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Family History and Genealogy Wiki/Getting Started

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Setting your PreferencesEdit

A user may customize the way a wiki page appears, or how the wiki processes certain actions. Click the "preference" tab to go to your personal preference page. (If you are using the default settings, the preference tab probably appears in a drop-down Menu under "MORE" near the top right of the page.) Here you can

  • Change the appearance of the page (click the "skins" tab to make a choice)
  • Change your password
  • Give your email address if you want people to be able to email you (they won't be told your address unless you reply)
  • Set time display settings
  • Adjust settings for things like "search", "WatchList", etc.

Finding an article of interestEdit

Probably the first thing you will want to do here is find an article about someone you are interested in, say your great-great-grandfather. There are two main ways to do this:

  • Use the standard search function. Every page on this wiki includes a search box, either in the sidebar or somewhere in the body of the page. Type in the name of the person you are looking for, and click the "search button" below or to the right of the entry field. You'll get a list of articles that contain whatever you placed in the data entry box, unless there's an article with that exact name, in which case you go to it. The result may be a "disambiguation page", listing several people who share the same name. Usually there's enough information to tell you which one to click.
  • Check the Category:Surnames pages. That category includes a listing of every surname that has been "categorized" on this wiki. Use the alphabetical quick-jump buttons to home in on your choice. Find the surname you are interested in, click the link, and you'll get a list of articles about people who have been categorized under that surname.

If you are looking at an article about a person, there are probably direct links on the page to parents, spouse, and children. Click away! But if you want to get back to that person's surname category, you'll probably see a direct link to it near the bottom.

Editing an existing articleEdit

Every article can be improved, and nearly all can be edited by anybody, including everyone reading this sentence who can type and click.

If you see something that can be improved, hit "Edit this page" or "Edit with form" and have a go. Text is edited much the same as in a word-processing program. Several typing-aids (such as "bold") are in little boxes just above the editing box.

If you think you've made a mess, click "Cancel" or just click away (e.g. to one of your bookmarks). But if a "Preview" looks about right, click "Save page". (If you are using "Edit with form", regrettably a "Preview" is little or no help. Semantic Forms have their own way of doing things, one result of which is that you don't immediately see the final page, even after the first save.)

Creating a New ArticleEdit

A detailed article on creating articles is found at Help:Starting pages. In brief, there are three basic methods

  • Create Link. You can create an article by creating a link to it from an existing page
  • Pick a name for the article.
  • Open and edit an existing page where its appropriate (your User page is a good place for this). (See Editing an Existing Article above).
  • Place the name of the article you want to create within "double square brackets". It will look like this [[Name of Article]]
  • Save the page.
  • Click the link you've just created, and you'll be taken to a blank page with the name of the article.
  • Type something into the article (don't just save the blank page, as it won't "take".)
  • Save the page
  • At that point you will have a new article
  • Create a Page. Use the "Create a Page" link in the navigation pane. This will take you to a page explaining how to create articles, and will also give you a "fill in the blank" text box that can be used to create a page on the fly. This page provides several alternative formats for person articles. Choose the "blank" format if you want to go it alone. Choose one of the others if you want to have the Wiki create some of the format elements. (There are several text boxes for creating articles following different formats. Pick the one that best fits your needs, create a page with it, and then modify the format as you see fit.

Communicating with OthersEdit

User PageEdit

When you register with this Wiki (See XXXX) you automatically get a "user's page". User's pages have a number of uses, the most common of which is to use the "Discussion subpage" to receive messages from other Wikians. You can set up your main User page anyway you like. Some people use it to tell something about themselves. Others use it as a place to test out ideas, or to keep track of articles that they have written. (After awhile, if you write enough articles, it gets to be something of a problem just remembering what you've written previously. Without some way of keeping track you may find yourself reinventing an article about your maternal ggggrandmother that you created six months ago.

With regard to the later point, some people just create a simple list of the articles they've created. You can also get such a list by going to "my contributions", but the list will be shown with the most recent articles first. If you keep track of it yourself, you can order them in anyway that makes sense to you. Another approach to a simple list is to create an HTML table that diagrams your family relationships. (see example Family Tree. This can be used very effectively, but it does require some knowledge of HTML programming. Not hard to pick up, but creating a tree this way may not be for the faint of heart.

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