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Help:Page name conventions

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A wiki page name is an identifier for a page within a wiki. This page may be about a named entity (person, place, organization) but strictly speaking, the page name is an identifier for a resource about that entity, not for the entity itself. Where possible, entities are more rigorously identified by linking to external identifiers.

Page names must be unique and need to get a balance between short and informative. This means that the page name should contain enough information for human readers to be able to find what they're looking for, but no more information than is necessary for that.

A page name is not a full name history of the entity, and does not always have to show the most correct name for that entity.

Special characters

These characters should not be used in page names:

Character Reasons
# < > [ ] { } | These will interfere with wiki markup or HTML markup.
& The ampersand is used for query strings in web addresses. Mediawiki can work around this but we prefer to use 'and' in page names to avoid confusion.
: The colon is used by Mediawiki to signify namespaces. It will work as part of a page name if the prefix is not a namespace, but it can be confusing so we prefer to avoid it even though it is allowed in some other wikis.
/ The forward slash can be used in most page names, and is often needed in archival references, but it should be avoided in page names for Agents or Units because it can cause problems when creating subpages in the Events and Locations namespaces. We now use \ to separate multiple commanders' surnames in the page names for military units.
? + = These have special meaning in web addresses. In wiki page names it might work in practice, but it's better to avoid it .

Apart from these, any Latin unicode characters can and should be used to spell names correctly. It's better to transliterate characters from other alphabets into the Latin alphabet. All text added to this site should use UTF-8 character encoding.


People can be Agents (if they were alive during the British Civil Wars) or Authors (if they weren't alive at this time and are only included as authors or editors of published texts. Similar naming conventions apply to both.

Surnames should usually come first, followed by a comma, then by forenames and/or initials. The main exception to this rule is for royalty who are commonly known by forenames and either don't have surnames or who are not commonly known by their surname. In this case, the forename comes first, and can be followed by a comma, followed by a royal title. Years of birth and death are not usually needed. For example:

For people whose surname comes first, the qualifiers 'junior' or 'senior' may be used if necessary for disambiguation. These come after the forenames, separated by a space, not a comma:

  • Balfour, William senior
  • Balfour, William junior

Further titles (except peerages: see below) may be used after another comma if needed for disambiguation:

  • Balfour, William senior, Sir
  • Balfour, William junior, Major

A military rank may be used directly after surname if the forename is not known:

  • Smith, Captain

Any additional disambiguation information usually goes in round brackets after these names.

Years of birth and/or death should only be used if they are absolutely necessary for disambiguation and are certainly known. Often they can be omitted. If they are included, they should usually be the first thing inside the brackets, before anything else.

Only the most distinctive occupation or other role should be used: the purpose is disambiguation, not to provide a comprehensive description of a person's life.

For modern historians, it's usually only necessary to put 'historian' in brackets. Peerages, knighthoods and other titles can be included. For example:

It's best if the actual page name uses one or more full forenames unless the historian is much better known by their initials:

But alternative forms with initials can also be redirects. In either case, there are no full points after an initial.

Page names should usually use a person's most well-known name. The original spelling from a historical person's signature is preferred if known, but this won't be enforced rigidly.

The words 'royalist' and 'parliamentarian' should be abbreviated to R and P. These should only be used as qualifiers if a person held an actual position in the organization of one side and never for the other, and if these qualifiers are particularly useful for disambiguation or identification of a person. Where a person is well known to have fought for both sides, 'side-changer' can be used.


Use only surname, forename, and highest/last title held. Year of death is no longer included:

There should be a redirect for every peer with the title first and the name in brackets:

There can also be redirects for previous or subsidiary titles but only the highest/last main title should be used in an actual page name.

Married surnames

Some people take a new surname on marriage. This has traditionally applied to women in Britain but men and nonbinary people might also take a new surname on marriage.

We have no strict rule about whether to use maiden or married surnames where all are known. Use whichever seems most widely used or easy to understand, even if inconsistent. In some cases, a historical widow's maiden name might not be known.


There can be redirects for other surnames.

If a living historian has a married surname but always uses her maiden name professionally, her married surname should be treated as private and not mentioned anywhere on this site.

