Template talk:German title Freiherr

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Freiherr von[edit]

The present text "Freiherr von is a title (Baron of ...), not a first or middle name." isn't right; "von" is not a title, it's a particle, and it's independent of "Freiherr". The template also appears to be linked into pages of some men who aren't "Freiherr"s (some "Ritter"s for example). And I question whether the same information couldn't be conveyed simply by linking "Freiherr". I'll correct the "von" part. -- Nunh-huh 01:28, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I wouldn't agree that "von" is always independent of Ritter, etc. While the recipient may have had a "von" beforehand for other reasons, if he did not, then receiving the Freiherr, Ritter, Graf or other title gave it to him.
Initially, I didn't have the von in this template, but because Freiherr, Ritter, usw are always followed by von, I went back and added it so that the translation "xxx of..." would make more sense. And then, because von explains its role as not always a sign of nobility (as you pointed out in an earlier correction on another page), I linked the von.
As a Newbie Wipipedian, I'll defer to your experience and point out that there are parallel templates for Reichfreiherr and Ritter that should receive whatever treatment is decided for this one. (It is important to do this, because I intend to do similar things with Graf, Fuerst and other titles that can appear to an English-only speaker to be given names. I didn't realize that I had added the Freiherr template to some Ritters. They should receive the Ritter template instead. But before doing the Ritters, I want to create a stub article on Ritter so that the term can be linked, as has been done to the already-existing Freiherr article.
One other thing: I set these up as a low-level section to get a warning/caution/note heading on them. I think, though, that being a section can distort the logical hierarchy on some articles, so if, in your experience and better knowledge of Wiki style, it can be a formatted as a special line (perhaps a * ?) or something other than a sub-sub-...-subsection, perhaps with a bolded constant initial word or phrase, that would be better.
StanZegel 02:34, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)


Hi, Stan,
I do think that generally, templates are overused. If you think it's important to have information about titles in each article (I think linking the title is a better approach) I would think the way to go would be a footnote1. But these would have to be inserted manually, and numbered manually. Linking (as you did "von") allows for a fuller discussion of the topic and is less distraction, I think. That's just my opinion, I'm sure others have...others. - Nunh-huh 02:43, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Yes, I agree the manual insertion and renumbering of footnotes would be a maintenance problem and, I think, make them impractical, and links would be preferable.
Ideally, none would even be necessary because an article would lend itself to what I was able to do with Georg Ritter von Schönerer, along the lines of "... was born as a b c, and received the title Ritter von when ...", but few articles give enough basic information to glean the birth name. Although that would put the reader on notice of the given-name/title difference so a separate note would not be necessary, we just don't have the input data to do that very often.
Links would indeed also alert the reader that there is something different about those two words in the name (because they have links and the other words do not). The page name and its restatement in the first paragraph are often the only places where the German title words appear in the article, but if we were to use links on Freiherr and von there, don't you think we would run into objections because, in most cases, the link would be on the first paragraph's bold-face restatement of the page's title? We cannot put a link onto any of the page title's words because that would cause other problems, I believe. Your thoughts?
Also, I'm thinking that --instead of a section break if a note is used-- that something along these lines may allow greater flexibility in where it is inserted, without interfering with the article's hierarchy:
  • Note regarding personal names: Freiherr is a title, usually translated Baron, not a first or middle name.
Your thoughts?
StanZegel 07:05, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think links would be much better. Explaining titles and names in each article is needlessly repetitive, and explaining them in the beginning of the article, where there should be a topic sentence, isn't a very good solution. If someone objects to linking them, they can come up with a better solution<g>. Another approach which I think is workable is to give a "name and/or titles and/or styles" synopsis near the end of the article, like you will see at Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon or Charles, Prince of Wales. On a side note, I think some of the templates you've been writing still contain phrases like "Ritter von" is a title: but that's not true. Von is part of the name, it's not a title. On another note, I think "Notes" can always be a second level heading (==Notes==), but I don't think it's necessary to create a notes section just to tell people what they could find out by clicking on Freiin, von, or Ritter, and that time would be better spent giving one good explanation on those pages rather than trying to synchronize varying explanations on many pages. - Nunh-huh 08:42, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)
OK, I'll try linking, even the bolded names if necessary, and we'll see what fallout occurs. I've removed the von from the templates.
StanZegel 09:04, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Well, I've run into a little problem: on a link to a person, e.g. [[Kasimir Felix [[Graf]] von Badeni]], attempting to hyperlink the embedded title nullifies the rest of the link. I know this can be overcome by piping but that is quite labor intensive. (I know there is probably some sort of 'bot feature one could use, but I need to become more familiar with the standards and styles of Wikiism before I'd even research that.)
I have another idea: some articles are created in the format Georg Ritter von Schönerer, and others in the format Georg, Ritter von Schönerer. I think the comma before the embedded title is a good flag that something is different about the words in that name. But to change the page name requires moving it, dealing with existing links, etc. I think it may be the right thing to do, but I don't want to implement such a systematic process without first consulting with an experienced Wikipedian like you. There may be a written Policy or Stylesheet that discusses names of persons, that should cover the subject of a comma before an imbedded title. I'll start looking around for one. If you know of one, can you point me to it? And what are your thoughts on standardizing names with imbedded titles?
--StanZegel 16:09, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)
You're right that you can't link within a link, but generally you can find more than one instance of a word on a page and link the other one. The naming of articles is as you'd suspect a vast can of worms, but I'll point you to some interesting pages to look at. I'd advise against the comma version because that's not the way such names are generally written.
Pages that will be of interest are:
and their associated talk pages. Leaving a note asking for comments on what you want to do, at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (names and titles), might be a good way to get other suggestions. -- Nunh-huh 01:07, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)
OK, I've done that at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (names and titles)#German Noble Titles#Using a comma before embedded titles?
--StanZegel 02:03, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Another way of creating references is using Wikipedia:Footnotes to generate them automatically. The syntax is simple:
=== Under some heading ===
Comes a statement<ref>Which has this little reference</ref>.
The paragraph then continues, and below comes a section with ...
=== References ===
<references />
Which looks like this:

