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FamilySearch Wiki:Manual of Style

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<br> A '''Wiki''' '''manual of style''' (or style guide) is a set of standards for the design and writing of wiki articles. The guide provides direction for visual and technical aspects as well as prose style, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and wiki etiquette. The consistent use of style guidelines provides uniformity in style and formatting of wiki articles, making them easier for readers to understand and utilize.
[[File:Erie Canal Lock 32.jpg|thumb|Erie Canal Lock 32 ]]
== General Principles ==
'''Respectful interactions:''' Comments and edits should be made with respect for other users and contributors. [[FamilySearch Wiki:Etiquette Guidelines]]
'''Simplicity:''' Writing should be clear and simple. When a term is used that may be unfamiliar to readers (for example, "gazetteer"), it should be defined the first time it appears in the body of an article as in this sentence: "In some areas newspapers were called gazetteers."&nbsp; Avoid using specialized terms or acronyms when a common term is available. As much as possible, the information should be understandable by every reader, even when English is not the user's first language.
== Bylines ==
Everyone can contribute to FamilySearch Wiki. [[FamilySearch Wiki:Ownership of articles|Pages are not owned]] by anyone exclusively. Since anyone can work on a page, the original author of a page may see work expanded and changed by others. When a contributor adds to or edits a wiki page, ownership of the content is relinquished to the community. This relinquishment of content to the community is stated not only in a [[FamilySearch Wiki:Policies|policy page]] but also in the editing screen everyone uses to add content. For these reasons, [ bylines] are not appropriate on wiki pages. If information is added to the wiki from a specific published work, it is appropriate to [[Help:How to add citations|cite that]] work in a footnote, but it is not appropriate to "retain ownership" of a page through use of a byline.
== Grammar and Style ==
'''Every contributor is important:''' Even though users may be concerned about their writing skills and may feel inadequate for the task, their contributions are needed. The information they possess may not be obtainable by other users and is valuable to the wiki in any form. Other members of the wiki community can edit and polish the writing while focusing on keeping the content and original information intact. <br>
'''Complete sentences:''' Write with complete sentences (sentences that contain a subject and verb). Complete sentences are easier to understand, especially when English is not the reader's native language. The command form (which has an implied subject) is considered a complete sentence.
::{{xt|Parish records were kept from 1770 to 1932.}}
'''Shorter sentences that express one idea: '''As much as possible, write with shorter sentences that express one idea. They are easier to understand, especially when English is not a user's native language.
::{{xt|This is an index to some birth and christening records from Arizona. The records cover 1909 through 1917. The index is not necessarily complete for any particular place or region.}}
'''Avoid using “he or she":''' As much as possible, avoid using “he or she” and “his or hers" (for example, “He or she can use the index to find his or her ancestor’s record quickly”). Do not use the plural pronoun “they” to replace “he or she.” Often, the problem can be solved by rewriting the sentence:
::{{xt|Indexes can be used to find ancestral records quickly.}}
'''Avoid mixing pronouns and antecedents.''' For clarity, pronouns should be used correctly. If needed, rewrite the sentence or repeat the noun. <br>
:;Incorrect ::{{!xt|If a person wants to succeed in genealogy, you have to know how to search the records.}} :;Correct
::{{xt|If you want to succeed in genealogy, you have to know how to search the records.}}
'''Avoiding “we” and “I”:''' Contributors should not use “we” or “I” to refer to themselves and others in the wiki community.
:;Correct ::{{xt|Differing opinions can be added to the Talk page to get input from the wiki community.}} :;Incorrect
::{{!xt|We want differing opinions added to the Talk page to get input from the wiki community.}}
'''Ampersand (&amp;):''' Do not replace the word “and” with an ampersand (&amp;).
::If the ampersand is part of an official name, use the ampersand.
'''Using the Talk page:''' If differing opinions about a grammatical issue cannot be resolved by referring to an accepted authority, the opinions should be added to the Talk page for input from the wiki community.
