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Primary Name and Alt Name Swapping


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#1 Mike M. 77

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 12:23 AM

In my family, like many others, it was common especially for men to use three, four or more first names over the course of their lives, even at the same time. It is often not clear which name should be the "primary" name, and surname variations makes it all even more complicated.

It would be a great aid to be able to switch the main, primary name with one of the several Alternate Names with one click. Sources and everything else would remain constant for each entry, but the main name and alternate names would flip. Right now, we have to retype all the information as new name variations are discovered and evaluated.

Thanks for considering this.

Mike

#2 Renee Zamora

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 11:38 AM

Confirming enhancement request is in our tracking system.
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#3 Less

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 03:02 PM

I'll agree, and go a few steps further in the wish list...

Name, Birth, Death, and Marriage are the kinds of facts/events/tags that can frequently have many entries and conflicts of evidence, differing types etc, but one value of each needs to be considered primary for listing and calculating.

I'd like to see name, birth, marriage, and death facts and fact types in more of a "name-group" and "birth-group" sort of thing.

All the names for a person would be of a name-group tag type, with name-nick, name-birth, name-baptism, name-married, name-alt, etc. And you'd have all the same stuff you have now with sources and notes and sentences and witnesses, but could switch types, and "primary" indication at will.

Same with birth, marriage, and death. All the "birth" types go together: birth-natural, birth-adoption, birth-alternate, baptism. Whichever one is marked primary is used in timeline view and age calcs and reports, etc.

That way we don't have cluttered up timeline views when there are multiple birth dates and locations and things (only the primary shows) and it's easy to change back and forth between primary and other.

Also...some visual indiation of primary-ness would be welcome!

(Yes, these ideas come from TMG)
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#4 Renee Zamora

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 05:11 PM

I'll agree, and go a few steps further in the wish list...

Name, Birth, Death, and Marriage are the kinds of facts/events/tags that can frequently have many entries and conflicts of evidence, differing types etc, but one value of each needs to be considered primary for listing and calculating.

I'd like to see name, birth, marriage, and death facts and fact types in more of a "name-group" and "birth-group" sort of thing.

All the names for a person would be of a name-group tag type, with name-nick, name-birth, name-baptism, name-married, name-alt, etc. And you'd have all the same stuff you have now with sources and notes and sentences and witnesses, but could switch types, and "primary" indication at will.

Same with birth, marriage, and death. All the "birth" types go together: birth-natural, birth-adoption, birth-alternate, baptism. Whichever one is marked primary is used in timeline view and age calcs and reports, etc.

That way we don't have cluttered up timeline views when there are multiple birth dates and locations and things (only the primary shows) and it's easy to change back and forth between primary and other.

Also...some visual indiation of primary-ness would be welcome!

(Yes, these ideas come from TMG)

I cannot visualize this at all. Must be because I have never used TMG.
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#5 poppa

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 12:36 PM

Confirming enhancement request is in our tracking system.

 

Has there been any action on the "Primary name and alternate name swapping enhancement" request since 2012?

 

 

#6 Renee Zamora

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 12:57 PM

No, if you are asking if version 7 can do this. 

 

One of the things that has to be worked out is do you swap the notes, sources and media at the same time. There is more involved in this than simply changing the name. The notes, sources and media are general items. Where the alternate name are for a fact. Do you want to swap them all out at the same time. Which sources applies to what when you do that? These have to be resolved before we can ever implement this enhancement request. 


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#7 poppa

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 02:41 PM

No, if you are asking if version 7 can do this. 

 

One of the things that has to be worked out is do you swap the notes, sources and media at the same time. There is more involved in this than simply changing the name. The notes, sources and media are general items. Where the alternate name are for a fact. Do you want to swap them all out at the same time. Which sources applies to what when you do that? These have to be resolved before we can ever implement this enhancement request. 

Thank you for the quick response and yes I was asking if the name swapping could be done in v7.

 

Just as information, in some other genealogy packages that I have used, name swapping between the main "Name" and an "alternate name" is in fact an exact swap.  Each Name or Alternate Name carries with it all of the supporting information that was attached to it when its name status changes.  

