WeRelate talk:Surname Research Pages


Initial Discussion

This was transferred from my personal talk page. The subject matter begins with giving some ideas about how Beth might design a "shared research page" for her Coleman family, but not referenceing any specific place (ie, distinct from "Coleman in Georgia". Q 21:26, 3 June 2008 (EDT)

Hi Q, I don't have any experience in designing web pages. I am trying to decide how best to setup a Coleman research page or pages. I have a number of abstracts from books that I own, mostly land records that I want to post on the page; they are mostly in Virginia and North Carolina, different counties. I hope to set up the page and then maybe others will contribute. I don't intend to enter person pages on the Coleman family for any one other than my line; unlike my Coker study. I don't have time to do both.

Look at this page on Rootsweb. [1].

Any ideas on the best and or simplest way to accomplish my goals.--Beth 14:07, 2 June 2008 (EDT)

Hi Beth

I can think of a couple of ways to do that. One would be to just open up a page and start learning HTML.

Another way would be to find a page whose layout you liked, and copy its HTML onto your page---and make the necessary changes to wikify it (some standard HTML is not needed on a wiki page. You can do this by going to your example page, then clicking on "view Source" or whatever your browser calls it (its something in the menu bar, probably under "View"), copy what you find with a "copy all", then go to your empty page and paste.

Scratch that one. I gave that a try as a test. its something I've sort of done before, but the page you pointed to was created with some sort of HTML page maker---which beasts put in WAAAAAY too much stuff that a) no one needs even on regular HTML pages, and b) we defintely don't need here. Give me some idea of what you would like to see and I can give you at least a rough start.

Q 15:38, 2 June 2008 (EDT)


My son has a baseball game so I will be gone this evening. I have an HTML book; so I will take a stab at this. I see my test page. I am thinking along the lines of having one page, Coleman in United States. Then I will have colored boxes, one for Coleman Marriages and one for Coleman Land Records and one for Coleman census and tax lists for starters and I can add other boxes or someone else can as needed. Then I think that I prefer clicking on the boxes and that will take you to the other articles one with the list of marriages, one with the list of deed abstracts and one with the census data in whatever format I decide on. I like the idea of tables for some of the items.
I believe that will look better and will also be easier to read than one long page with different sections. Does this make any sense?--Beth 17:46, 2 June 2008 (EDT)
Yes, as a matteroffact, I'm working on a template for such a design, following the Gay layout you pointed to, even as we speak. Q 17:48, 2 June 2008 (EDT)

A semi complete test example is here A test page for Beth. This is based on your prototype site. I've put in an arbitrary header, a list of links and an arbitrary welcome message. If nothing else this will give you a place to practice HTML. Note that the list of links and the welcome text are templates. You can change these however you want simply by editing the templates. This keeps your work space (the Beth Test Page) uncluttered and makes it easier to see what's going on.

To edit the templates, open the beth Test page for editing, scroll to the bottom, and you'll see a list of templates used. Click on the one you want to edit, and have at it. I'll help whenever you ask. I also won't have hurt feelings if simply trash this and start over on your own.

One other bit of guidance. Wiki tables is probably a bit easier to use than the HTML formating. I just don't use it myself, since I understand the HTML nuances, and I don't understand wiki tables. But in some ways wiki tables gives you a cleaner looking table---more like what you see in wikipedia. Q 19:47, 2 June 2008 (EDT)

Bill, the test page is wonderful. May have a few changes. I think that you have a great idea in creating a template for the research pages. My CokerDNA hat is calling so may be a few days before I can get back to my Coleman page. Exactly how does one make the shared research page for a surname without a place restriction on WeRelate? --Beth 23:46, 2 June 2008 (EDT)
I'm glad that's at least a starting point for you, and that it may have helped some. The image I selected for the banner was fairly random---I knew there was a Coleman "early in" on Nantucket Island, and found this image of cranberry harvesting on nantucket Island---so used it. But I'm fairly sure you can find something more specific and appropriate. I put in the text left of the banner mostly as a place holder. Originally I had in mind finding a coleman COA, as in your test example, but couldn't come up with one that wasn't copyrighted, or looked ugly. So went this route. What you place in these cells doesn't especially matter. Could be text, could be image. your choice.
Re your question about "Shared Research Pages"---I think this is just a name that's been used to indicate this kind of thing. There's no particular format or requirement about titles, etc. Its just another article as far as the system is concerned. So you can name it whatever you want. If you DON"T want it to be "Coleman in Georgia" or anyplace else specific, just give it whatever name you think works, and let it go at that. You could, for example, simply call it "Shared Coleman Research"---or "Collaborative Coleman Research", or "Coleman Research Project". The choice is pretty much up to you. Q 08:02, 3 June 2008 (EDT)

