Renaming Category South African Roots - communication

+6 votes

This proposed change is to more clearly define the difference between the  Category: The Dutch Cape Colony 1652-1806 and the Category:Cape of Good Hope Colony, British 1806-1910. The category was, until recently devoid of place names (aside from the camps)."

Firstly, I believe Andrew Field to be the right person to [re]-categorize place names, as he has personal knowlegde and experience of living in those [then] colonial places. There is a high resolution map available of the Cape Colony under British rule at this page on opening  this link with many place names of that period (many dating back to the Dutch period).

There is already a list of area names [lesser known small areas that became part of the 4 provinces] here (some also spanning the pre-1806 period of Britsh Rule).

The main category page for this new category could be (however, many of the profiles concerned will not be open or will be private due to the time period, so actual categorization will depend on the privacy settings of the profiles after 1868 up to 1910).

The main project page will have to be edited in the case of adding a new category. I'm of the opinion that {{South African Roots}} - the "Roots" in the category combined with the newest (South African flag) is more a category for the 20th and 21st century South Africa profiles. So this is an excellent demarcation of the pre-1910 colonial period, before the Union of South Africa was formed.

I have issue with the renaming of the entire {{South African Roots}} project though. There is no need for that. The new category could nestle quite comfortably between the old Dutch Cape Colony and the newer South African Roots periods. Having said this - perhaps there will be more room under the general "African Projects" for the first people / indigenous peoples later.

Also I have issue with Dutch as a parallel language category but not Afrikaans. Perhaps it could be made clear on the project home page that in future Afrikaans will also be a parallel language category.

asked in Policy and Style by Philip van der Walt G2G6 Pilot (139k points)
edited by Mindy Silva

3 Answers

+8 votes

Hi Philip

I agree that the main category page for this new category should rather be

My concern is just that there is so much work that still needs to be done on the current categories/projects that by changing things now will just add more work.


The Leaders of the "Cape of Good Hope" and "South African Roots" projects are trying their best to get on top of all that is required on these projects.


answered by Esmé van der Westhuizen G2G6 Mach 7 (79k points)

Hi Esmé, that is the rub all along. I agree completely. In the past I have warned about the creation of categories too quickly, because of precisely this aspect. Once one has chosen for a classifiscation in the line of the UDC-system of Library classification, the possiblities are endless. And the work that follows as well. In true Victorian fashion.

That is also one of the reasons that I'm not a leader. It sounds arrogant I know but there is so much work to be done, Yet leadership is not happy with large bulky projects and this is one option and it makes perfect sense - 1806-1910. A new category. Perhaps we need more leaders who do have the time to shift all this work.

+7 votes

The bottom line right now is for me to stop the bot from changing [[Category:Cape Colony]] to [[Category:Cape of Good Hope Colony, British 1806-1910]] until your projects hash this out. Is this correct?

answered by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (375k points)

Though I'm not a leader, I see no issue with that. I mean let the bot do it's job. It is only the name change of an otherwise now rather unused / defunct category, and for the better. As far as I can see the current {{South African Roots}} project will stay uneffected. As long as the category [[Category:The_Dutch_Cape_Colony_1652-1806]] and the underlying maintanance categories aren't affected.

+4 votes

Thank you Philip for raising this in G2G (and your confidence in me J).  My interests are in developing clear cut understandable place name categorizations for South Africa, taking into account the geo-political history of the nation, the Boer Republics and the earlier Dutch and British interests, before Union and eventually Republic.  

Why?  I am presently categorizing some 1,000 Rhodesian/Southern Rhodesian profiles, many of whom have origins in the Cape.  The other half of my family I am beginning to research have deep South African roots and origins (principally the Mullers and the Pietersens).  Many profiles in my Rhodesian Rolls of Honour (personal) project are of South African origin.  Little work has been done on South African Place name categorization, and hence little categorisation exists on Cemeteries (there are only about 5 South African cemeteries listed!) and other genealogical significant categories.  As it stands, I can see a little of what has been done to be incorrect, there are duplications, or categorization has not followed the place name guidelines of the Categorization Project, of which I am a member.

That said, I understand the deep concerns of those in the various South African projects.   As I see it, this ‘mini-project’ is an iterative process and it shall see gradual introduction of place names over a period of time, as and when required.   I also accept the need for collaboration with the projects, hence my joining the South African Roots Project.  I am happy to join others for purpose of collaboration.   I did message the SA Roots Project through its Google Group, but am yet to receive a response.  My concern is that if nobody starts working place name categories, hence my initiative, then nothing will happen.  That means the cemeteries work cannot be done.

To Esme van der Westhuisen, might I fully agree that there so much work to do, but as I say above it’s a gradual and iterative process.  Someone needs to kick start it.  I am volunteering to do the work on South African place names, working on accepted guidelines of the Categorisation Project.  I should also stress the point, that we must not set up hundreds of categories which remain unused, but we must have a logical, understandable structure for everybody to work with.  So this should not be seen as a ‘large bulk project’ .  Philip well knows the dangers of creating categories too quickly.

Might I suggest that all the South African Projects, get their heads together and agree a strategy on place names.  I am happy to volunteer leading a sub-project on place names.

