Forums: Index > Watercooler > Noble/Royal Titles

Will's introduction[]

I for one am very interested in Royalty and Nobility and this includes their genealogy. I know there are already some pages started with these individuals but I thought I would start a discussion about a standard way of naming. If this has already been discussed please forgive me. Here are a few points that I see: (Examples are fictitious).

1) For individuals whose title and last name are the same examples could be:

  • Thomas Lovelace (?-?), 2nd Lord Lovelace
  • Thomas, 2nd Lord Lovelace (?-?)

In this case the 1st example seems to me to be more usable, but then we could get some interesting xamples when we go to other national titles:

  • Hermann von Hessen (?-?), Landgraf von Hessen
  • Hermann, Landgraf von Hessen (?-?)

In this one, the latter seems to look nicer in my opinion. But I really do think it would be better to have one standard.

2) What language should the title be in? Do we call a German Graf a Count? or leave it Graf? As an example.

3) Royalty with "surnames" is another point. Do we want to include their surname or just their title?

  • Paul Plantagenet (?-?), King of England
  • Paul, King of England (?-?)
  • Georg von Hohenzollern (?-?), Koenig von Preussen
  • Georg, Koenig von Pruessen (?-?)

Anyway, these are just some problems I see with titled individuals and just wanted to know what everyone else thought. Thanks Will 21:51, 22 September 2007 (UTC)


Robin's first set of responses[]

Good subject for discussion, Will! I don't remember it being seriously addressed here before. We all have such ancestors (though some contributors, poor chaps, can't trace the links!).

Format: for simplicity, I'd recommend that we start with the English-language Wikipedia page name (which is likely to exist for nearly all such people soon if not already); but after creating a matching page here (to catch links from other ex-WP articles) we redirect it by adding our standard " (YOB-YOD)" right at the end.

Language: as above for anything that's on the English-language Wikipedia. We've not progressed far into becoming multilingual; when we do, we may well have corresponding pages in other languages as do some existing Wikia. That will be a whole new field for us and we can learn from the other Wikia how to make it work. Freeciv is an example.) Until we go that way, I suggest inviting people to use whatever language seems appropriate but to redirect to the "standard" where there is a WP article as above.

Royalty: covered in the above two responses.

Robin Patterson 06:02, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Overdue update, April 2010[]

As noted on Forum:Royalty- Surname encoding last month, we still have no agreed scheme for these, and it has led to duplication.

Case study:

  • 2009-12-07: User A "Created page with '{{showfacts person |globals= |short_name = Ludwig IV von Wittelsbach ..." showing "Ludwig II von Wittelsbach (1229-1294)" as the (red-linked) father. The "von Wittelsbach" is a generally accepted form of that family's "surname", although the page has not made clear what the "IV" and "II" refer to. See wikipedia:House of Wittelsbach.
  • 2009-12-07 about 8 hours later: User B edited that page, leaving the edit summary "(Fix kids)".
  • On the following day User B edited it three more times.
  • Less than 80 minutes after his last edit to Ludwig IV, User B created a page called "Ludwig II. von Bayern (1229-1294)", including links to Ludwig IV von Wittelsbach (1282-1347) and three other children. Somehow User B neither noticed nor remembered that Ludwig IV had a red-linked father whose name was not "Ludwig II. von Bayern". User B gave no obvious indication of where his name for Ludwig II came from: it's not the person name (wikipedia:Louis II, Duke of Bavaria) in the English Wikipedia (which User B generally follows). It's not the person name (Ludwig der Strenge) in the German Wikipedia (though it can be constructed by putting together two parts of the opening sentence from that), nor the name (Ludwig II Duke Of Upper BAVARIA) given by, though for both of those a link was provided by User B. It runs a risk of confusion with a popular king who reigned six centuries later and has his own pages on Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and and is the subject of threads on Flickr as "Koenig Ludwig II. von Bayern"!
  • 2010-04-24 User C had been adding ancestors of Brooke Shields and noticed that Ludwig II von Wittelsbach (1229-1294) appeared as a red link in the list of ancestors on a sensor page. Although a little tired after a long chain of creations, User C decided that that was an important enough gap to deserve filling while all relevant windows were open. So he created the page, forgetting to check whether Ludwig already appeared under another name. Then he checked some relative's page or decided to do a belated check, and discovered the duplication. He resolved to integrate the two pages in one of his next big editing sessions.
  • 2010-04-24 User A, who had been spot-checking User C's work on the Brooke Shields ancestors and making the occasional useful addition, missed the new duplication but (amusingly for people who know the background) in the same hour made two edits to Ludwig II. von Bayern (1229-1294).

