In theory, you can name an article anything you want. In practice, it's a good idea to conform to our naming conventions because the page will have a better chance of displaying what and where it should. The following are Familypedia's conventions for names. In a nutshell, our system is to affix "year" suffixes to standard Wikipedia names where available, and to follow Wikipedia naming conventions for places, people, and things when they are not.

The main reason for conforming to these conventions is because it helps folks find articles, and provide interlinkage with other data sources. If every database uses a different name for a place and for people, we are less sure who, what, or where are what's being referred to.

Wikipedia names take precedence in all cases: Fortunately, the world already has a multilingual juried vocabulary on the names of persons, places, and things, where discussions about the proper name of a place can be sensibly argued with subject matter experts. That knowlegebase is called Wikipedia. Familypedia adheres to names used by Wikipedia, and any disputes about names may be refereed there. After Wikipedia's name for the person place or thing has been changed there, then Familypedia adopts the change. To do otherwise is impractical since there are well over a million place names alone. It simply won't do for Familypedia to have an idiosyncratic set of names whose relationship to other knowledgebases would have to be manually defined. With such large numbers of names, it very quickly would become impractical to manage how our names correspond to the names in other databases. Wikipedia achieves that mapping for us, to all languages it covers.

Having a standard set of conventions for titles makes it easier to find an existing article about a person or place that interests you. And if you've written an article, you DO want others to find it. Otherwise, they will probably think there isn't one, write one of their own, and reinvent the wheel, giving you both bother when you try to merge the articles.

The following examples illustrate the naming convention for person articles. Refer to the descriptions below for details and further explanation.

Gladys Jean Edmonds (1911-1975) Typical article name
Enrique I de Inglaterra (1068-1135) (.es) Non-English articles use language codes. People with wikipedia articles must use the name used for the article for that language
Thomas Sewell (1865-) Names may omit middle name and year of death; middle names should not be numerous (you can list them all in the "long name" field)
Иван Лемзин (1941) (.ru) Names should use characters corresponding to the main language used on the page

Standards (for all articles)[]

  • If the individual has a Wikipedia article, then create a page that uses Wikipedia's page name exactly and make it a redirect to our more standardized name. Our article should be close to the Wikipedia name with (YOB-YOD) postpended; we prefer the genealogical-standard maiden surname, and our article name may add middle names.
    • other languages: The wikipedia used should be that corresponding to the language of the article and should always be last. For example, the Spanish name for Henry I of England would be Enrique I de Inglaterra (1068-1135) (.es) because the name in the Spanish Wikipedia is Enrique I de Inglaterra.
    • Use Wikipedia suffix terms. Place Familypedia "year" suffixes after. For example, the familypedia article on John Pope could be John Pope (military officer) (1822-1892)
    • Observing this convention means that place names may have disambiguation suffixes, e.g. Victoria (Australia). However, these are usually stripped by clever software tricks when displayed to users in infoboxes or in biographical narratives.
    • Employ Wikipedia naming conventions for names not in Wikipedia. Any divergences are listed below.
  • Non-English articles.
    • Character set: Characters used for the name should correspond to the language. A French article would use accented characters, the English would not. This is done for ease of use by those searching for articles who may not be able to type characters inaccessible from their keyboards.
    • The language code must be indicated in the name of the article. This must be postpended to the end of the article in parentheses with a period preceding (Example: Иван Лемзин (1941) (.ru)). These codes must correspond to Wikipedia language codes, e.g.: ru=russian, since Russian Wikipedia is

Standard for people articles[]

The standard format for articles that deal with a single individual is:

Name (YOB-YOD)

The name part
  • Name should be at minimum first name and birth surname. The order should conform to the convention observed by the person. For example, Yao Ming is actually in surname, first name order.
    • Surname must be as at birth (e.g. maiden name), not married name. This often results in a divergence from the Wikipedia standard. If people have Wikipedia articles, the Wikipedia names (and any redirects to them in Wikipedia) should be separate Familypedia pages redirecting to our articles.
    • Middle name is optional, but it is desirable to use at least one and no more than two middle names where known. (Long names can spoil the look of a table or list.)
    • If first name or surname is unknown, use "Unknown" instead of leaving it blank or using a question mark or "NN". Examples: John Unknown (1833-1902) or Unknown Smith (1833-1902). Creation of articles for such people is not particularly useful unless it helps to show a line of ancestry or a sibling table.
    • If contributors agree, Roman numerals may be included between the name and opening parenthesis; these must match how the individual was (or is) actually identified. (Our YOB-YOD standard gives adequate distinction in nearly every case.)
    • Official (or semi-official) additions to a name should precede the dates. For example: John Pollok of Balgray (c1690-aft1720), NOT John Pollok (c1690-aft1720) of Balgray.
    • The name must be properly capitalized.
The dates part
  • YOB & YOD are years of birth and death, respectively. For example: (bef1795-c1856).
    • Do not use "?" if year of birth or death is unknown (because the current software cannot handle question-marks properly in page names); do not use "unk" or "unknown" either. Try to estimate birth year so that people looking at the name get a ball-park figure indicating which part of which century the individual was born. If it may be a very wild guess, you can say so in the article notes. See Familypedia:Estimating year of birth and death for some guidance.
    • Use "c" (circa) (with no space after it) if year of birth or death is approximate; don't use "c." or "abt" or "about".
    • Use "bef" if year of birth or death is before the indicated year.
    • Use "aft" if year of birth or death is after the indicated year.
    • Do not include spaces before or after "bef", "aft", or "c"; but use spaces for separating BC years. (e.g. Gaius Julius Caesar (100 BC-44 BC) )
    • For living individuals (or individuals who are presumed to be living), use only birth year in parentheses followed by a hyphen. If you want extra privacy, replace the whole date thing with "(living)"; for people who are not public figures, that is the preferred method unless they have agreed to have their birth year published or some other publication already has it.

Additional proposals

The following guidelines are proposed:

  • To extend Wikipedia's principle of suffix terms in parentheses for disambiguation, use locality of birth in parenthesis. EG: John Smith (1857-1899) (Philadelphia) if there are expected to be multiple John Smiths with those dates.

Biblical and single first names[]

Some names of articles can be very short and could create confusion due to their ambiguity. Examples are articles on single first names or Biblical names. Wikipedia's article on the given name Virginia is Virginia (given name). Our article would be the same. The wikipedia name for father of Abraham is Terah, so our article would be Terah.


Wikipedia naturally disambiguates place names.

The Wikipedia article for Victoria in Australia is wikipedia:Victoria (state), so our article is the same. When displayed in a standard infobox, parenthetical terms are stripped, so all the user will see in an infobox is Victoria, unless the country name has been included in the correct field, resulting in the display "Victoria, Australia".


Use the Wikipedia names for censuses. EG: "1790 United States Census". For a list of US censuses, see wikipedia:Category:Decennial federal censuses of the United States. For the names for Canada, see Category:Censuses in Canada

Notes, rationale elaboration[]

See also[]