What is the purpose of the region-surname categories?

+11 votes

How is it different from say posting Category: Arlington, Virginia to a profile vs posting Category: Arlington, Virginia, Surnames?

in Policy and Style by James Applegate G2G6 Mach 5 (54.4k points)

4 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer

Hi James, 

I asked this same question recently when we were establishing a standard category structure for locations to be used in the one name studies project. The thought behind a surname category was to index any family names that lived in a particular area, but to my way of thinking, this is already accomplished when the location category is added to a profile, automatically populating the location category page with names.

In my opinion, a separate category for Surnames is not necessary and could be removed, but if other members are finding them useful, then that's what is important.

ONS project leaders are finding great use in the ability to organize family lines by location and I believe it is helpful for people to visit a location category and see that there are name studies available for specific surnames. As more and more leaders populate their ONS projects with location categories, I would think that these categories would trump a surname category.


by Alison Andrus G2G6 Mach 4 (46.8k points)
selected by James Applegate
+3 votes
Hi, James --

I don't see that category listed. Was that just an example?

I'm curious about that, too. Would you mind giving a link???


by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (425k points)
Hi Julie,

There is a category page just for surnames here: http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:Surnames

They are also set up by location, for example: http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:Ireland_Surnames
Hello Julie,

Yes, it was just an example. The links Alison provided will take you actual ones, some also broken down by time frames as well. I am starting to understand some of the useful applications of such categories.

Thanks, Alison!

I understand using the surname categories for One Name Studies and the regional surname categories make sense, too, but I'm confused about adding something like [[Category: Cottingham]] to a profile. Why not just use the genealogy page in this case?

For example, there's a category for Cottingham that will only contain profiles that were explicitly categorized, and there's the genealogy page for Cottingham where all profiles will automatically be listed because they have the surname Cottingham.

Am I missing something?? :-/

I completely agree with you, Julie! It is very redundant. The only thing I can figure out is that maybe it started out as a "top level" surname category and was meant to house other categories with the surname combined with a location. Otherwise, it makes no sense to me.
0 votes

Is a category with location the best way to track a surname?

Must be easier to have a surname category and have the location(s) on the profiles....

Or if templates with locations can't be used on Wikitree do everything outside Wikitree and create a custom google map and add locations of people on that map....

Example custom Google map tracking a Westlund family 

by Living Sälgö G2G6 Pilot (275k points)
edited by Living Sälgö
+2 votes

While I sympathize with the reasons why people are creating these categories, it seems to me that the growing number of One-Name Study categories could make it harder to use categories for other genealogical purposes. Within my own family lines, the number of categories listed on some profiles is starting to explode due to their placement not only in One-Name categories for the person's surname(s) but also in One-Name subcategories like Hendrick Branch and ONS Military and Servicemen and descendant categories like Descendants of Robert Harrington. Where will it all end?

I like place categories, particularly for villages, towns and cities, because I believe they can be helpful resources for identifying additional relatives and sources for an ancestor who is known to have lived in a particular community. The advent of surnames-by-place categories has the potential to greatly increase the number of different places we need to look to find the names of people who lived in a particular place. If these are widely adopted, I could no longer skim Category: Braintree, Massachusetts to find people mentioned in a source about one of my Braintree ancestors -- I'd also need to look in the Massachusetts Surnames category and Norfolk County Surnames category to see names of people from Braintree that might have instead been placed into a surname-specific category.

Some of my limited exploration of these surname-by-place categories makes me think that categorization might not be the best way to serve the intended purpose. For example, the category Clark County, Ohio, Lockharts looks to me like it should be a free-space page. Couldn't it be converted to a free-space page -- then recategorize the one profile in that category in Category: Clark County, Ohio (or whatever town in Clark County he lived in)?

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
edited by Ellen Smith
I see what you mean, Ellen! We do have standardized one name study categories that belong to the project and are very basic, but I would define these other categories you mentioned as personal categories. Some people love to index profiles to the nth degree, but should keep in mind that categories should have value and serve a greater purpose.

The surname categories do not belong to the ONS project and should be considered more general in their scope.
I think you are correct. A free space page would be more functional. I will not be using any low level surname categories.

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