== Naming ==
=== Name a new article ===
{{main|FamilySearch Wiki:Name a new article}}Before creating a new article, check to ensure that another article does not already exist for the topic.&nbsp;<br>
Before creating a new article, check to ensure that another article does not already exist for the topic.&nbsp;<br>  *'''Unique titles:''' No two articles may have the same title. <br> *'''Avoid duplication:''' If an article already exists for the same topic, edit the existing article rather than creating a new article. *'''Specific but short titles:''' Titles should be as short as possible but specific enough that users can identify the topic of the article when it appears in the search results. Avoid clever but unclear titles as they will be difficult to find using the search feature. Remove unnecessary words or punctuation. *'''Common terms:''' Titles should use common terms that users might search for. A well chosen name for a new article can be very helpful to users and make it easier for search engines to guide users to the most relevant wiki article.
*'''Get input''': Consider consulting with an [[FamilySearch Wiki:Mentors|experienced wiki contributor]] if you have questions.<br>
==== Capitalization in article titles ====
In titles, use sentence-style capitalization, which means that only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized. (For some wiki capabilities, sentence capitalization is required.) Do not list words all in capitals unless the word is an acronym.<br>
{| cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1" width="625"
| '''Correct'''<br> | '''Incorrect'''<br>
| Finding newspaper records <br> | Finding Newspaper Records <br>
| Cemetery Records for St. Joseph County, Michigan <br> | Cemetery records for St. Joseph County, Michigan <br>
| Franklin County, Illinois Court House | Franklin County, Illinois court house
| Canada Ontario Births (FamilySearch Historical Records) | Canada Ontario births (FamilySearch historical records) | <br>
Other rules apply when citing sources within wiki articles. See [[FamilySearch Wiki:Source Citation Formats|FamilySearch Wiki:Source Citation Format]].
==== Place names ====
'''Places listed in ascending order:''' If a city or county is listed in a title, at least the state, province, or country where the place is located should also be listed. The place is listed in ascending order (smallest place to largest). Unlike most genealogy software place name conventions, the word "county" should be included in the title of an article about a particular county.
{| cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1" width="625"
| '''Correct'''<br> | '''Incorrect'''<br>
| Cook County, Illinois <br> | Illinois, Cook County <br>
| Canada Ontario Births (FamilySearch Historical Records) | Ontario Canada births (FamilySearch historical records) | <br>
{| cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1" width="625"
| '''Correct'''<br> | '''Incorrect'''<br>
| &nbsp;Utah Birth Records, 1890 to 1925 <br> | 1890 to 1925 Birth Records for Utah<br>
| Orange County, California | Orange, California | <br>
==== Diacritics and quotation marks: <br> ====
In article titles, you may use words with diacritics (symbols used in other languages) or letters that do not appear in the English alphabet. However, the search engine may not display the article if users search for the English version of the word. Quotation marks should be avoided in article titles.<br>
==== Punctuation in the title: ====
Do not end the title with punctuation.
{| cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1" width="625"
| '''Correct'''<br> | '''Incorrect'''<br>
| Finding newspaper records <br> | Finding newspaper records. <br> | <br>
==== Abbreviations ====
Abbreviations, including US postal codes, should not be used in article titles or text because abbreviations can mean different things in different parts of the world. For example, the abbreviation CA could mean either California or Canada, depending on the reader's nationality.
For more information about naming conventions, see also [[Help:Naming conventions|Help:Naming Conventions]].
==== Italics ====
In a title, italicize only the titles of books and ships.<br>
=== Rename an existing article ===
Renaming an article requires moving the content of the article to a page with a different name. Articles may need to be renamed to correct an error, or to better state the purpose of the article. If it is likely that the page has been widely viewed and bookmarked, a "[[Help:Redirects|redirect]]" should be placed on the old article following the move. After the content has been moved to a new article, some old articles can simply be [[Help:Deleting a page|marked for deletion]].<br>
{{main|Help:Renaming a page}}
=== Naming subheadings within articles ===
==== Organizing information ====
In an article, subheadings or sections should be used to organize the content and keep similar information together. Subheadings should help users scan an article to find the information they need.
==== Guidelines for subheadings/section titles ====
Use the guidelines for article titles with the following differences. Once you put in a title it can't be changed by you but subtitles can be changed, removed and reorganized by you.
