Experimental Practice - Not yet a Community Standard!
Fact assertion templates have been created to extend WeRelate semantics, in ways that we believe will be useful for people and software. WeRelate was designed to permit representation of those semantics which exist in the GEDCOM file standard - so it is able to both import and export information covered by that specficification, without loss of potential understanding. However, information not contemplated by the present GEDCOM standard, has no standard representation. For example, GEDCOM does not provide a standard way to indicate that two people are often confused. Or if there is a family which, while not accepted as the parent of an individual, is never the less the subject of important speculation, there is no particular way that information can be reprsented.
Of course, the situations above can be indicated as notes, and attached to the people in question. Alternatively, they can be indicated as content in the narrative body of a page (a common practice has been to create a section called "Disputed Lineages"), or noted as free-form text added to the description field of "other" type facts. That choice is, sadly, costly in a couple of ways. Since the information is not represented predictably and objectively, supporting software can not make use of it. The practice, while widely used, is not a community standard - so some editors have been free to reject the practice. Further, the lack of consistency in display makes it more likely that any given user/editor will not recognize when one of these situations is present.
The assertion templates then, provide standard ways to handle some additional types of information. There will be a standard way to enter the information into the system - with a corresponding standard display. Since the templates (where appropriate) accept specific parameters relating to the situation being designated - information is objectively understandable and useful to software working with the werelate database.
Family Connection Assertions
These templates establish something respecting a normal family connection. As such, they exhibit a common general form. In the following description, "Xxx" represents a name that designates one of the family connection assertion types, such as "Refuted" or "Speculative" (discussed below).
When the string to which the assertion refers (the string given as a parameter to the template) is an actual family or person, the string should be expressed as the page title without the type prefix (e.g. without "Person:"). Further, the page referred to should contain a corresponding back-linking assertion of one of the kinds shown in "Pairs with" above.
Refuted Family Connection
A "Refuted" fact assertion is used to mark a supposed family connection that has been shown to be incorrect. The connection is one that had formerly been presented on WeRelate or elsewhere as probable or as fact, but the connection is now not generally accepted because there is evidence showing it to be wrong.
The refuted connection is shown on a WeRelate Person or Family page as a "
The name that follows the refuted relationship type is a link to that person's page on WeRelate if a page for that person has been created. If there is no WeRelate page, it is just the person's name. If the relationship is to a family (as for "Refuted Parents"), then the names of the husband and wife appear, which link to their family page if there is one on WeRelate.
On the WeRelate page that a Refuted Family Connection links to there should be another Refuted assertion which is the complement of the first assertion. For instance, in the example shown above from a Family page, the Person page for Margaret Crassus should have a "Refuted Family" entry which links back to the original Family page. Thus, two assertions "pair" to cover the supposed relationship from both ends. Any number of Refuted Family Connection assertions may appear on a page, as needed.
When editing a WeRelate page, a Refuted connection assertion is added by using a "template" of the right kind. The template usage is filled in with a parameter to give the name of the person or family. The following table lists the available Refuted Family Connection template. The template name shown links to the template page, where information on specifically how to use it is shown.
Speculative Family Connection
A "Speculative" fact assertion is used to express a possible family connection that is now neither generally accepted nor convincingly refuted. It is used to record the possibility and to encourage research to confirm or refute the connection. There may be more than one such value for any given kind of relationship. Also, while it would be unusual, it is possible for there to be a generally accepted value AND one or more speculative values for the same connection.
The Speculative connection is shown on a WeRelate Person or Family page as a "Facts and Events" entry.
For instance, placing "
The name that follows the Speculative relationship type is a link to that person's page on WeRelate if a page for that person has been created. If there is no WeRelate page, it is just the person's name. If the relationship is to a family (as for "Speculative Parents"), then the names of the husband and wife appear, which link to their family page if there is one on WeRelate.
