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

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Here are recommendations and best practices for creating and editing the text of a person profile. This is your opportunity to put flesh on the bones of your ancestor.


Purpose of the Text

At its most basic, the purpose of the text 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).

It 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).

Text Sections

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 Sources.

Click here for an example of a perfectly-formatted text section.

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 Research Notes.

Optional: Acknowledgements

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

== Acknowledgements ==

This is always optional. See 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.

For example:

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

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

== Sources ==
<references />

== Acknowledgements ==

More tips:

  • Our Example Gallery has many examples of excellent profiles.
  • If the narrative is particularly long, you can include a one or two paragraph summary. This should be above the Biography heading and should not have a subheader of its own. There should be no horizontal rules (----) anywhere above the Biography.
  • 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.
  • See Bio Ideas for ideas for what to include in a biography.
  • 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.

Proper order

Here is the recommended order for text sections and other elements:

Only these are required for all profiles:

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

Any other elements or subsections should go below one of the recommended sections described above.

Editing Text that Someone Else Wrote

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 more modern 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. After a merge, you 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.

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.

This page was last modified 17:56, 8 November 2023. This page has been accessed 112,827 times.