FamilySearch Wiki:Naming a Page or Article

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Green check.png This page explains a policy, a widely accepted standard that all contributors should normally follow.

Please visit the talk page to add comments or suggestions for further development of the policy.


This page offers policies and best practices in naming wiki articles.

Naming an article

Use the following to help you name a general wiki page correctly. Instructions on how to name geographical or place wiki articles are below.

Be clear and concise

Make sure that the article name clearly and concisely communicates what a user may find in the article. Remove any unnecessary words or punctuation.

Capitalization

  • Capitalize each word in the title of the article except for:
    • Articles: a, an, the
    • Coordinating Conjunctions: and, but, or, for, nor, etc.
    • Prepositions (fewer than five letters): on, at, to, from, by, etc.
  • Do not use all uppercase letters - use initial caps on each word in a title except when this conflicts with place naming standards or grammar rules.
Correct
Census Records of the United States
Incorrect
CENSUS RECORDS OF THE UNITED STATES

Things to Avoid

  • Avoid the use of pronouns and descriptive adjectives
  • Do not start article names with "A," "The," or "An" if possible
  • Avoid characters such as / + { } [ ]
  • Avoid abbreviations, acronyms, and postal codes
  • Replace "&" with "and" unless it is part of a formal name

Gender Neutral

Article names should be gender neutral.

Ambiguous titles

FamilySearch Wiki is international, so any article with a general title such as "Census" should really cover the entire globe. On occasion, the preferred name for an article, while correct, may be ambiguous. In these cases the practice is to either extend the article title with more specific information or add a term in parenthesis after the article title, so that the article name is unambiguous. If you are writing an article which applies to one locality only, then this should be made clear in the name of the article, such as Censuses in England or Scottish Census.

Omit name of the article author

Because this is a wiki, content becomes stronger and more accurate as the community adds to it. If an author's name is in the title it gives credit to the original author when changes are made by other users. It also gives the illusion that the author owns the wiki article.

Using key words

When giving a name to a page or a new article think about how native language speakers would search for that article. Use the same key words you would use in searching for the article in the title you give it, including variations of the locality name. Avoid ambiguous words or phrases.


Naming Geographical Wiki Articles

Adding "Genealogy" to title

To improve the rankings of wiki articles in Google and other search engines, the word, "Genealogy" is added to the end of all geographical wiki article titles. A geographical topic page, such as Alabama Probate Records, should not have the word, genealogy added to it's title.

Examples
Finland Genealogy
Holwell, Bedfordshire Genealogy

No Abbreviations

Do not use abbreviations in naming a place.

Correct
Montgomery County, Maryland Genealogy
Incorrect
Montgomery Co., MD Genealogy

Ascending order of jurisdictions

When adding place names to article titles, add jurisdictions in ascending order (smallest to largest).

Correct
Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland Genealogy
Incorrect
Maryland, Montgomery County, Rockville Genealogy
Exceptions
Articles about FamilySearch Historical Record Collections

Diacritics

Diacritics should not be used in the title of a locality article unless there is no English version of the country or locality. For example, use Mexico, not México. The version of the country name in it's native tongue using diacritics when applicable should be included at the top of the article page to allow the Wiki search engine to retrieve the correct page for the user.

Correct
Mexico Genealogy
Incorrect
México Genealogy
Exceptions
When English version of the locality is not known, use the spelling and diacritics found in the native tongue of the country.

Proper use of the diacritics can be found in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog.

Country names in English

Use the form of a current country's name as it appears in the CIA World Factbook.

Locality articles should only contain the English form of the country in the title and should not include diacritics. The version of the country name in it's native tongue using diacritics when applicable should be included at the top of the article page to allow the Wiki search engine to retrieve the correct page for the user. Redirects can also be made for incorrectly titled locality articles already found in the Wiki.

Correct
Bavaria, Germany Genealogy
Incorrect
Bayern, Germany Genealogy

When a widely accepted English name, exists for a former country or empire, we should use it. For example, New Spain rather than Virreinato de Nueva España, Ottoman Empire rather than دولتْ علیّه عثمانیّه or Osmanlı İmparatorluğu.

Disambiguation

It is often the case that the same geographic place-name will apply to more than one place, or to a place and to other things of interest to genealogists such as a tribe or language; in either case a disambiguation page will be necessary and the articles about locations need to be more specific by adding all jurisdictions to the title. See FamilySearch Wiki:Disambiguation.

Administrative sub-divisions

Names of classes of places should follow English grammar rules. In particular, when dealing with administrative subdivisions, we write of "United States counties" and "Cook County, Illinois," or of "Russian oblasts" and the "Moscow Oblast," but we use "Chinese and Roman provinces," not "Chinese sheng" or Roman provinciae."

Also, use Jackson Township, Hamilton, Indiana, but use Cicero, Hamilton, Indiana for an incorporated municipality.

Special Guidelines by Country

United States

  • For county and state pages, list two jurisdictions.
Correct
Alabama, United States Genealogy
Warren County, Ohio Genealogy
  • For towns/cities pages, include the county and the state.
Correct
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois Genealogy
Portland, Cumberland County, Maine Genealogy
  • Always use “County” when describing a United States county in an article name.
Exceptions
Louisiana uses "Parishes" instead of counties and Alaska uses "Boroughs."
  • Do not use "United States" in the title of town or county wiki articles.
Correct
Charleston, Tallahatchie County, Mississippi Genealogy
Lincoln County, Montana Genealogy
Incorrect
Charleston, Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, United States Genealogy
Lincoln County, Montana, United States Genealogy

England, Scotland, Wales

  • For county pages, list two jurisdictions.
Correct
Bedfordshire, England Genealogy
Dunbartonshire, Scotland Genealogy
  • For parishes/cities pages, list only the county and do not include, England.
Correct
London, England Genealogy
Englefield, Berkshire Genealogy
  • Do not use the word, County in naming the article
Exceptions
County Durham

Canada

  • For province pages, list two jurisdictions.
Correct
Alberta, Canada Genealogy
  • For county pages, list three jurisdictions.
Correct
Essex County, Ontario, Canada Genealogy

Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland

  • For county pages, list two jurisdictions.
Correct
Jämtland County, Sweden Genealogy
Maribo County, Denmark Genealogy
  • For parish/city pages, list three jurisdictions
Correct
Hallen, Jämtland County, Sweden Genealogy
Holeby, Maribo County, Denmark Genealogy

Switzerland

  • For canton pages, list two jurisdictions.
Correct
Genève Canton, Switzerland Genealogy
  • For parish/city pages, list three jurisdictions
Correct
Bergdietikon, Aargau Canton, Switzerland Genealogy
  • Always use “Canton” when describing an Switzerland Canton.

Ireland

  • For county pages, list two jurisdictions.
Correct
County Kerry, Ireland Genealogy
  • For parish/city pages, list three jurisdictions including the type of parish.
Correct
Aghadoe Civil Parish, County Kerry, Ireland Genealogy
  • Always use “County” before the county name when describing an Irish county.
Exceptions
King's County and Queen's County

Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Austria, France and other countries in the wiki

  • Include the country in all locality article titles
Correct
Alagoas, Brazil Genealogy
Penang, Malaysia Genealogy
Chaco, Argentina Genealogy
Bukovina, Austria Genealogy
Incorrect
Alagoas Genealogy
Bukovina Genealogy
  • Do not list the type of jurisdiction in the name of the article.
Correct
Baja California, Mexico Genealogy
Ain, France Genealogy
Incorrect
Baja California State, Mexico Genealogy
Ain Department, France Genealogy