On the WeRelate page to which a Speculative Family Connection links, there should be another Speculative assertion which is the complement of the first assertion. For instance, in the example shown above from a Family page, the Person page for William Sabin should have a "Speculative Family" entry which links back to the original Family page. Thus, two assertions "pair" to cover the supposed relationship from both ends. Any number of Speculative Family Connection assertions may appear on a page, as needed.
When editing a WeRelate page, a Speculative connection assertion is added by using a "template" of the right kind. The template usage is filled in with a parameter to give the name of the person or family. The following table lists the available Speculative Family Connection template. The template name shown links to the template page, where information on specifically how to use it is shown.
No Accepted Connection
A "No Accepted connection" fact assertion is used to positively assert that there is no person or family for which the indicated connection is generally accepted. An assertion of this kind does not preclude speculative connection assertions of the same relationship type, but it should preclude a normal WeRelate connection of the indicated relationship type.
When editing a WeRelate page, a "No Accepted connection" assertion is added by using a "template" of the right kind. The available templates are NoAcceptedParents, NoAcceptedFamily, NoAcceptedWife, NoAcceptedHusband, NoAcceptedChild, NoAcceptedMother, NoAcceptedFather. These templates take no parameter values. See the specific template page for information on how to use it.
Presence of one of these templates may, in the future, prevent creation of the indicated relationship type (until an editor removes the invocation of the template). For example, the presence of the "NoAcceptedParents" template could preclude the setting of a value for the parents of a Person - or "NoAcceptedMother" would preclude attachment, as a child, to a family page with a defined Mother.
Ordinary family page connections are not a good way to indicate an adoptive relationship, because there are many situations where both birth and adoptive parents are known. This would also create ambiguity over what was a natural birth and what was an adoption.
Person pages already include "Adoption" as a fact type, which is the right way to indicate that person was adopted by another person or family. There is, however, no standard description. We would also like to have symmetric links between parties to an adoption, so that each refers to the other by way of an active link.
House of Nobility
Genealogy prior to modern record keeping and surname practices tends to be limited to those with inherited royal or noble rank. While a house or dynasty name is quite similar to a modern surname, neither is it considered to be equivalent. Moreover, WeRelate Person pages automatically add Person pages to a number of categories, by permuting the surname field(s) with life event locations. While useful for people living in the last few hundred years, this creates meaningless content when applied to individuals living in relative antiquity.
The NobleHouse fact assertion template has been created to address both the problem visually establishing membership of a person in a house of nobility, and to flag them for inclusion in an appropriate corresponding category. To use it:
Family Outside Marriage
Upper class males historically have often maintained family relationships outside of one with a formally married wife. WeRelate observes the practice of creating a family page to indicate such a relationship (particularly if it results in children) regardless. There is, however, no standard way to indicate that the relationship is not simply a marriage where the date of ceremonies is unknown. Worse - the woman is sometimes given a title of concubine or mistress. While strictly correct, in common use such terms carry inadvertent (and probably unfair) value judgements.
Instead of using the terms "mistress" or "concubine" for the woman, a more objective and accurate approach is to create a standard fact template to apply to the Family page. The template, CohabitationWithoutFormalities, is applied to a non-marital relationship by being placed in the description field for the Family "Marriage" event. The woman in such relationships is not indicated as a mistress or concubine, but simply in the ordinary way by name. If the woman's name is unknown, then she is simply an unknown person.
Assertion of pages Not To Be Confused
When there are individual people or families that are confused in the literature or elsewhere, this concretely establishes the people or families confused. The target page should contain the same assertion, pointing back.
This could be used instead of, or in addition to, the current WeRelate practice of adding a do not merge template to the talk page.
Use on Person and Family Pages
The current set of assertions is only appropriate for use on Person and Family pages. Further, they are intended to be entered as ordinary facts, of type "other", with nothing in the date or place fields.
For More Information
For information on the development and possible future directions of fact assertions, see this specification.