Under some heading[edit]

Comes a statement[1]. The paragraph then continues, and below comes a section with ...


  1. ^ Which has this little reference
Insead of <references />, one can use <div class="references-small"><references /></div> to have the references displayed in a smaller font. --Swift 19:13, 25 August 2006 (UTC)


1Like this one.

Merging "German title" templates[edit]

Might it be a good idea to merge the "German title" templates. I came across them at Wikipedia:Template_messages/Links#Internal_links and they all seem to have a very similar structure. These would be easily merged using m:ParserFunctions. --Swift 22:36, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

What would the merging be? An alternate way of invoking the text? If it is a better way, then good! However, I'd resist putting all of the titles into a single display because the purpose of the template series is to warn the reader of a biography that a word that appears as part of the name, really isn't. Over the months I've noticed that some of the templates have picked up accretions of historical and variant-form information that really belongs in the hyperlinked main article on that title. We need to resist turning what is intended as a caution into an essay, and to try to teach him about other titles too at that point would be disruptive. (After all, he is there to read about the person, and can click on the social title for more information.) But if you have a better way of invoking the caution and enforcing a standardized layout throughout the series, I'm all for it! --StanZegel (talk) 14:49, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Those best qualified to deceide whether merging the templates are those that use them. This was my idea: Make one template, Template:German title which would then output a specific text depending on a parameter. So, {{German title|Freiherr}} would give the same results as {{German title Freiherr}}, and likewise with the rest.
The drawback would be an added complexity in the template's internals (which, on the bright side, might discourage people from being too verbose). It could be something like:
Note regarding personal names: ''[[{{{1}}}]]'' is a title, translated as {{
  #switch: {{{1}}}
  | Freiherr = ''[[Baron]]''
  | Fürst = ''[[Prince]]''
  | Graf = ''[[Count]]''
  | Herzog = ''[[Duke]]''
  | Prinz = ''[[Prince]]''
  | Reichsfreiherr = ''Baron of the Empire''
  | Ritter = ''[[Knight]]''
}}, not a first or middle name. {{
  | Freiherr = The female forms are ''[[Freifrau]]'' and ''[[Freiin]]''.
  | Fürst = The female form is ''[[Fürstin]]''.
  | Graf = The female form is ''[[Gräfin]]''.
  | Herzog = The female form is ''[[Herzogin]]''.
  | Prinz = The female form is ''[[Prinzessin]]''.
  | Reichsfreiherr =
  | Ritter =  There is no equivalent female form.
The benefits come from bringing all these templates to a central template to ensure consistency. It is no fantastic improvement, I just happened to find the number of these on [[Wikipedia:Template messages/Links}} a little odd. You seem to be the German-title-guy, so I place this decision in your hands. I've been merging a bunch of templates and just thought I'd mention this option to you. --Swift 19:00, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
He's not the only German title guy. There may be more people interested in this (myself included) who would like to discuss this. The female German forms shouldn't be linked directly as they are all redirects to male forms of the titles and there should be a bit further note on titles prefixed with Reichs-. Charles 19:12, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I meant no offense. I hadn't gotten any response here for a few days so I contacted him directly since he seems to have created most of these templates. Feel free to interpret my preceding comments in the plural referring to all you German title guys (guys being gender inclusive).
Thanks for your input. Whatever the best precise form should be, do you think such a merger would be useful? --Swift 19:51, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
I would be okay with it if the way the outputted text looks is maintained and it isn't overly complicated... That would discourage editors from using the templates. I am against any suggestion of substitution and I am concerned about the lack of information for Holy Roman imperial titles. I have posted the links to the templates on a royal discussion section to see if anyone else can come an comment. Charles 19:55, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
"if the way the outputted text looks is maintained". This is up to those that will be using the template. Do you think you (plural) will mantain this?
"it isn't overly complicated". As I already wrote above, the useage would change from {{German title Freiherr}} to {{German title|Freiherr}}. I don't find this complicated, but that's beside the point. The important question is; do you (plural again) find this complicated?