Transgendered people

Living transgendered people's deadnames must not be mentioned anywhere on this site. They may be mentioned in sources linked to by external identifiers but we can't help that.

Military units


Armies are capitalized and should have as short names as possible. Allegiance can be added after a comma if needed for disambiguation, but can often be left out. Armies can be known by a commander's name, a place name, or both. Sometimes years of existence are needed for disambiguation. Examples:

Regiments, troops and companies

Units such as regiments, troops and companies were mostly known by the commanding officer's name and did not have official names of their own. Page names are usually in the form:

  • Surname's Arm Level

With the following qualifiers:

  • if there was more than one commanding officer, surnames are separated by '\' (we no longer use '/' as it can cause confusion when creating subpages in the Events and Locations namespaces).
  • multiple commanders do not have to be in chronological order. It can be helpful to put the most well-known or longest serving first. In these cases, there should be a redirect for each commander with only that commander's name.
  • information needed to disambiguate commanding officers with the same surname can go in brackets after the unit name. For example, forenames, ranks, other titles such as Sir or junior.
  • the name of an army can be added after a comma if the unit served wholly or mainly in one army. 'New Model Army' is abbreviated to NMA but other armies are usually not abbreviated.
  • further disambiguation information, such as allegiance or dates of existence can be added in brackets at the end of the page name.



Page names for garrisons usually start with the place name (not usually qualified by county), with allegiance or other disambiguation information, such as dates of existence, in brackets.

  • 'parliamentarian' is abbreviated to P
  • 'royalist' is abbreviated to R


A unit page that represents a household should usually start with the page name of the head of household followed by '- household'. For example:


Counties of England, Scotland and Wales should usually have the English name used by the Historic Counties Standard followed by a comma then the country name:

There should be a redirect for:

  • alternative English names shown in the Historic Counties Standard
  • Welsh language names of Welsh counties. Most are shown in the Historic Counties Standard. Some alternatives come from Wikipedia. Country suffix should be ', Cymru'.
  • Gaelic names of Scottish counties. These are mostly taken from Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba. A few that are not explicitly given there are taken from Wikipedia or other sources. Country suffix should be ', Alba'.
  • we don't yet have a source for Scots names of Scottish counties where these differ from English names.

Settlements should have name, county at large and country:

Except that county should be omitted if the county name is taken from and very close to a city name. For example, 'Gloucester, England' not 'Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England'.

Places in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire should also be qualified by the name of the riding, even if the page name would be unique without it:

May need further disambiguation if two places have same name in same county.

Spellings of settlement names should usually be the English names used by Ordnance Survey data, unless there is a good reason to use an older name. Hyphens between words are replaced by spaces in page names, for example, 'Stratford upon Avon', not 'Stratford-upon-Avon'. There should be redirects for versions with hyphens. This rule does not apply to English names of settlements in Scotland where the hyphen is used to add a suffix such as -head or -side.

There should be redirects for Welsh and Gaelic names if shown in Ordnance Survey data, or if they can easily be imported from other sources. [This rule may need changing after more detailed examination of OS data.] Welsh Language Commissioner has a CSV file of Welsh places names, linked to OS IDs, available under OGL.

Durham is a special case. Use:

Rural parishes should usually be settlement name followed by parish:

Similarly, subunits should be settlement name + chapelry/township/hamlet/whatever.

But urban parishes should be disambiguated by saint's name:

  • St Botolph Aldgate parish, London, England

Parish churches should have pages with same names as parishes but with 'church' instead of 'parish':

  • Earls Colne church, Essex, England
  • St Botolph Aldgate church, London, England

St is usually preferred to Saint as this style is used by Ordnance Survey data for most place names.

But where a parish name combines more than one settlement, it's better to name the church only after the settlement where it actually is (if this is known), not after the whole parish. For example, 'Hawerby church, Lincolnshire, England' not 'Hawerby cum Beesby church, Lincolnshire, England'.

Other buildings should usually have the name of the building and the name of the settlement they are in or near, unless the settlement name already appears in the building name (this often happens with castles). Urban buildings should also have the street if it's known and useful. Oxford and Cambridge colleges should have Address pages to represent the buildings, and these should be qualified with ' buildings' at the end of the page name to disambiguate them from Unit pages that represent the college as an organization.