Bill, I think that our discussion may be a good topic for the watercooler as well to get input from other users. I suggest that the users on WeRelate agree on a name for the surname page. Not that one would be required to use it of course, but as a suggestion to have some uniformity of design in WeRelate. One could suggest the name and the use of your template or templates. When I establish the Coleman page or if someone has a better one we could use that as an example in the tutorial. This would provide some structure for people who feel more comfortable with a structured design. Also I am wondering how we can coordinate the page with the digital library. Possibly uploaded images of pension files, wills, tombstones, etc. could be put in the digital library and linked. But this may be too confusing to new users. Anyway still need to work on my DNA project, my Band project and my FAQ project on WeRelate.--Beth 09:57, 3 June 2008 (EDT)

Jackson in Tennessee [4 June 2008]

Thanks Beth, for inviting me in on this conversation. I'll bring the perspective of someone who still is having trouble seeing the whole picture. And in an effort to see/understand I already have a question. Back in Feb I set up a page 'Jackson in Tennessee' for the purpose of putting misc Jackson info that might or might not pertain to my tree. I had gone through a book of Carter Co. TN marriages and gleaned all Jackson marriages, even Jackson bondsmen and had the info sorted by year. After I posted it someone left a msg on the talk page that the info posted might be better served if I posted it as a source. Here is his msg: http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Talk:Jackson_in_Tennessee . I became overwhelmed and went back to working on my desktop and have just recently come back to give his suggestion a try. So I've done it now, but am somewhat uneasy about it. I think his suggestion to put all that info on the source page clutters the page. Here is the cluttered source page: http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Source:Burgner%2C_Goldine_Fillers._Carter_County_Tennessee_Marriage_Records_1796-1870. Also there is a whole lot more info in that book than Jackson marriages and you can't put everything there. I'm thinking I should put the marriage info BACK on the Jackson in Tennessee page under the section heading for Carter county. What do you think?

If I end up with Jackson marriages in very many TN counties, yes, the page will get too long. If/when that happens, then the separate counties could have their own pages.

So I'm looking at it from the perspective of the small detail that would/could go to a type of Beth's page which would have a much larger scope. If a page such as Beth suggests is created for Jackson, there would have to be a whole lot of sub-pages with state detail behind it. If we were writing a book, that page would be like a title page, an entrance into what all is available.--Janiejac 22:09, 3 June 2008 (EDT)

HI Janiejac

I think you're putting your finger on one of the real problem areas in doing genealogy on the web. So much data, so little space to put it all in. The trick is, I think, to find a way that allows you to navigate through the maze of information in a logical and intuitive way, but in a way not so complex as to get in the way of doing work. Very tricky.

I think what Beth is suggesting works well for your purposes as well. While we've just started looking at it, I think what's going to happen is that Beth will end up with a series of nested pages that organize her information into categories of some description. Then, using menu's (like on the test page) you'll be able to "drill down", to the level of detail your are interested in. This is similar to what I'm doing on my Southwest Virginia Project, though that's designed to be (eventually) more of a web of inter-related pages, rather than a hierarchical arrangement like Beth is shooting for. Q 22:26, 3 June 2008 (EDT)

With regard to your Burgner Source, and the guidance you received, toward the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008 there was considerable discussion of whether sources were intended to be citations, or data sets. Depending on how you looked at it, they could be either, and Dallan initially said they could be both. The guidance you received on organzing Burgner dates to that period, and reflects the idea of using the source page as a data collection page. I think it became clear as the discussion moved along, that this would create some problems---one of them being that you'd never know what you were going to find when you clicked on a "source", and another being that having these pages serve as data collection points would do exactly what you found---produce a very cluttered, overloaded page. I believe the current guidance is to use the "source" category specifically as a citation, and find a home for the data in the source someplace else. Where that someplace else should be is not exactly clear. There are lots of choices, and I've probably used many of them:

a) extract data about specific individuals and put it on their person name page, with a reference back to the source b) extract data about groups of individuals and put it on a group page of some description (surname, locality, Friends of the Loyal Order of the Buffalo, or what have you) c) Create a specific page to hold the data from some source, but not in the source namespace, and refer to that page in when citing data for a particular subject. d) Insert the data into the Digital Library, and refer to that when citing data.

