How to handle the former colonies that merged into Canada?

+5 votes

The Canada category is so cluttered that I've been thinking of ways to organise it. (One thing I've been doing is going into individual profiles which have [[Category:Canada]] in them, trying to figure out what the correct category should be, and applying it.)

I've noticed that the former British colonies, dominion, and territories that now make up Canada are all handled differently:

  1. Some of them (not all) have been linked upwards into the Canada category. I was wondering if we should create a new category (preferably with a name somewhat shorter and snappier than [[Category:Former British colonies, dominion, and territories that now make up Canada]] wink), link all those territories to there, and then link up from that category to Canada.
  2. Then, I noticed that some (not many) of those territories (even fewer than the ones which currently link up to Canada) are linked upwards to the North America category. That actually makes sense, because those jurisdictions were part of North America (which, after all, is a geographic, rather than legal or political, category).
  3. Currently, the various colonies that went into British Columbia are mutually linked to each other, but none of them are linked upwards to either Canada or North America.

Any one of these options makes sense to me. Or, we could work up a sort of hybrid approach, where the various jurisdictions are mutually linked, like we've done in B.C., and also linked upwards to a new category containing all of them, and then link upwards to Canada and/or North America. But it seems to me that, whichever way we go, we should do it consistently: all these colonies, dominion, and territories should be linked the same way, not some one way, some another, and some still another.

What say we all?

in Policy and Style by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (513k points)
recategorized by Jillaine Smith
I love this idea, but I've been avoiding thinking about it, because it's so complicated. I feel like a [[Category:North America, Historical Geography]] might be the most *accurate* supercategory to hold all the pre-Columbian-through-today subcategories. But it might not be the most obvious place that people would go to find, say, Iroquois Nation, Acadia, or Colony of Massachusetts place names.

It's possible the right approach would be to have the [[Category:North America, Historical Geography]] category. And then, under Canada have a [[Category: Provinces, Canada]] with the modern province names as subcategories. In the hatnote, have a blurb that says something like:

"These categories only apply to Canada after 1867 (1949 in the case of Newfoundland). The modern country of Canada, in the upper reaches of North America, lies in a region with a complex history, and the territory has historically been the site of a number of autonomous regions, and colonies governed by European countries; and a large number of indigenous Nations that held territory before and after 1492. See [[:Category:North America, Historical Geography]] to find the appropriate place names and categories for anyone who lived before Canadian Confederation in 1867"

5 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer

Barry Sweetman's space page  links to both the Canadian spreadsheet  and the American spreadsheet that we both worked on trying to reference the historical names of areas by state or province based on who had the strongest claim. They are linked to wikipedia articles and also are full of notes to try to bring clarity to a very confusing situation.

If nothing else, it would at least make a very good reference and could possibly be used as a common link through the different categories.

by Steven Tibbetts G2G6 Pilot (340k points)
selected by Brad Foley
Yes. The spreadsheet is quite good and would be a logical starting place.
Yes! This really needs to be sorted out. I've done some work (trying to keep things consistent with other projects, and WikiTree guidelines), but especially at the upper-level of organisation it's a mess.

Using Barry Sweetman's scheme, I've set up pre-1867 categories for many of the Maritime regions (here's a spreadsheet of my categories and space pages):

I've also, in the Newfoundland Project, set up pre-1949 categories:

For the Atlantic provinces, I've focussed on Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, because that's where the majority of my tree sits. New Brunswick and PEI need some love.
Sort of deconstructing the sheet on a town level? lol. That is similar to how he had the original Canadian sheet set up with links jumping back and forth. I thought it was less confusing to move back through time going from today on the left to pre-colonial and native times on the right.

As long as it works and it is not to hard to figure out then it should help.
The spreadsheet admittedly might not be the best way to organize this.

