Location names of birth, marriage, death intentionally damaged for 17&18th century Cape region, South Africa.

+4 votes
326 views

Quote from Wikitree Guidelines:

"The standards adopted by the WikiTree community for what to enter in birth, death, and marriage location fields. .... means using place names in native languages and using the names that people at the time used, even if they now no longer exist."

"Cabo de Boa Esperanza" was discovered by the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1488. When it was settled by people from the Netherlands in 1652 they directly translated the name to "Cabo de Goede Hoop" or "de Caep de Goede Hoop". This was what people who lived there at the time called it. Even though new arrivals then would also speak French, German, Swiss German, etc. the official language was Dutch. In English it is "Cape of Good Hope" .

My problem is with the use of the term "Dutch Cape Colony" in the context of an event (birth, marriage, death, etc.). The people who lived there NEVER called it by that name (in any language). It is a 'made up later' name from an English perspective. It is like calling "Nieuw Amsterdam" by the name "Dutch American Colony" or referring to Hong Kong as "British China Colony". After 1806 (with the British annexation) the region became known as "Cape Colony". So the problem is for the period 1652 - 1806.

I am very unhappy that my ancestor's profiles, where I have original documents stating the place to be "Cabo de Goede Hoop", are being changed to "Dutch Cape Colony".  

Numerous other family trees have also been damaged in this way..

I formally request that the term "Dutch Cape Colony" be removed from the list of allowable event place names. 

Also that persons who intentionally change event names to other than Wikitree guidelines be barred from doing so.

How do I get this done?

in Policy and Style by Jan Hendrik Vorster G2G Rookie (250 points)
retagged by Jan Hendrik Vorster
I think you're more likely to get a response from those related with the project  by tagging your post (somewhat ironically)  with 'dutch_cape_colony' and Kaap_de_goede_hoop and South_ Africa
Oh I hope they do soon, I'd love to read the answer
To be clear - I have no issue with place names being changed after due deliberation. You might also be a great help in changing the tens of thousands of profiles seeing that that you are as we so passionate about it. What I do take issue with is your calling these changes 'intentionally damaging / undermining'. I have flagged this question twice now because it assumes bad intentions of those who have worked many years against all odds trying to establish a project that merits research and validity. The names were decided way back ca 6 years ago, when we were still struggling to distinguish the 'Kaapkolonie' as the British Cape Colony was called by the boers in the Colony then, from the project that encompassed the 'VOC'-administrated regions, which were never intended to be a "Dutch" colony I have understood (the intention was a 'verversinspos' (refreshing post) for the Dutch East India company (VOC). We also have the 'Dutch Roots Project', 'German Roots', 'Swedish Roots' etc. WikiTree is an English-language born platform.
Thank you Philip, I thought that your answer was very enlightening, and you are quite right - sorry Oom Jan - I also felt the "intentionally damaged" was a little hurtful since we are all volunteers here and are all trying our best, none of us want to damage profiles. None the less I thought that your question was a good one and again Philip is right when he says that you seem passionate about it and would most likely be a valuable member of the project. I'd love to join the project but I'm worried that I just don't have the experience to be of any value but I'm willing to work hard and learn
Hi Pam you are most welcome to join ... many hands make light work as the saying goes ...

Hi Philip, You have distorted the intent of my statement, so let's clarify that first. I quote you: "your calling these changes 'intentionally damaging / undermining'." I never used the word "undermining"; "Damaging" is a term I obtained from Wikitree guidelines relating to changes made to profiles by someone which goes contrary to their guidelines; "intentional" I get from personal experience when I entered the Cape region name strictly as that prescribed by Wikitree Location naming protocol and you changed it to "Dutch Cape Colony". I have no problem with this 'made up later' description except when used for a place of birth, marriage or death in a profile, because it is absolutely contrary to protocol. If you had used the direct translation, from the original Dutch, "Cape of Good Hope' (for English-only speakers) it would have been acceptable although not strictly correct. I did not assume 'bad intentions' by anybody, only 'non-compliance with location naming protocol'. I really appreciate the effort put in by all to expand the world family tree. Just correct this aberration and you will have my full support even more.