I have suggested that we use precisely the name used by an appropriate-language Wikipedia (adding our parenthetical date reference). Our SMW-designer agrees with that. It makes for easier checking for duplicates. However, two or more of our most prolific contributors disagree with that idea or pay it only lip service. So I suggest we:

  1. use the family name wherever there is one unless it's seldom used by others; follow it with a place if that's a recognized part of the name (e.g. Victoria Mary of Teck (1867-1953)); if there's a title (not just a consort position), add that (the title, not just the place) after a comma; if there are two or more titles, use only the most important.
  2. add titles as above if there's no family name or there is but it's seldom used; not just the "number" and place as in Elizabeth I of England (1533-1603) but with the title (e.g. Ranulf I, Duke of Aquitaine (820-866)); Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom (1926) rather than Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom (1926), with the same addition for Elizabeth I.
  3. Search on birth year and death year before creating any new person page for which we have both years; if we have only one year, combine it and the name least likely to be varied.

Robin Patterson (Talk) 04:48, April 24, 2010 (UTC)

I strongly disagree. We do not call people "John Smith, Plumber in Reading" so we should not call people "Elisabeth of Windsor, Queen of the United Kingdom" either. Besides, Elisabeth has many jobs. She's Queen of Australia too (and of 16 other countries). She's Duchess of Normandy and Lancaster, and duchess-consort of Edinburgh. Her previous jobs were Princess of York and later Princess of Wales. What job to pick? While this is a simple case, how would we call William the Conqueror? English-speaking people think of him as the King of England, but he saw himself primarily as the Duke of Normandy -- as indeed did his contemporaries and successors for three or more centuries. Indeed, Elisabeth II still styles herself as Duke of Normandy.
Just give people their family name. If this is obscure, call them "of primary property".
This is the rule sort-of-agreed in a previous discussion on this forum, and it is the rule (poorly enforced) on Wikipedia. rtol 06:20, April 24, 2010 (UTC)
Please explain your subsequent "Ludwig II von Wittelsbach (1229-1294) ‎ (Redirected page to Ludwig II. von Bayern (1229-1294))" in relation to the above. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 11:55, April 28, 2010 (UTC)
I redirected the inferior article to the superior one. rtol 04:54, April 29, 2010 (UTC)
Please explain "superior". The one with the (property-based) family name von Wittelsbach is superior to the ruled-place name von Bayern, according to your argument and my opinion. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 02:47, July 5, 2010 (UTC)

Possible confusion between queens and princesses etc[]

If we do not mention the title and just say, for example, "Elisabeth of Windsor (YOB-)", we run some risk of confusing queens with princesses and duchesses, etc, especially when dates are mere estimates. Is that of real concern to anyone? — Robin Patterson (Talk) 02:47, July 5, 2010 (UTC)

Use in forms and categories[]

Moving away from the precise form of the page name with or without mention of the title, we are moving towards a situation where we can show a person's title as an SMW "fact" and possibly get an automatic categorization from it. See rtol's recent improvement of a page about a king of Scotland:


"title=..." is the "fact". When Form:Person is better developed, those of us who use it in a direct manner may be able to insert the title after just a few tab and click operations while going through the form-filling. Are we ready to develop the form in that direction? — Robin Patterson (Talk) 01:50, September 11, 2010 (UTC)


Then the category. Anyone with title "king of Scotland" or "King of Scotland" or "Queen regnant of Scotland" (and a few similar phrases) qualifies for Category:Monarchs of Scotland. Can some clever coder arrange things so that we can do that automatically just by inserting the title? — Robin Patterson (Talk) 01:50, September 11, 2010 (UTC)

Thought about that. It would be simple if title and category would match. They do not.
Lord Brentford would require splitting on the first space, inserting an "s", and merging for Lords Brentford.
Count palatine of Brentford would require splitting on the first space (but not the later ones), inserting an "s", and merging for Counts palatine of Brentford.
King of Brentford would require splitting on the first space (but not the later ones), replacing King with Monarch, inserting an "s", and merging for Monarchs of Brentford.
Queen regnant of Brentford would require splitting on the first space (but not the later ones), replacing Queen with Monarch, inserting an "s", dropping "regnant" and merging for Monarchs of Brentford.
All the ifs and buts would make for a complicated and slow template.
And that's before thinking of empresses, tsarinas, and prince bishops (princes bishop?). rtol 18:55, September 11, 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I know it would have to be title-specific and probably one at a time. I guess the practical result will be that the coding needs hundreds if #ifs, like "if title=King of Ireland then [[category:Monarchs of Ireland]] ". Or a bot can do the occasional run with that. No hurry, but it could speed the "completion" of the European Monarchs project. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 04:38, September 12, 2010 (UTC)
The issue with Project European Royalty is rather that there are still so many without a page. rtol 15:47, September 13, 2010 (UTC)

Baronets - abbreviations[]

Baronets have "Sir" in front of their names, but we don't put that in a pagename, leaving it to the long name or short name or both.