Most of the organisation is supposed to be at the town and category level. I've been trying to write descriptive hatnotes, and Alex made a good infobox to help navigate between historically prior and succeeding historical periods:
that is where I first became a fan of the spreadsheet - the Canada Part - forgot about it as I have been stuck in the lower 48 for quite a while - need to get back to my northern folks soon
Brad, the spreadsheet won't build the category tree but it will allow you to see where things might need to be placed.  Personally I think it would be easier categorically to find where it is today, go to that place and find the name you want listed under say a historic place section. But that is just my thoughts.
I don't disagree that the spreadsheet won't build the category tree. And there might be an easier way of organizing the spreadsheet. It was mostly my attempt to organize myself, hopefully it's useful to other people, but I'm not very worried if it's not the optimal design. The real work is in the actual categories that have been created.

It's an open spreadsheet that anyone can edit, so if you'd like to add something, or make changes---feel free. Don't delete things, though.
Check the sample tab for how I would have put it. You may like it, you may not. But there is enough there to get the idea.

This could also encompass all the provinces/ territories on one sheet.
That makes a fair bit of sense. I'd probably organize it slightly differently: I'm trying to have a single free space across all the different time periods, and it's only the categories that are changing. So I'd probably have the first column be "Town name and free space page", and have the categories follow.

When I have some time, I'll create a table like you suggest! Thanks.

Ok, there is a start. Once you learn the tricks of merging cells, doing borders, and using CTRL-Enter for line breaks in merged cells it gets easier.

Canada Town Categories

Yeah, that might work. It looks like it might be easier for people to add new towns in this format, in the case that they want to use the spreadsheet for work.

Probably the thing to do will be for me to finish formatting it, and then link to it from the Nova Scotia etc. project pages.

Glad I could help. After All the fun with the Canadian and US spreadsheet, if you need any help "call me". I'll stay far away and advise. LOL cheeky

+4 votes
I agree that it needs to be consistent and it also needs to be well documented. I currently spend a lot of time with PEI and NB families and haven't gotten around to categorizing them.
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (448k points)
Well I am glad to see this work being done, thank you and it is nice knowing someone is sorting it out
+3 votes

well, the Canada category is one of those categories like the category:Canada, Nouvelle-France that is a mother category to a lot of others.  In Québécois project the tag {{Canada_Nouvelle-France}} has been put on a whole bunch of profiles, set to categorize as well as put a sticker on the profile.  Eventually all those profiles should get tagged with the correct locational sub-categories, but that will take a while.  Fortunately our friend Ales gave us a handy tool to do that with.

As far as structure goes, the problem I see with the category Canada is that the time frames are different for each area.  Confederation only had 4 provinces included originally, the old united province of Canada which were upper and lower Canada (now Ontario and Québec), Nova-Scotia and New Brunswick.  Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, B.C., PEI came later into it, with the last being Newfoundland in 1949.

And then of course you have the fact that Canada originally is the French colony in the St-Lawrence valley.  laugh  We want something that reflects things accurately and is also very simple for people to find and follow.  As one of my project fellows puts it, KISS principle applies.  It has to be user friendly or people will create their own systems. 

I would not go with the notion of category:North America Historical geography myself, just adds confusion to the mix.  The region main category of North America already leads to where all places are on the continent.

by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (481k points)
Taking a look at the tree structure, I see ''Canadian Emigrants'' and ''Emigrants from Canada'' as 2 separate categories, definitely redundant.

We also have to sort out the whole set of ''place, Québec'' as opposed to ''place, Québec Province'', where the latter is from 1763 to 1794 when the name was changed to Canada, upper and lower, right now modern day places are getting the tag ''place, Québec'', which can be confused with the earlier place name.  Some profiles actually have had this done to them.

