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Categories: WikiTree Help | Profile Improvement Project | Styles and Standards

Here are recommendations and best practices for creating and editing the text/narrative section of a profile.

After clicking on the Edit tab of any profile where you are on the Trusted List or that is otherwise Open for editing, you will see a space labeled "Edit Text". Text entered in this space becomes the narrative that appears below the vital statistics (name, birth, marriage, death, etc.) on the profile page. This is your opportunity to put flesh on the bones of ancestors and invite collaboration from members of the WikiTree community who share your interest in or relationship to the person.


What is the purpose of the narrative?

At its most basic, the purpose of the narrative is to tell the story of your ancestor, by providing more detail about the vital statistics, including explanations and information about where you got the information (Sources).

The narrative can also be used to describe anything else you think would help a reader understand the person or that would help someone else who may be researching the same family or a family with similar characteristics (Research Notes).

What information should be included?

Required: Biography and Sources

All profiles should have these sections:

== Biography ==
== Sources ==
<references />

The sources section should always have a <references /> tag even if there aren't any footnoted references yet. See Help:Sources.

Simple Sample

Optional: Research Notes

You can share information about genealogical research, as opposed to information about the person's life, in a section like this:

== Research Notes ==

See Help:Research Notes.

Optional: Acknowledgements

You can credit other genealogists in a section below the sources like this:

== Acknowledgements ==

This is always optional. See Help:Acknowledgements.

Optional: Additional subsections

When you have a significant amount of information, you might want to break the section into subsections. These should have "level three" headlines as opposed to the "level two" headlines for the main sections. That is, they should have three equal signs around them instead of two. See Help:Editing Tips for more help on formatting.

For example:

== Biography ==
=== Early Life ===
=== Family ===
=== Occupation ===
=== Death & Legacy ===
=== Timeline ===

== Research Notes ==
=== Disputed Origins ===

== Sources ==
<references />

== Acknowledgements ==

Longer Sample

More tips:

  • If the narrative is particularly long, it's recommended that you include a one or two paragraph summary. This should be above the Biography heading and should not have a subheader of its own.
  • Ideally, you should include a source citation for every fact included in the narrative. Be sure to note when a fact is disputed or when there is contradictory information.
  • Help the reader navigate WikiTree by linking to profiles of other individuals you reference in the narrative, such as parents, siblings, spouses and children.
  • If you have photos, consider scanning then uploading them and attaching them to the profile.
  • Include categories, if appropriate.
  • See Help:Bio_Ideas for ideas for what to include in a biography.
  • Always be mindful of the privacy of living individuals.

Where can I find more examples?

Here are some examples of different ways people have fleshed out narratives:

  1. Timeline: example.
  2. Summarize census data, transcribe the contents of a will or obituary: example.
  3. Document the research that has been done on this ancestor, perhaps highlighting missing or disputed facts or sources: example.
  4. Document the case for or against a particular interpretation of facts: example.

Other examples:

How do I format the text of my narrative?

WikiTree uses "wiki mark-up" tags for formatting text that appears in profiles. But you don't need to know them. Each narrative text box has a set of buttons at the top for making words bold, italicized, underlined, and for adding links to other web pages. More editing tips.

How should I edit a narrative that's already been created?

Profiles of people born over 150 years ago or who died over 100 years ago must be Open and can be edited by any member of the WikiTree community who has signed the Honor Code. To edit "younger" profiles, you need to be on the Trusted List for that profile.

You should not hesitate to improve upon a biography that someone else has started. Collaborative editing is what a wiki is all about. That said, it's a good idea to be sensitive to other contributors. Please see Communication Before Editing.

Always feel free to eliminate data that does not add information about, or specific context to, the profiled individual, such as program-specific information generated by an uploaded GEDCOM. See GEDCOM-created biographies.

Always feel free to delete and integrate duplicative content left from past merges.

Note that all changes made to any profile are tracked and may be viewed through the Changes tab. This is great for when you may accidentally remove something important or want to see the history of the contributions made by others.

How should I clean up the text after a merge?

In a merge, the text from the merged-away profile is appended to the end of the text of the merged-into profile.

After a merge, you will need to clean up the text by removing duplicate information and consolidating what is left leaving the profile with a single Biography section and a single Sources section with a single <references /> tag beneath it.

This page was last modified 13:10, 5 September 2017. This page has been accessed 8,690 times.