 

Again, thank you for the quick response.



#8 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 02:54 PM

I don't remember thinking very deeply about this wish when it was first posted, probably because I don't use alternate names. But when I re-read the wish just now, the thought that came to me was how can RM possibly swap a name with an alternate name when there is an alternate name fact in RM but there is not actually a name fact in RM.

 

I think that's what Renee is talking about in her note from earlier today. An alternate name can have a note, sources, and media, but a name cannot. Rather, the individual can have a note, sources, and media but the note, sources, and media apply to the individual as a whole and not just to the individual's name. So I don't think it's possible to implement this enhancement no matter how much effort is put into until and unless RM were changed so that you could enter a note, sources, and media for a person's name separate from the note, sources, and media for the person. It's a subtle distinction, but it really does matter.

 

There are a several other considerations here.

  • Why is it that in RM you can associate a note, media, and sources with an alternate name but not with a name?
  • What does it mean exactly when you associate a citation with an individual?
  • RM supports a multi-cite capability under Lists->Sources, but multi-cite only works with the individual as a whole, not with facts for the individual.
  • RM supports a sort of "multi-cite" capability on GEDCOM import, except it's sort of "multi-cite on steroids". You can associate a source with every individual being imported, with every fact being imported, or both.
  • FSFT pretty much associates sources only with the individual as a whole. Well, you can tag a source to events, but only to a very small set of events. And you can't tag a source to an event unless the source is first associated with individual as a whole, whereas in RM you can associate a source with an event without associating the source with the individual as a whole.
  • For close to two decades now, I have taken the approach where for any source associated with any event, I also associate the same source with the individual as a whole. I'm not quite sure why, but I've always done it that way. That can result in outrageously long lists of citations associated with a person as a whole. Recently, I have decided to associate sources with the individual as a whole only if the sources are sources for the person's name. So most of my fact sources will not be associated with the person as a whole anymore. This is not a happy result for interacting with FSFT, but it would work fine for this wish (remembering of course that I'm a sample size of one and most RM users will be using the general person source for documenting more than just the person's name).

In any case, I don't see how this wish could possibly be implemented without some major re-engineering of RM, and the strong integration between RM and FSFT would argue against doing any such re-engineering.

 

Jerry



#9 poppa

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 05:42 PM

I don't remember thinking very deeply about this wish when it was first posted, probably because I don't use alternate names. But when I re-read the wish just now, the thought that came to me was how can RM possibly swap a name with an alternate name when there is an alternate name fact in RM but there is not actually a name fact in RM.

 

I think that's what Renee is talking about in her note from earlier today. An alternate name can have a note, sources, and media, but a name cannot. Rather, the individual can have a note, sources, and media but the note, sources, and media apply to the individual as a whole and not just to the individual's name. So I don't think it's possible to implement this enhancement no matter how much effort is put into until and unless RM were changed so that you could enter a note, sources, and media for a person's name separate from the note, sources, and media for the person. It's a subtle distinction, but it really does matter.

 

There are a several other considerations here.

  • Why is it that in RM you can associate a note, media, and sources with an alternate name but not with a name?
  • What does it mean exactly when you associate a citation with an individual?
  • RM supports a multi-cite capability under Lists->Sources, but multi-cite only works with the individual as a whole, not with facts for the individual.
  • RM supports a sort of "multi-cite" capability on GEDCOM import, except it's sort of "multi-cite on steroids". You can associate a source with every individual being imported, with every fact being imported, or both.
  • FSFT pretty much associates sources only with the individual as a whole. Well, you can tag a source to events, but only to a very small set of events. And you can't tag a source to an event unless the source is first associated with individual as a whole, whereas in RM you can associate a source with an event without associating the source with the individual as a whole.
  • For close to two decades now, I have taken the approach where for any source associated with any event, I also associate the same source with the individual as a whole. I'm not quite sure why, but I've always done it that way. That can result in outrageously long lists of citations associated with a person as a whole. Recently, I have decided to associate sources with the individual as a whole only if the sources are sources for the person's name. So most of my fact sources will not be associated with the person as a whole anymore. This is not a happy result for interacting with FSFT, but it would work fine for this wish (remembering of course that I'm a sample size of one and most RM users will be using the general person source for documenting more than just the person's name).