The migration categories are in the middle of being rearranged. There's a space called Migration Category Structure outlining the system that we're moving to. I've never used immigration or emigration categories, so none of the profiles on my watchlist should need to be changed, thank goodness. 

lord, just took a look at that, can somebody make it more user friendly and have less technical jargon in it please.  As a suggestion, instead of having ''emigrant from-to'' and ''immigrants from-to'' as separate items, might we simply call them all ''migrants from-to''?  That way both exit and entry are covered by one term.  Would save a lot of duplication also.
That is the "landing category" actually. It is split between Emigrate and Immigrate until you get to the actual Migrate. That is why it is a little tough setting it up on the fly. So you hit on it by accident Danielle. Don't you feel part of the "kewl Klub" now? lol

actually, Isabelle has been working on the Francophone portal and creating categories for migrants, and only uses the term Migrant, not Émigrant nor Immigrant (same as in English pretty much).  So can't really take credit for it.wink

Well, if you can envision it, it is like 2 trees "Emigrate from xx to xx" and "Immigrate to xx from xx" that both work their way down and then the link is "Migrate from xx to xx" which links to both. That is part of the reason it takes a bit to get it set up is because it is a dual linked category tree.
Why the duplication?  Sounds like a whole lot of work for nothing when the ''Migrant to-from'' covers everything.  Not as if it would leave anything in mystery.  Unless you want to count the people who left their country to go someplace else and never made it, perished at sea etc.
The wanted an "immigrated to from" and an "emigrated from to" set of categories. And then the one you actually use on the profile joins them and is called "migrated to from".

Not my fault. I joined right after it had been decided and it was discussed in G2G somewhere. So the one you use on the profile looks simple but it is tough to initially get it set up.
+5 votes

Well, one of the standards that was put in place when we first started the place categories (and hasn't changed as far as I know) was that place names that no longer exist were made subcategories of the next place name in that location. So for example, Winnipeg used to be the Red River Colony, so Red River Colony is a subcategory of Winnipeg (and also of Rupert's Land, because that was the entity it was a part of at the time).

I think that should stay the same, and that where that isn't being done currently, we should start. One additional thing I've always meant to do (and have done here and there) is have links in the text portion of the category page linking to earlier and later places. Category:Canada West is a good example of that (with links back to Upper Canada and forward to Ontario), though I think it could even be made clearer.

As for what belongs in the main Canada category: old place names that weren't part of Canada (eg. everything pre-1867) should, in my opinion, not be in that top category. Instead they should be subcategories of more specific locations. That would declutter Category:Canada a bit.

by Lianne Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (425k points)
You could always have a historical section that contains all the older names like "Canada East 1841-1867" and "Lower Canada 1791-1841" for example. This would let you know it is a historical name since it would be in the historical section and give the range it covers.

Just a few thoughts to try and make things clearer.
I think the reasons we never included dates in the category names were 1) you'd have to type the dates every time you use the category and 2) when current place names become historical place names they'd have to be edited to include the dates, rather than just being moved to a new subcategory.
There is debate still as to the very name Canada-East, Canada-West, it appears to have been an administrative usage only, and there was an act of parliament which reverted it to Upper Canada/Bas Canada in 1849.
Regarding the Ontario categories, Lianne this was discussed back in the fall of 2017 with this thread begun by Greg:  Also an update:  The Category Project has been aware that the recategorization of the province's location categories is ongoing. Several of us have been working on it. And, Danielle, I thought we had resolved Canada-Est with the development of a French portal on this thread:
isn't going to be resolved fully until we actually reach a true consensus, right now stuff is still being categorized one way or the other in an apparent haphazard manner.

I went hunting through the help pages and documentation, and I couldn't find the principle of making former jurisdictions sub-categories of current jurisdictions stated as such, although it is kind of assumed near the bottom of the Location Fields help page, which also points to the "How should place categories work for places that don't exist anymore?" G2G thread, where that principle has been explicitly stated, and chosen as best answer, so I would suggest that the help pages be edited to make the principle explicit.

So, in the context of this question, that would mean that Colony of British Columbia needs to be a sub-category of British Columbia, rather than a subcategory of Canada. (And, further, that would mean that Columbia_DepartmentStickeen Territories, Colony of the Queen Charlotte Islands, and Colony of Vancouver Island need to be sub-categories of Colony of British Columbia, but not of British Columbia.)

might work for later colonies, find it hard to think with on New France, take a look at the Chronicles of New France page, gives history and also a map.
+1 vote

Look at Category: British North America. Seems like most of those categories already exist there, though not very tidily.

by Robert Hvitfeldt G2G6 Pilot (147k points)

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