#There are many [[Help:A quick guide to templates|templates]] that will help to organize a page. Two great examples: <br>
*[[FamilySearch Wiki:WikiProject County Page Template]]
*[[FamilySearch Wiki:WikiProject U.S. counties|FamilySearch Wiki:WikiProject U.S. Counties]]
#Then go to [[Help:Editing The Wiki|Editing the Wiki]]. This page gives many ways to add to your page and options to use.
== Punctuation ==
'''Punctuation style.''' The rules of punctuation vary greatly (for example, whether a comma is placed before “and” in a series of items: red, white, and blue). Whatever style is chosen by the original contributor should be maintained throughout the article. Other contributors should follow the original style. <br>
'''Commas.''' Commas are frequently used at the end of introductory phrases and to separate the items in a list. In a list, a comma may either be used before “and” or left out. Whatever style is chosen by the original contributor should be maintained throughout the article.
:;Correct ::{{xt|At that time, immigrants from Eastern Europe either sailed directly to the United States or changed ships in Liverpool, England, before sailing to the United States.}} :;Correct ::{{xt|This collection includes birth, death, and marriage records.}} :;Correct
::{{xt|This collection includes birth, death and marriage records.}}
'''Commas with places.''' When a place is listed, each jurisdiction (governmental divisions such as country, province, state, county, and so on) is separated by a comma. In a sentence, a comma also comes after the final jurisdiction unless it ends the sentence.
:;Correct ::{{xt|Bannow, County Wexford, Ireland}} :;Correct ::{{xt|He was born in Hardin County, Kentucky, in an area that is now part of LaRue County, Kentucky.}} :;Incorrect
::{{!xt|Bannow County Wexford}}
'''Punctuation within quotation marks.''' English-speaking areas follow differing guidelines for adding punctuation within quotation marks (for example, whether the period is placed within or outside of the final quotation mark). When editing, contributors should follow the existing style in the article.
:;Correct ::{{xt|Lincoln began the Gettysburg address by referring to the Revolutionary War, which occurred “Four score and seven years ago.”}} :;Correct
::{{xt|Lincoln began the Gettysburg address by referring to the Revolutionary War, which occurred “Four score and seven years ago”.}}
'''Ampersand.''' Do not replace the word “and” with an ampersand (&amp;).
::If the ampersand is part of an official name, use the ampersand.
'''And/or. '''Do not use “and/or.” Rewrite the sentence, or use just one word. If items are frequently together, use “and.” If items are seldom together, use “or.”
:;Correct ::{{xt|Each record has a death and burial date.}} :;Correct ::{{xt|Each record has either a death or burial date. Some records have both dates.}} :;Incorrect
::{{!xt|Each record has a death and/or burial date.}}
'''Using a slash (/) between two years.''' Do not use a slash between two years unless you are writing an actual double date (see guideline 15.8). Use the word “or.”
:;Correct ::{{xt|In 1530 or 1531, the parish boundaries were changed.}} :;Incorrect
::{{!xt|In 1530/1531, the parish boundaries were changed.}}
'''Parentheses and brackets.''' Use parentheses ( ) around explanatory or alternate information. If the information in parentheses is a complete sentence, the period goes within the final parenthesis. (This sentence would be an example.) Use brackets [ ] to indicate words in a quote that have been altered from the original.
:;Correct ::{{xt|10 Vendémiaire IX (2 October 1800)}} :;Correct ::{{xt|“All men [and women] are created equal.”}} :;Incorrect
::{{!xt|10 Vendémiaire IX [2 October 1800]}}
'''Quotation marks.''' Use double quotation marks around quotes and titles of articles rather than single quotation marks.
:;Correct ::{{xt|For more information about these records, see “Australia Census.”}} :;Incorrect
::{{!xt|For more information about these records, see ‘Australia Census.’}}
'''The “#” symbol for the word “number.”''' The symbol “#” does not represent the word “number” in all cultures. Instead of “#”, use “number,” “No.,” or reword the sentence.
