Should the Migrating Ancestor sticker only use country flags, or can it use county/state/region flags?

+6 votes
Hi. I have a lot of ancestors who moved from Shetland, Scotland to New Zealand. I would like to use the Shetland flag on the Migrating Ancestor sticker, because it was important that they were from that particular set of remote islands that are part of Scotland (and previously part of Norway). However, is it legitimate in the Migrating Ancestor sticker to use the county flag? Or is it only OK to use the Scottish flag?
WikiTree profile: Gilbert Anderson
in Policy and Style by Caleb Day G2G4 (4.1k points)
If I know where in a country the ancestor was from - and there is a corresponding flag - I would (probably) use the county flag.  (Purists would say no, because many of those flags are too modern.)
Thanks, Melanie! If we're going to get technical, the New Zealand flag also wasn't in place when most of my ancestors immigrated, so the flags are going to be anachronistic no matter what!

The Shetland flag has a good historic connection to the history of those islands - it was designed for the 500th anniversary of the islands going from Norwegian control to Scottish control in 1969, and is a cross between the Scottish flag and a Nordic flag.
Yeah .. I know about the NZ flag.  I triple checked it yesterday because I was working on a profile for someone who emigrated from Nottinghamshire to NZ.  I ended up with two Union Jacks, even though I wanted to use the county flag and the NZ flag.

(I also struggle with the Aussie flags for the states, as the "old" flag was never official, nobody would ever recognise it, but using the Union Jack just makes my spine react.  (Mostly I default to the England flag.))
What have you got against the union flag?

I can't speak for Melanie, but the Butcher's Apron is not popular in many colonised places. Unfortunately it still makes up 1/4 of the NZ and Australian flags!

Also, aesthetically, it seems weird to have a sticker showing someone moving from Nottinghamshire to the other side of the world and end up with two of the same flag!

Melanie: the ancestor below from Liz, who designed the Migrating Ancestor & Nonmigrating Ancestor stickers, encourages me that it's definitely OK to use regional flags for both of those. So maybe for that person you could use the Nottinghamshire flag and then the flag of the city or town in NZ (if there is one)? I just found out this morning that quite a few NZ cities have flags, e.g. my birthplace of Napier: (of course the problem of anachronism remains. The Napier flag is undergoing a change process right now.)

Caleb, when the NZ sticker was first proposed, it was suggested it be a silver fern to make it distinctive. Within days of it being instituted, the silver fern was changed back to the NZ flag. There was no public discussion, and no-one has ever explained why it happened. I wonder if there would be a consensus amongst Kiwis to use the silver fern, or at least have it as an option.
Interesting. I suppose it's unlikely we'll ever get consensus on that, and I guess the NZ flag will have a strong de facto claim by virtue of being official. I personally was a huge fan of the Red Peak flag in the referendum, but let's not re-litigate that, lol.

The great news is that the Migrating Ancestor and Nonmmigrating Ancestor stickers are far more flexible with what flags people use. I think I will eventually use those stickers on my personal profile instead of the NZ sticker, so that I can have flags for the different NZ cities I've lived in, and maybe the Tino Rangatiratanga flag for Ōtaki since there is no flag for Ōtaki or Kapiti Coast District. But more important than my own profile is what to do about ancestors.
What have you got against the union flag?


I have no problem with it being in the corner of my flag, but it's not my flag. 

Also -- this :

aesthetically, it seems weird to have a sticker showing someone moving from Nottinghamshire to the other side of the world and end up with two of the same flag!

by Caleb Day


Purists-wise, I was told I was supposed to use the flag of the time, and the NZ flag wasn't until 1902, and the Nottingham etc flag/s are even more "modern", as are the flags for the Aussie states (and as I said, nobody would even recognise the pre-Federation flags that were never official anyway).

(P.S. I switched one Jack to the St George, but am strongly considering switching the other to the fern.)

2 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer

Hi! I created the Nonmigrating Ancestor sticker to complement the Migrating Ancestor sticker (created by Lianne Lavoie). Any appropriate flag is good. Both stickers were designed to be flexible (the Nonmigrating one is extremely flexible).

Using the Migrating Ancestor sticker to show that someone moved from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, for example, is one of the intended uses of the sticker. A move from Shetland, Scotland to New Zealand is equally appropriate. The two flags on the sticker do not need to be at the same level (e.g., county and country is fine).

If you have someone who moved from one area to another in the same country, but there is only one appropriate flag, you can use the Nonmigrating sticker to say the person migrated (you only need one image for that sticker).

Between the two stickers, you should be able to craft a sticker to illustrate whatever test you want to highlight - which is why stickers were created... to draw attention to something about the person. They're bling to bring notice to the text that has details.

Cheers, Liz
member, Template Projects

edit - I've been working on the Migrating Ancestor template for so long, I got fuzzy on who actually created it! Lianne created it & Dan Thompson refined & maintained it until he taught me how to in 2016.

by Liz Shifflett G2G6 Pilot (515k points)
selected by Joelle Colville-Hanson
Amazing, thanks so much Liz!
if a flag image is not found in wiki, what guidelines are there for uploading a new small .png or jpg file?

Sticker templates such as "born in" are hard coded for the image used.

Stickers such as migrating ancestor can use any image that is on Wikitree - and if the flag you want doesn't yet have an image on WT, then you can upload one and use it, just as I uploaded images for use in succession boxes :


Also some flags / crests :


What flag/image are you looking for Jim? (They're not always easy to find... best place to start looking is at [[Space: Flags]].)

I added a bunch of flags to Flags of Asia for my great-aunt:

If it's not there yet in the correct folder, you can and should add it, and just make sure it's correct and it's following the correct format.

Actually, now that I think about it, I haven't added my additions to the table on the Flags of Asia page yet, so I should do that.
+9 votes

If you write that they arrived to the United States, I'd use the US flag.  If they arrived to the Virginia Colony when it was a British possession, I'd use the flag in use at that time.  If they migrate from Texas to Idaho, I'd use both state flags.

You can really use any image you want and I'd use the image that was the primary flag of the place location.

by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
That's great to know that there's a precedent for using region-level flags. Thanks!

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