That last one has some real promise for your purposes. You could, for example, store that excell spreadsheet there, and then anyone with excell could extract that spreadsheet and work with it---which is what you intended. There are some problems here though.

a) The Digital Libraryis still in Beta Testing, though I think most of that's done, just waiting for the fixes. b) Once something's in the Digital Library, there's no way (currently) to change it. Unlike the main area of Werelate, its not amenable to collaborative modification.r You can extract something from the DL, say a spreadsheet, modify it, and reinsert it into the library, but the reivsed version has to go in under a different name.

Q 07:50, 4 June 2008 (EDT)

Thanks for your response. I don't know the first thing about the Digital Library and I need to get more familiar with WeRelate before tackling another new area. I believe since my Jackson marriages were all in Carter County, that it would best be put back there and will do that. I have linked two of the marriages to family pages (such as they are). Eventually I'd like to link all of the marriages to family pages, but may not have the time to do all that by myself. But that's what collaboration is for! --Janiejac 08:37, 4 June 2008 (EDT)

Surname research page title standard [5 June 2008]

It would be good to have a recommended standard title for surname research pages. I think anything that has the surname as the first word in the title; e.g., "Coleman Research" or "Coleman Research Project" or "Coleman Surname" or even just "Coleman", so that in an alphabetical list it appears alongside other Coleman articles would be fine.--Dallan 14:36, 4 June 2008 (EDT)

Thoughts about the title. If all users follow the same format for the title, wouldn't the pages be easier to locate in a search? Suppose I use Research Exchange Surname Coleman for the page I am creating. Then Janie could use Research Exchange Surname Jackson. We could probably put all of these articles that began with Research Exchange Surname under one category. --Beth 09:07, 5 June 2008 (EDT)

Still thinking. <g> Maybe we should remove surname from the title. Then the name could be used for other projects also. Examples, Research Exchange Southwest Virginia Families, Research Exchange Mayflower Compact, etc.--Beth 10:26, 5 June 2008 (EDT)

How about just "Southwest Virginia Families" or "Mayflower Compact"? In a sense, all articles are research exchanges.--DemoGuy 18:09, 5 June 2008 (EDT)

I don't even know if this will work, but what if we have a Category - Research Exchange (or some other title). Then you could name the article Southwest Virginia familes or whatever you choose. You know how Rootsweb is known for World Connect and Ancestry for Ancestry World Tree. Trying to think of some catchy title that people might eventually connect with WeRelate. --Beth 18:45, 5 June 2008 (EDT)

Articles vs. Sources [21 June 2008]

Q is right -- earlier I was suggesting that source data be placed on Source pages, but it became clear earlier this year that that didn't work. Better to create an article for the data and add a link to the article on the Source page.

Here's a possible approach for linking related articles together: I just changed a setting so that articles could have "subpages". That means that if you create an article titled "Coleman" and another one titled "Coleman/Marriages", the "Coleman/Marriages" article contains a link to the "Coleman" article under the title at the top of the page. Unfortunately, the "Coleman" page doesn't automatically link to its subpages, but that wouldn't be difficult to add if people wanted to use this approach. Other than these links, subpages are in all other respects like regular articles.--Dallan 14:36, 4 June 2008 (EDT)

Dallan, do I need to use the / for the link to work in the title? --Beth 11:42, 7 June 2008 (EDT) Still attempting to iron out a few difficulties with the creation of the subpages. --Beth 11:42, 7 June 2008 (EDT)