I do not believe Natalie should stop the bot, but I shall ask if rather than a ‘rename category’ we do a ‘merge category’ for exactly the reasons first proposed by me.  Agreed that perhaps it can go on the back burner for now.  I have requested the change based on historic fact.  The category, Cape Colony, will be easily misconstrued as either the Dutch or the British Cape Colonies.  The category, The Dutch Cape Colony 1652-1806 was specifically set up to avoid the confusion.  Natalie and I have communicated on the 'back channel' on this matter.

Andrew Field.

answered by Andrew Field G2G6 Mach 1 (10.6k points)
The SAR Google group is not that active and when it is, it can be tumultuous and passionate. I for one am not that interested in the SAR googlegroup (it will lie in my Google group settings but I for one have not seen this message coming by). I agree with postponing until after the festive season.
Hence my actions in requesting the name change review...

Appreciated, thanks Andrew. smiley

Its not the time to answer in detail but as the manager of almost half of the profiles at present lodged in the present top level Cape Colony category,(there are only 27), I put them there hey are because the individuals were members of the British Cape colony.They aren't in narrower location fields because there weren't any ( was I have to say rather put off by the fact it waa populated with concentration camps and nothing else) I don't see any problem with renaming this category to make differentiation clearer. Gives maps and dates of the  boundaries and naming of  the major locations from the British view. I suspect that you wouldn't want people to categorise down to the farm level, just as in England the smallest level is not the Hamlet but the village or parish (Tyumie where there was a church  rather than Binfield farm Tyumie) for this at present uncategorised profile Surely these would, as in other parts of wiki tree be added when needed. 

I don't know if I am misunderstanding Philip, but whilst it is a good idea to differenciate more clearly between the Dutch and Cape Colony categories; there are those who arrived from 179 onwards  where the use of the 'British' category  in addition (or even  at times in replacement of the Dutch one for those who  time there was  short lived) might be  legitimate .So Thomas West from Bristol who arrived with the Navy before 1797  and  died  as a member of the community in Grahamstown might , as he does now, belong in both categories.

Indeed. The short answer is arrival (even though the Cape was also intermittently British from 1795 onwards, and then again Dutch) before 1806 will sort the profile to the {{COGH Progenitors}} (if married and procreated offspring before 1807). Arrival after 1806 (as many British did, also en masse from 1820 onwards) - will sort them under the {{SAR Progenitors}}, and their off-spring merely under the {{SAR}}. Place names: it is a sticky dilemma. Because for example Swellendam is a town, but was also for a long time a huge administrative district (where other towns and farms would sort under) as well as a short-lived renegade colony. At this moment we are still just trying to keep it simple. For example "Swellendam, Dutch Cape Colony" or "Swellendam, Cape Colony". In the profile above that I edited the place names in, the names of the farms or more local places were already in the Data Fields. It is not always appropriate to edit data - remove data I mean - in those fields. But then the profile is still in progress of being validated, along with all the thousands of other profiles.

Yes, the combination of town names and districts might seem sticky... I have the same problem in Southern Rhodesia - which seems to follow the Cape trend...  perhaps we should see the town and surrounding District as one, but I realise it’s not that simple.  I am fortunate to ‘get away’ with in Zimbabwe where I worked off a clean slate.  It’s not insurmountable.
Thanks Helen... I also stumbled upon just the camps - time is right, to slowly think about towns and settlements... perhaps that needs definition.  There may be districts which do not follow town names, or are without a major settlement...  Can’t imagine going down to farm level though...

Hi Andrew, just to make it clear - the project acount googlegroups are not used for communication on issues such as categorization, they are project tools and we only use them as our ''project inbox'' (it's where all project members that also joined the group, can read the notifications of messages posted on profiles or send to the project account and we all are communicating through follow up posts on those profiles...not in the google groups) (this way no one wil receive any email from the google group). The way to communicate is through G2G (as we are doing now) and then appropriately tagging the questions / issues. 

I suggest as an afterthought that you start a G2G feed after the festive season on (as you already suggested) not only on the categorization issue (figuring out with others from that project the historical country / area / territory categories in relation to the higher level categories and what the amount of work will entail and what is needed), but also helping out with the leadership of the SAR project - joining in with co-leading - which is now in need of staff. In the mean time you'll have to acquaint yourself with the editing protocols of the SAR (which is slightly different from the COGH and project specific - we collate data for example: that comes before narrative). Bea (who has so graciously assisted in many aspects and with a lot of hard work with the setup of this project - which came after the launch of the Dutch Cape Colony project in which other leaders such as Liz & Abby also gave a lot of their time and expertise), can give input on general project working and categorisation; Ronel (she is though retired as leader) well informed about place names and history spanning the period of both the Dutch Cape Colony and Cape Colony periods, as well as sources, as does Susan (but as said - even though she is very active also in the SAR project, her main priorities lie with the COGh and with categorisation issues stemming from policy decisions and the error data base output). There are members working intensively on the resources pages of both projects (thanks Dirk, Gordon!), and others again are actively & tirelessly spotting the inevitable duplicates (thanks Esmé!) and proposing mergers, so that is covered. Perhaps Helen would also be willing to share the leadership of the SAR project?

Just thinking out loud. My 1 cent before signing off for the festive holidays. Wishing everyone on WikiTree a less eventful and more calm and productive 2019.

Philip, I really appreciate your guidance... yes let’s resume in the New Year. Wishing you and all a great festive season...

Thank you Andrew, and Philip of course for all your wonderful help and wishing everyone a wonderful happy and healthy 2019 also !

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