How to set up categories/subcategories for an historical reseach project?

+3 votes

The project is the family trees showng the decendants (2 generations intially) of the pioneers who arrived in the first eight ships to Kangaroo Island,South Australia in 1836. 

I'm thinking:

[[Category: Duke of York, Kangaroo Island Pioneer 1836, South Australia, Australia]]

Shoud I consider starting a separate WikiTree "Project"? Or is it too esoteric?

Any advice, please?


in WikiTree Tech by David Wilson G2G5 (5.4k points)
Great question, David, and good luck with your project.

Just to make sure, I assume you've seen this project:
Thank you, Chris.

Yes, I am aware of the project you mentioned, and did write to Paul Bech and am awaiting a reply. I cannot even imagine how busy he is!

I am currently trying to get my head about the categories within categories system - and find it brilliant that one can change them at a later time - but I'm not sure whether I can change any category that I have NOT set up and that it is closely linked in the "web" of similar categories.

 Or indeed, if I can change a category at a later point of time if someone else has chosen to use that category.

Can you please advise?

Hi David - 

Changes do not propogate down. To 'change a category' you have to edit all the pages that link to it. If I have 38 profiles linked to [[Category:Ship, Duke of York]] I have to change all of them to say [[Category:SAC Ship, Duke of York]] -- this is why I said you should consider it a must to come up with a meaningful, manageable, concise name right off the bat. You can change a category - but you have to edit EVERY linked profile. Imagine you write a file number on every page you file away but later change the numbering system and have to go through every page stamping the new number on them.

Adding in or removing intermediary levels of classification can be done later - but the longer you leave it the more likely you will have to edit multiple categories instead of just one. Imagine you put all your files in a drawer sorted by date, but later want to make seperate folders for things you sent and things you recieved; you now have to go through every document and place it in the appropriate folder - or if you were merging the two folders you would have to go through and put everything in date order. The less files when you make the change, the easier it is.

Additional sub-categorization (or cross-categorizing as I would call it) can be done any time. So if I create [[Irish Immigrants to Canada]] as a sub-category of [[Canadian Immigration]]; I can come back at any time and make it also a sub-category of [[Irish Emigrants]]. Imagine you have a document with 2 names on it - you could file it under either name, then later pull the document out, photocopy it and place a copy on each file so you can find it regardless which file you open.

In summary it is easy to change what category a specific item belongs to - it can be hard to change all the specific items that belong to a category

***edit/addendum*** supervisors have a few more options but I am skipping those.

1 Answer

+3 votes

Hi David,

I'm not up on Australian history and I do not know how many people this would cover but my guess is that the scope might be too narrow for a full-on 'project'.

Regardless if a project is merited or not, categorizing would certainly be appropriate. When you are making categories try to capitalize on the fact that you can make a 'spider web' of categories and sub-categories so people can 'drill-down' to your info following different 'paths'.

I don't have the subject knowledge to give good input on the exact break-down but I'll throw out some very rough ideas to try and give you a creative kick-start. You'll need to use your subject knowledge to figure out what is the most sensible organization and category names.

[[Pioneers, Kangaroo Island, AU]] *maybe a sub-category of [[Arrivals_to_South_Australia]] or [[Australian Immigration]] and [[South Australia Company 1834]] and [[Kangaroo Island, South Australia]]

[[South Australia Company 1834]] *sub-category of [[Businesses]] or [[Organizations]] and [[Australian History]] and [[Australian Immigration]]

[[South Australia Company Ships]] *sub-category of [[Ships]] and [[South Australia Company]]

[[SAC ship, Duke of York]], [[SAC ship, Lady Mary Pelham]], [[SAC ship, John Pirie]] etc... *sub-categories of [[South Australia Company Ships]] and [[Pioneers, Kangaroo Island, AU]]

[[SAC Company Officers]] *sub-category of [[South Australia Company 1834]]

Then the individual people can be categorized by the specific ship they arrived on, and as a pioneer/settler of Kangaroo Island, and (if applicable) as a company officer of the South Australia Company.

If you (or someone later) wanted to, for example, provide details about a specific ship then you can add it to the category page. So the Category [[SAC Ship, Duke of York]] might point to the wikipedia article for [[Wikipedia:Duke_of_York_(ship)]] and give some basic details: Launched in 1817 she was first used to carry settlers to Nepean Bay Australia. This was her only succesful voyage as she was wrecked in 1837 near Moreton Bay, Qld, AU on her first whaling voyage.

Also don't feel you need to do all the categories and sub-categories first - you'll probably feel overwhelmed if you try that... choose a start point, so if the idea of listing the 38 passengers of the Duke of York under a category for just that ship makes the most sense just create that category and make it a sub-category of Ships for starters - it can be changed later. The only thing you should consider a MUST do is to come up with a concise, unique, meaningful but manageable category name. [[Category: Duke of York, Kangaroo Island Pioneer 1836, South Australia, Australia]] is just a little long making it prone to typos (or you'll be forced to copy/paste it everytime you want to use it)

by Rob Ton G2G6 Pilot (275k points)
Although you say you might not know much SA history, you certainly seem to have done sufficient reesarch to be able to have effectively answered my question.

Thank you,, Rob.

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