This link does not seem to work or maybe I don't understand how to make it work.--Beth 08:10, 9 June 2008 (EDT)
The link still does not work. I guess I having one of my many duh moments. I tried this on the Coleman Births page. --Beth 10:07, 21 June 2008 (EDT)

Sample page / templates [21 June 2008]

The A test page for Beth looks awesome! Beth, if you use this, please post a link to your article on this page. I'd like us to feature more of these kinds of pages.--Dallan 14:36, 4 June 2008 (EDT)

Hi Dallan,

Thanks but Q did the page. I have a 600+ page book to study to learn HTML. I have decided that I need to know HTML and it doesn't seem too difficult to learn; not like the Fortran class I flunked in college. <g> I located the Gay Surname exchange page on Rootsweb while researching my husband's line and was impressed with the structure of the database. Hopefully with everyone's input we can utilize this on WeRelate and also attract more serious researchers with examples of what one can do on WeRelate. --Beth 09:16, 5 June 2008 (EDT)

I am ready to rename A test page for Beth to Coleman Family Exchange. Any comments or changes recommended.--Beth 22:23, 6 June 2008 (EDT)
Templates and their usage. How is one to prevent someone from totally messing up a template and subsequently all of the articles that are using that template? --Beth 10:10, 21 June 2008 (EDT)

Final page for A Test page for Beth [6 June 2008]

With Bill's encouragement to finish my project; thanks Bill; I have edited my page with the help of my son and renamed the page. I also added a new category. The category designation is problematic in that users including myself do not remember to enter the category name on their page so that the page is included in the category listing. My son is working on the next template for my nesting of pages; but since he is not familiar with the Wiki he may need some assistance. When this template is completed, I can then enter abstracts of land records for the Coleman surname; which was the initial goal that began the path of how and where to enter such data on WeRelate. Thanks for everyones input and please feel free to edit or suggest improvements. --Beth 23:41, 6 June 2008 (EDT)

Where use such a surname template? [11 August 2009]

I like this concept and would use it. But I'd also like to modify the template so I could add or change categories.

For example, I've done a fair amount of research on the JAUCH surname.

See: 1. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~jillaine/jauch/


2. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~jillaine/jauch/EmigratingJauchs.html

Also, I wanted to know, would we simply use this Template on a surname page (such as Surname:Jauch -- which is empty right now)?

jillaine 09:51, 17 November 2008 (EST)

Hi Jillaine, To modify a template just copy the template contents under a new name; you can use numbers to distinguish the templates. If the first template is no number then yours could be 1 and number 2 would follow. User:Janiejac has a table and info on the Surname:Jackson page.

Also check out Lauren's ideas. Lauren started her own Rumgay Family Exchange so check out her pages. My project is at a stand still, and WeRelate has not come to a definite decision on how to handle shared research pages, surname pages, or family exchanges, etc.--Beth 17:20, 17 November 2008 (EST)

Surname Pages or Surname Category Pages? [13 August 2009]

After comparing some of the pages referenced above and perusing some of the comments made by Dallan elsewhere for the use of "Surname Pages," I would think that these excellent "One-Name Study" templates and examples would be perfect utilized on the associated "Surname Page" to the name, rather than as separate "Articles," thereby encorporating the automated linking features of Surname pages (as well as Category pages). I started that with my own Doering, Schönauer, Tritsch pages, and used Category pages for my Marquez and Villarreal names with those thought in mind. Just trying to see if we can standardize the process for people who want to expand on the One-Name Study aspect of the WeRelate community rather than let it go by the way-side or get used solely in individual research pages. Here are some other one-page study links (Collections, general information and specific examples):

--BobC 14:48, 10 August 2009 (EDT)