In any case, I don't see how this wish could possibly be implemented without some major re-engineering of RM, and the strong integration between RM and FSFT would argue against doing any such re-engineering.

 

Jerry

 

Wow .....are you folks fast and thorough!!

 

I am sure Rootsmagic 7 will function for many decades into the future without the ability to swap Primary name and alt name.  It just would be a handy feature, for those of us who have used it in other software packages.

 

Regards

 

Cliff G.



#10 TomH

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Posted 07 June 2015 - 09:19 PM

Also, I may not be thinking very deeply about this request for name swapping but I do not see that it is so difficult to implement as some think. The primary and Alternate Names for a person reside as unique records in the same table, all "owned" by the same person and only one of which is marked as primary. To swap the current primary name with one of the alternate names is trivial:

  • present a list of all the person's name records with the primary one highlighted
  • allow the user to select a different one as primary 
  • In the background, the record currently marked as primary is then unmarked while the newly selected one is marked.  

This has no effect on the general note, etc. However, the note, etc. associated with the former alternate name will become hidden while some may be surprised to find a hidden note, etc from the former primary name to be revealed now that it has become an alternate name. This is because other software and GEDCOM support note, etc for the primary name which RootsMagic faithfully imports but has not figured out what to do with in its outputs!

 

The general note, media, sources are not associated with any Name record but rather with the Person record which contains the hidden RootsMagic UniqueID, gender and various flags, codes for control of displays and outputs (e.g. Living flag). The Person record is unaffected by Names, Events, ... It 'owns' them. Thus a citation for a person will remain a citation for that person, regardless of name swapping.

 

Unfortunately, RootsMagic provides no means in its user interface to tag a note or citation to the Primary Name nor to output any that may arrive through import, even though the database structure supports it. We are forced to put name-evidence into "General" and the result is that a name-swap is going to leave that evidence in General along with other stuff that is about the person, not their name. To move all the General stuff to the Name record would be equally inappropriate. A user would have to go through and select what is General and what belongs to the Name. This is a trap of RootsMagic's own making because it neglected or chose not to support a distinction between General and Name in the user interface.   


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#11 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 09:21 AM

Also, I may not be thinking very deeply about this request for name swapping but I do not see that it is so difficult to implement as some think.

.......

We are forced to put name-evidence into "General" and the result is that a name-swap is going to leave that evidence in General along with other stuff that is about the person, not their name.    

 

It is precisely the mixing of name-evidence and general-evidence that led me to the conclusion that name swapping would be difficult or impossible to implement. But I was thinking that the basic Edit screen interface would not change.

 

Suppose on the other hand that RM were willing to change the user interface in the Edit Screen and other such data entry screens so that the primary name and the alternate names (if any) were handled in about the same way. There could be several names. One of them would be marked primary, and the rest would be marked alternate. The primary name could then have its own note, sources, and media just like the alternate name. Name-evidence would go with the names, and general-evidence (whatever that is exactly) would go with the individual.

 

As you say, the RM database structure already supports this approach. Name swapping would then be almost trivial. Just click on the name you want to be primary and do something or other in the user face to mark it primary. All notes, sources, and media associated with each name would remain in place with no further processing or swapping required.

 

I think it's a great idea.

 

Jerry



#12 TomH

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 09:56 AM

I think your suggested revision of the user interface is logical, given the database structure that supports it already exists and is used (see Citations Invisible Revealed for prior exploration of citations from Ancestry Family Trees that disappear when imported). 

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#13 poppa

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 03:12 PM

Seems like the consensus of the folks taking part in this discussion think that the ability to swap the Primary Name and an Alternate name is feasible and a worthwhile enhancement to pursue.  

