Template:Family name explanation/doc

From hodl

Template:Family name explanation is placed at the top of a biographical article to explain to readers which part of a name is the family name. It is used by the wrappers {{Family name footnote}} and {{Family name hatnote}}. More rarely, it may be invoked directly, e.g. for use within a larger footnote about a person's name.


Parameter Description Status
|1= The surname or family name of the subject. Required
|2= Triggers different text based on the language (see below). Required for |lang=Manchu; optional for others.
|3= For transliterated names or there are multiple name types. Optional
|nd= Use for Dutch names when a marital name is involved Conditional
|lang= The country or origin of the name; links to related articles if they exist.
Note: language names must be spelled out, not ISO codes, for example Spanish not es.

Footnotes vs. hatnotes

There is no universal consensus on whether to use footnotes or hatnotes for family name explanations.[lower-alpha 1] However, never use both.[lower-alpha 2] For names that are clear to the average reader, such as Jeremy Lin, use no explanation.

Hatnotes are a high-emphasis method of name explanation, and have been used widely on Wikipedia for many years. Some editors argue that they are well-suited to articles where the name is particularly in need of clarification (such as when the name Foo Bar is one article and Bar Foo is another), or where a footnotes system would have to be introduced for the explanation.

Footnotes are a newer, lower-emphasis method of name explanation introduced in 2020. Some editors argue that they better avoid giving undue prominence to name explanations. Others argue that they fit name explanations better as they do not muddle the navigational purpose of hatnotes. They may be particularly well-suited to articles that already have other hatnotes (where another might induce banner blindness), or where there is a preexisting footnote system (and thus no need to introduce one).

Supported languages

The |lang= parameter will trigger a link to <lang> name (for example, Arabic name) if the page exists. Exceptions are listed below:

Language Article
Eastern Slavic Eastern Slavic naming customs
Hmong Hmong people
Ijebu Yoruba name
Lebanese Lebanese Arabic
Ottoman Turkish Ottoman Turkish language
Romance Romance languages
Toponymic third parameter is linked
Turkic Turkic languages


First parameter only

Regardless of language, this template requires a first parameter for the given surname. For instances where the language may not commonly use a family name, the text reflects this.

Language Code Example Output
No |lang= set {{Family name explanation|Simpson}} Template:Text
Burmese {{Family name explanation|Htang|lang=Burmese}} Template:Text
Dutch {{Family name explanation|Van der Sar|lang=Dutch}} Template:Text
Ijebu {{Family name explanation|Àjàyí|lang=Ijebu}} Template:Text
Mongolian {{Family name explanation|Tsedenbal|lang=Mongolian}} Template:Text
Ottoman Turkish {{Family name explanation|Namık Kemal|lang=Ottoman Turkish}} Template:Text

Second parameter

The second parameter triggers different wording depending on the language.

Language Code Example Output
Argentine {{Family name explanation|Acosta|Benitez|lang=Argentine}} Template:Text
Basque {{Family name explanation|Arana|Goiri|lang=Basque}} Template:Text
Bulgarian {{Family name explanation|Ivanova|Georgieva-Kinova|lang=Bulgarian}} Template:Text
Cambodian[lower-alpha 3] {{Family name explanation|Sok|Narvaratt|lang=Cambodian}} Template:Text
Catalan {{Family name explanation|Miró|Ferrà|lang=Catalan}} Template:Text
Chilean {{Family name explanation|Ocampo|Soto|lang=Chilean}} Template:Text
Chinese {{Family name explanation|Wang|De|lang=Chinese}} Template:Text
Chinese Indonesian {{Family name explanation|Han|Su|lang=Chinese Indonesian}} Template:Text
Congolese {{Family name explanation|Tshisekedi|Tshilombo|lang=Congolese}} Template:Text
Dutch {{Family name explanation|Van der Sar|Sar|lang=Dutch}} Template:Text
Dutch (if |nd=y) {{Family name explanation|Noordewier|Reddingius|nd=yes|lang=Dutch}} Template:Text
Eastern Slavic {{Family name explanation|Aleksandrovitch|Imyarek|lang=Eastern Slavic}} Template:Text
Galician {{Family name explanation|Núñez|Castillo|lang=Galician}} Template:Text
German {{Family name explanation|Von Allmen|Allmen|lang=German}} Template:Text
Hmong[lower-alpha 3] {{Family name explanation|Kaying|Pha|lang=Hmong}} Template:Text
Korean {{Family name explanation|Lee|Han|lang=Korean}} Template:Text
Lebanese Arabic {{Family name explanation|Ali|Maatouk|lang=Lebanese}} Template:Text
Manchu[lower-alpha 4] {{Family name explanation|Oboi|Gūwalgiya|lang=Manchu}} Template:Text
Mongolian {{Family name explanation|Tsedenbal|Yumjaagiin|lang=Mongolian}} Template:Text
ni-Vanuatu {{Family name explanation|Natapei|Rapi|lang=Ni-Vanuatu}} Template:Text
Ottoman Turkish[lower-alpha 5] {{Family name explanation|Osman Hamdi|Bey|lang=Ottoman Turkish}} Template:Text
Romance {{Family name explanation|de Perier|Perier|lang=Romance}} Template:Text
Slavic {{Family name explanation|Wołkowski|Wolkowski|lang=Slavic}} Template:Text
Spanish {{Family name explanation|Gómez|Cruz|lang=Spanish}} Template:Text
Turkic {{Family name explanation|Bölükbaşı|Bolukbasi|lang=Turkic}} Template:Text
Vietnamese[lower-alpha 3][lower-alpha 6] {{Family name explanation|Phan|Khải|lang=Vietnamese}} Template:Text
All others
(A, not B)
{{Family name explanation|Wilson|Clark}} Template:Text

