Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Monday, August 1, 2016

Where is all the genealogy? Looking outside the United States

Robert Louis Stevenson observed that "The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings." This is especially true for genealogists. A whole world of records is opening up through the Internet. Our introduction to the world of records begins with the Family History Research Wiki.

Now, this is the closest we have come so far to creating a comprehensive resource for discovering the entire world's genealogy. In its 84,000+ pages are connections to what I would consider a fair sampling of what is available in every country of the world.

What becomes immediately evident is that the Research Wiki has become such an important source of information that it is now under attack. The note in red at the top of the page states, "The Wiki has been temporarily locked for editing due to spamming issues. If you are unable to edit the wiki after signing in, please click here." It is a sad commentary on the present state of the world that such a valuable resource is subject to such activity.

What can you expect to find in the Research Wiki? The answer is simple, you will find what the collective community of contributors know about the location of all of the world's genealogically important records. Is the Research Wiki complete? No. There is no way it will ever be completed. It will always be an ongoing project. Let me take a couple of examples and show both the vast resources and limitations of this tool.

Djibouti is an African country bordered by Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. Although it is listed in the Research Wiki, there is no substantial information about the genealogical resources of the country. What is interesting however, is that Djibouti has over 1,700 members on Here is a screenshot showing the total membership.

In short, there is always a way to discover genealogical information about any place in the world. gives you a direct link to every country in the world.

At the other end of the spectrum is, of course, the United States. Even from consulting the Research Wiki alone you will likely never even become aware of all the possible record sources. New information will probably be added faster than you can spend time to discover it.

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