Help:Category Names

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Categories: Styles and Standards | Categorization Help | Categorization Project

The following is on naming categories and editing the category hierarchy. See Categorization for an introduction and Category Creation and Removal for how to create them.

It is very important — and often very difficult! — to follow the naming conventions that have been established by the community. The hierarchy is constantly growing and being improved-upon. If you're at all uncertain how to name a new category, ask in G2G using the tag categorization. If you want to help us create and maintain the category hierarchy, please join our Categorization Project.


General Rules

  • Do not use special characters such as !, @, #, $, %, ^, &, *,"", / and |. The only allowed characters are Letters in any alphabet, numbers, space, comma, dot, hyphen (only the normal one but not wide, ...), single quotation mark (as apostrophe but do not use apostrophe) and parentheses (in pair). There is also a colon in the name but must be used only following "Category:". Quotation marks and & are often used for names in Wikipedia and at Find A Grave, neither can be used on Wikitree. Spaces may be used (they become underscores when saved). Non-Latin alphabets are fine but still stick to characters and numbers.
    In short: Please use only spaces, commas, regular hyphens, and parentheses as characters in category names.
  • We use singular form for topic categories and plural form for set categories.
    • Topic categories are named after a topic, for example, Category:Norfolk contains subcategories, free-space pages and profiles (when no lower category is known) relating to the topic Norfolk.
    • Set categories are named after the set of profiles they contain, so use the plural form if there is one. For example, we use Category:Czech Artists not Category:Czech Artist. This doesn't mean that we add unnecessary words to the name in order to pluralize it, e.g. we say Category:Baseball instead of Category:Baseball Topics.
  • Do not begin category names with The. There are some exceptions to this rule, for instance there is a place called The Gap in New South Wales.
  • If a category could contain millions of people create a narrower subcategory. Ideally, bottom-level categories should be much smaller, with no more than a few thousand people in them. This isn't always possible, e.g. with towns and cities, but we should aim to create narrow categories when we can.
  • If a category could only contain a few people do not create it. Use the category above it instead. [Example?]
  • If a mid-level category would be empty and only have one subcategory do not create it. We don't want to create extra layers of navigation. This rule explains why some bottom-level categories have names like "X Group Members" while most just say have "X Group." For example, we never say "X Location Residents" or "X Cemetery Burials." We do put professional baseball players in Category:Professional Baseball Players rather than Category:Professional Baseball because Category:Professional Baseball can contain many other subcategories. (If players were going in Category:New York Yankees we probably would not need Category:New York Yankees Players because Category:New York Yankees would not have a lot of subcategories.)
  • A fundamental style rule on WikiTree is to "use their conventions instead of ours," i.e. we should attempt to use the name that the person themselves would have known and used. For regional categorization, for example, this means using the place name in the language and time in which the person lived rather than what it's called now in English.
    • This applies for bottom-level categories that contain profiles but may not apply to higher-level categories. Higher-level categories exist for our own organizational and navigational purposes, e.g. a town that no longer exists may be included in its current county (? example?).
    • In some cases this may not be practical. The purpose of categorization is to group profiles. If the people we're trying to group would have used different names for the same thing it may make sense. However, keep in mind that this can often be achieved through mid-level categories. For example, we could have "Czech Bricklayers" with whatever "bricklayers" is in Czech, as a subcategory of Bricklayers.

Developing and publishing category name rules

  • As they arise, new questions should be asked in G2G using the tag categorization. This makes sure they are seen by Categorization Project members. When a conclusion is reached (hopefully by consensus), the rule should appear here or on a subsidiary page.
  • When sections here get too large they can be split off into subsidiary pages. They should be named using this style: Category Names for European Aristocrats, Category Names for Regions, etc. These should be categorized under Category:Categorization Help, project categories if appropriate, etc.

Category Names for Regions

Cities, countries and other locations are organized in a category hierarchy. The top level is the Category:Regions. It contains all the continents which are then divided in countries, states or other sub-regions.

Category names for locations follow the same general principles as Location Fields. Categories for modern countries use the short form in common usage, as in Category:Australia not Category:Commonwealth of Australia.

