Category talk:Ethnic GroupsEdit This Page

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There is already a long-standing category for Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups. This topic is broader than the more narrowly focused "Ethnic Groups." In order to avoid duplication, I suggest that all ethnic groups should be moved to the broader category from this one, and then this category be deleted.  Diltsgd 01:30, 31 August 2009 (UTC)


DON’T make the mistake of narrowing a category so much that beginners get lost in too many narrow choices. DON’T cause good, well-known, useful, larger categories to lose their value.

Categorization Issues

To quote from the categorization article (color emphasis added):

“Questions to ask to determine whether it is appropriate to add an article to a category:
  • If the category does not already exist, is it possible to write a few paragraphs or more on the subject of the category, explaining it?
  • If you go to the article from the category, will it be obvious why the article was put in the category? Is the category subject prominently discussed in the article?
  • Does the category fit into the overall category system? Categories that don't fit are often deleted.
If the answer to any of these questions is no, then the category is probably inappropriate.”

Bullet 1: The category Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups already existed so Ethnic Groups is a redundant category and should not have been created.

Bullet 2: I don’t believe it is logically possible to explain to a new user why they should put their page in the category Ethnic Groups but not also put it under the category Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups. Claiming some ethnic groups might not want to be lumped in with political or religious groups has so far seemed totally irrelevant to me as far as genealogical logic goes.

Bullet 3: The category system of the Research Wiki is based on a taxonomy system created by Kory Meyerink and Jim Tyrell (see Sources Useful to Genealogists). The logic of the system depends on two fundamental concepts:

  • How a genealogist uses the category is far more important than who created the record
  • The closer you can stay to headings in the Family History Library Catalog, the better for genealogists

If you imply that an ethnic group would be unhappy about being categorized with political or religious groups you are implying who created the records is more important than the way genealogists use that type of record. Moreover, even the category Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups is an illegitimate category that is not found (or needed) in the Family History Library Catalog. That category should really be under one of these four actual FHL Catalog headings for people-groups:

  • Jewish Records
  • Minorities
  • Native Races (now sadly morphed into American Indians which doesn’t work in Asia)
  • Slavery and Bondage

We allowed/created the Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups category to satisfy the demands of people who felt Minorities was not politically correct enough, or clear enough. Now this sub-division Ethnic Groups once again makes a mock of the overall category system, and even worse does so by splitting hairs that ethnic groups might not want to be categorized with political or religious groups. Don’t lose sight of what’s more important—what a group might want, or how a genealogist uses the record.

If we continue to allow the multiplication of categories for essentially the same topic we will soon have a long list that might include African Born Emigrants • African Americans • Afro-Americans • Blacks • Bondage • Coloreds • Creoles • Enslaved • Freed Slaves • Indentured Servants • Minorities • Mulattos • Negros • Servants • Slavery and Bondage • Stolen Africans. How in the world would a new genealogist benefit from so many categories when it could all be handled much better under the simple but comprehensive FHL Catalog heading Minorities.

Proposed solution. The solution to this categorization problem is to both add all Ethnic Group pages into the Ethnic, Political, or Religious Group category (already done) and delete the redundant Ethnic Group category (waiting for your approval), OR move both “ethnic” categories back under Minorities where they belonged in the first place (but risk the wrath of those who cling to the word ethnic).

Ethnic Group page issues

The pages in the Ethnic Group (Argentina Ethnic Groups, Arizona Ethnic Groups, Basque Ethnic Group, etc.) create a problem. They do not fit well with the previously established system for places. We know they don’t fit well with the previous system because no such pages existed until recently. We know they don’t fit well because they are not part of the :Template:Place. We know they don’t fit well because they really belong under one of the four main people-group categories already created for places, namely:

  • Jewish Records
  • Minorities
  • Native Races
  • Slavery and Bondage

They also border on “dumping”. They contain a lot of barely related words in lists with very little explanation how reading these lists would help the reader find an ancestor, find a record, or find a repository.

Proposed solution. Part 1. Move all pages currently in the Category:Ethnic Group to the corresponding Minorities page for that place (creating such a page if it doesn’t already exist). Part 2. These lists would be more useful if they were used as triggers to cause the creation of new articles. Flesh out these fairly good lists and use them to create or link to articles about how to find records about these "minority" ethnic groups.  Diltsgd 03:14, 2 September 2009 (UTC)