Indeed. Aplogies. You did not use the words 'underming' or 'damaging'. I interpreted the tone as accusative, me having those intentions. While the reality is that I only want to accomodate the truth as historically proven. Those who know me can vouch for that. For now I'm waiting for the leaders to weigh in.
Ahh, you guys are awesome, and make me so proud to be a fellow South African. Thanks Philip, I'll definitely join the project. And thanks Jan for the inspiration, and I hope you'll join the project with me.

4 Answers

+1 vote
Part of the problem might be that a lot of the profiles have no sources, so the location cannot be determined other than by what has been ‘suggested’.

I suggest you enter sources, so it shows why you entered the location as you did,
by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
This is not true. Tens of thousands of PROG (Proginitor) COGH Cape of Good Hope) & SAR (South African Roots project) profiles have sources. This is not the issue.
I was referring to the profiles attached to Jan.
+1 vote
I have taken my guide from the Country naming information as listed on the South Africa Roots project, which does refer to Dutch Cape Colony between 1803-1806. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Project:South_African_Roots/Sources2

Perhaps one of the project leaders can weigh in?
by Tracy Frayne G2G6 Mach 1 (12.1k points)
0 votes
You are correct that "Dutcn Cape Colony" was never an official name but used by the English in reference to it. The name became especially popular amongst scholars and Wikipedia as far as I can tell and thus propagated over the internet.
by Louis Heyman G2G6 Mach 7 (71.1k points)
+2 votes

Hi Jan Hendrik

This a delicate matter and can not be resolved  easy, I am not in charge of the COGH project, but I can add some information and knowledge 

 

I am very unhappy that my ancestor's profiles, where I have original documents stating the place to be "Cabo de Goede Hoop", are being changed to "Dutch Cape Colony".  

This was already explained to you in the private conversation we had. Pointing out that we needed to have a distinction between the time periods when the VOC and Britain was in charge,  but as Louis pointed out a rather poor choice it seems and used incorrectly it seems, but it was the best solution at the time. 

I am sure if anyone had a better workable solution the Project would have been happy to use it :-)

Also that persons who intentionally change event names to other than Wikitree guidelines be barred from doing so.

We can not barr anyone from editing profiles and I would recommend you correspond with the persons involved or if you can not come to an agreement  ask a mediator to intervene and help solve the problem 

Also

We all have action on profiles we manage that are incorrect or controversial and I am happy to report WikiTree made available the option to reverse changes, should you feel you have exhausted your options of communication. :-P 

I formally request that the term "Dutch Cape Colony" be removed from the list of allowable event place names.

This is not a decision that can be made by only a few members or leadership alone

We need a mandate from the Cape of Good Hope members before we can just remove place names on a large scale  

I recommend we start a voting proses 

A vote option should  be available to all members as this will result in a huge amount of profiles that must be changed,  if we do start to change about 20 000 profiles the members need to know the intention and or reason.   

I hope this will help explain the reason for the changes and also how we might resolve the matter 

Warm Regards 

R

 

 

 

 

by Ronel Olivier G2G6 Mach 7 (77.3k points)
If I remember correctly, the name was allowed because most of the profiles are in English on this mostly English website. It does reference the right place, only difference is, it is in English.

Our time would be much better spent adding sources to profiles, though I would support not changing the place name to Dutch Cape Colony when there are already a correct name.

Hi Ronel,

I have entered my replies in red below:

Hi Jan,

This a delicate matter and can not be resolved  easy, I am not in charge of the COGH project, but I can add some information and knowledge 
Ronel, you are project leader for South African Roots & substitute for Susan on COGH (which is a sub-project to SAR). So you do have much influence
I am very unhappy that my ancestor's profiles, where I have original documents stating the place to be "Cabo de Goede Hoop", are being changed to "Dutch Cape Colony".  
This was already explained to you in the private conversation we had. Pointing out that we needed to have a distinction between the time periods when the VOC and Britain was in charge,  but as Louis pointed out a rather poor choice it seems and used incorrectly it seems, but it was the best solution at the time. 
The choice was obvious: You should have checked the Wikitree location naming protocol and followed it by NOT using "Dutch Cape Colony" but the closest English equivalent: "Cape of Good Hope". This is still not strictly correct but would be an acceptable compromise to accommodate English-only readers.
I am sure if anyone had a better workable solution the Project would have been happy to use it :-)
What I am suggesting now, belatedly, is the "better workable solution".
Also that persons who intentionally change event names to other than Wikitree guidelines be barred from doing so.

