Forums: Index > Watercooler > Page names for individuals


This subject seems to deserve more attention. Many aspects of it have never reached consensus. The bigger we get, the more important it becomes, or we will get an escalating number of duplicate pages and finally get snowed under with corrective work that might have been avoided.

Here, mostly worth at least a skim through as background reading, are some of the earlier forums on the subject (probably all that have had any change since the end of 2008):


The most recent version of anything on which we get a reasonably comprehensive consensus should be reflected somewhere on the "project" page Familypedia:Page names.

List of items still under discussion[]

Matters that are still under some sort of dispute include:

  • Titles and job descriptions - I'm not even sure that we agree on "Henry II of England (1133-1189)"
  • Sr, Jr, and Roman numerals for untitled people
  • Middle name(s) - none, one, two, or just initials, except where a person was commonly known by a "second" name
  • Qualified or omitted dates when actual dates are not known - (1650-) and (-1790) seem to be acceptable but some of us have reservations, and at least two keen contributors have wanted "c" to be restricted to a 5-year range at the most
  • Languages for people who were not born in an English-speaking country (but what if their parents were English on holiday and took the child straight back on the next boat? - or if they were born in a disputed territory such as Alsace and we are not sure what was the official language because we are not sure when they were born? - or if they and their parents almost certainly spoke Anglo-Saxon and most documents give them a name in that language but we want to modernize it?)

Discussion threads under separate headings, please, and even maybe subheadings. Or link to a specific forum such as one of those listed above.

-- Robin Patterson (Talk) 11:29, December 30, 2012 (UTC)

Middle names[]

We encourage the inclusion of at least one middle name. If all that follows is a surname and date bracket, our pages will usually have no problem. But two situations can cause problems:

Lengthy titles[]

We commonly add a single title, such as "2nd Duke of York", to an individual's name. If it matches the Wikipedia name for a person, that's usually very good. But if it's a long title (such as the 4-place-name titles some European nobles have used) it can be a problem in an infobox or elsewhere, especially if combined with a large number of middle names.

Green buttons[]

Names of parents or spouses in standard infoboxes are usually green buttons if the target page does not exist. This somehow ensures that you reach "Edit with form" when you click them, which is good. Unfortunately, the software seems unable to insert line breaks in green buttons. See Charlotte Anne Thynne (1811-1895) for an example of where a spouse's several middle names combine with a longish title to squeeze the rest of the page width into a very narrow column. It could be worse - and that's without considering how that one looks on different displays such as mobile phones.


I suggest a standard for names that have two or more middle names and unreducible titles of more than four words: reduce all middle names to initials except where a person was commonly known by a "second" name. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 02:35, October 31, 2013 (UTC)

But your example doesn't fit that pattern: surely "Montague Douglas Scott" is the Duke's surname? Thurstan (talk) 02:42, October 31, 2013 (UTC)