Locations in different languages

WikiTree has parallel category trees in other languages. It is not necessary for a particular location category to be created in every language. When a category exists in multiple languages, they are linked to each other so that people can easily find other languages for a particular category. For example, the top level category in English, Category:Categories, has links at the top of the page to the top level category in other languages.

When a location has the same spelling in more than one language, the category name should be followed by the two letter (ISO 639-1) language code in parenthesis. If there isn't a two letter code, use the three letter (ISO 639-2) language code.

For example:

Albanian Czech Danish Dutch Finnish French German Icelandic Italian Serbian Slovak Spanish Swedish Turkish
Evropë Evropa (cs) Europa (da) Europa (nl) Eurooppa Europe (fr) Europa (de) Evrópa Europa (it) Европа Európa (sk) Europa (es) Europa (sv) Avrupa

Do not use different languages in the same category name, such as Category:India (भारत). Use Category:India (en).

Write the content on category pages in the same language as the category name. Add profiles to the location category in the same language that the profile is written in. This means that no one category might contain all profiles, but that the corresponding categories in other languages should also be checked.

If you have questions, ask the Categorization Project by posting in G2G using the tag categorization.

Canada's regional categories

Canadian cities

Canadian city and town categories should always be named in the format "City, Province". These are subcategories of the provincial categories.

Townships and rural municipalities should be used for categories, rather than the small communities within them. For example, the township Chapple, Ontario, consists of a community called Barwick along with the surrounding farms, so the category is Category:Chapple, Ontario.

When there is a rural municipality with the same name as a city or town, "Rural Municipality of" is added to the beginning of the R.M. category to disambiguate them.

Denmark's regional categories

See How To Use Regional/Geographic Categories For Denmark And Explanation Of The Category Structure.

Germany's regional categories

See Germany's category structure and how to use Germany's regional categories or the German version, Struktur und wie man regionale Kategorien benutzen sollte.

Indonesia's regional categories

See Indonesia's Category Conventions.

United Kingdom regional categories

Categories for locations in the United Kingdom use a template. If you have questions, please ask in the G2G tagging your question categorization and United_Kingdom


If you have questions, please ask in the G2G tagging your question categorization and England


In England, counties are named with just the county name, for example, Category:Lancashire, and linked to Category:England.

An exception to this naming standard is Category:County Durham. See the list of England's counties and the list of England's defunct counties.


Category names for towns in England use the locality name a comma then the county name. The town's category is made a subcategory of the county it's in. For example Category:Goodleigh, Devon is a subcategory of Category:Devon.


Hundreds in England were a unit of local government, judicial administration and taxation, intermediate between village and shire (county). Records for England's hundreds exist from 940 until they were extinguished by statute in the 19th century. See Category:England Hundreds.


To categorise England's civil parishes use the format [[Category:Parish Name, County]], for example, Category:Reymerston, Norfolk, and connect that category to Category:England Parishes.


If you have questions, please ask in the G2G tagging your question categorization and Scotland

Counties are located under Scottish Counties. A deliberate decision was made to fix the counties map to the 1890 county map. This does not, entirely, represent the current counties of Scotland. Counties should take the form <county name>, Scotland. If unsure then please ask in the G2G using the tags categorization and scotland.

Towns/Localities take the form <Locality name>, <County name> and are located under the county of relevance in the 1890 County boundaries.

Parishes. On WikiTree please use the form <Parish name>, <County>, Scotland. Parishes changed over time and, to align to counties, WikiTree needs to use the Parishes established under the Local Government Act of 1889 and hence Scotland consists of 871 Parishes. The Scotland Project will manage the transition of names and boundaries over time and align them to the modern Parish boundaries. The page on Wikipedia provides an excellent starting resource. Link the resulting Category to Parishes of Scotland. If you know the county then also use Category:Parishes in xxxxshire and where a Parish crosses a County boundary please link it to both. You can expect many gaps initially as the Parish in xxxshire may not yet be set up


Wales is established similarly to England. It might be noted that the High Level Category for Wales contains current and historical counties. The administrative borders within Wales changed in 1994 and the new borders are noticed at Wikipedia.

Counties. In Wales, counties are held simply as <County Name>, Wales and linked to the High Level Wales Category. It might be noted that the name might be English or Welsh depending on the county and/or its status.

