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It would help some of us to know how you discovered this site.


Robin Patterson 02:55, 17 August 2007 (UTC)



Thank goodness you found me (better yet, I found you). At my age, contributing to the Absalom Brown Wiki has entailed quite a learning curve. I haven't done any "programming" since I learned some Basic on my Commodore 64, then used it modestly on a pre-Windows PC. I designed a few web pages during my 20+ year career as a National Park Service Ranger, but always used "what-you-see..." type programs.

"Cousin" David Brown currently lives in England; I live in Macon, GA. Our only face-to-face encounters are the annual Absalom Brown Family Reunion at Beersheba Springs, TN. Another "cousin" had set up a family website at, but for personal reasons dismantled most of it this summer, much to the dismay of farflung family members, who had contributed considerable information, photos, etc. (he also has the only comprehensive family e:mail list). We began looking for other alternatives that allowed more individual input and exchange. Consequently, David set up an Absalom Brown Family Group at Yahoo and is inviting family members to join as he tries to reconstruct the e:mail list. So far, he has enroled 14 participants (from Florida to California).

David did not want to replace the aforementioned, since we hope it will eventually be restored, but did invite its owner to join the Yahoo Family Group. Then, David started looing for a format that allowed for more cooperative genealogical input. When he found the Wiki, he asked me to check it out. We both kinda fell in love with it. If we ever get past the initial setup stage, we feel it will be perfect for sharing info and learning more about our various family lines. For instance, every last one of my paternal/maternal ancestors were pioneer Warren/Grundy County, Tennessee (beautiful South Cumberland Plateau environment), families with descendants now living as far away as Wellington, New Zealand. We've traced some of these families back to their very early arrival in this country, but our dear Absalom's parentage in Pendleton District, South Carolina, is still a mystery.

That's our story. Now, I'm looking for ways to clean up the mess we made getting started. I believe we must go back at this early stage and include birth-death dates in our titles in order to later distinguish those with common names and I'm willing to do whatever is necessary to do this. So, I've now read much of the info in the Help sections, but I'm still not clear as to the best way to do this (Redirect, Move) in order to set up the new Articles with (birth-death) inclusions and by-pass or delete the old pages.

Redirect and move are related. If you do a "move" you automatically get a redirect from the old page to the new page. But you can also create pages designed to capture certain common spelling variations (and the like) so that when someone types in "Absolom Brown" in a search function, they'll get a hit, but when they click the corresponding link they'll be taken to the "Absalom Brown" page. In general, though, if you want to change the name of an article, the way to do it is with "Move". Bill 16:44, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

So, I don't mind appearing dumb and asking for your help. I believe once we settle on a standard, our input will proceed smoothly - and, I'll try to henceforth remember to always log-in, put entries in the Summary Field, look for notes on my User:talk page (right now, I'm not sure I'm doing this correctly), and anything else you instruct us to do.

At this point, as I said, I'd like to make new pages including the birth/death dates and cleanup/throw out the old ones. And, if it's possible, I'd like to create a template - similar to the style now shown on Absalom's page - that we can copy/paste to new entries.

If you like, we can create an input box for you on your user's page that will incorporate whatever format you finally decide to use. That way, when you go to create a new person article, you can just type the name of the article into the input box, and the page will be generated with a framework already in place that includes exactly the things you want to include.
Also, you might want to consider creating a family gateway page, sometimes called a portal. That way you'd have a place to organize things of interest to the family as a whole, and not have to go through the Absalom Brown article each time you wanted to do something. You could also do this from someone's user page, but then the portal page would be connected to that particular user, and who knows, they might find other uses for having a personal user's page. An example of a Family Portal page is Portal:Wigton Walker. That shows something of the kind of thing that could be done when you are dealing with a large family grouping, and getting input from different folks. This particular page is possibly a bit more elaborate than you might want, but something considerably simpler would work as well. Bill 16:44, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Oh, another stupid question... Is there a place where all photos we've downloaded are listed in case we want to create an additional link to one of them but can't remember its name?

