WeRelate:Suggestions/"No children" box for family pages

This suggestion is related to these other suggestions involving the family page:


I have a particular family that I know had no children. I want to add that fact to the page. However, I had to create an additional "Children" header on the page for that, which looks funny, as there is already a Children header automatically created. Could we add a check box under Children to indicate that the couple had no children. It would then state such on the page. A source box could be added after the check box to include a citation for the fact. — Parsa 20:38, 3 May 2011 (EDT)

What if we added "No Children" as a type of event/fact on the Family page? This would be easy to implement, and events/facts are already associated with sources. Alternatively, I could add a "No Children" checkbox, but as I started to think about how to display it, it seemed to be a type of fact.--Dallan 12:46, 13 September 2011 (EDT)
After doing a quick search in the GEDCOM standard, I found that it allows for a field which defines the number of known children specific to an individual or family (see "NCHI" here). Although you probably aren't limited to whatever GEDCOM has defined, I'm assuming you would want to mirror it if it has an acceptable solution to the problem. Could you add a type of fact for the number of children on BOTH the Person and Family pages? Then not only could we just enter "0", but we could also use it in the situations where we know there are more children but haven't yet found out who they are or when a deceased couple have children who are still living (and cannot be added to this site). --Moverton 15:49, 13 September 2011 (EDT)
There's a much simpler way to handle this without having to add anything to the page. When I know something about a couple's children but not the name of the children themselves, or when there are no children, or when I have a misc. fact about the marriage itself -- it all just goes in the "Description" field on the Marriage line on the Family page. E.g.: "(his 2nd wife, her 3rd husband; no issue)" or "(reportedly had 15 children)" or "(6 daughters & 1 son, names not known)." This way, it shows up on both the parents' Person pages, too. And if I find better data, or a good source, I re-edit the page. --MikeTalk 19:26, 13 September 2011 (EDT)
I like Mike's approach. How do others feel? Alternatively we could add "Number of children" as a family event/fact type and display it along with the marriage event on the husband & wife person pages.--Dallan 17:52, 16 September 2011 (EDT)
Thanks to Mike for keeping things simple, and reminding of us of the flexibility of the description box.--GayelKnott 00:08, 17 September 2011 (EDT)

However, having a section on children (or no children) in the description section still leaves a "Children" section hanging empty up above. It looks a bit awkward. Here's my great aunt's family page as an example: Family:Elmer Mitchell and Olive Banks (1). — Parsa 11:25, 17 September 2011 (EDT)

I'm not advocating for one way or another, but if we had a separate "Number of children" event/fact, it would be possible to omit the "Children" heading.--Dallan 16:07, 21 September 2011 (EDT)

So, you would have separate "events" for each fact or event for each child, such as birth, death, etc? "No children" would be a family fact? Would that mean that children would no longer be ordered by birth date with birth and death dates listed as now? A death event for child A could come before the birth event of child B for example? I'm just trying to understand how it would work.... — Parsa 12:16, 22 September 2011 (EDT)

I'm thinking that the "Number of children" would be a family fact, listed along with the marriage info. It wouldn't affect how children were ordered, but if a 0 was entered in the description field for the fact, then the "Children" header would be omitted (or replaced by "No children").--Dallan 10:16, 23 September 2011 (EDT)
What would happen in the case where someone had added children then entered the number as zero? I assume you would condition it so it would still show the header in that case. But if zero was entered first, would the ability to add children later be prevented? --Moverton 11:09, 23 September 2011 (EDT)
If you entered 0 first, then you'd have to remove the 0 in order to add children. But if you entered children first and then a 0, I'd probably return an error and not let you save the page.--Dallan 14:42, 26 September 2011 (EDT)
If you enter the wrong number of children this could also create problems. I do not want to have to go through additional steps because I discover that someone had more or fewer children than previously known. So if you are going to change this I would vote for the "No Children" fact approach where the default remains "number of children unspecified". My own convention when dealing with families where there are living children and/or unnamed children where nothing further is known, is to simply state (e.g.) the number of sons + the number of daughters - that covers both the known and the unknown, the living and the dead.--Jhamstra 12:22, 15 November 2011 (EST) (WATCHING but NEUTRAL)
I tried Mike's suggestion. I liked the result on the Family page but not on the Person page. I think that the Description field associated with a family fact or event should be displayed AFTER the "with person" on the Person page.--Jhamstra 12:55, 15 November 2011 (EST)(WATCHING but NEUTRAL)
Here is an alternate option you might want to try... On this Family page I enter an "Other" event instead of using the marriage event. (My logic being that the children aren't a part of the marriage event since they tend to occur years later.) On the Person page it reads like "had 7 sons and 9 daughters with Sarah Neuhouser". -Moverton 12:12, 18 November 2011 (EST)
I like how Moverton's suggestion looks. Rather than entering the number of children in an "Other" event, we could make the feature clearer by adding a "Number of children" family fact, which would be optional. You could enter anything you wanted as the description; e.g., "0" or "5 sons and 4 daughters". The system would not require the number of children entered for the family to agree with whatever was entered into the description. The only time the system would do something based upon what was entered into the description would be if you entered "0" and there were no children attached to the family, then the system would omit the "Children" heading when displaying the family page. Would this work for everyone?--Dallan 00:39, 22 November 2011 (EST)

Yes, sounds quite good to me. — Parsa 02:46, 22 November 2011 (EST)

Personally I don't see the need for this. I think an empty info box kind of tells the story. For those cases where a couple truly appears to be childless, as opposed to being simply not yet entered, it would seem a discussion in the narrative would be a good way to document it because it probably involves some discussion of probate. Where the number of children is important, it probably requires more than simple assertion (e.g., Family:Nicholas Snow and Constance Hopkins (1)). The other issue is that such a summary may represent the best of your knowledge, but there is no way to know the answer, and new facts may turn up. For, say, colonial families, new research is all the time discovering a child had different parents than thought. Plus some statements of the number of children count differently based on various issues like adult, surviving, or stillborn children, etc. It is easy to add parents to a child's Person page and never look at the Family page so any kind of documentation of the number of children, whether given its own fact type, or stuck in a description field, or even in the narrative, could easily create an inconsistency where the Family page says 8 children or no children, but shows more or less. I would recommend not even documenting this unless there is an important aspect to this, and just let the reader count. --Jrich 10:08, 11 November 2012 (EST)

Neutral

jrich