Towns, in Wales take the form <Locality name>, Wales and are connected to the Counties, whether modern, Preserved or Historical.

Parishes. Work has not yet started on Parishes in Wales but they are included with England at the Family Search mapping service. These are 1851 boundaries and thus are the Historic counties of Wales. If working in this area please use the convention <Name of Parish>, <County> and link the Parish to the County Category.


Category:Ireland encompasses the island of Ireland which includes the countries of Northern Ireland and Ireland. Ireland is divided into Counties, Baronies, Parishes, and Townlands.

Counties. Counties in Ireland are categorised as County name, for example Category:County Tipperary and linked to either Category:Ireland or Category:Northern Ireland as applicable. See Category:Irish Counties for a list of counties.

Baronies. Category:Ireland Baronies contains the baronies grouped under the county. The naming convention is Barony name, County name, note that the county name does NOT use the term "county". See examples at Category:Baronies in Kerry.

Towns and Townlands. The same naming convention, Locality name, County name, is used for both of these. Do not add "county" to the County name. See examples at: Category:Towns in Antrim.

Parishes. Please use the convention Parish, County Name. Do not add "county" to the County name.

United States of America's regional categories

US State and County Categories

US states are named with just the state name, i.e. Category:Ohio. US county categories are named with the county, and the state. For example, Category:Cass County, North Dakota or Category:Acadia Parish, Louisiana. Categories have already been created for all states and counties. If, when linking to one of these, it appears in red after saving there is probably a typo or formatting error in the name.

US Municipalities

US municipality categories should be named in the format [[Category:City, State]] unless there is more than one city/town of that name in that state, in which case [[Category:"City, County, State"]] is used. This applies equally to places using various designations such as town or village.

An exception occurs in the states of New York and Vermont where it is common to have more than one municipality of the same name within a county. In this case it is permissible to use a modifier in the name of the lesser place by the hierarchy City > Town > Village > Hamlet. For example the town of Otego in Otsego County is Category:Otego, New York and the village of the same name also in Otsego County is Category:Otego (village), New York. This follows the protocol used by Wikipedia in differentiating these same name places.

US Townships

The division of counties into townships in not consistent throughout the country. Many states do not divide counties into townships and among those that do, the importance and usage varies. In general, townships are named with the county name. For example, [[Category:Franklin Township, Drew County, Arkansas]] is correct whereas [[Category:Franklin Township, Arkansas]] is not. This is done for consistency as many, if not most township names are not unique to a state. (There are 16 Franklin Townships in Pennsylvania!) Further, on most official web sites and government documents the county name is usually included when referring to the township. And finally, this again follows the Wikipedia protocol.

There are two exceptions to this. In New Jersey townships are categorized the same as cities or towns and differ only by the form of local government. The charter townships unique to Michigan are also treated the same as other municipalities.

US Unincorporated Places

Unincorporated places are named the same as incorporated cities or towns. Try to avoid creating categories of Census Designated Places (CDP) as the names assigned by the Census Bureau may or may not reflect local usage and understanding of the name and bounds of the place, and are subject to change with every new census.

Category Names for Cemeteries

Call the institution by its name and make it a new category, placing it in the smallest locality category you know, e.g. Category:Prospect Cemetery, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

This is a subcategory of Category:East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and Monroe County, Pennslyvania, Cemeteries. If a cemetery (or school) is part of a religious institution it may also be a subcategory of its parent institution. This is very common for church graveyards.

See Category Cemetery Formatting for more information.

Category Names for DNA Projects

See DNA Categorization for Projects for more information.

Category Names for Military Topics

Guidelines will be published after collaboration with the WikiTree community.

Category Names for One Name Studies

See One Name Studies FAQ Page: Categories for more information.

Category Names for Religious Topics

See: Principles and Formatting Guidelines for Religious Categories for more information.

Category Names for Maintenance Categories

Maintenance categories should be linked to a project, generally, with a few exceptions. They should lead with the project name, followed by a "needs" statement, like "needs PPP". These should be discussed if there isn't an existing parameter so a standard can be added, as they are linked from project box templates. For example, [[Category:Quakers Project Needs Biography]]. A few maintenance categories will not fit the "needs" format, namely Unsourced and Unconnected profiles.

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