Where was President Sukarno born?

+9 votes

President Sukarno of Indonesia was born in 1901.  But where was he born? He was born in Surabaya (then spelled Soerabaia), but where was Surabaya, a city on the island of Java?  It was not in Indonesia, because Indonesia did not exist as a country then.  As English speakers, we could say Sukarno was born in the Dutch East Indies.  But the Dutch rulers of the country called it Nederlands-Indië.  And in the Indonesian language, which President Sukarno spoke, that would be Hindia Belanda.

The basic WikiTree principle is to honor the names the person being profiled would have used, and to use the place names in existence at the time.   Sukarno died in Jakarta, Indonesia.  That's simple (well, maybe not -- it was spelled Djakarta at the time).  But where was he born?



WikiTree profile: Koesno Sukarno
in Policy and Style by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (384k points)

I like Hindia Belanda. The Javanese kingdoms had all acknowledged Dutch overlordship at the time, so they would have said they were part of Hindia Belanda, albeit grudgingly. I did think (and have used) "now Indonesia". but am more than happy to change it.

When we get to Bali, however, the categorisation cannot use Hindia Belanda until all of the Kingdoms of Bali were finally overthrown . The last one gave in in 1909/  The 1906 puputan (mass suicides) of the royal families of Badung was the first recorded on camera and it brought international condemnation on the Dutch for their horrific handling of the taking of South Bali. Over 1000 people (men, women and children) died .

In thinking of other precedents, I'm recalling that for the birth place of some of my ancestors I have properly said, "Prince Georges (now Montgomery) County, Maryland.  That is to say, they were born in a particular spot which was located in Prince Georges County at the time (and contemporary land records would be in Prince Georges County) but the same identical spot is now located in Montgomery County.

4 Answers

+4 votes

My inclination would be to use the local language. Most multi-lingual political entities had names (at least unofficially) in the common languages spoken in the various parts of the country. Hungarians didn't call Austria-Hungary Österreich-Ungarn but Osztrák–Magyar Monarchia.

by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (551k points)
+3 votes

My inclination would be to call it Surabaya, Java. That is, provide a geographic designation that should adequately identify the location.

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
Hi, Ellen -- one place I'm coming from with the question is the context of all the discussions on colonial US place names -- where gedcoms slap USA on all sorts of pre-1776 profiles, and others have wanted colonial Maryland to be in "British America", etc.  In this case, Java was certainly a recognizable location, but it was definitely part of a larger entity with a ruler designated by the Netherlands.  But one reason for posting this on G2G is to tease out what underlying principle WikiTree would use more broadly, because this kind of question will pop up all over the world!
I happen to dislike the idea that every historical location needs to identify the political jurisdiction of the moment. I think the focus should be on providing a geographic reference that is based on how the geography was understood at the time of the event.
I think the identification of the political entity does add to an understanding of some genealogical events. To apply this in a wider context, I think it is easier to understand why after the 30 Years' War some people in South Bohemia came from Silesia and others from Tyrol when one knows that all those areas belonged to the Habsburg lands as opposed to thinking about Poland, the Czech Republic, and Italy.

My vote: As long as Wikitree just have one field for birth location use that to something that can be displayed on todays maps.... compare 

Add in the freetext the historical name... maybe we should create a template {{HistoricalName|Nederlands-Indië||Q11462}}

where Q11462 is the Wikidata location object for the place... see my other answer...   

Magnus, I think you'll find the historians among us would go crazy if that became a WikiTree policy because we strive for historical accuracy!  

When my college changed its name in 2004, the public relations people in charge of the effort sent a letter to all the graduates -- including those who graduated 50 years before, offering them new diplomas with the new school name on it.  This gesture was met with anger among the graduates, all of whose memories were associated with the old name.  Yes, today's graduates are fond of the new name, but the old graduates know they graduated from the old name school, not the new name school.
;-) @Jack Day and we with IT background get nuts why we just should have just one field for something so complex as a location.....

Feels like if we had just one name field and was arguing if we should store name at Birth, current name or first name in this single field....
Magnus -- I think we're very much in agreement that trying to make one data field serve too many purposes is a problem.  As WikiTree evolves into the truly global connection that Chris wants, it will inevitably have to add some data fields and display options to accomodate different place names according to language (Belgrade vs. Beograd, etc);  different place names according to date (Byzantium vs. Constantinople vs. Istanbul, etc), and different name structures  (family name last as in European derived systems, family name first as in Chinese and other Asian systems, and family name in the middle as in formal Latin American names that add a person's mother's maiden name at the end.)  In the meantime, we have to work together and try to do as little damage to each others' objectives as possible!

@Jack Day

Good and I think lesson learned now when I try to connect Wikitree and Wikidata is that we should use templates for information that we think need to be moved to a specific field.... are we lucky it will help....

My problem  (or anyone who would like to connect WikiTree and Wikipedia/Wikidata) is to find all profiles in WikiTree with a connection to Wikidata....  see G2G

The strength of WikiTree -- and its weakness -- is its desire to combine many competing objectives -- more than other sites.  So we have the statistician who wants to note "Mary Smith was born August 2, 1943 weighing 7 lbs 5 oz", the genealogist who wants to note "Mary Smith was born to John and Delores Smith", the historian who wants to note "Mary Smith was born during a series of enemy air raids, the sociologist who wants to note that "Mary Smith was born in humble circumstances in one of London's tenements" and the biographer who wants to put all this together in some interesting fashion.   Whenever one proposes that "things must now be done in such and such a way", one of those interests is threatened and people will get upset.   So I suggest that the best way to develop profiles that connect with wikidata in a way that hopefully everyone is happy with is to take one or two profiles and experiment with them until all the competing objectives are worked out!
+2 votes

Place of birth wiki/Q11462 coordinate location 7°14'S, 112°44'E
Place of death wiki/Q3630 coordinate location 6°10'S, 106°48'E
Sukarno = wiki/Q76127

See video https://youtu.be/FgwDrNQ_xW8

See map where his birth and death location is added


by Living Sälgö G2G6 Pilot (275k points)
edited by Living Sälgö
But Magnus, the locations you have given are the PRESENT locations.  The present location of Surabaya is not in question.  The issue is what do we call it in 1901?  Furthermore, the word "Indonesia" is convenient because it is the same in many languages.  But once you revert to 1901, you have two languages in use.

I understand the question what should we add in the birth location field

My vote:

  1. As long as Wikitree just have one field for birth location then there is no good solution so then I think the guidelines for WikiTree is wrong and we should
    1. Add name of the location today in the field so you can display it on a map
    2. Add the historical correct name(s) or names in other labguages in free text in the bio section or we create a template.... 
  2. If Wikitree will change and add more fields or do a solution like WikiData to have a location object (or use Wikidata location object?) then
    1. Support Historical correct names see wiki/Surabaya#History
    2. Add GPS coordinates
    3. Add name today

map 1897 from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surabaya

0 votes
Surabaya city, East Java, Indonesai
by Hin Gwan 兴 源 汤 G2G1 (1.3k points)

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