GOOD point. After a while it does get to be a chore keeping track of what you've input. Yes, there's a place called the Gallery of new files which includes all of the images that have been stored. I see that y'll have been busy adding photos and such. as they appear there. The gallery is in chronological order, so unless its a recent image, browseing to find something in particular can be a chore. Fortunately, there's a search function on the page that should help. However, if you are really planning on inputting a whole bunch of stuff, consider creating a category, and adding that to each image when you create it. Something like [[Category:Absalom Brown family photos]] . You should be able to add something like that retroactively to images already in place. I'll try a few in a minute. If successful a Category link should appear at the bottom of the page. Click and see what you get.
You aren't limited in what you call a category, but it helps to keep the name obvious and succinct. "Photos of descendants of Absolom Brown and related families", probably would be hard to remember. Bill 16:44, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

And, did I do this reply correctly (should it have gone above you entry, etc.)??

You placed it correctly. At different times other arrangements have been explored, but placing comments in chronological order usually works best---though as you can see I like to intersperse my responses within the context of the query. Bill 16:44, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Your response is in one of the best places - these pages are best read chronologically despite being wikis where one can theoretically jump anywhere.
Your Wellington relative is welcome to ring me at 233-8458 for a chat, preferably not before 10 am!
Now it's away past my bedtime so I'll see if I can interest Bill in this page. Meantime, please read David's talk page where Bill and I have explained a bit more.
Robin Patterson 15:32, 21 August 2007 (UTC)


Thanks for prodding us along. I've now read David's talk page and e:mailed him requesting that we decided upon a format template for entering individual pages, since I don't want to to take it upon myself to start making these changes without his agreement. When this is decided, I will begin to "move" our existing pages to new pages using the "Name (b-d)" heading.

Also, I see in the Gallery of New Files that we have two photos, one of Absalom and one of Wm Sanford Brown, that are near-duplicates. Is there any way to delete the two that have name labels under them??

If you indicate which one you want to delete, Robin or I can make it go away. Bill 11:56, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Coincidentally, I'm very interested in the exemplary Wigton Walker Wiki. My maternal grandfather was John Jones Walker b. 11/25/1898. I have his ancestry back to William Walker (b. 1741, wife probably Sarah Jones??; lived in Fayette County, Kentucky; d. in Green County, Kentucky, will probated 5/17/1802), whose children - John Jones, Martha Talbot, Mahala, James and Jeremiah - relocated to Warren County, Tennessee, in the very early 1800's. Unfortunately, I've not yet been able to connect William to one of the even earlier VA/MD/NC/SC Walker families - Wigton being one I've considered, since some of the names appear similar and for other reasons.

Thanks again for being so patient!! Wish I had more time right now to devote to this endeavor.


Beersheba1 03:35, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Deleting images[]

Yes, as Bill has just implied while I was composing the rest of these paragraphs, I think that that power is reserved to admins. Unlike page deletion, it's irreversible. Robin Patterson 12:15, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Russell Brown and moving etc[]

I noticed your experiment. Our standard does have a space between the name and the bracket. More work than strictly necessary but is a more normal prose use of brackets and is now on several thousand people pages so not likely to be changed. Interestingly, a new database invented right here in NZ has the same style as ours except for closing that space.

Your "moving" of pages is probably best done to the pages that have no dates. Then you check "What links here" to see which of your other pages link to the undated version, so you can gradually redirect them. But there's no hurry to redirect them as long as they go to a redirect page that redirects to the final page; only if there's a chain of four pages does the automatic redirect stop. Try moving a couple of your undated pages and see what happens. And see Special:DoubleRedirects in case some of your pages are involved; there's a fairly easy way to fix them from that page.

