Help:Research Note Boxes

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Research Note Boxes are "templates" that insert a feature box on a profile using a special bit of code such as {{Unsourced}}.


Using the Research Note Boxes

To use one of the following simply enter a tag such as {{Estimated Date}} in the text section of the profile.

Place the tag:

  • below any tags for Categories and above any Project Boxes,
  • above the ==Biography== headline, and
  • on its own line with no extra hard returns or lines.

For example:

== Biography ==
Joe Schmoe is an Academy-Award winning actor ...

The following Research Note Boxes are recommended.


For use when a profile has information on two or more people that has been combined and confused. See Template:Conflated for more information.

{{Estimated Date}}

For use whenever a rough estimate is used for a birth, death, and/or marriage date. See Estimated Dates and Template:Estimated Date for more information.

{{Uncertain Existence}}

For use on a profile of a person who probably never existed. See Template:Uncertain Existence for more information.

{{Disproven Existence}}

For use on a profile of a person that research has shown never existed. See Template:Disproven Existence for more information and Space:Disproven Existence for additional details. Use of this Research Note Box must be approved by the Disproven Existence project.

{{Disputed Parents}}

For when there are disproven, disputed, or competing theories about the mother, father, or both parents. See Template:Disputed Parents for more information.

{{Disputed Spouse}}

For when there are disproven, disputed, or competing theories about a spouse. See Template:Disputed Spouse for more information.

{{Uncertain Family}}

For use when a person's current position in a family group is highly uncertain. See Template:Uncertain Family for more information.

{{Uncertain Spouse}}

For when a connected spouse is highly uncertain. See Template:Uncertain Spouse for more information.


For use on any profile with no sources, or no source citations that clearly identify the source. See Template:Unsourced and Help:Sources FAQ for more information.

Style Rules


Research Note Boxes highlight important information about the current state of genealogical research related to the person or WikiTree-specific work that needs to be done on the profile.

They are for information that's deemed so important that anyone who sees the profile should see the research note, even if the viewing user is not a WikiTree member. If the research note is primarily of interest to WikiTree members who are working on the profile, a public comment on the profile and/or in the Research Notes section of the narrative is sufficient. Note that maintenance categories can be used without Research Note Boxes.

They should not be used to communicate information that is communicated to viewing users through database field status indicators. For example:

  • It is not necessary to have a Research Note Box for DNA-confirmed parents because we have a Relationship Status indicator for Confirmed with DNA.
  • It is not necessary to have a Research Note Box for uncertain parents or children because we have a Relationship Status indicator for Uncertain.

Research Note Boxes should be reserved for highlighting estimated or speculative information, not for information that is uncertain or unproven. See the style page on the usage of the Uncertain status indicators for more on this.

Research Note Boxes should not be used to communicate detailed profile-specific information. They should be supplemented with explanations in the Research Notes section of the narrative when appropriate.

A Research Note Box on a profile should always be considered temporary, at least theoretically. WikiTree should have a mechanism for completing the research and removing the note. Of course, in many cases conclusive research is not possible.

Which profiles to place them on

Research Note Boxes belong on all profiles where the note is applicable. Profile Managers cannot opt to exclude them as a matter of personal preference.

However, practically speaking, their usage on private profiles does not need to be considered by the community. This parallels the application of style rules in general. See the Style FAQ.

Location on profiles

Research Note Boxes should be placed below categories and above the Biography headline in the text section.

There should be no extra hard returns above or below it, and no horizontal rules (----) anywhere above the Biography.

If a Project Box is used on the same profile, the Research Note Box template should appear above it.

If there are multiple Research Note Boxes on the same profile, they should all appear together.

Creation and Editing

New Research Note Boxes should not be created independently. Because they may be used on a large number of profiles and are very prominently displayed, creating and editing Research Note Boxes must be done in broad collaborations.

Although creating a new Research Note Box does not usually require the formality of the entire process of Developing New Rules, the steps should be similar. There should be a discussion in G2G and objections should be taken seriously.

Standard container

All Research Note Boxes must use the Template:Research Note Box container. If a template does not use this container it is not a Research Note Box.

The container template allows us to create and easily maintain uniform dimensions and styling, including font, border, margins, etc. It also enables us to make the boxes "responsive" so that they all display well on mobile devices.

No custom styling should be done. No HTML or CSS is allowed.


We may add a standard icon that is included in all Research Note Boxes or an icon for each individual type. If one is included, it should not be larger than 75 pixels wide. It should not be animated.


All Research Note Boxes should place profiles in a maintenance sub-category. This is part of the mechanism for completing the research.


There should be a one or two sentence description of what the Research Note means.

For example:

  • This profile lacks source information. Please add sources that support the facts.
  • Research suggests that this person may never have existed. See narrative for details.

The sentence must be less than 150 characters.

Template names

Template names should be clear and specific enough so that anyone who just sees the name could guess at its meaning. This is important for usability on WikiTree and for GEDCOM exports and other downloads of profile data where the transcluded template data may not be included.

For example:

  • "Estimated Date" rather than "DG" or "guess", etc.
  • "Uncertain Family" rather than "Conjectural".

Names should use capital case and normal spacing between words (which is the same as an underscore), for example "Estimated Date" rather than "EstimatedDate" or "estimated date" or "ESTIMATED DATE".

Consistency on this makes it easier to remember the names.

This page was last modified 12:14, 30 January 2023. This page has been accessed 15,375 times.