't get further back than 1688. I'll check out Familypedia...thanks form a fellow Kiwi

    • profile image

      sherileigh75 

      8 years ago

      Wonderful page. I have Familypedia waiting in the next tab so I can check it out immediately.

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 

      8 years ago

      This is interesting. I know a lot of people who are curious about their family's genealogy. In fact, I am, too. It would be great to dig our roots. Fantastic lens! Sundae ;-)

    • profile image

      Perry48317 

      8 years ago

      Good looking lens and very informative -- my steps in genealogy have been halting so far, and I wish I had discovered this lens earlier!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 

      9 years ago

      came back to give a ~"Squid Angel Blessing"~ on a well made and informative lens

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      9 years ago from Royalton

      Sounds very interesting as I have been studying my family history for many years. Thank you for the suggestion. I am off to check it out.

    • AppalachianCoun profile image

      AppalachianCoun 

      9 years ago

      Fantastic lens. We are going to check out this site. Thank-you so much. 5 stars*****

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 

      10 years ago from Vermont

      This is a wonderful new lens just added to Senior Geek Squids group!

    • Nancy S Oram profile image

      Nancy Oram 

      10 years ago

      I love this idea. I'll try to do more investigating later today. Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      10 years ago

      I tried the wiki, thanks for the suggestion !

      http://genealogy.wikia.com/wiki/Albert_Arnold_(180...

    • RobinForlongePa profile imageAUTHOR

      Robin Forlonge Patterson 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      [in reply to bryon] Take what, Bryon? You can copy anything if you conform with the GFDL license.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      10 years ago

      if i do like it can i take it of the web sit

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      10 years ago

      My grandma did a family tree once and that was very interesting to see.

      Great topic for a lens, and nice to kind of meet you! :) - Susie

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 

      10 years ago

      I'm glad to hear about Familypedia. I did a little research on my family when I visited Ellis Island in New York, but need to do more online investigation. You've inspired me to get going on it again. Nice lens, particularly the lovely photos you chose. Squid Angel Blessed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      10 years ago

      Useful information, 5*****

    • sarita garg profile image

      sarita 

      10 years ago from Hisar

      Useful information here. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • edah1308 profile image

      edah1308 

      10 years ago

      This is a great lens. I look forward to using familypedia as I continue building my family tree. Welcome to the Genealodocious group Robin I look forward to checking out all of your lenses! **5**

    • dc64 lm profile image

      dc64 lm 

      10 years ago

      Very good step by step instructions on how to get started using the Genealogy Wikia. I have a lot of information and very old pictures of some of my ancestors, this sounds like the perfect place for them.

    • RobinForlongePa profile imageAUTHOR

      Robin Forlonge Patterson 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      [in reply to GramaBarb] Thank you for that blurb and the "prediction". I put my 13,300 known "relatives" on Geni.com by uploading a GEDCOM. Very appealing site, but my computer hasn't enough capacity to last long when making several jumps around the excellent displays. It slows to a snail's pace, worse than snail mail.

    • RobinForlongePa profile imageAUTHOR

      Robin Forlonge Patterson 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      [in reply to debnet] Woops, I saw that debnet had submitted two identical-looking blurbs in quick succession and didn't think to look closely. I deleted the wrong one. Blame me for any spelling errors. Thanks for the comments.

      Robin

    • debnet profile image

      Debbie 

      10 years ago from England

      Genealogy is also a favoutirte hobby of mine... or should that be addiction? It's through family history that I met Poddys :) I'll be checking out this site very soon :)

    • GramaBarb profile image

      GramaBarb 

      10 years ago from Vancouver

      Love your lens! I will be back and will use Genealogy Wikia/Familypedia soon! I use geni.com which has improved discussion between relatives in different parts of the world.

    • Janusz LM profile image

      Janusz LM 

      10 years ago

      Blessed by a Squid Angel :)

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      10 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Useful information, 5*****. I hadn't heard of Familypedia before, but am headed there now. My fiancee and I met through Rootschat (http://www.rootschat.com) which is a great genealogy site for people with ancestors from the UK.

    • profile image

      Merlyn63 

      10 years ago

      Hi Robin, absolutely brilliant lens on Familypedia am sure that after reading this information everyone will at least go and take a look at Familypedia and that more than a few of them will actually have a go at using it fo themselves. Keep up the good work.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 

      10 years ago

      Great information

      Thanks for sharing

      Lizzy

    • anthropos lm profile image

      Lamar Ross 

      10 years ago from Florida

      I was not aware of this site. Thanks for the info. Please feel free to join the group Everything Genealogy & Family History. All genealogy lenses are welcome.

    • profile image

      Jackson_the_Boxer 

      10 years ago

      Very interesting lens; I never done a family tree, but you make it sound easy! Thanks for the comment on my lens. 5 stars for all the work you put into this helpful lens of information!

    • profile image

      Vic_Goodman 

      10 years ago

      Lots of good genealogy information, thanks for sharing it here. FamilyPedia sounds like an interesting and useful site...I'll have to give it a look.

      5 Stars

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 

      10 years ago

      very nice lens...I also like researching genealogy and have been doing it for many years...5*

    • mythphile profile image

      Ellen Brundige 

      10 years ago from California

      It sounds like a great resource, and you explain it very well! Especially nowadays, with families scattering far and wide, this is a good way to get back in touch with roots. Genealogy Wikipedia also sounds better than Ancestry.org (though I've only tried the latter a little).

      Small suggestion: a few borders or pictures-- even just leaves! -- to add a little splash to your lens. The content is the important part, though, and that's first-rate!

    • profile image

      tdove 

      10 years ago

      Thanks for joining G Rated Lense Factory!

    • RobinForlongePa profile imageAUTHOR

      Robin Forlonge Patterson 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      [in reply to britney-smith] - Thank you. You saw the first version. I hope you have time to skim over to see the major improvements just now published.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      10 years ago

      This is a great and informative genealogy lens. Thanks for sharing this info!

    • profile image

      britney-smith 

      10 years ago

      Great Lens !! 5 star for you !!

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 

      10 years ago from England

      I welcome you to the VICTORIAN CULTURE Group; and thank you for joining.

      Your lens is featured under Genealogy, about a quarter of the way down the page, and your lensmaster icon just above it. And thanks for informing me of FamilyPedia which I have joined, and which I am getting a lot of benefit from.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 

      10 years ago from England

      Great stuff. I've started using FamilyPedia recently and found it an excellent site for serious recording of Genealogy History.

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