Thanks for spreading the word about this. For your comment on substituting, see #Using substitutions. --Swift 21:54, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
If {{German title|Freiherr}} gives Note regarding personal names: Freiherr is a title, translated as Baron, not a first or middle name. The female forms are Freifrau and Freiin., then it is fine. If {{German title|Edle}} gives * Note regarding personal names: Edle is a rank of nobility, not a first or middle name. The male form is Edler., then it is fine. If {{German title|Ritter}} gives * Note regarding personal names: Ritter is a title, translated approximately as Knight, not a first or middle name. There is no equivalent female form., then that is fine.
I will not pretend that I think the code, etc is easy. But if the form used to insert it is easy while the differences in the given examples are maintained, then I am for it. Btw, the bolding wouldb't be in the templates... I just added it so the contained text is differentiated from the rest of the paragraph. Charles 19:20, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Your suggestion for Edle is difficult to incorporate into the template as easily as the others. The fact that I hadn't seen it before, however, is one of the main reasons for why I suggested the merger — to centralise them. This can alternatively be done by using categories (which I'd suggest you do anyway).
The other main reason depends on your preference. If the reason for using a template is to be able to centrally change the appearance etc. of the text, some might find it easier the less templates one has to worry about. Alternatively, you can also do this with categories. Create a category page on which you transclude the templates for an overview. Perhaps like so:
Template:German title Freiherr (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) Regarding personal names: Freiherr is a former title (translated as Baron), which is now legally a part of the last name. The feminine forms are Freifrau and Freiin.
Template:German title Ritter (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) Regarding personal names: Ritter is a title, translated approximately as Sir (denoting a Knight), not a first or middle name. There is no equivalent female form.
Template:German title Edle (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) Regarding personal names: Edle is a rank of nobility, not a first or middle name. The male form is Edler.
This would create a nice framework for accessing the various templates. What I'm thinking is how easy it is for your fellow Wikipedians to adopt these templates. I found (some of) them listed on some template page (I can find it if you like) where it seemed odd that such an obscure bunch of templates took up so much space. Listing a single/few templates with versitile abilities is, in my oppinion, much more benefitial to the broader project. The category alternative could provide a link to an example template on such lists and provide a link to the category page for more.
For those taking a liking to the merging templates idea, I'd suggest merging the previously proposed ones in {{German title}} and the Edle one(s?) in {{German rank}}.
As for not understanding templates, I'm placing a quick intro on your talk page (mentioned here in case anyone else wants to have a look). The switch and other ParserFunctions are also explained on m:ParserFunctions. --Swift 21:14, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
It would be fantastic if there were a way to override the "title formula" in the instances of Edle, Edler and Ritter. Everything is else is kind of straight forward... You have to bear with me because my expertise in code only grows slowly. Is there any way to list two templates under one, so part A, for instance, will work when any of the other titles are used and part B will be used for the exceptions (Edler, etc)?
Regarding further up... Can the "switch" be a full sentence, including the "translated as"? I think that would make it easier. Charles 23:00, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, the switch can be a full sentence. --Swift 09:50, 17 September 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately, there is no simple way of doing what you are asking. It's possible, but at this point, I'd recommend using two templates: {{German title}} and {{German rank}}.
Do you guys have a category or project page where these might be placed? --Swift 09:50, 17 September 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia:WikiProject_Biography/Royalty and its talk page might be appropriate. Charles 22:27, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

So, to summarize: We can

  1. Categorize the templates already in existance (say, at Category:Title and rank templates, Category:Royalty templates or Category:Biography templates) and place a link to the Category page on some suitable page (say, Wikipedia:WikiProject_Biography/Royalty).
  2. Replace the title and rank templates with {{German title}} and {{German rank}} and place them on some suitable page (and possibly put them in a category as well).

