Friday, February 17, 2012

My adventures with the Family Search Wiki - Orange County California

After attending RootsTech and several sessions on contributing to the FamilySearch Wiki, I have finally started working on redesigning the Orange County, California wiki page. There is a lot of information about contributing to the wiki on the FS Wiki site, in some ways, too much.  The Genealogical Society of North Orange County California, to which I belong, was very excited in the summer of 2010 when FamilySearch came out and asked societies to adopt pages. We quickly asked for Orange County, California. We were really early on in the process with no experience in wiki markup language. I was still working full time with not much time to devote to the Wiki.  I made some additions, some corrections, and that was the end of it until RootsTech.

It all started when I walked up to a Family Search representative and said that we wanted to add a map to our county site like I'd seen on other county sites. I was invited to a FamilySearch contributor's breakfast over at the Joseph Smith building where I met and talked with a number of other contributors and FamilySearch missionaries.  I watched a FS Wiki demonstration later that afternoon and was able to get into FamilySearch Wiki as Social Media, a hands-on class that gave me a different slant on the wiki. Through trial and error I have created an Orange County, California webpage in my sandbox. One thing I learned was that you can have a sandbox to play in and you don't have to potentially mess up the real thing. I also learned that copying is OK, even encouraged. I learned that most pictures on Wikipedia are part of the Creative Commons and free to use on the FamilySearch Wiki. Notice I said "most." You still have to submit them to Family Search for approval but it wasn't difficult to do.

I expect it will take me a few weeks to transfer the new site and replace the old one. If you want to learn more there are a number of tutorials, more than you could ever view, that will help you.  The wiki training sessions were also archived and have been very  helpful.