We can not bar anyone from editing profiles and I would recommend you correspond with the persons involved or if you can not come to an agreement  ask a mediator to intervene and help solve the problem 

The person involved was Philip. From Philip's latest G2G reply: "I only want to accommodate the truth as historically proven. Those who know me can vouch for that. For now I'm waiting for the leaders to weigh in."
I interpret that as that he now agrees with me (regarding place names for birth, marriage & death.)
Also
We all have action on profiles we manage that are incorrect or controversial and I am happy to report WikiTree made available the option to reverse changes, should you feel you have exhausted your options of communication. :-P 
So that is another option.
I formally request that the term "Dutch Cape Colony" be removed from the list of allowable event place names.
This is not a decision that can be made by only a few members or leadership alone.
As a start and a showing of good faith on your part, all you need to do is to remove the words "Dutch Cape Colony" from the Cape column in the SA country names table. That one single action should prevent the problem from getting bigger by the day.
We need a mandate from the Cape of Good Hope members before we can just remove place names on a large scale.  .
Do you really think you need a vote to correct a mistake you made 6 years ago? It boils down to correcting a spelling mistake!

 

I recommend we start a voting process. 
If it makes you happy, do it, but look at my suggestion below and then explain to the members that it is to correct a mistake which is absolutely contrary to Wikitree location naming protocol.
A vote option should  be available to all members as this will result in a huge amount of profiles that must be changed,  if we do start to change about 20 000 profiles the members need to know the intention and or reason.  
If we go for the compromise of using "Cape of Good Hope" instead of "Dutch Cape Colony", it could be done by using a substitution program. I am sure Brian Casey could help under the circumstances. To quote Wikitree's own words:. "Brian is our system administrator. Our lead programmer. Our hacker-in-chief"  He helps  Chris Whitten, Founder and President of Wikitree. (They may wish to replace with "Cabo de Goede Hoop", if they insist on conformance to the location naming protocol). 
.If you do it this way, nobody has to do anything manually on any profile.
I hope this will help explain the reason for the changes and also how we might resolve the matter 
If we can do this within the SA group (maybe with the help of the 'Head Office' techie), It would be much better than If I had to go through all 8 stages of conflict escalation, (right up to Chris Whitten),. 
As this is about correcting a large amount of erroneous field entries, I think it would not be logical to try and decide it by a member's vote as it is a matter of 'Head Office' policy, which should be consistently enforced.

HI Louis, You state: "only difference is, it is in English." That is incorrect; In English it is "Cape of Good Hope". The term "Dutch Cape Colony" is absolutely contrary to Wikitree's Location naming protocol.

I never stated that Dutch Cape Colony is a correct translation only that it is a commonly used English term which has been widely accepted.

I suggest you put forward a proposal in G2G regarding the use of the term. I also suggest you add positive and negative answers that can be appropriately upvoted with reasons.
Hi Jan,

I see you are fairly new to WikiTree - welcome!  Things don't always happen as quickly on this site as some members desire - partly because our staff is small and we can't make changes as quickly as some might like and partly because we don't like to make rash changes and take time to consider the impact and effect of decisions overall.

The project leaders are aware of your concerns now and have asked for your patience and time while they communicate with project members and do some research of their own to ensure the right steps are made going forward. Please be respectful of their request :)  

Thank you!
Hi Jan, just a note on Brian and how changes are made. While it is true Brian is one of the gurus helping to operate the backend, changes are not done through his side in this fashion. WikiTree will never make these types of changes through the database because it can disrupt (and corrupt) the change histories which we all rely on for a wiki.

With that said, this type of change could be done by Aleš and EditBOT, but would have to be discussed and approved by the community as a whole.

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