Third parameter

With the exception of |lang=Toponymic, the third parameter is used for transliterated names or a second name type.

Language Code Example Output
Hong Kong[lower-alpha 7] {{Family name explanation|Chan|Jackie|Kong-sang|lang=Hong Kong}} Template:Text
Macau[lower-alpha 7][lower-alpha 8] {{Family name explanation|Ho|Edmund|Hau Wah|lang=Macau}} Template:Text
Manchu {{Family name explanation|Hūlušun|Nara|Hulusun|lang=Manchu}} Template:Text
Ottoman Turkish {{Family name explanation|Ali|Pasha|Çandarlı|lang=Ottoman Turkish}} Template:Text
Ottoman Turkish
(if no title)[lower-alpha 9]
{{Family name explanation|Ali||Çandarlı|lang=Ottoman Turkish}} Template:Text
Toponymic {{Family name explanation|London|Edward|English name|lang=Toponymic}} Template:Text
Vietnamese {{Family name explanation|Ngô|Diệm|Ngo|lang=Vietnamese}} Template:Text


This is the TemplateData for this template used by TemplateWizard, VisualEditor and other tools. Click here to see a monthly parameter usage report for this template in articles based on this TemplateData.

TemplateData for Family name explanation

Placed at the top of a biographical article to explain to readers which part of a name is the family name.

Template parameters

This template prefers inline formatting of parameters.

Surname or family name1

The primary element in the person's surname

Additional name element2

Secondary element in the person's surname (depending upon language)

Additional name element3

Tertiary element in the person's surname or transliteration (depending upon language)


Language or naming convention. Note: Spell out the language name; do not use ISO codes

Suggested values
Argentine Basque Bulgarian Burmese Cambodian Catalan Chilean Chinese Chinese Indonesian Congolese Dutch Eastern Slavic Galician German Hmong Ijebu Korean Lebanese Manchu Mongolian Ni-Vanuatu Ottoman Turkish Romance Slavic Spanish Toponymic Turkic Vietnamese Hong Kong Macau
lang=Spanish (not lang=es)
Dutch marital namend

Use only with Dutch surnames where the person's married name is to be specified

Explanation typetype

Whether the explanation should be rendered as a footnote, a hatnote, or neither (default).

Suggested values
footnote hatnote
Reference group typereftype

Name of footnote template to use, such as efn, efn-lr, or NoteTag.

Suggested values
efn efn-lr efn-ua efn-ur efn-lg NoteTag


  1. See Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 188 § Method of surname clarification.
  2. List of articles to fix.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 For Cambodian, Hmong, or Vietnamese, |2= is not required, and will still add the explanatory note.
  4. The second parameter is required for this language
  5. For Ottoman Turkish, if |3= is given, the family name will be listed as well.
  6. Vietnamese has a "transliterated" message similar to Slavic and Turkic, but is triggered by |3=.
  7. 7.0 7.1 If the full Western- and Chinese-style name is desired, it must be included in the second and third parameter in the proper order; for example Chan|Jackie Chan|Chan Kong-sang.
  8. Also works with the spelling Macao.
  9. For Ottoman Turkish, if |2= is left empty (note the double pipe, ||), "the title is..." section is not included.

Tracking categories

See also