Location: New England
Wikitree Style Guide
The PGM Project follows the Wikitree Style Guide, as supplemented or modified by this Style Guide.
The spelling of names during the 16th and early 17th centuries was inconsistent and fluid. There was generally no "proper" or "correct" spelling. In addition, after immigrating to New England, the spelling of a person's name often changed dramatically from its spelling in English records, and continued to evolve from the time of their arrival until their death. Consistent with the Wikitree Style Guide principle of "their conventions not ours," the PGM project attempts to use the spelling used by and for the person at the time, not the spelling ultimately adopted by later generations.
If a PGM immigrant was commonly referred to in contemporary records by a particular title, it is appropriate to include that title as a prefix. Common titles for PGM immigrants included church positions, such as Deacon, positions in the local militia, such as Sergeant and Lieutenant, and Mr., which was used to indicate particularly high importance/socio-economic status. If the title was commonly abbreviated in contemporary records and there is an abbreviation for the title that would be widely understood by modern readers (e.g., Lieut. for Lieutenant), that abbreviation should be used instead of the full title. If the person was commonly referred to in contemporary records by different titles over the course of their life, the highest title should be used (e.g., if the person was first referred to as a Sgt. and later a Lieut. in the contemporary records, Lieut. should be used as the prefix). If the person had two different titles at the same time of comparable significance, such as Deacon and Lieutenant, the title that was most commonly used in contemporary records should be used.
Proper First Name
Unlike for last names, Wikitree profiles do not have separate fields to show a different proper first name at birth and proper first name later in life. Therefore, the Proper First Name field should contain the spelling of the person's first name that, from contemporary records in both England and New England, appears to be the most common proper spelling of their first name. The spelling in the person's baptismal record should not necessarily be used, since those generally were just the spellings selected by the parish clerk. Latinized spellings should also not be used. If the person was literate and signed their own name on documents, deference should generally be given to that spelling.
Preferred First Name
This name should be the same as Proper First Name unless the person was known from contemporary records to have generally used a more informal first name than their proper first name. An example would be if the contemporary records typically referred to the person as "Abram" when their Proper First Name was "Abraham." Again, if the person was literate and signed their own name on documents, deference should generally be given to that spelling.
This field can be used to list any other common spellings of the person's first name that are found in contemporary records. This could include a latinized spelling if one was used for them in parish records. If there were a large number of spelling variations used, it is preferable to limit the list to the one or two most common.
Last Name at Birth (LNAB)
If there is sufficient evidence from contemporary records (e.g., multiple parish records for the person and their relatives) to determine the standard or most common spelling of the person's surname while in England, that spelling should be used. As per Proper First Name, the spelling in the person's baptismal record should not necessarily be used, since those were generally just the spelling selected by the parish clerk. Latinized spellings should also not be used. If the person's parents were literate and signed their own names on documents, deference should generally be given to that spelling.
If there are not sufficient (or any) evidence to determine the standard or common spelling of the person's surname while in England, the most standard or common spelling of that person's surname in New England records should be used. If the person was literate and signed their own name on documents, deference should generally be given to that spelling.
If it is not clear from the guidelines in the prior two paragraphs which spelling to use, the spelling used for the person's surname by Anderson in the Great Migration series or in the Great Migration Directory or most commonly used in other quality secondary sources should be used.
Current Last Name
If there is sufficient evidence from contemporary records to determine the standard or most common spelling of the person's surname at the time of their death, that spelling should be used. If the person was literate and signed their own will or other documents in later life, that spelling should generally be deferred to.
If it is not clear from the guideline in the prior paragraph which spelling to use, the spelling used for the person's surname by Anderson in the Great Migration series or in the Great Migration Directory or most commonly used in other quality secondary sources should be used.
Other Last Names
This field can be used to list any other common spellings of the person's surname that are found in contemporary records. This could include a latinized spelling if one was used for them in parish records. If there were a large number of spelling variations used, it is preferable to limit the list to the most common ones.
Suffixes are rarely appropriate for PGM profiles. The only suffixes that should be used are those that were used for the person in contemporary records and applied to the person throughout their life. The roman numerals I, II, III, etc. should generally not be used, since they are generally used by genealogists to distinguish between persons with the same name and were generally not used in contemporary records. Sr and Jr should generally not be used, because although those suffixes may have been commonly used in contemporary records for the person, their use was generally not consistent throughout their life. For example, it was common fora person to be referred to as Jr when they were young and there was an older person with the same name in the town and to be referred to as Sr when they were older and there was a younger person with the same name in the town.
If there is a baptismal record but no reliable record of the person's date of birth, use the date of baptism and check the "before this date" radio button. If there is no reliable evidence that establishes a specific date of birth or baptism, estimate the person's date of birth from other available evidence and check the "about/uncertain" radio button.
