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Allow { }, [ ], and/or ( ) around last name

unknown last name

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#1 Cara

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 08:33 PM

When I searched for info on how to record unknown maiden name, I found several suggestions in the forum. I did adopt one of the ideas, but when I shared info with my cousins, I found we all had used different ideas.

I think it would be much easier to indicate an unknown last name, specifically maiden name, if we could put { }, [ ], or ( ) around the married name (or other family name) when the maiden name is unknown. When I tried to do this it did not show up in the proper place in the index..This would be very easy if Roots Magic set the standard and made changes necessary to add the name to the index in proper alpha order.

It would immdiately be apparent to the reader that the "proper" name is unknown. Additionally, if you knew the married name but did not know the partner's first name, you would not have to open possibly dozens of last names to find the one you wanted.

In addition to maiden name it could also be used when the last name of a sibling (half, step) is unknownm and there are probably other situations where it would be beneficial..

Thanks for your consideration.

#2 Helen

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 07:07 AM

I think it would be much easier to indicate an unknown last name, specifically maiden name, if we could put { }, [ ], or ( ) around the married name (or other family name) when the maiden name is unknown. When I tried to do this it did not show up in the proper place in the index..This would be very easy if Roots Magic set the standard and made changes necessary to add the name to the index in proper alpha order.


I use [ ] to indicate a married name when no maiden name is available. In the index the bracketed names sort to the top of the Index. Apparently you wanted the brackets to be ignored, and the name sorted with the identical names. I would rather not change. Now I can see just how many [ ] names I have right at the top of the index. But as always who could object to an option. :D

Helen

#3 Nettie

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 08:08 AM

I also use [ ] around a married name which should have a maiden name. I like it showing at the top of the index. The index sorts by alpha and square brackets are not alpha. :)

At least it does not give me 50 Elizabeths with no surame or way of telling which husband she belongs to. Have been using this method since the days of Family Origins. and has worked well for me. :)

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#4 Vyger

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 01:57 PM

Is it or would it not be better to use the inbuilt Alternate Name feature citing the alternative as Married name?

I also use this quite often to deal with sight surname spelling variations entering the common alternatives as "Alternate Spelling". Turning on the Alternate names display shows these married and spelling variations sorted within the Index as desired.

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#5 Don Newcomb

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 07:13 AM

For many years I've been prepending an asterisk (e.g. *Smith) to indicate a married name. I'd be happy to adopt any other system that was designated as "official" or best-practice. I normally use parens to indicate a maiden name {e.g. Mary (Smith) Jones} when writing.

#6 Glenn

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 02:15 PM

Any non-alpha character should sort to the top. I use 7 underscores (_______).


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#7 DonnaT

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 07:35 AM

I probably do the wrong thing....but when I do not know the maiden name I do the following

first name Elizabeth Last name (Unknown) Smith....................Smith being the last name of the man that she married

That way, I can go into the index and see all the (unknown)'s together with the married name following it. This also allows me to see her as part of the Smith family and I can do more research on clumps of these unknowns in the same family, at the same time.

Again, probably not what I'm suppose to be doing, but for me, it works.

#8 Nettie

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 08:02 AM

DonnaT it is your database and I am on the understanding there is no right or wrong how you do your labeling. What works for you may not work for others. But sharing how/what is great, then others have some choices. :)

Vyger The alt name have not played with using it as a suggestion for stating a married name. Do you use the dates with it? How do you handle Divorce situations?

Genealogy:
"I work on genealogy only on days that end in "Y"." [Grin!!!]
from www.GenealogyDaily.com.
"Documentation....The hardest part of genealogy"
"Genealogy is like Hide & Seek: They Hide & I Seek!"
" Genealogists: People helping people.....that's what it's all about!"
from http://www.rootsweb....nry/gentags.htm
Using FO and RM since FO2.0 


#9 Alfred

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 08:43 AM

How about a given name such as "Sarah (______)" and then use the married name as her surname?
Alfred

#10 Ludlow Bay

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 09:25 AM

The problem with self-created naming systems is that the rules and conditions are rarely passed along when reports are printed or GEDCOM files are generated. The result then becomes, by example, misguided queries such as this:

"I can't find anything about my MNU family. Supposedly Margaret MNU was born in Scotland in 1750 and married John DOE in 1773. If anyone has any information about the MNU family, or a copy of John DOE's Last Will and Testament, I would appreciate hearing from you."