Bob, your suggestion is okay with me; but how do we make users aware that there is a study of their surname on the surname page? I doubt that many users ever peruse the surname pages. The surname in place pages certainly do not seem to be used very often. --Beth 19:30, 10 August 2009 (EDT)
Someone could start a "One-Name Study" Portal using the WR Portal template, although (I may be wrong) the portals don't seem to get that much activity either yet -- at least the ones I see and use infrequently. What do you think? --BobC 23:23, 10 August 2009 (EDT)
Why not make use of the existing Person Portal to promote such studies? (And yes, we need to better promote/make visible the Portals.) jillaine 11:19, 11 August 2009 (EDT)
Regarding your comment about "Surname in Place," I find that feature not always helpful when using multiple surnames with multiple places, because WR automatically assigns each place to each person, when in fact you may have Smith surname from Atlanta, Georgia (not from anywhere else); Jones surname from Charleston, South Carolina (not from Atlanta or elsewhere), etc. --BobC 23:23, 10 August 2009 (EDT)
I concur with BobC here; I use "Surname in Place" category pages for distinguishing/discussing a given surname in a given location. For example: Category:Carter in Massachusetts and even more complex: Category:Taylor_in_Massachusetts.
I like the Community Portals but I don't think that a new user will have a clue from the title Community Portal. I think most genealogists are familiar with the connotation One Name Study so it would be advantageous to categorize all of our one name studies under that name. Exactly where to place the introduction to one's study is not clear to me yet. --Beth 00:01, 11 August 2009 (EDT)
I like the idea of using the Surname pages (or the Surname Category?) for one-name studies. Similarly, using either Place pages or Place Category pages for one-town studies. jillaine 11:19, 11 August 2009 (EDT)
I haven't been sure what to do with surname pages. As Beth says, they don't get a lot of traffic. I'm not sure if surname pages or articles are the best place for one-name-studies. Having a portal list the one-name-studies seems like a good idea. I'll follow this idea with interest.--Dallan 00:13, 11 August 2009 (EDT)
Don't give up on it yet, Dallan. It may not have taken off yet, but I think the longer WeRelate is around, the more downloads and family histories are added, and the more people use this service, I think "Surname" pages will be used more and will assume a greater role. Whether the loftier sounding tag "One-Name Study" is used instead of the more basic, less romantic "Surname" page, I think the function is the same: grouping a collection of same or similar surnames (with no known or possibly yet unconneted origins from multiple users) at a single reference point or clearinghouse (or yes, even "portal"). --BobC 00:43, 11 August 2009 (EDT)
I really recommend NOT creating a new set of pages for one-name studies when we already have TWO options for this-- either the Surname page or the Surname Category. What we need to answer is WHICH? jillaine 11:19, 11 August 2009 (EDT)
As the related entry on Wikipedia states, a One-Name Study is "Researching all occurrences of a surname, as opposed to a particular pedigree or descendancy... A one-name study is not limited to persons who are related biologically. Studies of more common surnames may have a number of family trees which have no link with each other. Findings from a one-name study are useful to genealogists, who burrow deeper than indexes, consulting the historical sources so as to write pedigrees or descendancy charts of single families that are usually subsets of the surname group. Onomasticians, who study the etymology, meaning and geographic origin of names, also draw on the macro perspective provided by a one-name study." So yes, I think the "Surname" pages provide (or will provide) a useful function here. My dilemna is, should I be using the Surname page for collecting that information or the Category page related to that surname? --BobC 00:43, 11 August 2009 (EDT)
Yes, I think this IS the dilemma: WHICH to use: Surname page or Surname Category? I lean towards the Category because it combines two uses into one. I'm just not sure why we'd need both, and if we were to get rid of one, I'd prefer we KEEP Surname Category. jillaine 11:19, 11 August 2009 (EDT)

Actually, I realize upon further reflection that the Surname pages do have nice fields for the alternate spellings. Mmm... Less certain, now. jillaine 11:24, 11 August 2009 (EDT)

That's why I said I like features of both, and both would make good "One-Name Study" gateways for individual surnames. A Surname Portal (or One-Name Study Portal) could then identify those surname pages (to include surname category pages) that the community is expanding for that purpose. When I have more time maybe this weekend I'll try to work on a draft version to see what you think. --BobC 17:24, 11 August 2009 (EDT)
Okay, I've created the Surname Portal! It's still a bit rough and somewhat preliminary, but hopefully a start to those who think the Surname feature (as in Single-Name Studies) should be kept intact and expanded upon here at WeRelate. Please feel free to add to it or modify as you see it further benefitting the community. --BobC 17:32, 13 August 2009 (EDT)
I think I favor the category pages since you get a list of people with that surname at the bottom. But I don't have a strong feeling either way.--Dallan 15:09, 1 September 2009 (EDT)