LDS Pioneer Project Biographies: How long is too long?

+6 votes
I am working on my very first profile for the project and, while I want to be absolutely thorough, I don't want to create an unwieldy monster either.

The profile is for my great great grandfather, Elisha Freeman Hubbard, Sr. There are many more LDS pioneers, not to mention PGM Project qualifiers, in this branch of my family and this profile will set the tone and standard for the others.

I just need to know if I'm getting carried away with detail. I still have a lot more history and a timeline as well as additional sources to add and documents to upload, and I will eventually add inline sourcing instead of the current setup.

Any and all tips and advice welcome!
WikiTree profile: Elisha Hubbard
asked in Policy and Style by Deb Durham G2G6 Pilot (700k points)

Orrin Porter Rockwell is my 5th GGrandfather and there have been so many books and movies about him it is information overload.  Which is why I haven't tackled rewriting his biography yet.  So far, your biography looks pretty short to me, so you have plenty of room to grow.

Interestingly enough you and I are 13th cousins each through our Mormon pioneer lines (Hubbard and Rockwell--who has Hubbard in his line) with the common ancestor of  Edward Winslow Sr. :-)

I'm always delighted to meet a new cousin! :D
Me too!  We must be related.  LOL :-)

3 Answers

+8 votes
This profile looks great to me. Since it's online, you can always edit it later, especially as you learn more.  For example, I subdivide my sources with headers so I can easily find all the census records and other types of records.  But that isn't required and almost no one else does it.  I find myself hoping that we connect somewhere in LDS-land (I have step-relatives who were pioneers) so that you'll end up making all of my LDS-related profiles look this good. : )
answered by J. Crook G2G6 Pilot (154k points)
Haha! If I ever get through this one, it could happen! Thanks for the critique and the idea for sources.I try to line them up according to the timeline but your method may have more merit and make them easier to read.

Thanks again!
+7 votes
I suspect you could get a dozen different answers to this question. You need to write a biography that covers what needs to be covered or directs people to where to look (like Wikipedia and other places for notables).

As a general rule I think mine (assuming I have the material) are about 2 computer screens long. But I know I have one that's 5 screens long (has pictures and stuff to break it up)

More often than not you won't have a lot of information at all.
answered by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1m points)
Hah! That's why I'm a little worried. There is so much information about some of the people in this line that I am a bit intimidated by it. When you are used to struggling, sometimes for years, to find the tiniest scrap of material on some ancestors, trying to figure out how to deal with an avalanche of material on one is a bit overwhelming.

Thanks for the reply!

Yes, I understand. I've never been able to tackle proper bios for my parents or grandparents because I have too much information.

You could also build a space page and put some of the information on that. Information like wills can easily be put on a space page (example). Write the bio first. Then anything that gets lengthy, just summarize the information in a couple of sentences and move the main body to a space page. Or for instance, if you find that you wrote a long narrative about the move Utah. You could summarize the move and link to a space page with the longer narrative. Then you can link all the profiles of persons in the family to the same space page, so you don't have to tell the same story multiple times.

I did this one about a plantation and linked it to all the profiles of people who lived there.

That is excellent advice especially as it concerns the trip to Utah. Thank you so much for the tip!

Just as an aside, I am falling in love with WikiTree. Not because it's perfect but because it isn't, and I can discuss the imperfections in the process, information, and research with other people.

I have learned a great deal and have even been able to pass on some of what I've learned to others. It makes me want to dig in and do more. :)
+8 votes
The length of that bio looks fine -- but I was surprised to see that it stops in the middle of a sentence. That leads me to think you have a lot more to add. :-)

If I were you, I would start creating footnote citations to your various sources, so you can keep track of where each fact comes from. I created far too many biographies that simply listed sources and didn't use footnotes (because I was in a hurry!), and when I go back later I sometimes find that I can't tell where a particular fact came from (for example, maybe a detail was inferred from a census record, but that's no longer obvious), so I have to go back to the sources and figure it out all over again.
answered by Ellen Smith G2G6 Pilot (889k points)
You're right, of course, I should be keeping track as I go. I started writing and I really didn't expect it to be that much info, but his life was full from beginning to end. That he's Mormon means there is a lot more information out there than there might ordinarily be. I will go back and start keeping things in order before I get too much further along.


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