If there is a burial record but no reliable record of the person's date of death, use the date of burial and check the "before this date" radio button. If there is no reliable evidence that establishes a specific date of death or burial, either (1) enter the date of the latest record that establishes that they were alive and check the "after this date" radio button or (2) enter the date of the earliest record that establishes that they were dead and check the "before this date" radio button. If there is a choice between (1) and (2), use the option that results in a date that is probably closest to their actual date of death.
All PGM project profiles should be Project Protected unless their parentage is undisputed and there are no common false or unsupported claims as to their parentage. By making a profile Project Protected, the person's parentage cannot be changed except by a Profile Manager or Project Leader. See Project Protection. To make a PGM project profile Project Protected, contact a PGM project Project Leader.
Order of Text Box Contents
The following is the proper order for the content of the text box:
- Categories (if any)
- PGM template and any other project templates
- Warning/alert notice (if needed)
- Research Notes (if any)
- Acknowledgements (if appropriate)
If there is a common confusion or error regarding the profiled person that could lead a would-be editor to make incorrect edits to the profile, it may be desirable to put a prominent notice regarding the common confusion or error at the top of the profile, immediately above == Biography ==. Here are three examples:
- Note: This is not the profile for John Smith, who was born about 1612, immigrated to Hartford about 1638, and married Mary Jones.
- Note: Do not use William Smith's "The Great Smith Book" as a source for information about this profile's John Smith. It has been proven to be entirely unreliable.
- Disproven Spouse: Do not attach Mary Jones as a spouse to this profile. As discussed below under "Marriage," reliable evidence proves that she married a different John Smith.
Estimated Date Templates
It is to be expected that most PGM profiles will have one or more estimated dates. It is therefore unnecessary and undesirable for PGM profiles to include an Estimated Date template that flags the fact that one or more dates have been estimated. Estimated dates of birth, marriage and death should instead just be appropriately designated using the applicable "about/uncertain" radio button and a source for the estimated date (or, better yet, a sourced explanation for how the estimate was derived) included in the appropriate section of the biography.
General Contents and Structure
The biography section should include a fully-sourced narrative discussion of the following topics:
- The person's parentage and date and place of birth.
- The identity of their spouse(s) and their date(s) and place(s) of marriage.
- Their children
- Their date of immigration and (if known) the ship they arrived on.
- Their places of residence during their life.
- Notable facts about and/or events in their life, such as occupation and offices held.
- Their date and place of death, their will and estate.
The biography should generally be ordered chronologically to the extent possible without braking up a topic (e.g., the listing/discussion of children by a single spouse should be all in one place, even if the person changed residences midway through).
Except in the case of a very short profile, it is generally desirable to have a section heading for each of topic covered in the profile.
Records that possibly relate to a PGM immigrant are often from different locations and could possibly be for different people. For example, there may be records for a John Smith who was born in Norwich, Norfolk in 1610, records for a John Smith who lived in Cambridge, MA in 1638-1640, and records for a John Smith who married Mary Jones in Hingham, MA and had children there in 1642-1655, all of whom were (based on evidence) probably, but not definitely, the same person. A choice needs to be made as to which person the profile is definitely for, as this choice affects both how the analysis is framed and which connections are uncertain. For example, if the profile is for John Smith born in Norwich in 1610, his parentage and date and place of birth are certain, but it may be uncertain whether he was the John Smith who was in Cambridge in 1638-1640 and whether he was the John Smith who married Mary Jones and was the father of the children born in Hingham in 1642-1655 (and thus that marriage and the parentage of those children would be uncertain). If, on the other hand, the profile is for John Smith who appeared in Cambridge in 1638-1640, it may be uncertain whether he was the John Smith born in Norwich in 1610 (and therefore his parentage and date and place of birth are uncertain) and also whether he was the John who married Mary Jones and was the father of the children born in Hingham in 1642-1655 (and thus that marriage and the parentage of those children would be uncertain). While if the profile is for John Smith who married Mary Jones in Hingham and had children there in 1642-1655, it may be uncertain whether he was the John Smith born in Norwich in 1610 (and therefore his parentage and date and place of birth are uncertain) and whether he was the John Smith who was in Cambridge in 1638-1640 (and therefore his date of immigration is uncertain).
It is generally desirable to start the profile with an anchoring statement which expressly indicates which person the profile is for. In the case of a PGM project profile, the profile should, of course, be for a person for whom there are records that clearly establish that they were in New England no later than 1640. The anchoring statement can be included as part of the first sentence in the first topic, such as the following sentence at the start of the Parentage section:
- The parentage of John Smith of Hingham is unknown.
