Bea, Thank you for your message. I have been requested by the South African Roots Project to stand back on this matter, thus moved onto another area of interest. A pity, because what I proposed is much needed (by South African genealogists). This task would be done in collaboration with the SARP and strictly following the rules set by the Categorization Project. You will see from the correspondence above that there are reservations, and I fully understand them, but the time is ripe for this mission and I am prepared to do the work.
First paragraph... my offer is to create the root structure for place names to include the transitions from countries in their own right to post 1994 provinces (all of which were or are in the territory we now know as South Africa) - thus take the Cape (the identical geographic territory):
- Dutch Cape Colony
- British Cape Colony
- Cape Province under the Union and Republic pre 1994
- Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape post 1994
Cities, towns, villages and districts/settlements which existed in each transition will be linked by a location category information box (CIB). I do NOT propose setting up each and every place, unless there are profiles which may be allocated to them. I am merely wishing to set up the structure. I shall not be creating empty categories for the sake of it. South African genealogists did not have either a place names root structure or locations to categorize their managed profiles. In fact, when I arrived there were only Camp locations. I have about 1,000 profiles of persons who died in Southern Rhodesian and Zimbabwe, but were born/originate from South Africa. I also have many born in Southern Rhodesia, who emigrated, and died in South Africa. There must be many other profile managers working with profiles of South African origin and demise.
South African profile managers are at liberty to create place name categories if they need them, provided they link it into the structure correctly. If the structure is not there, then there is very much a need to consult with the Categorization Project, of which I am an active member. I sought the Categorization Project's approval when I set up the structure for Zimbabwe, and they have been included in the proposed structure for South Africa, which is the subject of a free space proposal page for everyone to review.
The fact that place names changed, places vanished or were renamed, small villages joined and became larger towns / cities is EXACTLY the reason why I am here to assist and guide the SARP! If you look at location categories in Zimbabwe you will see transitions of places from one nation to the new Zimbabwe and all the name changes which took place. What ever we choose to do, it has to be historically correct. Source documents will show deaths, for example, in Pietersburg, Transvaal Province and later Polokwane, Limpopo Province. Exactly the same place, but renamed! The two would be linked by a CIB. Deaths pre-1994 would be categorized as Pietersburg, Transvaal Province and thereafter Polokwane, Limpopo Province.
Now if you have somebody willing to do the work as we go along, and being consistent with the root structure then we will not get into a mess. I can always fall back on the Categorization Project for guidance and support where difficulty arises.
I hear you on the matter of data fields existing for locations, and the capability of search. However, such search is only as good as spelling and structure of the name is consistent. Enkeldoorn and Chivu are the same place in Zimbabwe (many South Africans populated this town). Profile managers are using both names in location fields (using Chivu when it should be Enkeldoorn and vice versa) I have already touched on this in the messages above. By the same token categorization is only as good as the frequency that profile managers use categorization... but you have to kick off somewhere.
Its not a case of my wanting to create many categories, but as I said, to create a sound structure for location categories. Soon, there is going to be a push to start working on South African Cemeteries, which I might well get involved with. For South African Cemeteries to click into place, it would be prudent to have the locations root structure in place. This is proving to be extremely beneficial with the Zimbabwe Cemeteries initiative.
The categories pull down menu will make categorization much easier for all who wish to categorize. This function should be encouraged. As we stand now, apart from the dozens of names I have already added, there are no place names for South Africa.
Now, Bea, the most important thing here is not that I set forth on my mission and do my own thing, but rather that this matter be done with agreement of the South African Roots Project and the Categorization Project. We discuss, agree and disagree, and come up with solutions which all South African genealogist can work with... that is the WikiTree way. I shall be dropping you, Ronel, Susan and Phil a joint email in the near future and hopefully I can come to some agreement with the leaders of the project.
I do hope the SARP and COGH Projects come to understand my point of view.