Boroughs and corporate counties should be separate entities from settlements in them:

Separate entities for county and borough jurisdictions:

Ecclesiastical units:

  • Lincoln diocese, England
  • Lincoln archdeaconry, England
  • Dorchester deanery, England
  • Edinburgh synod, Scotland
  • Peebles presbytery, Scotland

Names for these are initially taken from Ecton's Liber Valorum for England and Wales, or Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae for Scotland but can be improved from other sources.


Combat events

Start with place name, then date and event type in round brackets. For events that took place in one day, use the full date including calendar. Sieges can often just use the year but if the same place was besieged more than once in a year, the date can be expanded as much as is needed for disambiguation. Event type can include battle, skirmish, siege, assault, sally, storming or anything else that seems appropriate. It doesn't have to match the semantic data. The distinction between battles and skirmishes isn't rigid.


Start with the name of the organization that held the meeting, then full date including calendar in round brackets. For example:

Manuscripts and collections

Should start with GLAM name followed by comma. The National Archives of the UK (TNA) is abbreviated to TNA, but most other GLAMs are not abbreviated:

  • TNA,
  • British Library,
  • Bodleian Library,

Then full catalogue reference eg for pieces/volumes:

  • British Library, Add MS 18980
  • TNA, SP 28/131/3
  • Bodleian Library, MS Tanner 62

For lower collection levels, individual texts, and sections, include folio numbers where necessary:

  • British Library, Add MS 18980, f. 1
  • TNA, SP 28/131/3, f. 1
  • Bodleian Library, MS Tanner 62, f. 1

If individual documents in a box don't have official item numbers, the page name can have ordinal numbers in brackets. For example:

  • TNA, SP 28/151 (2nd item)

In this case, the orderable reference would be 'SP 28/151' and citable reference would be 'SP 28/151 unfol.'.

We may use the same approach where documents don't have folio numbers.

These will all need default sort string setting (this can be done in editing form) otherwise they won't sort in a sensible order. In the sort string, components should be separated by spaces, not commas or slashes. Numbers should be zero filled to the highest number of digits expected in that context.

For example, pieces in TNA, SP 28 can have up to 3 digits, so the sort string for TNA, SP 28/4 is 'TNA SP 28 004'.

Printed sources

If more than one level (work, edition, format) is combined into the same page, that page should usually use the naming conventions for edition level. If another edition is added later, the edition page should stay as it is and a new page should be created for work level.


Author surnames and short title will usually do. Use - to separate authors from title because commas can be used in title and italics can't be used in a page name.

  • Wanklyn and Jones - Military History
  • Cruso - Military Instructions
  • Robinson - Horses, People and Parliament

Modern book editions

Usually as work title but qualified by edition (which can be either an ordinal number or the name of an editor) and year of first publication in brackets:

  • Wanklyn and Jones - Military History (1st edition, 2005)

Early book editions

As modern editions, but will usually have an ESTC number. This should go at the end of the bracketed part of the page name. For example:

  • Cruso - Military Instructions (1st edition, 1632, ESTC S121933)


Journals use full current names but omit 'The' from start. Redirects can be used to help find journals under old titles, but these should not be used as property values.


Series of monographs should be in the form 'Series title (Publisher)'. More than one publisher can be included in the brackets if the series has changed publisher. There should also be redirects in the form 'Publisher - Series title' for every publisher of a series, even if there is only one.



Journal article version of record:

  • Author surname ' - ' abbreviated title (journal, publication year)

Journal names are usually full but can be abbreviated if the abbreviation is well known or the full title is very long.

Journal article self-archived version:

  • Author surname ' - ' abbreviated title (repository)

Chapter in collection:

  • Author surname ' - ' abbreviated title (abbreviated title of collection, publication year)


Author's surname - short title (thesis, year of completion)

For example:

Disambiguation pages

The name of a disambiguation page should be the ambiguous term with nothing after it. This will be displayed in the page text by Template:Disambiguation page.

Each disambiguation page should also have a redirect pointing to it with ' (disambiguation)' added after the page name.