Help talk:Surname in Place


What about Shared Research Pages that Don't Link Surname+Place?

Newbie Jillaine here. (Hi, Robin! nice to see you here!) Before I start, can I just say how great I'm finding Nice work!

As currently framed the "Shared research pages" are only for "Surname in Place" projects. What about other types of "shared research" that may not be surname-specific? For example:

  • The 1778-1780 "Spiritual Wife-ism" Controversy of Warwick, Massachusetts
  • The 1847 Town-subsidized Emigration from Schwenningen to the United States

Or is there some other place for such projects that I haven't yet found? Thanks! Jillaine 10:23, 7 July 2007 (MDT)

Hi, we are hoping the Surname in Place articles will become the next generation in message boards. See Phillips in Texas. Other types of projects can be created as regular articles. Just create a new article and spread the word so others can contribute what they know. Go to Articles from the "Research" tab and enter 1778-1780 Spritual Wife-ism and select "Add new page". You will given a blank page--just start typing. Actually you can cut and paste from other docs. FYI, I should warn you that the tabs are about to change. We are trying to make the site easier to use. Anyway, "Research" and "Wiki" will be combined under the "Wiki" tab. Glad you are enjoying the site. Please visit the Watercooler and leave any suggestions, feedback or questions you may have. --sq 12:53, 7 July 2007 (MDT)
Solveig, thanks for the quick response. So, if I understand your intention correctly, each section within the Phillips in Texeas is like a different "thread" in a message board? Before reading your response (and before seeing Phillips in Texas as a model, I created Taylors in Yarmouth..., but I think I may not have done it right. Please advise (here or there). Thanks! Jillaine 14:58, 7 July 2007 (MDT)
I set Phillips in Texas up that way. But, your page will work well. The main advantage of a wiki is that as new info is discovered, it can be added to a relevant spot and not lost in the threads.--sq 21:10, 7 July 2007 (MDT)

Stuff from 2006

(Yesterday's small addition by "" was from me at my workplace, unaware that I hadn't signed in. Most of my MediaWiki sites let me use a distinctive "skin" so that it's obvious when I'm not signed in. If I could find an easy equivalent here, I'd use it. Robin Patterson 23:54, 27 July 2006 (MDT))

More use of categories?

I notice that people are asked to create a link from the surname page. I looked at one: two entries, not in alpha order. Could get chaotic if the idea got popular.

If both the surname and the place had their own categories, anyone creating or editing a Surname in Place page could simply include those categories, eg [[category:Jones]] [[category:Ohio]], and the backlinks would be automatic and appear in each category listing in alpha order. I expect that with a bit of fiddling the clever people who have devised most of the automatic stuff here (over and above the basic MediaWiki) could tweak the Surname in Place "template" so that the categorisation itself was automatic.

The idea of having a category for each surname would add to server load but is not revolutionary. The Genealogy Wikia uses it. It could lead to huge timesavings. Same with places, barely started on the said "G-Wiki" but you can see the possibilities there.

Robin Patterson 23:54, 27 July 2006 (MDT)

I spent some time thinking about this today. It would be pretty straightforward to implement. Whenever someone creates an article or user page and lists a surname or place in the metadata near the top of the edit screen, it would automatically place that article in the category for that surname/place. we could also add links from the surname and place pages to the category page for that surname/place. I have a couple of questions:
1. Would we want the surname category to be followed by the word "surname"? For example, would the category for Washington be [[category:Washington]] or [[category:Washington surname]]? The question is whether we need to separate categories for names and places so they don't overlap. This probably isn't a problem except for a handful of surnames that match US states or countries like Washington or England, though, so we could conceivably special-case those surnames.
"place that article in the category for that surname/place" - I presume you mean "place that article in the category for that surname and/or the category for that place". Robin Patterson 21:41, 1 August 2006 (MDT)
Yes--Dallan 17:00, 2 August 2006 (MDT)
A "handful"?? There are dozens if not thousands of surnames the same as placenames. And many surnames are the same as "first" names. Do add the word "surname"! Robin Patterson 21:41, 1 August 2006 (MDT)
I'm assuming that non-top-level places like Madison, Wisconsin wouldn't be a problem because the category for these places would be [[Category:Madison, Wisconsin]], which would be different than the category for the surname. I can go ahead and add "surname" to the category for every surname, or I can just special-case surnames that are the same as top-level place names (U.S. states and countries).--Dallan 17:00, 2 August 2006 (MDT)
OK if you think the "special-casing" will have advantages over the "standard addition" - but I expect there will be more of it than either of us envisages. Iguess there's no harm in having, eg, a category:Adam covering surname and first name, so that leaves the places. Is there somewhere where you say that a place must have a state or country name after it even if (eg Los Angeles or Beijing or Warwickshire) it's the only one in the world or at least the only one 95% of the world's population would think of (if any)? By contrast, of course, state names such as "Washington" and "New York" could be a bit ambiguous for any reader who doesn't know the conventions. --Robin Patterson 19:12, 2 August 2006 (MDT)
Currently, I believe US states, English counties, German states, and countries are the only places that don't have another place-name following them in the title. As you say, it's possible that someone could move places like Place:Los Angeles, California to just Place:Los Angeles, in which case we could have more ambiguous name+place categories over time. So maybe it would be better to append "surname" to the surname categories. Although this will require people to remember to add "surname" to every surname category, this is probably better than the other option, where we would need to ask people to remember the 5-10 surnames that are ambiguous and therefore need "surname" added.--Dallan 23:33, 2 August 2006 (MDT)
2. Would we want to automatically create a category page for every surname and place and add the surname/place page to that category? If we did, this would add approximately 535,000 category pages, which could make browsing the categories using Special:Categories unwieldly. As an alternative, we could not place the surname/place pages themselves into the surname/place categories. Then surname/place categories would exist only if they were referenced by a human-created article. I could go either way on this question. I think the main issue is ease of browsing the categories vs. the convenience of having the surname/place page automatically being a member of the category (of course it could be added manually if someone wanted to do that).
One issue: due to a bug that I haven't been able to track down yet, existing pages referencing a surname or place wouldn't be listed as belonging to that category, even though you would see the category on the page. If you were to edit the page (or create a new page), the page would be added to the category. Finding and fixing this bug is on my todo list, but it will take more time.
--Dallan 18:43, 1 August 2006 (MDT)
"create a category page for every surname and place and add the surname/place page to that category" - you mean "to those categories", I presume?
Yes--Dallan 17:00, 2 August 2006 (MDT)
A fully developed MediaWiki site may have more than 535,000 categories and is almost certain to have hundreds (or even thousands, as in the Genealogy Wikia), making Special:Categories not a suitable list to browse at the best of times, worse than "unwieldy". Browsing the categories is best done by browsing the subcategories of a category you are interested in. And I think I mentioned elsewhere that category names such as "Surnames A", "Surnames B", etc would ease such browsing further. (PS - the RootsWEb surname index allegedly has "more than 977,000 surnames" and is growing.) Robin Patterson 21:41, 1 August 2006 (MDT)
Ok, I'll add the surname and place pages to their corresponding categories.--Dallan 17:00, 2 August 2006 (MDT)
I'm not sure what you mean by "existing pages referencing a surname or place wouldn't be listed as belonging to that category, even though you would see the category on the page". An existing page will need to have "[[category:xyz surname]]" added to it somewhere if it's to be in the category. There may be a programmatic way of doing that; but while "we" are small that won't be a major hiccup even if there isn't a program. Robin Patterson 21:41, 1 August 2006 (MDT)
I can add the category automatically so that it doesn't need to appear in the text. For example, I just did that for surnames. Take a look at the Surname:Patterson page. You'll see that it includes a reference to the Patterson surname category, even though if you look at the text of the page you won't find [[Category:Patterson surname]] anywhere in the text. That's because I add the category tag automatically as the page is being displayed. However, if you click on that category, you won't find a link to the Patterson surname page. And if you browse categories, you won't see the Patterson surname category. That's the bug. If you now edit the Surname:Patterson page and make some kind of change, you'll see that it starts showing up in the category. Next week (I'm going to the Wikimania conference through the end of this week) I could try to fix that bug. Let me know what you think.--Dallan 17:00, 2 August 2006 (MDT)
Cleverer and cleverer. But possible ambiguity in what you've just said: "I add the category tag automatically as the page is being displayed. However, if you click on that category, you won't find a link to the Patterson surname page. And if you browse categories, you won't see the Patterson surname category. That's the bug." The bug (if any) is, I think, nothing to do with "if you browse categories, you won't see the Patterson surname category", which is (as far as I recall, though your brilliance does get me confused!!) normal MediaWiki when a category has no editing even if it has articles and subcategories. --Robin Patterson 19:12, 2 August 2006 (MDT)
MediaWiki is odd in this regard. If you go to the AllPages special page and select the Category namespace, you will see only categories where the category page has been edited as you say. But if you go to the Categories special page, you will see categories that have pages and subcategories even if the pages have not been edited (they links show up red, but you can still see the list of pages if you follow the link). The bug is that until the surname or place page has been edited, it won't show up as a category even in the Categories special page.--Dallan 23:33, 2 August 2006 (MDT)
Now the "bug": if all that a surname page has is a list of similar surnames (no matter how astoundingly long!), I see no harm in not having it displayed in categories it belongs to, so as not to provide too big a disappointment for searchers browsing down the category tree. --Robin Patterson 19:12, 2 August 2006 (MDT)
If that's the case, then we don't need to fix the bug!--Dallan 23:33, 2 August 2006 (MDT)
Placement of prime article in its category listing: Because a surname category should soon start getting lots of articles (eg surname in place), its prime article (ie the one with the same name) should list at the top, which (as you probably know) is done by a pipied link in the category link, eg [[Category:Patterson surname|*]]. If that can be built into your automatic creation procedure it will do no harm if the article is the only one but will be useful if they do proliferate. --Robin Patterson 19:12, 2 August 2006 (MDT)
I'll do that when I get back next week, and I'll also auto-categorize place pages and articles like Surname in Place pages just as I did with the surname pages. If there's anything else you think of that we should add, please let me know.-Dallan 23:33, 2 August 2006 (MDT)

Similar surnames in one place

Sooner or later someone will think a page such as "Paterson or Patterson or Petterson in Angus, Scotland" would be a good idea. See Either you accept it and work out the category and other complications later, or you decide to insist that that should be two separate pages, cross-linked by hand! Or something else?? --Robin Patterson 19:12, 2 August 2006 (MDT)

In this case, would it be ok to ask people to list three surnames for the article, so we could put the page in three surname categories as well as the Angus, Scotland category?--Dallan 23:33, 2 August 2006 (MDT)

how much are people really using shared project pages? [29 November 2008]

I can't help but wonder if this was a whole lot of setup for something that hardly ever gets used. What's your sense? jillaine 19:27, 13 November 2008 (EST)

I agree. There are a few pages out there, but very few. I'm not going to delete the existing pages, but I'm planning to de-emphasize them in 2009.--Dallan 13:36, 29 November 2008 (EST)

Surname-in-place and Shared-research-pages [17 January 2010]

We need to have consistency between Category:Surname in place and Category:Shared research pages. Right now there is some contradiction between the two category's heading text.

There was a desire on Beth's part to replace 'surname in place' with 'shared research pages'. It would appear that this desire is not necessarily shared by Jillaine and Dallan. This Help page has not been updated in almost 2 years (lacking one month) and the questioning of the utility of the concept came over a year ago.

Personally, I think that 'surname in place' better reflects the content than 'shared research pages'. Equating the two implies that this site is devoted to one-name-studies, which is not the case. The entire intent of placing genealogical research in a Wiki environment is to allow any and all pages to reflect 'shared research' — except for those that are in the MySource or User spaces.

Thus, I would support retirement of the 'shared research page' label as a replacement for 'surname in place' — which appears to already be the de facto situation. I just wanted to articulate it formally and get agreement that the secondary actions (such as reconciling the categories noted at the beginning of this note) are agreed to be OK to carry out. --ceyockey 23:54, 11 January 2010 (EST)

I agree. Surname in place also fits in better with the direction that the Surname namespace pages seem to be heading: having them function as "portals" for information about the surname. Surname in place pages could naturally be linked to from the Surname pages.--Dallan 10:49, 12 January 2010 (EST)
Hi, So if I understand this thread we are starting to use "Category:Surname in Place"? So we create this Surname Category, then add this Category to the existing people or place pages already created? Debbie Freeman --DFree 21:58, 16 January 2010 (EST)
Debbie, (Surname) in (Place) is automatically created and appears at the bottom of Person pages. I don't know what you mean regarding (Surname) Category. Jillaine 17:15, 17 January 2010 (EST)

I see no benefit [7 February 2013]

Because others do it, I joined the categories surname in ....... (Country / State), also going to add; Category:Surname in place. Many times I read Help: Surname in Place, but I still see no benefit. We have indeed, Category:Allen surname and Category:Allen in United States.
I can imagine that only Allen in United States and Allen in places outside the USA. But a dual listing of the fifty states, I see as pointless and pollution of the list.
Lefler in Franklin, Illinois, United States also in Category:Surname in place, what is the goal? groetjes, --Lidewij 13:00, 3 February 2013 (EST)

(Omdat andere het doen, ben ik bij de categorieën achternaam in ....... (Land/staat), ook Category:Surname in place gaan toevoegen. Vele malen heb ik Help: Surname in Place, bekeken , maar ik zie nog steeds het nut niet. We hebben immers, Category:Allen surname and Category:Allen in United States.
Ik kan me nog voorstellen alleen Allen in United States en Allen in places in de plaatsen buiten de USA. Maar een dubbele opsomming van de vijftig staten zie ik als zinloos en vervuiling van de lijst.
Lefler in Franklin, Illinois, United States ook in Category:Surname in place, wat is de doelstelling? groetjes, --Lidewij 13:00, 3 February 2013 (EST))
There was a lot of discussion about this a couple of years ago at WeRelate talk:Categories project. There is a difference between Surname in Place Categories and Articles. My opinion is that adding Surname in Place Categories to the Category:Surname in place is not the best approach. I believe this category should be reserved for Surname in Place Articles (such as Schregardus in Friesland, Netherlands). Otherwise, the articles that are created get lost in the "clutter" that is better organized through the existing hierarchy underneath Category:Surnames by country. I could address this with the Overview Committee. --Jennifer (JBS66) 06:22, 7 February 2013 (EST)