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

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pennsylvania Project Highlights Value of Research Wiki

Likely very few genealogists realize the slow but extremely effective additions to the Research Wiki. Volunteers are continually adding information, links and explanations about how to find valuable genealogical records. No where is the improvement noted more completely than with the Research Wiki Projects. One of these massive projects has just recently been completed for the Pennsylvania articles. There are several ongoing Projects in addition to this one that was just completed.

Of course, there is a Research Wiki page listing the Projects. I am currently, and have been for the past couple of years, working with the Utah Project.

This is probably one of the most low-key, uncelebrated aspects of genealogy that exists on the Web. Adding information to the Research Wiki takes time and meticulous effort. Except for your immediate co-contributors, no one knows what is being done and there is seldom, if ever, are recognition for a job well done. In addition, you are working on a program that is all but invisible on and hardly mentioned by the online genealogical community and all but unknown by everyone else.

At the Mesa FamilySearch Library, I am continually asked questions about how to find resources. Frequently, I will simply sit with the person asking the questions and show them the Research Wiki where their question is immediately answered. Time after time, the researchers expresses surprise that this valuable resource exists. It is almost as if everything I have said and taught goes in one proverbial ear and out the other. Maybe instead of a white shirt and tie, I should be wearing a T-shirt that says: BEFORE ASKING ME, LOOK IN THE RESEARCH WIKI!!!

The Pennsylvania Project Highlights include:
It is still evident, when you browse through the Research Wiki that there is always more work that can be done. For that reason, at the bottom of the State articles and in other places in the Research Wiki, you will see this plea for help with adding information:

 This link takes you to a Help Wanted Page that looks like this:

As the Research Wiki says, "Everyone knows at least a little bit about something or someplace. The information you contribute could be exactly what someone else needs to connect with or add to their family history."

If you haven't explored the Research Wiki, do so today. If you are familiar with this resource, spread the word. 


  1. James, you give a link in the wiki supposedly to "List of church records available online for each county." This link is to no such thing. There are addresses for archives (one somewhat inaccurately described) and a few books mentioned.

    It mentions the Catholic parish formed in the 1750s at Ft. Duquesne but does not bother to mention that the surviving records were microfilmed and are available in the Drouin Collection (don't know how to find them in the FamilySearch version but they are under "Acadia" in the version).

    If you have a link for what you say, "List of church records available online for each county," perhaps you can supply it.

    1. The essence of the Wiki is to add what you know, if what you know is missing. You are certainly welcome to contribute. Thanks for letting me know. I will see what I can do to rectify the situation. That is what I do.