:;Correct ::{{xt|The number 1 cause of war deaths was disease.}} :;Correct ::{{xt|The primary cause of war deaths was disease.}} :;Incorrect
::{{!xt|The #1 cause of war deaths was disease.}}
'''Accepted authority.''' Because of the variety in the rules of punctuation, this list of guidelines is brief. When there is uncertainty about punctuation, follow an accepted authority such as the Chicago Manual of Style.
== Formatting ==
=== Character Formatting ===
{| class="prettytable"
| '''Font '''
| Regardless of the font you paste into the wiki edit screen, your work will be saved in the system's default font<span style="font-weight: bold;">.</span>
| '''Bold'''
| To be used in headings and the beginning of collection links to emphasis information, such as, dates and surnames. Otherwise, bold should be used sparingly. <br>
| '''Italics'''
| Use italics if a word must be emphasized. List book titles in italics. Do not use italics for quoted text.<br>
| '''Underline'''
| Because the use of underline indicates text with a [ hyperlink], do not use underline as a way to emphasize text. Do not underline book titles.<br>
=== Collection Links ===
Below is a suggested way to format a database collection. This is especially helpful for listing collections on a Wiki page.
'''Display result:'''
*'''1880-1920''' [ Sweden Household Examination Books, 1860-1947] at [‎ MyHeritage] — index & images, ($)
'''Additional guidelines:'''
*Subscription websites should have: ($)
*You can add additional information at the end of the database line such as information regarding how complete the collection is, what it covers, or additional helpful information.
*Additional examples are listed below:<br>
'''Additional Examples:'''
*'''1840-2004''' {{RecordSearch|1930397|Montana, County Births and Deaths, 1840-2004}} at [ FamilySearch] — index and images
*'''1840-2004''' [ Montana, County Births and Deaths, 1840-2004] at [ Ancestry] — index, ($)
*'''1801–1890''' [ Barber Collection- Newspaper Deaths] at [ Ancestry] – Index, ($); information extracted from the "Brooklyn Eagle" and the "New York Evening Post."
=== Source Citations ===
There is no one way to create a source. You will find many sources in the reference section of wiki pages are using The Chicago Manual of Style, but all are acceptable. Below are some suggested formatting regarding citations.
==== Reference Bibliography ====
When adding a reference to information within a Wiki article, use the following code:<br>
Chile’s official language is Spanish.<ref>Wikipedia contributors, "Chile," in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'',, accessed 24 March 2016.</ref> <br>
==== Adding References Heading ====
You can add a heading 2 or heading 3 (whichever is more appropriate for the page) labeled, References at the bottom of the page and additional wikitext code to ensure the references appear under this heading. Use the following wikitext code at the bottom of the Wiki page.<br>
<nowiki>== References ==</nowiki><br>
''More information can be found on [[FamilySearch Wiki:Source Citation Formats|Source Citation Formats]]'' <br>
==== Bibliography List in Body of the Wiki Page ====
When there are long lists of books or articles within a Wiki page, use the suggested format. This allows users to easily scan a list of pertinent resources.<br>
Add the information in the following order, left to right:<br>
:*''Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Adams, Clay, Hall and Hamilton Counties, Nebraska.'' 1890. Chicago, Illinois: Goodspeed Pub. Co. Online at:
'''Wikitext example:'''<br>
:<nowiki>*''Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Adams, Clay, Hall and Hamilton Counties, Nebraska.'' 1890. Chicago, Illinois: Goodspeed Pub. Co. Online at:</nowiki> <br>
'''Words of guidance:'''<br>
*Capitalize the complete title even though it is not in the catalog<br>
*If the title is really long, just give the first portion of the title and leave off the rest.<br>
'''Example of no author, no date of publication, no place of publication, and no publisher information:'''<br>
:''Niobrara Centennial 1856-1956.'' N.d. N.p: n.p.<br>
=== Repositories - Contact Information ===
Below is the suggested format for listing information about a specific repository in the Wiki:
::SR500.00 if the staff carries out your research.
=== Geographical Names ===
A proposed style guideline [[FamilySearch Wiki:Naming Conventions for Geographic Names|Naming Conventions for Geographic Names]] is being [[FamilySearch Wiki talk:Naming Conventions for Geographic Names|discussed]]. Once a [[FamilySearch Wiki:Consensus|consensus]] is reached a guideline will be adopted.