#11 Renee Zamora

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 10:28 AM

I had to chuckle at Ludlow's comment. I once had a family member tell me all excitedly that they found the maiden name of one of our ancestors. It was MNU (which stands for maiden name unknown).

I always add the primary name as just the given name, surname blank. Then I add an alternate name as the married name. I show alternate names in the side bar index and people view.
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#12 DonnaT

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 01:22 PM

I also use [ ] around a married name which should have a maiden name. I like it showing at the top of the index. The index sorts by alpha and square brackets are not alpha. :)

At least it does not give me 50 Elizabeths with no surame or way of telling which husband she belongs to. Have been using this method since the days of Family Origins. and has worked well for me. :)




I noticed the multiple Elizabeths (and others) right away when I started using the program. Since RM was my FIRST program, I immediately set out using the "(unknown)" as the maiden name followed by the husband's last name to clue me in on which one of the many Elizabeth's I was looking at in the index column.
Now that I am out there further in time...and....dealing with many children of many brothers and sisters, all of whom stayed in the same general areas and found it NECESSARY to name all their kids the SAME names....ugh.....well, I'm going back and putting AKA married names in so that when I find an census or will or whatever indicating "Sarah Wills", I can go though my database and figure out which one of the Sarah Wills' it might be. This helps me to group all the women who were named Sarah that were married into the family....or named after a family member and were born a Sarah Wills.
I love that AKA feature and, quite frankly, am now going through my database to use it properly for spelling errors on census records, to reflect one family name that used a Scottish name, then a different name, then a changed name that was an Americanized Scottish name...etc, etc. Its quite a feat but helpful.

I only wish there was a way to automatically "check" a box to say 'put an AKA for the married name'.....wow, THAT would save a LOT of time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#13 Laura

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 08:10 PM

If I am using the married surname instead of a maiden name, I put Mrs. in the Prefix. Then there is no doubt that the surname is the woman's married name.

#14 Elynn

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 11:48 AM

I also use [ ] around a married name which should have a maiden name. I like it showing at the top of the index. The index sorts by alpha and square brackets are not alpha. :)

At least it does not give me 50 Elizabeths with no surame or way of telling which husband she belongs to. Have been using this method since the days of Family Origins. and has worked well for me. :)


When I first started entering my genealogy information into a database (William Dollarhides system that I can't remember the name of), I used Mary --- when I didn't know the maiden name. When I switched to FO and then later RM, I realized that having a 100 Mary --- didn't help me out very much. I have been changing them to Mary wife of John Smith. This at least gives me the husbands name. Still run into an issue when I know Mary was married prior to John Smith (or John married prior to her), but have no clue what her 1st married name was. So I've started doing Mary wife 2 of John Smith. That at least tells me that John Smith was married prior to Mary. Doesn't tell me that Mary was also married prior to John Smith.

In the case of knowing the 1st spouses surname I do something like Mary wife 1 of Joseph Green.

This also avoids things like I've seen in other trees - Margaret Holbrook married to Joseph Higdon. A little research on my part quickly found that Margaret Enochs married William Holbrook and had 1 child. After William died, Margaret Holbrook married Joseph Higdon. And the child of Margaret and William is listed in the will of Joseph Higdon as his step-son. So there are numerous trees that have Holbrook as Margarets maiden name (erroneously). In this case, I knew that Margaret had a spouse before Joseph, but until I found the marriage record I listed her in my database as Margaret wife 1 of William Holbrook.

Sadly though, I still have a number of Mary --- in my database that I haven't yet converted. :)

#15 Vyger

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 02:02 PM

The problem with self-created naming systems is that the rules and conditions are rarely passed along when reports are printed or GEDCOM files are generated. The result then becomes, by example, misguided queries such as this:


It beggars belief why, especially in the genealogy community, so many insular individuals want to invent their own systems of recording Names and Places to suit their own needs without any consideration that someday their research may be in the hands of others who will have to sort out the mess. Underscores, square brackets, asterisks etc etc all which mean nothing to anyone else but that particular user and therefore maintaining and proliferating further non standard data entry rather than working to make data entry more concise.

