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Style guide

From ISOGG Wiki

A style guide is a set of standards for designing and writing articles. The style guide provides recommendations on spelling, punctuation, grammar and formatting. The consistent use of the style guidelines provides uniformity in style and formatting, which makes the articles easier for readers to understand and use.

While this page is being developed please refer to Wikipeda’s Manual of Style for guidance.

Page titles

When you create a new article, generally the most commonly used title is preferred. A simple way of testing this is to try a search engine test on one of the most common search engines, and see what generates more results. Note that the ISOGG Wiki server is able to accommodate some characters in page titles such as question marks (?) and asterisks (*). Before creating these types of pages you should read, Style guide to special page titles.

Page titles should have an initial capital letter with all subsequent words in lower case (eg, Single-nucleotide polymorphism not Single-nucleotide Polymorphism or Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism. Proper names should always have initial capital letters.


When using abbreviations the word should always be written out in full at the first mention. In particular, avoid the use of abbreviated US postal codes because these are not familiar to non-US readers and could potentially cause confusion.


Avoid using red links on all public pages. Red links should be confined to the Roadmap in order to co-ordinate future plans.

American English versus British English

There are many differences between American English and British English. These are a few simple guidelines to be followed on the ISOGG Wiki:

1. Do not edit a page simply to "correct" a spelling that is correct in another language. (For example, licence is the correct spelling for the noun in British English, but license is the correct spelling in American English.)
2. If the subject of an article is related to the United States, then US English is preferred.
3. If the subject is related to the British Isles, Europe or a Commonwealth Country then British English is preferred.
4. If the subject is not a regional one the original contributor's usage should be followed.
5. The usage should be consistent throughout an article, unless it mentions both US- and Britain/Commonwealth-related topics. In that case, Policies 2 and 3 prevail.
6. If a word has a different meaning in a different variety of English a translation should be provided in parenthesis on the first mention in the article, for example, flash drive (thumb drive), booth (stand).
7. In British English collective nouns (the company, the organisation) can take both plural and singular forms depending on the context (The company are..., Family Tree DNA were...). In US English collective nouns are always followed by the singular form (the company is, Family Tree DNA is). The ISOGG Wiki preference is to use the singular form wherever possible.

List of preferred spellings

In order to give the Wiki pages a uniform style it is recommended that the same spellings are used throughout the ISOGG Wiki wherever possible, though a consistency of style is not guaranteed. An exception will be made for words which are spelt or hyphenated differently in British English and American English and the above rules on British English vs American English will be applied. See the Wikipedia article on Manual of Style/Spelling for guidelines on preferred usage in different countries.

Note that some browsers such as Google Chrome have the option to check for spelling errors as you type.

This list is in the process of development, and will be developed and changed where appropriate by community consensus. Further suggestions are welcome.

  • AncestryDNA
  • FamilySearch
  • Findmypast
  • Internet
  • website
  • Wiki
  • Y-chromosome
  • Y-DNA
  • Y-STR