=== Acronyms and Abbreviations ===
The first time you use a term that can be abbreviated, write it out and put the acronym in parentheses, e.g., the zone improvement plan (zip) codes were developed by the United States Postal Service (USPS) in 1963.&nbsp;
== Capitalization ==
'''Merriam-Webster.''' When in doubt, follow Merriam-Webster.
'''Articles, buttons, or tabs.''' When referring to an article, button, or tab name, use the capitalization from the article title, button, or tab.
:;Correct ::{{xt|If another style guideline is needed, list the issue on the Talk page.}} :;Incorrect
::{{!xt|If another style guideline is needed, list the issue on the talk page.}}
'''Capitalization and spelling of some common terms.''' For the FamilySearch Research Wiki, use the following capitalizations and spellings.
:family group record :family history center (This term is not trademarked and is not capitalized.) :Family History Library :FamilySearch :FamlySearch Research Wiki :FamilySearch website or (Capitals make the site name easier to read, but both are correct.) :family tree :International Genealogical Index (IGI) :Personal Ancestral File (PAF) :GEDCOM :historical collections (in :Internet :pedigree chart :record types (for example, census records, court records, military records) :The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ("The" is part of the official title and is capitalized.) :website
:wiki (for example, the wiki, wiki articles, wiki pages, wiki community)
<br> '''Places.''' Capitalize the word “city,” “county,” “state,” or “province” only when the word appears as part of a place name. Do not capitalize the word city, county, state, or province when it is not part of the place name.
:;Correct ::{{xt|Salt Lake City, Los Angeles County, Quebec Province}} :;Correct ::{{xt|city of Boston, state of New York}} :;Incorrect
::{{!xt|City of Boston, Province of Alberta}}
<br> '''Dates.''' Capitalize the names of months and days of the week.
== Spelling ==
'''Spelling variations of English.''' Variations of English are acceptable. For example, either colour (British) or color (United States) is acceptable. Each article should use only one variation of English. When editing, use the variation of English already established in the article.
== Linking ==
{{main|FamilySearch Wiki:Linking}}
=== Linking to other articles in FamilySearch wiki ===
*[[FamilySearch Wiki:Linking]] *[[Help:Create an internal link]] *[[Help:Advanced Linking]] *[[Help:Section]] - the content under "Section linking" appears to be incorrect. A review is needed.
*[[Help:Wiki markup]]
==== Linking through the use of page section templates ====
*{{tl|Dablink}} - the disambiguation template *{{tl|Details}} *{{tl|Further}} *{{tl|Main}}
*{{tl|See also}}
Other possible templates to create include:
*{{tl|Subarticle}} - see Wikipedia's [ Template:Subarticle] for details
*{{tl|Cat also}} - see Wikipedia's [ Template:Cat] also for details
==== Linking through the use of metatemplates ====
*See [[:Category:Metatemplates]] for a list of metatemplates available for use
=== Linking to other websites ===
See also: [[Help:Create an external link|Create an external link]]
==== Links should not display the full URL ====
Many URLs (website addresses) are long and not reader-friendly. For readability's sake, links should not include the full URL of the destination page. There may be extremely rare instances where displaying the full URL is desirable, but this should be the exception, not the rule, and should be done only if there is a compelling reason.<br>
===== Example 1: a link by itself =====
'''Correct:''' [ FamilySearch]
===== Example 2: a link in context =====
'''Correct:''' [ Order United States military records] online.
Clearly, the first link is much easier to read, takes less space, and helps users understand what they will find by clicking the link.
==== Free websites ====
==== "For pay" websites ====
If you refer to a subscription website or one which has a charge to obtain information, use the "$" to indicate that there may be a fee for the site.
==== OCLC/WorldCat ====
Using the {{tl|WorldCat}} template for these links will allow the links to be easily updated if the web address changes.
==== FHLC ====
Using the {{tl|FHL}} template for these links will allow the links to be easily updated if the web address changes.
