I'd like to have something on the site we can point people to when they make basic beginner mistakes, along the lines of F. Warren Bittner's lecture "Ten Genealogical Lessons I Learned the Hard Way".

For example: we often get posts asking for the correct spelling of surnames as people try to bring their twentieth-century sensibilities about standardized spelling to genealogy.

What is original spelling for Polish surname Chorzelewski?

It is more productive for researchers to work up a list of spelling variants to search for.

Even if a person is looking for living relatives in the modern-day phone books of the 'home country', I think it might be more productive to ask "what spelling variants are in use today?" instead of asking "What is the correct spelling?"

If we were to work up a set of "lessons learned" posts, how might they best fit with the SE format? As a series of self-answered questions, or as a Meta post where everyone could submit an answer to illustrate each problem?


2 Answers 2


Would the full tag wiki be another option -- so for example we could address the 'standard spelling' issue in the surname tag wiki. In addition to giving us somewhere to point to for guidance, it might encourage a step by step overhaul of our frankly pitiful tag wikis.

Tag Wiki vs Community Wiki seems very pertinent to the discussion

  • 1
    I think important content is more likely to be found in our Q&As but links from tag wikis to canonical Q&As seems like a good idea.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 0:26
  • @PolyGeo see edit
    – user104
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 10:20

I think they would be best posted on Main, probably started with a self-answer or by re-working an existing question of currently low value, and probably converted to Community Wiki to encourage joint work on them.

We have one example of this in Seeking English term for relationship between two members of extended family? which I have linked within the tag wiki of the tag.

We could seek ideas for such Q&As here in Meta but I think Main is the place for all important content.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .