This page describes conventions for determining the classification of Familypedia geographic location articles in categories and properties. For naming conventions, see Familypedia:Naming conventions/Places.

By following modern English usage as determined by the English Wikipedia, we avoid arguments about how a place ought to be classified, instead asking the less contentious question, how it is classified in a collectively arbitrated authority such as Wikipedia. Note that the names of the placenames is determined by the wikipedia corresponding to the particular language. Because there must be a single authority for the containment hierarchy, and because English Wikipedia has the largest number of articles by a wide margin, it is the authority for containment.

Note: when explaining the rationale for a classification, please cite English Wikipedia geography articles on the place. Do not change these links to Familypedia articles on these subjects, since Wikipedia, not Familypedia, articles are the authority on the classification.

General guidelines[]

Present day locations: With the exception of "places-other", all location properties refer to current locations, and events are classified by what the location is currently called, not what it was called at the date of the event. So, a birth in Nancy, in the roman province of "Gallia Belgica, should record "France" in the nation field, not "Roman Empire". Contributors are encouraged to look up and record any historical or other name that would apply to the location in the property "places-other". See instructions for that field below. Vernacular names in other languages are to be stored in the language fields set with "Form:Location.

Quasi sovereign places[]

"Associated states": Places such as Puerto Rico, Cook Islands, and the Marshall Islands are listed by Wikipedia as "associated states". If Wikipedia's associated states article reports that an entity is independent or internationally sovereign, then familypedia also considers it a nation and it should be encoded as such. Otherwise, these places should be encoded as a national subdivision of the nation with sovereignty over the territory of that place. Autonomous regions: Unless the wikipedia article for a place states that the region is an independent sovereign nation, it is to be encoded as a nation-subdiv1. Autonomous areas are by definition not fully independent sovereign nations, so all those appearing in wikipeidia's List of autonomous areas by country should be listed as nation-subdiv1. There are valid reasons to consider many of these areas nations, and Familypedia recognizes that feelings are strong on these matters. However, Familypedia is not the forum for discussing these issues, and the practical outcome has simply to do with the familypedia's organization of tables. Contributors that feel that Wikipedia's statement that the Palestinian Authority is not fully independent should discuss the matter at Talk:Autonomous areas. When the article on wikipedia changes and the wikipedia community considers it a nation then Familypedia will follow suit.

Use modern boundaries[]

Do not use defunct administrative entities (eg: Avon county or historic boundaries of administrative regions (eg: Colony of Virginia) for locality, county, nation or nation-subdiv1 properties. All properties with the exception of "places-other" always refer to current day boundaries for current day placenames.

Alternative naming[]

Historical entities[]

Historical entities should be placed in the "places-other" property. Though this classification is highly recommended, referencing using historical geographic locations is currently supported even if the article is not classified with the name. See Concept:Died in Austrasia for an example. The most reliable method is to indicate the historical name in the article itself. As a future feature, it is conceivable that localities along with their parent provinces and countries may be displayable in the names of the time, using a similar mechanism as that used for names in other languages. For example, if the date of the event was prior to 1930, Istanbul would be displayed as Constantinople, and prior to 330 as Byzantium. Being as precise as possible about the present day locality is essential for the success of these future transformations. Concepts may also used to create historical entities. A simple one might list the localities of province, as does Concept:Died in Austrasia. As a demonstration, the Austrasia article might display deaths in the location yielding this result: .

Specific topics[]

Administrative units[]

Familypedia uses wikipedia's administrative subdivision hierarchies as a proxy for regional hierarchies. It is recognized that administrative regions do not always correspond to the physical geographic region that the place name refers to. Documentation from church and civil records generally will refer to administrative units.

Place name structure[]

Each of the following properties may have only a single value: nation, nation-subdiv1, county, locality, street. If multiple values apply to any of these properties, then place the most commonly used value in the property, and place the less common in "places-other".

The place name "hierarchy" is not a strict containment hierarchy because in some cases a small region can span two or more larger regions in the hierarchy. The practical impact of a category in the placename hierarchy is only for table layouts that have columns or rows with these headings. Searching is unaffected by whether a placename may be used in one of these properties or which property it is used with- eg: a search for "birth location: Cook Islands" will return results regardless whether it is classified as a sovereign nation or as part of New Zealand. One special property is outside of the familypedia placename hierarchy. The "places-other field" may hold multiple values and is used for placenames that are not currently supported in the placename hierarchy.

The hierarchy:

  • nation
    • nation-subdiv1
      • county
        • locality
          • street
            • address

National subdivision 1[]

The nation-subdiv1 property is for places that have no intermediate administrative entities between it and the national government of a fully independent sovereign nation. In most cases, these are oblasts, states, cantons, departments and provinces, but quasi autonomous countries and nearly independent territories are also properly classified as nation-subdiv1's (see #Quasi sovereign places).


This property may locally use different administrative terms such as regional council, district or parish. From a structural standpoint, it is usually a 2nd level subdivision below that of nation-subdiv1.


The intention of the property is to produce the place name that most people would expect to appear in a column entitled "City or town" within reports on a person or event. In the majority of cases, this is the largest containing entity that is known of as a city or metropolis. If there seem to be multiple placenames that qualify for the locality property, the locality shall be the largest entity that contains wikipedia template Template:Infobox settlement. Places described in the topic sentence of a wikipedia article as a "suburb", neighborhood, borough, or city parish may not be encoded in the Locality property. These should be encoded in the places-other property.


For many metropolitan areas, street names have their own article in Wikipedia. Familypedia is no different, and this value will be of growing usefulness when familypedia has millions of person articles. This shall be the name of a street, road, highway or other thoroughfare where the place is located. Please follow disambiguation conventions as used in Wikipedia. For example, Audubon Avenue. As with other Familypedia place names, use the en wikipedia name if it exists. Otherwise, indicate the name as it usually appears in documents. Do not abbreviate: use "avenue" "street", "road" and so on. Do not include the house number, address or a cross street.


Address is intended for lines as they would appear on an envelope in western countries to be sent to a location. Each line should be separated by a semicolon.

Places-other property[]

Any legal placename may be used in the Places-other property for an event. An example of this is "Property:birth places-other". Unlike locality, county, nation-subdiv1 and nation, muliple values are allowed in this property separated by semicolons. Placenames should be placed in postal envelope order, from smallest to largest entities, and should include any placename value that occurs in any wikipedia that typical familypedia vistors might resonably be expected to use in a search.

Natural features[]

Landmarks such as city squares, mountains or lakes should use the "places-other" property.

Country-specific guidance[]



When Familypedia began, Wikipedia had an incomplete system of regional divisions of the states. We try to keep up with it.



Belgium has three overlapping main administrative divisions and may need separate determination when its entries become numerous - use Project:Belgium.








  • nation = Germany / Deutschland (Bund)
  • nation-subdiv1 = state / Land
  • county = municipality / Gemeinde
  • locality = city, town, village / Stadt, Dorf
  • address = address / Adresse

Hong Kong[]



  • nation = Republic of Ireland
  • nation-subdiv1 = province
  • county = county
  • locality = city, town, village
  • address = townland, street

Isle of Man[]








  • nation = Netherlands / Nederland
  • nation-subdiv1 = province / provincie
  • county = municipality / gemeente
  • locality = city, town, village / stad, dorp
  • address = address / adres

New Zealand[]

National subdivisions[]

Associated states: As with all assocated states of the world, if Wikipedia's associated states article reports that an entity is independent or internationally sovereign, then familypedia also considers it a nation and it should be encoded as such. So:

  • Cook Islands- is reported as having the potential of being independent, but is not yet independent having failed to gather a recent 2/3 referendum vote on the subject. Therefore, it must be encoded as under the sovereignty of the nation of New Zealand. While this status may change soon, this is what wikipedia currently reports its status as, so "Cook Islands" should use the "nation-subdiv1" property.

Regions of New Zealand: If the Regions of New Zealandarticle lists the placename as a region of New Zealand, then that name should be used in the "nation-subdiv1" field. Other entities: If there is an intermediate administrative layer between the entity and the national government, then it may not be considered a nation-subdiv1. A listing of these entities may be found at wikipedia:Administrative divisions of New Zealand


Entities listed as in the 2nd administrative level in New Zealand should be encoded with the property "county". wikipedia:Administrative divisions of New Zealand states that the wikipedia:Territorial authorities of New Zealand are at the 2nd level, so all the entities listed by this article as having this status - mostly cities and districts - should be encoded in the "county" property.





South Africa[]


United Kingdom[]

Venn diagram of UK places

nation-div1: While citizens of the United Kingdom consider England, Scotland and Wales as countries equivalent to France, Netherlands or Denmark, they recognize that these constituent countries are not sovereign nations from a political science sense of the term in that they cannot make treaties independent of the UK, have a seat at the United Nations, and so on. These are each regarded by wikipedia as first level administrative subdivisions (see wikipedia source) as part of the nation of the United Kingdom.

Guidance on particular items of note in the UK follows:

  • Ceremonial & historical counties- Do not use the "county" field. Instead use field "places-other".
  • Counties: only currently recognized counties should use the "county field"
  • Locations in London:
    • county: set to Greater London. Rationale: According to Wikipedia, the administrative layer between England and wikipedia:London is wikipedia:Greater London.
    • boroughs: If the article on the placename uses wikipedia:template:Infobox London Borough, then familypedia considers it a borough. Use field "places-other" for this name.
    • locality: Use London if within the area described by wikipedia article London. Rationale: The article London uses Template:Infobox settlement and so is a locality. While it is true that wikipedia:City of London also uses the infobox settlement template, this only makes City of London a sub locality. The topmost entity with the status of a locality (by virtue of its use of infobox settlement) is London. Note also that what the UK postal system considers as being in the wikipedia:London postal district does not determine the locality. Note that London postal district is a valid placename though and may therefore be used in the "places-other" field.

Northern Ireland[]

United States[]

New York[]

New York City covers five counties, which are now commonly called boroughs. Check each to see how we have dealt with them.

Related documentation[]

  • {{Location property docs}} is a template that summarizes these rules for inclusion in pages that are concerned with classifying locations. It should be periodically reviewed to make sure that it is in sync with the rules found here.


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (geographic names). The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.