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Scotland - Profile Standards

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Scotland Project > Profile Improvements Team > Profile Standards



The Scotland Project aims to develop profiles of all people born in Scotland to the highest possible standard with well sourced biographies using inline references, appropriate categories and images, research notes if applicable and connection to the global tree. Whilst this may seem ambitious the establishment of standards, guidelines and ongoing support can make our aspirations a reality.

This page is intended as a guide for Scotland Project members developing our PPP and managed profiles, and for any project member working on a profile on behalf of the Scotland Project.

Scotland Project Managed Profiles

Profiles are managed by the Scotland Project as they are either project protected due to contentious issues or historically significant. These profiles are developed by project members who have expressed an interest in working on a Scotland managed profile.

Many profiles taken on by the Scotland Project have significant contentious issues, inadequate sourcing, brief or non-existing biographies and formatting problems.

Profiles are allocated on the basis of skills needed to improve the profile and the interests of the project member with respect to location, families and era.

PPP profiles often require specific and high level research skills.

If a project member is invited to work on a profile for the Scotland Project, there is no obligation to do so and it is fine to say no. There will always be another profile that may suit you. Whilst there is no restriction on anyone working on a profile, including PPPs, it is hoped that Scotland project members will respect the immense amount of work that researching a profile entails and contact the project or the person working on the profile should they wish to make significant changes to an Scotland managed profile.

See Scotland - Project Protected Profiles and Managed Profiles for more detailed information of the criteria for PPP and Managed Profiles. Some examples of profiles that could be used as a guide are at the end of this page.


The Scotland Project follows Wikitree's Styles and Standards.

  • When creating a profile ensure that the names you enter are correct, especially with respect to the Last Name at Birth (LNAB), and other names and titles. The name field guidelines provide detailed information for each name field.
  • Scottish profiles, including Nobility follow the naming conventions developed by the Scotland Project outlined here: Scotland Project - Name Field Guidelines
  • Dates should be as precise as possible. If you are unable to confirm an exact date an estimate is acceptable with an explanation in the biography.
  • Blocks of text should not be copied to a profile from any websites. See the help pages for copying text and copying from Wikipedia.
  • Images should be relevant to the profile and must not infringe copyright. Wikimedia Commons is one of many places where you can find images to use on the profile. Each image has information on if and how you can use the image and download options. Always choose the highest resolution available, Wikitree will re-size the image to a thumbnail, profile photo or background.


  • Do not use the Middle name field or Other nickname field for descriptive placeholders (such as an occupation or location) unless that person would have been well known by such a description and it is documented in a source.
  • Only use Senior and Junior if the people themselves used that designation (rare in Scottish families) and it is documented in a source.

Additional House Style standards for the Scotland Project Managed Profile team:

  • Font: Wikitree standard default font.
  • Type colour: black.
  • Spelling: Scottish OED
  • Punctuation: avoid the use of exclamation marks and do not use emojis. The use of the Oxford Comma is acceptable.


We put this here as a reassurance. Help is available at any stage from:

  1. the PPP/Managed Profile Coordinator,
  2. the Wikitree Scotland Google group,
  3. by asking a question on G2G
  4. or by consulting the Wikitree help pages.
  5. See also the Scotland Project page for details of county teams, profile improvers and our other teams.

Developing the Profile

The Basic Profile

The first step when creating or developing an existing profile is to ensure that all vital information is correct and sourced. Whenever possible primary sources should be used to establish birth, death and marriage information.


The biography should be relevant to the profile, well organised, use inline sourcing to clearly identify the facts presented, and strive to give a picture of the life of the person.
The biography should be written in chronological order unless this would upset the description of a certain passage of events in that person's life.
Use the past tense (He died in 1940) rather than present (He dies in 1940)
Avoid repetition for the same sorts of events. Be creative with your vocabulary.
Add interest to the narrative by adding first hand contemporary descriptions of actions or attributes (with sources) But Do Not speculate or embellish.
Use subheadings as waymarkers for important events.
If a lengthy passage of descriptive text is required (for example, a Will) use a linked free space page for that text with a brief summary in the biography.
If biography writing is not your strength please do not be put off working on an Scotland managed profile. Collaboration is the key and even a skeleton biography is a good starting point for another project member to step in and develop the biography further.
Tables should rarely be used in the biography and never in a source citation. They are also difficult for less experienced or technically advanced members to edit.

