JLiki 7: Tiddlers, WikiWords & Tags

Check List from JLiki 6:

  • Write a summary of one person
  • Make a list of WikiWords for their main activities and events
  • Add tags for all names in the summary

As you’ve probably noticed, this part is without scientific certainty. Sometimes there’s nothing more to be said beyond a person’s main tiddler. Sometimes a person’s life divides better into Youth, Middle Years, Old Age or some other way than a strict listing of events. Ask yourself, “What do I know about this person?”

If you find more information about one of your people as you go along, it should be easy to add that to your summary of them, one of the ‘extra’ tiddlers or to create a new tiddler for it if needed. This is another advantage of keeping your tiddlers narrowed to a focal point.

I wrote the Gene Beeken ‘extra’ tiddlers based on the information I know I have:

Gene Beeken/Baseball – photo, notes, newspaper clippings
Gene Beeken/NYC – photo, notes
Gene Beeken/WW1 – 4 photos, notes
As a shortcut I can open each tiddler and make a list of the contents to remind myself for when I get there again.

The WikiWords at the bottom of your summary should be showing in italics, meaning they’re Missing tiddlers, in other words, tiddlers without content. For now, pick one of them to work on. Preferably, at this point, something for which you have text to add, rather than photos. We’re getting to pictures next time.

Tiddler, TiddlyWiki

Off the top of my head I know I have a couple of newspaper obits for my grandfather. So, I’m going to click on Gene Beeken/Death and copy and paste them directly from Legacy.

In the case of his obit, various other family members are mentioned, of course. Unless they’re in the form I want for tiddler-titles I will simply put tags for them at the bottom of the box in the form I want them to be known, or in the form they’ve already been written in. If they’re in desirable tiddler-title form I can put their names in double-square brackets so they will link to tiddlers already existing (i.e. the ones in the MainMenu) or will create new ones for people not mentioned yet. (Aunts, uncles, cousins…) This becomes a starting point for a whole new batch of tiddlers.

It’s not always necessary to call people by their tag-names when writing as that could become awkward and stilted but anyone mentioned in a text piece should always have a tag entered for them. Remember to use your pre-made list under ‘tags’. The more people added there, the less you’ll have to add. You’ll save yourself a lot of bother that way.

As an example, this is an excerpt from one of the obits.


I know enough about H. C. Lentz to justify him having his own tiddler. He was born during the American Civil War and probably knew my favorite g-g-g grandmother, up a different line, who was still alive and well until 30 years after that. It boggles the mind. I met him when I was a kid and too dumb to ask questions.

But, for the purposes of this article: First, his name was Henry and, second, his surname was spelled Lenz so if I put H. C. Lentz in double-square brackets I will make a WikiWord out of something I don’t want. So for now I’ll just make a tag for him of Henry Lenz. I can also write an editor’s note of (Henry Lenz-Ed.) in the article itself immediately following the error and make a WikiWord of him right now. In wiki-code that would be written as:

([[Henry Lenz]]-//Ed.//)

and come out in the wiki looking like this:


When I write about my grandmother his name will come up again and I’ll also make a WikiWord of him in that tiddler. It doesn’t matter how many times you make a WikiWord of a name they all point to the same tiddler. Henry is my grandmother’s uncle, so that builds a link over to the other side of the family where he will be mentioned again in other context. No-one’s name in these obits is in good WikiWord form so I’ll just put a tag for each person. In this way people and events become linked without much effort.

Don’t worry about all the Missing tiddlers that are being created. They’re not going anywhere, they’re just part of the circus that’s now underway. As you tell your stories and add tags, your wiki is performing a magic trick behind your back, joining it all together. All missing tiddlers can be found under More/Missing. If you think you’re losing track of what you’re doing, you’re not.

The only other thing I know about my grandfather’s death is that a railroad official went to my grandmother’s house the next day asking her to sign papers saying that she wouldn’t ask the railroad for anything, but I’ll keep that for when I write about my grandmother. In the meantime, I can drop a note about it in her tiddler as a reminder, as well as the [[Gene Beeken/Death]] link. Considering that she was left alone with 3 small children, his death constitutes a major event in her life as well. I could also drop it off in the tiddlers of his children.

So, that’s all it took to make the Gene Beeken/Death tiddler. ‘Tis done.

In searching for wiki material it’s often handier to add quick notes to tiddlers of what I found, (while searching for something else) or that suddenly popped into my mind, than it is to begin the search again later from scratch. There’s no reason you can’t use your tiddlers as interim note-takers. Sometimes, by the time I come around to writing the ‘real deal’ it’s almost written itself. Whether you buzz from tiddler to tiddler or plod along in a more orderly fashion is a matter of personal style. If you write what you know about each person’s life, the tags and the WikiWords will join it automatically with the other lives that intersect.

Depending on how far along you are with your genealogy database, you may find a lot of what you’re needing here may already be there. But there may be all kinds of other files and photos spread around your computer. At the very least, if you’re running a PC, you can install Copernic and have it index your hard-drive. It won’t index anything that’s a database like Legacy or Evernote, but it will catch the rest.

Organization is a whole other topic so I proceed on the assumption you can find the files you need somehow and then sort and group them in a way that makes this work for you. Some of your information will be put into tiddlers, some of it linked to external documents and there’s no science to that either. I’m going to show you more options and if you start out slowly you’ll get a feel for it.

Here’s a nifty little tool that will allow you to open computer files directly from your wiki.

Click ‘new tiddler’ and name it WhatFileScript. In the body paste this:

function whatFile() { window.open ('file:///' + document.form1.cmuds.value) }

In the tagging box, type “systemConfig” without the quotations. And click ‘done’.

Click ‘new tiddler’ again and name this one BrowseForFiles. In the body, paste this:

You should now have a tiddler that looks like this:


Add BrowseForFiles to the top of your MainMenu. Then click the Refresh button in your browser. When you get to where you’re ready to ‘publish’ your wiki, you might want to remove it. In the meantime you can use it to browse for files anywhere on your computer. The Esc key clears the search box.

Using the right-click menu you can do quite a lot with the files you’re browsing for besides opening them, such as pasting information directly into your wiki or copying files onto your flash-drive.

Next: JLiki 8, linking images

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *