Is there any way we can retain the category "Category: Victoria, Needs Birth Record" [closed]

+5 votes

I've just depleted the category Victoria, Needs Birth Record, and no profiles remain in it. That's not to say that profiles don't belong in it! There are tonnes in the broader "Needs Birth Record" category that were born in Victoria.

I know the Australia Project wants to delete this category, as they don't like it within their structure. Is there a way for the category to keep existing, perhaps outside the project structure?

I don't want to use personal categories, but I will periodically keep chipping away at Australian location categories such as this, if they exist. If the categories are in the broader 'Needs Birth Record' category, they will be far harder to find for sourcing sprints.

Re-introducing location-based 'Needs categories... 

  • Helps those with a special interest (in mass-adding a specific type of record to Australian profiles) to find profiles they may want to investigate or collaborate on.
  • Provides a place for Wikitreers to 'tag' that a profile needs a particular type of location-based source, when they don't have the time/inclination/browser capacity to search for the source itself (for example, if they're on their phone accessing profiles, instead of at a PC with search and browser capacity)
  • Allows for collaboration between different individuals using the same category, rather than dozens of different personal categories for different people
  • Means the generic (non-location) maintenance categories are less of a jumble (currently mostly Aus profiles, jumbled in with profiles from other locations)
  • Categories are far more accessible and easier to use than Wikitree+:
    • less stable (many members have trouble accessing Wikitree+ and have run into trouble with the site experiencing downtime)
    • when a category is deleted from a profile, the category contents is updated automatically. Not so on Wikitree+, which has a long lag (try it for yourself, navigate to a list of profiles that need a death record on Wikitree+n add the record and remove the category from the profile, then reload the list... it will still have the profile you have updated on it)
    • less intuitive
    • returns results that aren't in that location (for example, 'Victoria' will return Canadian profiles in Victoria, Canada, while a search like ( will return profiles that weren't born in Queensland


  • Avoids Australian-based maintenance categories with hundreds or thousands of profiles
  • Avoids Australia Project members 'feeling they need to work on' maintenance 
  • Avoids having thousands of profiles added to Australian maintenance categories, generally by one member, when in most cases the record could be easily found
  • Not required, as there are hundreds of NSW/Vic/Qld etc. birth records in the generic {{Unsourced}} and 'Needs Birth Record' and state-by-state records are easily identified by sight
  • Not required as some people find Wikitree+ provides the same/more efficient ability
closed with the note: Category no longer exists; discussion has been resolved
in The Tree House by Clare Spring G2G6 Mach 3 (36.8k points)
closed by Julie Ricketts

I would tend to agree with the project in this case, Victoria is not specific enough, when I saw this I thought you were speaking of the city of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.

Hi Danielle, 

If this is an issue, the word 'Australia' could be happily tacked in. Or I would be happy with a "Australia, Needs Birth Record" to at least bring it down a level from the generic category.

But, this is not the reason the Australia Project doesn't like the category. They have plenty of Victorian maintenance categories, but they don't like the "needs birth record added" style. See related G2G post when they made this decision, at the time I was told that personal categories were the only way forward, but personal categories do not suit me - too much of a burden for me as an individual. I am happy to share the work, however.

Right now, I know of at least one member who is making individual edits to delete the category Victoria, Needs Death Record from profiles, without adding anything else during these edits (not the death record; not the generic "Needs Death Notice", nothing). I feel that edits like this are destructive, destroying the work of other members who are trying to improve the site (haha and "the cite"), and even if I agreed with it, this type of destruction could be more efficiently by a bot.

Since the Australia Project's decision was made around 2 months ago, the "Victoria, Needs Birth Record" tag has been removed from around 3,072 profiles. I hope that for the most part, the removal has been to signify a Victorian birth records has been added (or found to be non-suitable for such a profile), despite edits of the type I describe in the paragraph above. Interestingly, also, since the Australia Project's 23 Sep decision, the number of profiles in the generic "Needs Birth Record" category has risen to 5127 from 2930. I would hazard a bet many of these are Australian profiles that are no longer allowed a lower level category. I hope they don't get overlooked in the broader category by people (like me) who would otherwise be happy to participate in this way from time to time, but disagree with making the process harder for members.

Oh Clare I empathize with you and hope there is a reasonable solution to this. Although this falls under the purview of the Australia project, does it not also fall under the guidance of the Categorization and Profile Improvement Projects? I would love to hear Doug's, Steven's, or Amy's thoughts on this.

Moving forward into 2021 and with consideration to the Year of Accuracy proposal I would think that one of the things we would strive for is consistent applications of things like categories, templates, and stickers across WikiTree. I freely admit that my research interests are heavily saturated in Ontario, Canada -- but that doesn't mean I don't come across profiles of people who came from somewhere else (mostly UK) or moved off to somewhere else (mostly the USA). Here is where I can add the maintenance category (ie Illinois, Needs Birth Record; England, Needs Marriage Record, etc) and be on my way. If I can't find the category finding the common language most of them are set up with, then what? 

These are helpful and important comments, Christine. Much of the emphasis for the Year of Accuracy proposals has been on individual profiles and how to get all WikiTreers to create ones of a high standard. But we also need to look at deeper structural arrangements, and the way projects are organised will be an important factor.

Coordination between projects so as to use uniform methodologies is important both for the purpose of working towards a consistent style across profiles, and so as to make it easier for WikiTreers—such as Clare in this case—to do their valuable work as smoothly as possible.
Thanks Jim and Christine, I really appreciate the empathy and thoughtful comments.

4 Answers

+4 votes
Best answer

If the Australia project wants to use the generic category "Needs Birth Record" rather than the specific "Victoria, Needs Birth Record", you can still find the profiles you are interested in using WikiTree+. The following query will list just the profiles born in Victoria, Australia that are in the "Needs Birth Record" category (just press the blue "Get Profiles" button on the left to run the query):

by Paul Masini G2G6 Pilot (162k points)
selected by Clare Spring
This is great, thanks Paul!

It's definitely the next best thing to having the categories in place. The only things I like more about the categories is the instant update (Wikitree+ depends on data refreshes that are I think daily?) and of course format.

But I am so happy with this as an approximate solution. Thanks so much for the idea, and also for providing the direct link. I am a little confused about adding two searches on top of each other in Wikitree+, will keep playing around to try to work it out!
+4 votes
What about adding it to your scratch pad on your Nav Home Page? I have lots of links in mine and it's handy.
by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (802k points)
Thanks Natalie, it's not the link I'm losing, rather I'm sad that the category is planned to be deleted by the Australia Project and I feel powerless to keep it around. Do you know if there's a way to have it retained without project ownership?
I can put it into the Needs Birth Record category and it won't be attached to the project BUT people might stick profiles in it and the project won't be aware. So, I am not sure it's a good idea.
Hmm, agreed its not as good as it being Project-sanctioned, but as that is not looking likely, maybe it's the best idea yet?
Good idea, Natalie. Since the project wants the existing category deleted, maybe they won't mind. This sounds a sensible way of allowing Clare to continue her valuable work, and encourage other people to do likewise.
+4 votes

There's Category: Victoria, Needs Birth Source Researched.

by Leandra Ford G2G6 Pilot (102k points)
Thanks Leandra,

To use 'Victoria, Needs Birth Source Researched', you need to search for the record and fail to find it. I am told the Australia Project doesn't want profiles added to the category where the record is not yet searched for.
Victorian BDM indexes are available online for free.

The vast majority of Victorian profiles can have a source added directly, rather than triple handling. Profiles are handled at least three times when the creator doesn't source, someone else adds it to a category, and a third person actually sources it.

Many of us who source tend to keep templates on a free space page to save time.
+4 votes
Under the Needs Birth Record category I see there is no sub category for anywhere in Australia. Should there not be an "Australia, Needs Birth Record" Category??

I have looked under the Australia Maintenance Categories and the only one related to birth records is the Needs Birth Source Researched, which, to my mind, is not exactly the same as "Needs Birth Record".

I appreciate that the Australia team is revamping the categories; is there a plan to make the category names consistent with other location maintenance categories?

Further to this, for example, in Canada, we have "Needs Birth Record" categories for each province (or at least, that's the goal!). Considering the size of Australia, should there then not be sub categories for each state (New South Wales, Needs Birth Record, Queensland, Needs Birth Record, etc)?
by Christine Daniels G2G6 Pilot (104k points)
We used to have them, but the AP leadership has decided to stop using those.  Hence Clare's plea to retain them in some way.
I like the Canadian system and would prefer that to be the Australian approach too (and like Melanie said, it did used to be), but I am not sure if I am allowed to set it up without the Aust Project or the Categories Project sanctioning it, and as I am aware that the Australia Project is against this structure, I don't know where else to turn :( any ideas? Or should I just give up on this and leave the "Needs" categories alone?

hmm, I think you have double work here, this 'Victoria, Needs Birth Source Researched' should actually cover the same thing, if a profile has that, then to actually resolve the issue, one would need to find the birth record.  Once that is found and entered, zip, remove the category as no longer required.  Doesn't need the category Victoria, needs birth record also.

I tend to agree, but the view of the Australia Project (see announcement on G2G) is:

The maintenance categories "Australia (or State), Needs Birth/Death/Marriage Record" are being changed to maintenance "research" categories, in the format "Australia (or State), Needs Birth/Death/Marriage Source Researched". The Project would like these categories to only be added to a profile where the member has searched for the source and is unable to find it, so needs assistance from someone with more expertise or access to subscriptions records. We also request it is not added to a profile that also has an "Unsourced" tag applied. 

Related questions

+9 votes
4 answers
+7 votes
2 answers
+12 votes
3 answers
+4 votes
3 answers
+5 votes
1 answer

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright