Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Anthroponymy

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WikiProject Anthroponymy (Rated Project-class)
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Name page that is too long[edit]

Please comment at Talk:Abdur Rahman on what to do about this very long page. Ego White Tray (talk) 8:04 pm, 5 May 2013, last Sunday (5 days ago) (UTC−5)

Barrington (name)[edit]

I would appreciate someone to look at Barrington (name) and tell me if it has the right categories, if I have added a correct lede, Barrington is both a given name and a surname." There was no lede before I added that.--DThomsen8 (talk) 22:37, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

I can't say whether or not the list has the right categories, but I will point out that Barrington presumably was a surname before it became a given name, and that, at least in English-speaking countries, any surname may be used as a given name. J. D. Crutchfield | Talk 23:02, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
thank you for that information. The only surname in Category:Surname is Barrington (name), so I doubt this particular category.--DThomsen8 (talk) 23:14, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

Category:Surname and Category:Surnames[edit]

I hope that I now understand the differences between Category:Surname and Category:Surnames. I see that Surname is much smaller than Surnames. In category Surname I see the specific surnames:

  • Barrington (name), Ahmadzai, Coffey (surname), Dehmel, Mahato, and Wassan, and the name Harry Hon Hai Wong. I would make sure that those specific names be in Category:Surnames, and that the name Harry Hon Hai Wong not be in either category. Please tell me if I am wrong to make these changes.--DThomsen8 (talk) 19:41, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
It looks to me like you've got it right. Go for it. SchreiberBike talk 23:19, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

"Personal name" versus "given name"[edit]

I haven't visited this project before, but as one of the editors from WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome, I've been working on articles related to names (mainly Roman names) for several years, after a long period of researching names in various languages on my own. One of the issues that I've avoided wading into during this time was the definition of "personal name." But after spending many days working on this article and that article touching on names, I'm finding myself bumping up against this question repeatedly.

Webster's Third New International Dictionary defines personal name as "a name (as the praenomen or the forename) by which an individual is intimately known or designated and which may be displaced or supplemented by a surname, a cognomen, or a royal name." This is the definition I've always used; it contrasts personal name with surname, but indicates that it includes praenomina or forenames. Given name simply cross-references the terms Christian name and forename.

I do find lots of dictionaries supporting the use of "given name" to mean the same thing as "personal name," but I don't find any that define "personal name" to include surnames. I checked the American Heritage Dictionary (cited for the definition of "given name" in that article), Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, American College Dictionary, Webster's New World Dictionary, Random House Dictionary, and Funk & Wagnalls' Standard College Dictionary, most of which, oddly enough, used the same definition word-for-word under "given name" but provided nothing under "personal name."

At the end of this process the only source indicating that "personal name" means something other than the definition here used for "given name" is Wikipedia itself, for which the only source cited is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which can't possibly be reliable authority for this definition.

I suppose that whether "given name" should be retitled "personal name" is a matter of taste, since the two terms are synonymous; I'd like to do that, since I think "given name" sounds rather confusing, while "personal name" clearly contrasts with "family name" or "surname." But if the majority disagrees with me, it's not a disaster. But I do think that the article personal name clearly has the wrong title, since it describes the opposite of a personal name; that article is about names in general (perhaps the confusion arises from the word "personal," which in "personal name" refers to a name that belongs to an individual, rather than a family; the author of the article may have assumed that it meant "names of people" as opposed to places or things).

My suggestion would be to revise the "personal name" article to eliminate the incorrect use of that term, and redirect personal name to given name, indicating in the lead paragraph that the terms are synonymous (unless, of course, the majority agrees with changing "given name" to "personal name"). Of course, that still leaves the question of what the article now titled "personal name" should be called; for now I'm thinking perhaps "Names (people)". Can I stir any interest with this proposal? P Aculeius (talk) 04:01, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

I think P Aculeius's expectation that if it were a valid phrase, "personal name" would be found in dictionaries is a reasonable expectation. Of course, this isn't true for all encyclopedia article titles, but I think it should be for this one. Since P Aculieus, after a reasonable search, was able to find the term in only one dictionary, I think it is unsuitable as an article title. Perhaps "Personal name" should be turned into a redirect page pointing to the various plausible meanings.
I think the "Given name" article is moderately well-titled. It suggests that the name is chosen by the name-giver, rather than dictated by law or custom. So the family name is legally required or at least there is some social pressure to assign the family name in a particular way; in the Anglo-Irish tradition it would be the father's surname. FOr the given name, in the Anglo-Irish tradition, any name can be chosen, although there it is usually chosen from a large set of words considered suitable as given names. From what I was told by a friend at university, in China the given name is not freely chosen but rather chosen according to a Generation poem, although our "Given name" article suggest this is only one possible way to choose a Chinese given name. "Personal name" would be a poor choice to mean "given name" because it might though to distinguish from other kinds of names, such as corporate names or domain names. In that context, it might be thought to be a synonym for something like "full name".
As for what "full name" means, I throw up my hands. Have a look at the forum section of There are all kinds of tales of woe about whether a full name must include a middle name (when one has been assigned to an individual), whether a generational suffix is part of a full name, or which official document should be used to determine what an individual's full name is. Jc3s5h (talk) 11:47, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
I guess my thought process rambled a little as I consulted various authorities. My original intent had been to ask that "personal name" be used as the title of the "given name" article instead of the one currently titled "personal name." Since I was familiar with the term as a synonym for "given name," one used in scholarly sources, I expected confirmation from more than one source (although Webster's Third is a better source than any of the others I cited). But as the two terms are synonymous, and the editors here seem to be much more familiar with "given name" I suppose that's a losing battle.
Nevertheless, "personal name" definitely means the same thing as "given name", and does not mean someone's full nomenclature. So rather than create a redirect page linking to several other articles, it should automatically redirect to "given name" (which ought, in fairness, to contain the term in the lead, even if the title remains the same). The sentence contrasting the two terms is in error. This is confirmed not just by Webster's Third, but my compact OED (which I forgot to consult last night), which explicitly states that the primary meaning of "personal" is "having to do with the individual, as opposed to the community," rather than "relating to people, as opposed to objects or places." The article currently named "personal name" misuses the term to mean something that it does not.
That still leaves the question of what term or phrase should be used to contrast what's now covered under the title "personal name" from the subject of "given name." Last night I suggested "Names (people)"; perhaps "Names of people" or "Names in different cultures". Or perhaps we should consider using "Name" or "Names" (both currently lead to disambiguation pages, but "Name" is an automatic redirect to "Names (disambiguation)" so that could stay if "Names" were the title); I think the word might be primary with reference to people, and only secondary with reference to places and other things.
Whatever the title, the lead needs to explain that there's no universally-agreed upon term for a person's full nomenclature (unless we say "a person's full nomenclature"), and that "among the terms commonly used are 'full name', etc. The lead should also distinguish these from "personal" or "given" names, which exclude names identifying a person as a member of a community (family, tribe, clan, etc.). Does anybody agree with this? P Aculeius (talk) 13:57, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
It's worse than "there's no universally-agreed upon term for a person's full nomenclature". There's no universal agreement on what characters are part of a person's name, and what characters are a description. From what I've read, in some state of the US, a suffix like Junior is considered a description, just like "eye color: brown" that might appear on a driver's license. Jc3s5h (talk) 14:41, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Indeed, this is one of the pitfalls I run into as a genealogist; whether to record "Junior" and "Senior" (or II, III, IV) as part of the name. People are all over the place on this, but it seems that before the 20th century there was never any doubt that they were descriptive only. Until quite recently (in historical terms, at least) someone labeled "Junior" would drop that once the "Senior" died, and if he had a son by the same name, the son would become "Junior." Nor was there any requirement that the people so referred to be father and son, or even related. Anyone taking a list (such as a tax list or census) could simply use "Junior" and "Senior" as means of referring to the older and younger people of a particular name, irrespective of any relationship. This is why when I record people's names in genealogies, I always omit these suffixes. It's a little different in Wikipedia, of course, since we go by the most familiar "name," using that word in a broad sense, rather than a technical one. P Aculeius (talk) 15:59, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Of course Junior is a description: it means, "the younger", and when the elder of the same name dies, it is customarily dropped, unless both elder and younger are well-known—as in the case of Oliver Wendell Holmes, père et fils—so that the distinction remains important beyond the life of the father; or when the younger has become famous during the life of the elder, as in the case of Roy Blount, Jr., so that Jr. has become as it were a part of his "brand". Even then, Senior and Junior remain adjectives descriptive of the persons who bear a name, not part of the proper noun itself. I can imagine that a state might declare otherwise by law, but it would go against general usage, and I'm not aware that any has done so. Is Jc3s5h? That would presumably require a formal change of name when the father died, unless the son were willing to keep the now-incorrect descriptor.
As for personal name, I strongly agree that—in English usage anyway—it means the same thing as given name, and refers to the name by which an individual person is distinguished from other members of her or his family. Anything on Wikipedia that suggests otherwise should be boldly revised. In every English-speaking society I'm aware of, "full name" or "full, legal name" means one or more personal names, plus surname or family name. Generational descriptors may be added to aid in distinguishing among individuals who bear the same personal names, but are not strictly part of the full name. See, e.g., Black's Law Dictionary, fifth ed. (1979):
A person's "name" consists of one or more Christian or given names and one surname or family name. It is the distinctive characterization in words by which one is known and distinguished from others, and description, or abbreviation, is not the equivalent of a "name."
J. D. Crutchfield | Talk 16:22, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
I am not aware of a state law or binding regulation that explicitly says a suffix is part of a person's name. But consider that the Centers for Disease control recommend all states adopt a birth certificate described on this web page. The certificate contains a box 1, and within that box it states "1. CHILD’S NAME (First, Middle, Last, Suffix)". This certificate has been adopted within many states. It creates the impression among regular folks, and minor state and local officials, that the suffix is part of the name. If you happen to butt heads with a minor official who goes by the birth certificate rather than Black's Law Dictionary, you better have tens of thousands of dollars on hand to sue the minor official and get a judge to compel the minor official to obey the law. Jc3s5h (talk) 17:41, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Well, if we're in agreement on what "personal name" does not mean, then I'd be happy to undertake some revisions. But we'd still have to come up with a new title for that page. Looking over what's on it, do any other ideas come to mind? You raise a good point, Jc3s5h. Today's record-driven society tends to regard a piece of paper (or its electronic equivalent) as the instrument that defines a person's name, to the exclusion of both custom and the intent of the parents. I suppose if it were up to me I would make clear that suffixes of this type are not part of the name, but exist solely for convenience. And of course I would provide some method by which the original intention of the parents would be legally binding without the need for a court order to reform errors. Sadly it's not up to me! P Aculeius (talk) 18:52, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
I would simply move the "Personal name" article to "Name". The primary meaning of name is the word that characterizes and distinguishes a person (as shown by, e.g., the entry from Black's Law Dictionary I quoted above). Other uses of the word name are mostly qualified somehow (e.g., corporate name, place-name). If some qualifier were deemed necessary here (maybe to distinguish it from the article on animals' names?), I'd grudgingly suggest "Name (person)" or "Name (of a person)".
Now that I think about it, of course another encyclopedia has long-since solved this problem. There, "personal name" is used for any name applicable to a person, not just for the given name. J. D. Crutchfield | Talk 22:26, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I think the Britannica entry pretty much rules out any expectation that people will understand "personal name" to be a synonym for "given name". I don't have Black's Law Dictionary handy, and I wouldn't want to agree or disagree with Jdcrutch's interpretation of it without seeing the whole entry, including the word which is being defined. But American Heritage Dictionary 3rd ed. gives, as the first definition for "name", "A word or words by which an entity is designated and distinguished from others." So I don't think we can presume "name" means name of a natural person. It can also mean a name of a corporation, political entity, machine, ship, poodle, etc. Jc3s5h (talk) 23:40, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

I think that's overstating the case. As I'm sure we all know, words and phrases can have multiple meanings. I can't possibly argue that the Britannica is wrong in using the definition that it did, even if I learned the phrase in a different context, and prefer it (and even if Webster's disagrees with EB). Ironically, I am a lawyer, but it didn't occur to me to check Black's Law Dictionary. Two points! But in the law we call this kind of thing a "conflict of authority." Because we can't resolve it, we have to acknowledge both uses. In other words, "personal name" can be used in either a narrow sense or a broad sense. It's a synonym, not an antonym, of "given name", and so the use here, which simply states that it's the opposite of "given name," is still wrong. But, it can be used to mean the opposite, so that also has to be anticipated. There's no chance of changing the name of the "given name" article, but I guess I can live with that.
As for what to call the other article, I still don't know. But, having participated (in a very minor capacity) on a couple of other debates about article naming policies, there's something I think should be considered. It's the policy at WP:PTOPIC. Essentially, it provides guidance for whether a term with multiple uses should lead directly to a disambiguation page, or to one particular use, with a separate disambiguation page linked via a hatnote. The relevant question is whether a specific use is "primary" for the term. I can't phrase it any better than the policy: "A topic is primary for a term, with respect to usage, if it is highly likely—much more likely than any other topic, and more likely than all the other topics combined—to be the topic sought when a reader searches for that term." So, granted that there are lots of types of names, not just names of people. But when I ask myself what I'd be looking for when typing "name", I'd expect to see names for people before any other type of name. So, we could call that use primary. Or come up with another title. P Aculeius (talk) 01:42, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
"Name" would be among the earliest words a baby would learn while learning to speak. Babies learn the name of the family pet right along with the names of other family members. I had a niece who had a pet female dog named Gretel. When she was two years old, as far as she was concerned, every female of any species, other than her mother, was named Gretel. So I really don't know if most readers would be thinking of "name for a natural person" when entering "Name" in the search box. Jc3s5h (talk) 02:10, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
True, it wouldn't necessarily be restricted to people. Or humans, anyway. But it's actually the same type of name, whether you apply it to a human or an animal. The example you gave was a human name, although I don't think it's fundamentally different if you talk about a human named "Mac" or a dog named "Spot." I think both would fit under the same heading, as opposed to "Empire State Building," "Dodge Ram," "U.S.S. Intrepid," or "Enid, Oklahoma." But of course we can sidestep the issue if we can think of a different (or more specific) title. "Human names" doesn't sound like a good article title to me. "Personal nomenclature" at least avoids confusion with the use of "personal name" to mean an individual name, but it also doesn't sound at all intuitive. There has to be something better... P Aculeius (talk) 04:05, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
The entry I quoted from Black's Law Dictionary is Name, and the definition given there is as follows:
The designation of an individual person, or of a firm or corporation.
Then follows the passage I quoted above, after which come several cross-references, followed by sub-entries for Corporate name, Distinctive name (as used in the regulation of trade), and Generic name (of a product).
In light of this discussion and the Britannica 11th article, I'm coming around to the view that Personal name is the correct title for an article on the names of human beings, but that personal name should not be contrasted with or distinguished from given name; nor should it be identified, as the present article has it, with the full name (defined as given name, middle name, and surname) for all purposes and in all cases. In many cultures, past and present, the given name is the only personal name an individual has. In some cultures, and in some cases, a person has no personal name, and is designated by his or her relationship to another. Many, if not most, cultures do not follow the pattern of "First (given) name, Middle (given) name, Last (family) name". Even in the English-speaking world, that pattern may not be universal: I have the impression that Americans tend to use multiple given names a good bit more than Englishmen, even today. Personal name, it seems to me, is the term by which a person is individually designated, and that may or may not include various components, depending on the person's relationship with the speaker, his or her social status, the circumstances under which she or he is spoken to or spoken of, and a myriad of other potential variables. In some contexts, I am "J. D. Crutchfield"; in some, plain "Crutchfield"; in others, "Jim"; in still others, "Crutch", and so on. All of those are personal names for me, because they all, in context, refer only to me—even though none is my full, legal name.
So the article, Personal name (or at least the lede), needs rewriting, but I think the title should probably stay as it is. I would also be in favor of a more generic article entitled Name, which, like the Britannica 11th article, would treat of all kinds of proper nouns, and could be branched to various main articles for the several kinds of names. J. D. Crutchfield | Talk 19:17, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Okay, I've had a go at both articles, leaving Personal name at its current title, but adding a hatnote directing to Given name, and mentioning the various common alternative terms for both types of names in each article. I also revised a few paragraphs for clarity, and added note sections for information that seemed relevant but potentially distracting in the main text; otherwise I left the basic structures of the articles alone. Have a look and let me know if this seems okay. I'm still not convinced about the title of "Personal name", though. After revising it, I think it might be better under "Full name." P Aculeius (talk) 15:03, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
Does the title of the article have to be a noun, I agree that Personal Name is ambiguous, but Personal Naming gets over this and while referring only to human names, clearly includes multiple possibilities.Manninagh1958 (talk) 07:11, 4 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure that gets around any difficulties. Technically "naming" as a process would still be a noun. A gerund, I believe. But I think that would be confusing. How would "personal naming" be distinguishable from the concept of a "personal name?" I'm afraid what we have here is a conundrum that arises from differences in usage. The term "personal name" can mean two different things, and each meaning clearly contradicts the other. At this stage there's little to recommend a change other than personal preference, and there's no consensus for that. But my impression is that "personal naming" would involve moving the article to a title so ambiguous that nobody would have a clue what it meant before visiting the article. And almost immediately there would be calls to move it back. So for now I think our best course of action is to leave things as they are. Until there's a consensus for changing "given name" to "personal name" and "personal name" to "full name" or something similar, the status quo seems to be the best solution. P Aculeius (talk) 11:49, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

Leaflet For Wikiproject Anthroponymy At Wikimania 2014[edit]

Hi all,

My name is Adi Khajuria and I am helping out with Wikimania 2014 in London.

One of our initiatives is to create leaflets to increase the discoverability of various wikimedia projects, and showcase the breadth of activity within wikimedia. Any kind of project can have a physical paper leaflet designed - for free - as a tool to help recruit new contributors. These leaflets will be printed at Wikimania 2014, and the designs can be re-used in the future at other events and locations.

This is particularly aimed at highlighting less discoverable but successful projects, e.g:

• Active Wikiprojects: Wikiproject Medicine, WikiProject Video Games, Wikiproject Film

• Tech projects/Tools, which may be looking for either users or developers.

• Less known major projects: Wikinews, Wikidata, Wikivoyage, etc.

• Wiki Loves Parliaments, Wiki Loves Monuments, Wiki Loves ____

• Wikimedia thematic organisations, Wikiwomen’s Collaborative, The Signpost

For more information or to sign up for one for your project, go to:
Project leaflets
Adikhajuria (talk) 14:24, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

There is an ongoing discussion about moving Gomez to Gómez, which can be seen here. Any and all opinions would be very much obliged! Corvoe (speak to me) 11:44, 3 July 2014 (UTC)


There is an article at Nalawade which is listed as belonging to WikiProject Anthroponymy. At present it does not have a lead section that would indicate what the article is about. It is unclear whether the article is about a surname, a clan, a caste or some other grouping. The references do not go to the topic, but all seem to be specific to individuals. At present the article is a miscellaneous collection of information and is subject to being sent to Articles for deletion (AfD) discussions if it is not rendered into an encyclopedic article. --Bejnar (talk) 15:02, 23 September 2014 (UTC)


A discussion on a hatnote for disambiguation of this term (it is a redirect) is currently occurring at Talk:Kennedy family (the target of the redirect). -- (talk) 03:37, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

Comment on the WikiProject X proposal[edit]

Hello there! As you may already know, most WikiProjects here on Wikipedia struggle to stay active after they've been founded. I believe there is a lot of potential for WikiProjects to facilitate collaboration across subject areas, so I have submitted a grant proposal with the Wikimedia Foundation for the "WikiProject X" project. WikiProject X will study what makes WikiProjects succeed in retaining editors and then design a prototype WikiProject system that will recruit contributors to WikiProjects and help them run effectively. Please review the proposal here and leave feedback. If you have any questions, you can ask on the proposal page or leave a message on my talk page. Thank you for your time! (Also, sorry about the posting mistake earlier. If someone already moved my message to the talk page, feel free to remove this posting.) Harej (talk) 22:47, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Expert attention[edit]

This is a notice about Category:Anthroponymy articles needing expert attention, which might be of interest to your WikiProject. It will take a while before the category is populated. Iceblock (talk) 16:45, 12 October 2014 (UTC)