Or the anchoring statement can be a stand alone statement prior to the section for the first topic, such as:
- This is the profile for John Smith of Hingham, who married Mary Jones and had children there in 1642-1655.
Evidentiary and Analytical Support
All factual assertions in the biography (except an assertion that no reliable evidence has been found for a proposition) should be supported by either (1) in-line citations to reliable sources or (2) a discussion of how the factual assertion was derived. Any inconsistencies in the evidence, and any issues regarding the reliability of sources, should also be discussed. All citations should provide a full citation for the source and, preferably, a link to a readily available online copy of the source (if one exists). For recommended sources, see Puritan Great Migration - Reliable Sources.
Common Unsupported or Disproven Claims
If there are common unsupported or disproven claims regarding the person, such as claims regarding their parentage, origin, date or manner of immigration, identity of their spouse, etc., those claims should be discussed in the relevant section of the biography. For example, a discussion of a common disproven claim regarding the person's parentage should be discussed in the portion of the bio that discusses their parentage. The discussion should preferably include (to the extent available) the source(s) of the unsupported or disproven claim and the evidence (or lack thereof) for and against the claim.
Long Transcriptions of Original Records
It is sometime desirable to include a block of text from an original record in a biography, such as an interesting court record. If, however, the block of text is long, it is generally desirable to just include a summary of the text and provide a link to a source containing the full text. For example, wills and estate inventories are often of great interest and importance. If, however, the will or estate inventory is long (as they commonly are), rather than including the full text of the will or estate in the profile, it is generally preferable to just include a brief summary and link to a source for the full text. In the case of wills for which there is no readily available transcription online, it is often desirable to put a transcription in a free-space page and link to that free-pace page from the biography. Here's an example of a free-space page for a will.
Block Quotes from Secondary Sources
PGM profiles should not contain long quotations from secondary sources. If you find "copy/pastes" of multiple paragraphs of text -- whether it's from copyrighted work (like Anderson's Great Migration series), or even public-domain text (such as late 19th century genealogies freely available via Google docs or some other online archive) -- please replace such text with a summary of key points and link to the source where you can. Short quotes are fine; just be sure to add a footnote citation, referencing the original. Read more about Wikitree's policy on Copying Text. A special case is long quotations of original records that are contained in secondary sources, which should be considered a long transcription of an original record and treated in the manner discussed in the prior section.
Lists of Children
For those PGM profiles where the individual had children, the children should generally be listed in numbered order (if order of birth known) or non-numbered bullets (if order of birth is not known). The list entry for each child should contain a link to the child's profile (if there is one) and their basic vitals (b, m, d), but not too much detail (removed to Connecticut in 1665 and had the following children...). Additional detail should go instead in the child's profile, if they have one. As an example:
- Mary, b. May 10, 1642 in Cambridge, m. June 2, 1666 Robert White in Ipswich, d. July 30, 1680 in Ipswich
Sources for the child's basic vitals should be provided, provided that, if the vitals are well-supported by discussion and sources in the child's profile, it may be preferable rather than either duplicating the discussion and sources in the parent's profile, to instead added an express reference to the discussion and sources in the child's profile such as by adding the following text at the end of that child's entry:
- (See discussion and sources in Mary's profile.)
The rationale for including a list of children with basic vitals on parent profiles includes:
- Allows a reader to quickly see if the birth dates for the children are consistent.
- Ability to see which children have had profiles created for them and which have not;
- Allows placement of citations that support the link between parents and child;
- Supports ability to print a profile page with basic family information.
If the person had children by different spouses, there should be separate lists for the children by each spouse.
Since a person's profile should discuss their spouse and children, there is inevitably going to be some overlap and redundancy between spouses profiles. In general, the full basic discussion and sources for their marriage and children should be duplicated and essentially identical in the profile for both spouses. An exception should be made in the case of a lengthy discussion of a very lengthy discussion/analysis of an issue, such as what a wife's maiden name was or whether certain disputed children were really theirs. In that case, it is probably preferable to only include the discussion (and any related sources) in one profile and have a cross-reference to that discussion in the other spouse's profile. If there is a lengthy discussion of a wife's maiden name or parentage, it should be contained in the wife's profile, and only a cross-reference to that discussion included in the husband's profile, such as:
- John Smith married a woman whose first name was Mary. As discussed in Mary (Unknown) Smith's profile, the maiden name and parentage of Mary are unknown and the claims that she was the daughter of Sir William Windsor have been proven false.
The Sources section of the profile should be formatted like this:
- == Sources ==
- <references />
- See also:
- [list here any general sources not included in any inline footnotes.]
The PGM project follows the style guide on Acknowledgements. We do not acknowledge profile creators, GEDCOM uploads or standard contributions to a profile. This information is tracked under the Changes tab.
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