==== Record Search ====
Using the {{tl|RecordSearch}} template for these links will allow the links to be easily updated if the web address changes.
==== Wikipedia ====
Using the {{tl|Wikipedia}} template for these links will allow the links to be easily updated if the web address changes.
==== Maps ====
== Preferred terms ==
The following terms are preferred.
::::viz. (Use "namely.")
== Box layout: columns vs. portals ==
Authors desiring to display a wiki page's content in boxes should use tables within columns instead of using sub-pages within portals. To see the code that allows one to layout columns and tables, go to the [[Maryland|Maryland page]], click '''Edit''', and switch to Wikitext view. To see an example of portal code, go to the [ India portal on Wikipedia] and click '''Edit this page'''. For more about this topic, see [[FamilySearch Wiki:The Un-Portal Page|The Un-Portal Page]].
== Draft Pages or Sandboxes ==
Major editing work on a page that will not be finished for an extended time may confuse visitors to the page. To avoid this, it is recommend that lengthy or long term editing preparations are worked on in a [[FamilySearch Wiki:Sandbox|sandbox]] you create. Be sure to add a link in the "Talk" page of where the planned changes will be posted, to the sandbox where the planned changes are being worked on. This will allow comments on the new content until it is moved from the sandbox page to the page that needs the changes. {{further|FamilySearch Wiki:About the Sandbox}}
== Measurements ==
'''Metric or U.S.''' If measurements are needed, they can be written in metric or U.S. systems. The same system should be used throughout the article. It is recommended that the contributor provide the measurement in both systems. Metric may be listed first with the U.S. equivalent in parentheses, or the U.S. measurement may be listed first with the metric equivalent in parentheses. The same order should be used throughout the article.
::::Incorrect: Staten Island in New York City covers 59m. <br><br>
== Currencies ==
'''Listing costs of services.''' When referring users to a site or institution that charges for its services, it is appropriate to let users know there will be a charge. However, because prices change often, it is best to avoid listing the exact cost of the services.
::::Incorrect: For the Louisiana Territory, the United States paid France almost $190 million in today’s money.
== References to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the FamilySearch Wiki ==
In compliance to the [ Style Guide] released 5 March 2019 regarding the usage of the official name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the unofficial references, such as, "LDS" and "Mormon" have been removed from the FamilySearch Research Wiki except in the following instances:<br>
*'''Historical References:''' The term "Mormon" will remain when used in proper names, such as, the Mormon Battalion or when used as an adjective in such historical expressions as "Mormon Trail."
*'''References to the "Mormon Church":''' To clarify to the general public that “Mormon Church” is referring to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a parenthetical reference will be made. Example, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church).
*'''Published Sources:''' References to books, articles, databases, and collections that include "LDS" or "Mormon" in the title will remain in the Wiki. For example, ''Journals, Diaries, Biographies, Autobiographies and Letters of Some Early Mormons and Others Who Knew Joseph Smith, Jr. and/or His Contemporaries'' and ''LDS Family History Suite 2.''
*'''Organizations and Websites:''' Organizations and websites that are not affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that continue to use "Mormon" or "LDS" in their title, will remain in the Wiki. For example, ''Mormon History Association'' and ''LDS Genealogy'' website.
*'''Classes and Handouts:''' Wiki pages, including Wiki article titles, that are previously presented classes or published handouts before the 5 March 2019 announcement that include "Mormon" or "LDS," will remain intact.
*'''Article Redirects:''' Articles containing "Mormon" or "LDS" will be redirected to correctly titled Wiki articles. This will assist users in locating previously visited pages.
*'''Questions?:''' Any comments or questions should be directed to []
 === Reviewed Wiki Articles === *The [[:Template:MormonLDSRemoval|MormonLDSRemoval]] template will be placed on Wiki pages containing any of the above instances to clarify that the content on the Wiki page has been reviewed and approved by FamilySearch.<br>  === Supporting documents regarding proper reference to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints === 
*[ Style Guide — The Name of the Church]
*[ Changes to Emphasize the Correct Name of the Church of Jesus Christ] - updated May 16, 2019
== Related articles ==
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