Robin Patterson 12:15, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

User talk page[]

You said "...look for notes on my User:talk page (right now, I'm not sure I'm doing this correctly)...". You seem to have got back here OK. Have you seen the message telling you that you have new messages? There's a choice of what you click, one of which takes you to the generated page that shows you the difference the last edit made and lets you work back to earlier diffs. Handy if someone may have added something not at the bottom of the page and it might therefore be missed if you just looked at the talk page itself. Robin Patterson 12:15, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Template for people pages[]

You said "I've now read David's talk page and e:mailed him requesting that we decided upon a format template for entering individual pages". I've said before that I recommend the "Standard Format". Not much harder to use than any of the others, and has nearly all the headings and partly-formed links you are likely to want. If there's something else, such as a heading, that you and David definitely want added, I suggest you copy the Standard Template (at Genealogy:People Template) to a new page, such as User:Beersheba1/people template, and change it there before using it. Bill can help you make an inputbox (which can be included in all of your new pages, as is done on the "People Simple" template, so that you don't have to go back to the template page to create another person page). Robin Patterson 12:15, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Dates in page names[]

"Thomas Brown (12/27/1802-3/28/1881)" is not a good format, for two reasons:

  1. The date format is all very proper United States dialect, I guess (since the whole world knows what "9/11" refers to), used by a good five per cent (+?) of the world's population, but this is a world-wide wiki that tries to use more logical order (|8-)#
  2. If the reason for creating a name with that format is that there will be lots of Thos Browns born in 1802 and dying in 1881 (yes, eventually, about one in every few thousand Thos Browns), it won't help anyone to find this fellow or even to realise that he has a page if they are looking for one born in 1802: he will be listed among people of the 13th century (and maybe others born in December of whatever year) because his date starts with "12" not with "1802"

For the one chance in several thousand of getting a duplicate (which will be easy to spot and to sort out if it arises IF EVERYONE FOLLOWS THE STANDARD BUT NOT IF THEY DON'T), I think you should not include any sort of reference to months or days in the page name. If you know that we already have a duplicate 1802-1881, we can handle it straight away with a disambiguation page. Robin Patterson 15:10, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

While I agree with Robin, there are pragmatic reasons for going with a more straight forward title and following the site convention:
a) Hard to remember, and
b) if you don't get it exactly right in the search box, you're likely to miss it altogether.
Initially I utilized more complicated titles, using "bynames" to distinguish certain persons---there's still some reason for doing that---on occasion---but on the whole, it's cumbersome. Simpler titles are better titles. Bill 22:15, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

I added (birth-death) to as many titles as I could, though I don't know the dates for many of the younger descendants in several lines. At least the older people have been somewhat standardized before we got too far along. Haven't had much time to work on it this week. Thanks again.

Sylvia (beersheba1) 02:07, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Where DOB's and/or DOD's are not known the convention is to use a question mark. as in (?-?). That could, in theory, lead to a moderate number of articles about different people but with the same article title---as multiple articles titled "John Smith (?-?)". The way around that, if it comes up, is to use a reasonable "circa date"---even under the worst of circumstances you can usually pin someone's DOB down to a range of 100 years or less, so "John Smith (c1700-c1800)" can at least approximate the lifespan, and avoid some of the overlap.---and if that fails, then go the "byname" route---as in "John Smith (c1700-c1800) son of Edger Smith". Bill 13:45, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

County pages[]

Please see if you haven't already.

I mentioned it on the email list, nearly two days ago, but few people see that, apparently.

Robin Patterson 13:33, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Welcome back![]

There's so much activity on the site now, Sylvia, that I didn't realise you had returned a few months ago. Why I noticed now is that I was testing the "Random page" function and found one of your pages that could do with more work: Capt. James Tait (Tate). I suggest some line separation (usually just an extra line space will do) and some links to other existing or desirable pages.

There has been considerable progress on this site since the above paragraphs were exchanged: "/info" pages and county talk pages, for example. I've inserted some links to counties further up this page, which may lead you to pages on which you can write queries or even find facts. Have a look at Special:recentchanges and Forum:Watercooler to see hints of some of the progress, and ask if anything looks as if it might help you.

No word from your Wellington relative yet! Kind regards --Robin Patterson 08:19, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

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