Does the Biography need to be short?

+15 votes
I have lots of information on one person, should i write it in the Bio, or what should i do?
in Policy and Style by Campbell Braddock G2G6 Mach 8 (82.2k points)
retagged by Robin Lee
It doesn't need to be short, you can make a biography as long as you want.  The difficult part is supporting the facts with sources.  Success!
Thank You,

6 Answers

+19 votes
Best answer
I like a good, 'original,' well written bio, with lots of sources. I don't like copy and paste bio's that should just be linked to the original source. I think the bio section is your  chance to try to make your ancestor come to life, not just a place for dry data and dates.
by Jeanie Roberts G2G6 Pilot (142k points)
selected by Star Kline
About the "copy and paste bios":  Most of the profiles I'm interested in have source data in Swedish or Danish from the 1500s and 1600s, so first I copy and paste it into a profile and then work on translating them into something a non-Scandi speaker might use.  I feel it's better than nothing and better than a link to something most Wikitree users can't use.
+11 votes
Personally, I'm in favour of good, long biographies.

Partly, that's because just listing the bare essentials (birth, marriage, death) barely even begins to touch the surface of what makes a person interesting.  I felt this particularly when my dad died. He had been essentially "shut in" for about ten years, and he wasn't very articulate in the end, but he had made a lot of important contributions (and not just to our immediate family, either), so I felt a strong urge to explain to the world just what kind of person had just gone out of it.

And, partly, it's an aesthetic consideration. On profiles where people are actively posting comments, it's easy for those comments to run way longer than the actual biography and related information, and that just doesn't seem right to me somehow.

by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (693k points)
+7 votes here is a medium one, but it grows daily :)

by Anonymous Vickery G2G6 Pilot (260k points)
+13 votes
I like this question. I have struggled with my own bio. I have lived an interesting life according to some people. Thanks to a tv program in the 1970s called  " Then Came Bronson " Bronson travelled on a motorcycle from town to town  , got a job , solved a problem and moved on. I used to take my pay check and go as far as it would take me on the bus. Or I'd load the dogs , horses and bunny on the truck and get a job where the truck broke down. But I wonder when I'm gone if this will tell those who come after me who I was. It's not like I changed the world. But most of us change our little corner.  I like to see how our ancestors changed theirs.
by Anonymous Roach G2G6 Pilot (199k points)
+9 votes
It's not the length of the biography that counts - it's the quality. I prefer a longer bio that is more than vital statistics, one tells me what the person was like.  I do not like long bios that are just copied/plagiarized from Wikipedia or other sources.
by Star Kline G2G6 Pilot (727k points)
+7 votes
I am much more in favour of shorter biographies.  Then you can scroll quickly down to the 'Sources' section and find out why on earth someone decided that a birthdate of 1680 and a deathdate of 1860 was viable...

My eyes tend to start to glaze over after a couple of paragraphs of bio.  I prefer to be able to pick out the salient facts at a glance, rather than read down a load of text, when I could be doing other things on WT.
by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)
I think the bio comes second, if that is what you are saying, Ros.   Once you have good sources, then turning the information into a biography is fun.   The profiles with long biographies and "citation needed' thoughout the biography or only one source sounds more like a historical novel than genealogy.

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