Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs)



How much does it cost to use the Encyclopedia of Genealogy?

The Encyclopedia of Genealogy is free of charge for everyone.

Who writes these articles?

Most articles are written by genealogists who are interested in helping others. Anyone can contribute an article or edit an existing article.

How can I contribute information to this Encyclopedia?

First, you need to register as a contributor. Registration only requires a few seconds to complete. Once you are registered, you can add pages or change (almost) any page in this Encyclopedia.

There is no fee to register, and all of your personal information will be kept private. We do not share that information with anyone else and we do not fill your in-box with unwanted e-mail messages.

Detailed data entry instructions may be found in the section on "How to Contribute to the Encyclopedia of Genealogy."

I found some spelling errors and an erroneous bit of information in one page on the Encyclopedia of Genealogy. Where do I report this?

No place! You should correct those errors yourself. It is easy to do so.

If you have not registered before, simply click register, and fill in a bit of information about yourself so that we can contact you if necessary. Once you are registered and logged in, you can correct any page or append information to any page. Just display that page on your screen, and then click on PAGE-EDIT in the menu to the right. Change the words as you wish and then click on SAVE. That's all there is to it! Your changes instantly become visible to everyone else.

Not only can you change existing pages, after you register and are logged in, you can also add new pages about any genealogy-related topic by clicking on ADD in the menu to the right. Everyone else can see your corrections and additions immediately after you click on SAVE at the bottom of the screen.

There is no editorial review process required before your words become visible. However, please remember that every Encyclopedia reader is also a potential editor; your words may get changed time and time again. That is the primary purpose of a collaborative encyclopedia: to allow everyone to work together to create the best possible results!

What do I do if I make a mistake when entering data?

In short, don't worry about it! There are two possible actions:
    1. For minor corrections: re-edit the page a second time, correcting the errors you created on the first edit.
    1. If there are extensive corrections to be made, you probably will find it easier to click on VERSIONS in the menu to the right and then revert to an earlier stored version of the page, the one before you started making changes. At least ten previous versions are stored; you can back up to a previous version at any time.

Who pays the bills for the web server hosting fees and other expenses?

The Encyclopedia of Genealogy is sponsored by Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter. We encourage you to visit the newsletter to read the information there. However, there is no requirement to do so.

My company produces genealogy-related products and services. Can I add a page here that describes my company's products?

Yes, you are encouraged to do so. However, we caution that you should write announcements, not advertisements. Breathless prose and multiple exclamations marks are frowned upon.

All entries must have "creative content" that is "functional" and adopts a "neutral" viewpoint for purposes of informing users. Inherently, advertisements are not "neutral". The Encyclopedia of Genealogy does not want to be a "repository of links" pointing to other sources. All articles on this Encyclopedia must be strictly non-commercial, although links to commercial sites are allowed under restricted conditions. Those links must be in the context of a larger creative posting and must not be the primary subject of the page or topic.

Please remember that everyone can edit every page. Violations of the non-commercial policy can be and should be edited or deleted by other users of this Encyclopedia.

Can I copy-and-paste the information found in the Encyclopedia of Genealogy and use it elsewhere?

Yes! Because the information contained here is contributed by many people, the Encyclopedia of Genealogy makes no copyright claims. The information contained herein belongs to all genealogists, not to the Encyclopedia of Genealogy. However, we do suggest that you give a brief reference as to where you found the information, such as a source citation of: "Encyclopedia of Genealogy," or for a specific term such as GEDCOM, "Encyclopedia of Genealogy," However, that is only a suggestion, not a requirement.

Can I copyright the information that I contribute?

That is not practical. Keep in mind that others can edit the information that you provide and may do so. Also, there is no mechanism to control the dissemination of information that you publicly post on the Encyclopedia of Genealogy. We suggest that you only post information here that you wish to share with the entire genealogical community and that anyone within that community is free to use as they wish. Our advice is simple: "If you want to retain copyright of your words, please do not post those words on the Encyclopedia of Genealogy."

How can I see what has changed recently?

In the menus to the right, click on CHANGES. That shows everything that has changed recently and the log-in ID of the person who changed, it. (You cannot see that person's name or e-mail address, however.)

Won't spammers flood this encyclopedia with junk?

No. Spammers have tried to do that in the past but have always failed. There are two reasons for this: 
    1. Let's say that a spammer changes a page or creates a new page. Anyone, including yourself, who comes along later and sees the page can log in, click on "VERSIONS" in the menu to the right and quickly revert the page back to what it was earlier. Newly-added pages can be deleted with one or two mouseclicks.
    1. The system administrators can "freeze a page" at any time by a simple click of the mouse. Once a page is frozen, nobody can change it.

The system administrators receive a copy of every changed page via e-mail shortly after the page is added or modified. Any pages containing spam are usually discovered and corrected within minutes.

Spammers have tried to bombard other wiki-based databases but usually give up soon when they discover that they are wasting their time. Their spam messages do not remain online for very long. In short, what spammer is going to do this when the junk is so easily reversed?

What happens when users disagree and keep overwriting each other's work?

That has happened here although such disagreements are rare. One of the system administrators will "freeze" the one page in question so that no one (other than a system administrator) can change the page. Then the administrators will re-write that one page in a neutral manner or possibly may delete the page entirely, as they deem appropriate. The page will then remain "frozen," thereby ending the controversy. Future changes will be considered upon request by the system administrators but no one else will be able to change that frozen page.