Familypedia Is Great for Genealogy and Family History
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-
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.
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?
What you need for using Familypedia
Internet, paper, and time!
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.
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.
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
Step 2: See how the site helps you - Click or type "Help" or click a menu
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)
* 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.
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.
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?
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.
- Familypedia | FANDOM powered by Wikia
Familypedia is a collaborative family history encyclopedia featuring a genealogy information source and database. Includes family tree, surname information, genealogy, ancestor sharing and more.
- Surnames category
If you are interested in a particular surname, start here. Every page for an individual (or about a surname in general) can and should be linked to the surname category, where people with that surname are automatically listed in order of first name.
- Genealogy help - first steps to creating a tree
Introduction to the subject - first steps to creating a family tree. With links to more advanced help.
- Category:County communities | Familypedia | FANDOM powered by Wikia
Home in on the county of interest in the US, UK, or Ireland, districts in India, regions in New South Wales, and a few others. Set out your query there and hope that some Google searcher will see the place and surname combination
- Create a page
Introduction The 608,773 pages of this wiki have been created in various ways. Articles about individual people are now mostly, and best, created in an automated fashion using Form:Person; The Help page makes it easy.
All constructive comment about Familypedia or this article welcome!
Particularly ideas for making this article more directly useful.