After their names, baronets have a comma followed by an abbreviation. "Abbreviation : Bart., Bt" is how a major reference dictionary shows the standard abbreviations. If we are left to choose whichever we like, there is a risk of duplication. Let's stick to the shortest one, "Bt". (Definitely not "Bart" without a full stop - searching for that will take you to a cartoon character and the Bay Area Rapid Transport system.)

-- Robin Patterson (Talk) 04:33, May 3, 2017 (UTC)

Regarding the abbreviation, see the Wikipedia standard, noted below. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 10:41, November 20, 2017 (UTC)

Baronets - word order[]

Even the creators of massive databases concerned with royalty, landed gentry, or one-name studies can display inconsistent word order. For example, - a website currently "mastered" by our local Baronet - has "Sir Thomas Burnett, 1st Bt of Leys" as a person-title in one line then "Sir Alexander Burnett of Leys, 2nd Bt." (exactly as has him - and the same as Genealogics except that it has "Baronet" in full) just four lines down. Is there a preference for having the territorial designation straight after the surname or after the "Bt"? Or should we lengthen the page names by following Wikipedia, which generally has "Baronet" in full and rarely has a placename as part of the pagename, e.g. "Sir Thomas Abdy, 1st Baronet, of Albyns". See the subcategories of . -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 10:41, November 20, 2017 (UTC)

I think that it is time to make a standard for naming baronets, since we are in a comlete mess (IMHO): we shouild be able to be consistent, even if no one else is. It seems to me that we have the following variations:

  1. names starting with "Sir", which is against our general standard
  2. Page names without the title:
  3. Suffix of "Baronet" only:
  4. Suffix "of 'territorial designation', .. Bt":
  5. Suffix "Bt.":
  6. Suffix "Bart":
  7. Suffix of "Baronet 'surname'":
  8. Suffix of "Baronet of 'territorial designation'":
  9. Suffix of "Baronet 'surname' of 'territorial designation'":
  10. Suffix of "Bt of 'territorial designation'":
  11. Two titles (our general standard is to include only the senior title):

We should be able to get general agreement from our usual contributors on which version to use, and rename all the non-conforming pages. Thurstan (talk) 04:56, May 5, 2018 (UTC)

Baronets - opinions about the above sections[]

Contributors should probably have read the Territorial designation article before saying too much else. Don't fall asleep. Then please append your signature at the end of each bullet-point item after any (preferably indented) comment indicating agreement or disagreement.
  • We don't want "Sir" or other titles in front. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 02:51, May 6, 2018 (UTC)
  • We don't want more than one place mentioned (apart from the county or whatever that the first-mentioned place is in). -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 02:51, May 6, 2018 (UTC)
  • We don't want more than one title mentioned (so we take only the first officially listed, without trying to work out which is senior). -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 02:51, May 6, 2018 (UTC)
  • We use "Bt" because it is the shortest standard abbreviation (just as we use "c1921" instead of "c. 1921"). -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 02:51, May 6, 2018 (UTC)
  • We want the official title respected as far as possible, subject to the above. (So with only a little reluctance we accept repetition of surnames such as John Browne, 1st Baronet Browne of Caversham (c1631-c1680) (but we abbreviate "Baronet"!). -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 02:51, May 6, 2018 (UTC)
I vote for similar to Wikipedia Sir Edward Seymour, 1st BaronetWp globe tiny.gif without the initial "Sir":
  • No "Sir", as it breaks the sort order of {{surname}}.
  • I vote for no territorial designation, as unnecessary. Thurstan (talk) 03:03, May 6, 2018 (UTC)
  • I don't like "Bt" or "Bt." because to me "Bart" is the standard abbreviation. So I vote for "Baronet" (i.e. no abbreviation). Thurstan (talk) 03:03, May 6, 2018 (UTC)
  • No surname (generally redundant) Thurstan (talk) 03:03, May 6, 2018 (UTC)