Research Notes

A research note section can explain issues encountered In the research process. This could include conflicting information, to document where information was not found or any other information that could assist further research.


Images must be relevant to the person being profiled. A head and neck portrait of that person is preferred as the primary image. If the image in question is a source record, please consider adding a link if the source image is available online. Use of any image must comply with the applicable copyright law and/or licensing agreement.
Using images as wallpaper or background on a profile are a matter of taste. One profile manager may be for it; another one against it. Background can also be very difficult for members with vision challenges. So please be thoughtful about adding backgrounds. On Project managed profiles, when using background images, they should be seamless, appropriate to the subject of the profile, and all copyrights honoured. Images of Coats of Arms, Clan Crests, shields and like symbols should be used only as primary photos and images on the appropriate profile, and not as background.


A source is not necessarily evidence. Not all sources are equal with respect to accuracy, nor should a source be automatically assumed to be evidence. See this Evidence Explained lesson for a discussion of sources, information, evidence and proof and Evaluate the Evidence from Familysearch for more detailed information on evaluating sources.

Types of Sources

  • Primary – a source created at or near the time of the event. Some examples include birth, death or marriage certificates or entries in county/shire registers or civil records, probated wills, land transaction documents, census records, immigration records, educational registers etc. Original documents are not necessarily 'pure' primary sources. For example with a death certificate some elements of the document may be considered primary sources such as the date and place of death, but information supplied by an informant is a secondary source based on memory or information supplied by other parties.
  • Secondary – these sources are generally created from primary sources but may also include discussions about/or refer to other secondary sources. Examples include books, journal articles, newspapers.
  • Tertiary – sources which are a summary or aggregation of information usually from secondary and sometimes primary sources. Typical examples include dictionaries, encyclopedias, websites.
What should not be considered (or used as) a source?
  • Find a Grave entries that have no headstone, memorial photo or a transcription.
  • Unsourced user created trees,
  • Genealogy websites,
  • Blogs etc.
These are essentially hearsay and have no basis in truth, no credibility and no value as a source.

Sources - Style Guide

The Scotland Project follows the WikiTree Sources Style Guide. Our membership is a diverse group whose technical skills range from basic to highly experienced, and we want to encourage participation and collaboration among all members. When in doubt, we defer to the thoughts expressed in Advanced Coding adds to Complexity. To that end:

  • We use Evidence Explained formatting, based on the Chicago Manual of Style.
  • We encourage inline citations which allow for a specific source for each statement in the text, but bulleted lists are also acceptable.
    • All citations must be complete citations.
    • Named references should be used when repeating a citation
  • We use only formats that are approved in the Recommended Tags and explicitly disallow those that are not. For example: <span id="...">...</span> - This is not approved for styling purposes or with sources.
  • We discourage the use of tables as these also are difficult for less experienced or technically advanced members to edit.


DNA confirmations can be quite confusing. All such confirmations should be compliant with Wikitree DNA confirmation guidelines at Help:Confirmed with DNA. More specific to this Project:

  • In most cases only the source citation format placed at the end of the Sources section should be used
  • If necessary, a small amount of explanatory text in a === DNA === sub-section may be added.
  • If the DNA evidence needs a more complex explanation, a Free Space Page should be created and a link provided in the DNA sub-section.
  • Keep the DNA discussion directly in the profile to a minimum in order to not discourage those who are unfamiliar with it.

More detailed DNA studies should follow the guidelines at DNA Studies in the Scotland Project

  • Login to request to the join the Trusted List so that you can edit and add images.
  • Private Messages: Contact the Profile Managers privately: Amy Gilpin and Scotland Project WikiTree. (Best when privacy is an issue.)
  • Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)
  • Public Q&A: These will appear above and in the Genealogist-to-Genealogist (G2G) Forum. (Best for anything directed to the wider genealogy community.)
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Mentioned again: honor code. How do I sign an honor code? I am an internet newbie. Tenney 1279.
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Categories: Scotland Project