We get a fair few questions that boil down to 'Where can I look for records for genealogical events in country X?', or where some of the answers provide a list of resources to consult. They're basically 'shopping' questions and/or answers, with the risk that the answers will become less useful with age (think link-rot).

Is it worth constructing a canonical resource, such as:

Resources for genealogical events in England and Wales

Having a single curated list of resources (per locale) with basic factual information about them would save a lot of duplication of effort, allow us to focus on keeping a single list up to date and and give us somewhere to point when the next 'Where do I look' question arises.

It would also allow answers to questions to focus on 'how to use/interpret records' or 'some aspect of the research process' -- the expert bit of genealogy in short, not the shopping list bit. There'd still be space for an expert to highlight a really specialised resource -- e.g. the Membership Rolls of the Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club -- where it's germane to a question, or to discuss why one particular site is particularly relevant to a question, but we wouldn't end up with repetitive lists of the same sites time after time wihtout much added value.

I'm not suggesting a canonical question, as that would fall foul of our own rule disallowing questions about:

Comparing, or making lists of, different genealogy databases, utilities, hosting services, etc.

But it might fit into the tag wiki for a specific country?

If there's support for the idea (or a better suggestion) I'm volunteering to draft "England and Wales" as they're my areas of expertise.

  • This would be helpful as long as it's kept updated. Other lists of lists exist (like Cyndi's List) but it's also nice to have local ones (and it's huge and unfocused). While I'm insanely busy for another week, my areas of expertise are Hungary, Slovakia, and the US, with a strong emphasis on Jewish resources in those places and elsewhere in Europe. (I had the UK stuff because of doing the tree of a friend from London.) Dec 3 '18 at 14:57
  • @Cyn, something on Jewish records would be enormously valuable if you have the time - ditto other areas you're expert in. Re keeping up-to-date, I suspect anything would be better than the current situatuin!
    – user104
    Dec 3 '18 at 15:12
  • If this moves forward, tag me next week. I know Jewish genealogy pretty well, volunteer for JewishGen, and am active on the Jewish genealogy groups. Also traveled to Slovakia & Hungary last year. Dec 3 '18 at 15:27
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    How can we do this without duplicating Cyndi's List, the FamilySearch wiki's advice page for online records, etc.?
    – Jan Murphy Mod
    Dec 4 '18 at 1:19
  • @JanMurphy In the same way we do as when an answer gives a list of resources... it's either osmething like this or direct people away form the site for it, which is not what we want to be doing.
    – user104
    Dec 4 '18 at 6:44
  • 1
    I'm not opposed to the idea -- I just want to add our own geeky flavor so it will be Stack-Exchange-flavored instead of simply re-inventing the wheel.
    – Jan Murphy Mod
    Dec 4 '18 at 21:18

I agree that the tag wiki is the place for this sort of information to go. The information is then all in a consistent place for each location, and is easily found.

Some time ago I did start to create such a resource for - see the Nottinghamshire tag wiki.

However I am not sure how useful this was, because in general tag wikis have poor visibility since they are not regularly linked to or indexed by search engines. If the users of this site start to link to and use tag wikis, then this should not be a problem. I did previously bring this up on main Meta – see Improving search engine indexing for tag wikis?

No tag wiki can replace all questions about finding records in a certain locale, but very open-ended questions can be closed as too broad if they can be answered by a tag wiki.

  • 1
    I agree: people answering or editing answers will have to link to the tag wiki to make it generally useful.
    – user104
    Dec 3 '18 at 17:03

I think that the use case you describe is currently better addressed using highly visible Community Wiki Q&As rather than Tag Wikis. For anyone unfamiliar with Community Wiki, see What are "Community Wiki" posts?

We have previously created a Community Wiki Q&A for Seeking English term for relationship between two members of extended family? which is #3 on our self-assembling list of the most frequently asked questions here at G&FH SE.

Some of the background to how that Community Wiki arose and the care needed to create them is at Why might intended Canonical Q&A on Relationship Mapping have net downvote?

To me the downside of tag wikis is purely their poor visibility. If Improving search engine indexing for tag wikis? morphed from a discussion into an implemented feature request then I would be more supportive of using them to address your use case.

In the meantime I think it is better to link from Tag Wikis to Community Wiki Q&As rather than vice versa.

An example of how, at the GIS Stack Exchange, we convert list questions to Community Wiki and then wiki-lock them is at Seeking QGIS tutorials and web resources? For others search GIS for "wiki:yes is:question".

  • 1
    How will you get around the problem that the question ought to be closed as a shopping question to which the answer is a list?
    – user104
    Dec 4 '18 at 6:45
  • @ColeValleyGirl At GIS we do that by making it CW and applying a Wiki Lock to it so that only the first answer can be edited. Sometimes we close first (e.g. on the basis that it is list seeking) but once its CW and wiki locked being closed is not as important because the wiki lock prevents new answers anyway.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Dec 4 '18 at 6:54
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    I still think that's bending the rules:) and would have to be defended at some point, although I would prefer a question, it's true.
    – user104
    Dec 4 '18 at 6:56
  • This is an example: gis.stackexchange.com/questions/3651/… For others search GIS for "wiki:yes is:question".
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Dec 4 '18 at 7:04
  • OK, that caveat seems to cover the bases.
    – user104
    Dec 4 '18 at 7:07

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