I'm not comfortable with making the decision since I neither have the experience of where these are used nor have I ever used them, but I'd be more than happy to help with setting this up. Do you guys want to make a decision on this? --Swift 22:45, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

I am all for it if it can be guaranteed that inserting it into articles will be easy. I am under the impression that the first option will preserve the differences among some of the templates? Charles 15:37, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
The insertion will certainly be easy and both versions can have differences between actual titles/ranks. The main differences are that with multiple templates you can have more intricate customisation while if you have two, maintaining consistancy will be a little easier since you only have to edit the text in one or two templates as opposed to each one individually.
Say, for some reason you'd like to change the tense of a verb in the templates ;-), this would require two changes for all of the titles/ranks if you opt for reducing the number of templates. However, if you think you might want to make changes to some of the title/rank texts, but not all, you should certainly opt for the many.
If you'd like, I could set up both systems, you could feel them out and we can then just delete the ones that we dislike.
Finally, either way, it might be a good idea to put the templates into a category, which will have a usage section that is shared between all of the titles/ranks. What would be a good name for the category? I was thinking Category:German dignities templates, but if you dislike dignities, there is no decent collective term for title and rank, and you are certain that there aren't any more types of "dignities" we could just call it "German title and rank templates". --Swift 16:44, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
What about German nobility templates? Or German noble templates? I think those kind of fit everything in. I think setting both up is a great idea. Charles 00:06, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
Nobility refers to the people themselves, while dignity is the title/rank. I was just thinking of the scope of the category, but then I suppose it wouldn't hurt if it contained other templates related to german nobility than just the title/rank ones. --Swift 20:46, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
Good point, although I'd say nobility is the system or class which includes the titles themselves. Using just "German noble templates" would better encompass the titles and the ranks, in my opinion. Charles 00:36, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
OK, I'm making Category:German noble templates (I still like the sound of "nobility", but you're the expert here ;-)). I'll then populate it with the existing templates and then create the ParserFunction ones. --Swift 01:29, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
All done. Let me know what you think. --Swift 03:31, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
I will leave comment at Category talk:German noble templates/Title usage. Charles 00:34, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

Using substitutions[edit]

Templates are great for sharing content or maintaining a consistent style or structure of content. The "German title" templates seem to have changed little and therefore there isn't all that much need for the template transclutions.

Every time the page is loaded, it makes an extra call to the database to include the template. This can be avoided by placing "subst:" in front of the template name: {{subst:German title Freiherr}}. The template text is then copied into the article as it would appear.

To maintain a list of the pages where the template has been used — as can currently be generated by the "What links here" link in the toolbox — a category could be created to which the template would add the page to. --Swift 22:43, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

In #Merging "German title" templates, Charles noted: "I am against any suggestion of substitution". Why? (See: Help:Substitution for discussion). --Swift 22:01, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Freiherr is NOT a title[edit]

This should read "was a title". The nobility in Germany was abolished decades ago, so nowadays any Freiherr etc. is simply a part of the name and NOT a title anymore. --Rosenzweig 18:12, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Freiherr IS a title, the same way Archduke is a title in English (Canada, the United States, the UK, etc don't have archdukes, do they?). It is a word in German that is a title, used sometimes in the surnames of former baronial families. But it means that same thing as it did before WWI (which is baron) even if the law doesn't back it up. Charles 15:35, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
No, this is incorrect. Things like 'Freiherr', 'Prinz' in german names are mere part of the Surnames since 1920 when nobility was abolished and this regulation was passed in the Law called 'Preußisches Gesetz über die Aufhebung der Standesvorrechte des Adels und die Auflösung des Hausvermögens'. You can distinguish whether it is a title or not by the persons date of birth and the position of the word within it's name: Today it's name is Richard Karl Freiherr von Weizsäcker, a hundred years ago his name would have been Freiherr Richard von Weizsäcker. See de:Adelstitel#Deutschland for Details. --Gnu1742 (talk) 11:49, 17 June 2009 (UTC)