Why do our suggestion lists only use the United States instead of the proper name United States of America?

+14 votes
Why do our suggestion lists only use the United States instead of the proper name United States of America?

Jon P Czarowitz
WikiTree profile: Jon Czarowitz
in The Tree House by Jon Czarowitz G2G6 Mach 4 (40.9k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
United States of Mexico is almost unheard of even though it is technically proper also. The again, why are people from the US called "Americans"? wouldn't that properly be a term of anyone in the western hemisphere? Brazilians are in South America.

So, we fall back on convention. I live in Maine, United States instead of The State of Maine in the United States of America.
I assume it's because of space considerations.  By the time I put in the township, county, and state, there's barely enough room left for just United States.
Using just "United States" as country designator seems very unwise to me.  I think that it could lead to confusion. Since 1891 there's also been a United States of Brazil.  Look it up on Wikipedia.  And then there's the United Mexican States.  Not an exact match, but possibly confusing.

And if the EU ever renames itself to the United States of Europe, that hypothetical change could further confuse things.  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_of_Europe for a discussion of that possibility.

After all, WikiTree is a world-wide tree.  Are there other countries called the united states of something?  We should be more precise.

Here's my 2 cents' worth.  I think WikiTree, FamilySearch, etc., should standardize on either United States of America or USA.  USA is my preference, and that's what I try to use for all my profiles.  It's also nice and short.

4 Answers

+18 votes
Because both forms of usage are standard. One is not more proper than the other. And using "United States" is shorter, without using an acronym, and still unambiguous in its designation.
by Eric Weddington G2G6 Pilot (388k points)
+10 votes

Short Answer. That is what Family search uses.

Long Answer. It comes down to personal preference for the Profile managers and also what is actually programmed by the websites you may be finding your sources . I see USA, U.S.A, US, United States, United States of America on various websites I use to find sources and no doubt there are many different varieties more that some people will use. 

On a side note how do you know that ''United States of America'' is the proper name? I am just questioning it as in New Zealand a lot of towns and places are finding out that their names are not proper gazetted names at all. 


by Darren Kellett G2G6 Pilot (216k points)
That's very interesting historically, is there a discussion listing these places that one could follow?
Darren, United States of America is the proper name and is well documented starting with the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and many other government documents. I myself prefer it but on most of the profiles I manage I just defer to what the suggested names list because it is easier.

The Constitution of the United States

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Proper enough for me I guess. LOL
Lovely, my comment above was for Darren, re the N.Z. place names which I would find interesting.

Looking forward to the 4th July - any excuse for a knees up in our local.
Hi Valerie it's is only stuff in Newspapers that I am seeing the information about places not having proper Gazetted names.

It can probably be found by checking stuff.co.nz or nzherald.co.nz . I know there was a flurry of stories about Levin wanting to use a Maori name and the fact that Levin wasn't a Gazetted name came out. An actual link is not something I have.

LoL Steven you just pointed out another variant as "The United States of America". And it has ''United States'' in there as well. The irony is that I have just finished reading a book that had the constitution as one of the plot points. 

Thanks, googled it; that is interesting, not surprised they are looking at Maori names. How does one pronounce "Levin" if its not Li-vin?

Isn't it THESE United States of America?

Europeans often refer to us as "the States"; Mexicans refer to us as "America" or "Estados Unidos" and themselves as "Mexicanos".  I'm not sure about everyone in the world, but I think both terms are in common usage and people can figure it out.  Very seldom does anyone use the entire proper name. My 2 cents.

Valerie, I've never heard "a knees up in our local" before, but I can guess what it means.  We "belly up" in Nevada.

+7 votes
I would vote for shortening it to USA on wikitree.Gets the point across!!!! With out unnecessary clutter, so easier to read without any distraction & able to move on.
by N Gauthier G2G6 Pilot (218k points)
You can use USA on WikiTree - it is accepted.
+4 votes
About ten years ago, I decide to start using "United States of America" instead of "United States" because it's more proper. I stopped because it's just so much longer to type over and over again. If the WT standard were "United States of America"  I'd change to that as I agree it's more proper, but I'm happy to see that the de facto standard appears to the the shorter version.
by Jeff Gentry G2G6 Mach 1 (16.9k points)

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