 

I am kind of curious to learn what happens next with this enhancement request.  Does it just die a natural death in this thread?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#14 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 06:51 PM

Enhancement requests from this forum should be posted to the Wish List. From there, RM transfers the enhancement requests to their internal tracking system. Being transferred to the tracking system should not be taken as a commitment that the enhancement request will be implemented.

 

Some enhancement requests become implemented. Most do not. RM development of new features seems to be driven primarily by an internal, "big picture", multi-year plan - more long term strategic than short term tactical in most cases.

 

A few vendors will post wish list items publicly, and will allow users to vote to rank them. Most vendors do not. RM does not.

 

Jerry



#15 zhangrau

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 07:27 PM

I've been reading along with this thread since it was opened, and I finally decided to toss in my 2-cents-worth. :)

 

I list every variation of an individual's name that I find. Some have only a couple, others have as many as twenty. BMD records, census records, city directories, etc. often have variations recorded that the individual probably DID NOT USE, but they are in the documentation that I've found. My French-Canadian ancestors who migrated to the USA have developed about 80 different spellings of the "original" French surname from the early 1600's.

 

What I show as the "primary name" for an individual is generally the most complete version of their birth name that I can find. In fact, in some cases, the "primary name" is my interpretation of the various alternate names and abbreviated forms of the given names. Many of my French-Canadian ancestors had 3 or 4 given names plus a surname in their birth/baptismal record, and used one or another of those names over their lifetime. There is no ONE correct name to list as their "primary name."

 

All this talk about swapping names seems hopelessly useless to me. But, then, that's just an opinion, eh? :rolleyes:



#16 Laura

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 07:33 PM

This is an interesting discussion, but, I don't see much point in being able to replace a person's name with an Alternate name. That would be more complicated than it is now.

I open the Edit person screen and reenter the name of my choice. No opening a list of Alternate names and picking from the list. Change the part of the name I wish to change, and I am done.

I can maybe see a way to replace the name with an Alternate name in a fact sentence but not replacing the person's name from an Alternate name.

Even using an alternate name in the sentence, I can customize the sentence on the Edit person screen and type the name in. Again, there is no picking a name from a list or adding a name to a list before it can be used.

#17 poppa

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 09:16 PM

Enhancement requests from this forum should be posted to the Wish List. From there, RM transfers the enhancement requests to their internal tracking system. Being transferred to the tracking system should not be taken as a commitment that the enhancement request will be implemented.

 

Some enhancement requests become implemented. Most do not. RM development of new features seems to be driven primarily by an internal, "big picture", multi-year plan - more long term strategic than short term tactical in most cases.

 

A few vendors will post wish list items publicly, and will allow users to vote to rank them. Most vendors do not. RM does not.

 

Jerry

 

Jerry,

 

Thank you for the information.

 

Cliff G.



#18 TomH

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 05:41 AM

The point of the request is for the Note, Media, Sources to follow when a user wishes to elevate an Alternate to Primary and to preserve the Primary with its Note, Media, Sources as a new Alternate, and to do so easily, as one can with other software. Laura, in fairness, editing the Name does not accomplish that; it requires many more steps than you describe - copying, pasting, deleting, retagging, as needed, the Note, Media, Sources.

However, a way of using RootsMagic as-is that would keep name-supporting Note, Media, Sources with a name regardless which one is primary is to have the primary name also as an Alternate Name. Don't attach them to the Name in the Edit Person screen but rather to the (primary) Alternate. Then one is free to edit Name to match any of the Alternate Names without moving any of the Note, Media, Sources. Those attached to the Name field are then truly General and do not have to be evidence for the Primary Name.

Enhancing the sentence variables to support selective usage of Alternate Names is another long outstanding request.

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#19 kbens0n

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 10:22 AM

IMHO, this is a use case that would rarely be done by the majority of users. Personally, this is not the type of functionality that I want the programmers to spend time on.


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#20 Vyger

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 01:33 PM

IMHO, this is a use case that would rarely be done by the majority of users. Personally, this is not the type of functionality that I want the programmers to spend time on.

 

I would like to agree with the above, just because something can be done doesn't mean it should be.


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