Please use the already existing Alternate Name AKA, Birth, Immigrant, Married, Maiden, Nickname and Other Spelling options as they are designed rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, someday someone will thank you for it.

I would argue for square brackets and asterisks to be prohibited in name fields as I know of no one who genuinely has these characters in their name, at least that would be one step towards correctness. If the many variations of Alternate Name already in existence does not cover all desires then please wish for an enhancement rather that just opting out, maybe "hunch" or "unproved" should be options.

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#16 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 06:41 PM

It beggars belief why, especially in the genealogy community, so many insular individuals want to invent their own systems of recording Names and Places to suit their own needs without any consideration that someday their research may be in the hands of others who will have to sort out the mess.

Please use the already existing Alternate Name AKA, Birth, Immigrant, Married, Maiden, Nickname and Other Spelling options as they are designed rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, someday someone will thank you for it.


Let me focus just on the RM5 Alternate Name fact. I truly don't understand how the Alternate Name fact addresses the issue of a hundred Mary's or Elizabeth's in your database that you can't tell apart. Exactly how would you code the Alternate Name fact to solve this problem?

I think of the Alternate Name fact as being intended primarily for situations where a person was born as John Doe but they were adopted by the Smith family and became Robert Smith. I don't think the Alternate Name fact is very suitable for nicknames at all, and indeed there is a nickname field that works quite well for nicknames. And even in those rare cases where I think the Alternate Name fact would make sense, I tend not to use it simply because I can make a narrative report read much better by using fact notes to explain the alternate name than by using the Alternate Name fact.

In any case, I think a huge distinction needs to be made between the way an Alternate Name might make your life easier in using RM5 (e.g., the Alternate Name appearing in the sidebar Index or as a fact in the Edit Person window) vs. the way an Alternate Name appears in a narrative report. I tend not to like the way the Alternate Name fact reads in a narrative report and the folks who read my narrative reports are much more important to me than a slight convenience to myself in working with the RM5 screens.

Having said all that, if I have a John Doe and his wife Jane with unknown last name, I enter Jane's first name as "Jane (Mrs. John" and her last name as "Doe)". That way, her narrative starts out "Jane (Mrs. John Doe) was born about 1833 in Virginia.....". It's not perfect, but it's the best scheme I've been able to come up with for narrative reports. It does result in a left parenthesis in the first name and a right parenthesis in the last name, which I agree is ugly. But it does at least sort Jane at the end of all the other "Doe" surnames within RM5 and it does tell both me and the readers of my reports which Jane she was.

Jerry

#17 Laura

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 01:09 AM

I enter the woman as Given: given name, Surname: blank.

Then I add an Alternate name fact. Given: Elizabeth, Surname: blank, Suffix: [h=Greg Davis] or [h=Greg Davis, ch=James, John, Mary]

This sorts person's with no surname to the top of the Index and the Alternate name tells me which of the Elizabeth's I am looking for among all the Elizabeth's with no surname. I put whatever I need to identify that person in the suffix. The = is a search keyword. I mark the fact private.

I also add an Alternate name. Given: Elizabeth (Unknown), Surname: husband's surname, Prefix: Mrs., Suffix: [h=Greg Davis[. This sorts the Alternate name by the surname and the Mrs. in the prefix tells me this person was a spouse and not a daughter of the family. This fact is also marked private.

Both these facts are marked private as I am using them strictly for my own use to find women in the Indexes.

I have a user defined fact, ! Parent history. When I have no maiden name, I enter "parents are unknown", no quotes, in the description. The sentence reads: [Person] [desc]. I sort it after the birth fact for the woman with no surname. This tells any reader of the Narrative report or FGS that I have no surname or parents.

If I have the woman's maiden surname, I replace Unknown with her maiden surname. I add a Alternate name fact for each marriage. This fact is also marked private.

If I want an Alternate name fact to print in a Narrative, I would add one that is not marked private and customize the fact sentence as needed. The Alternate name fact prints the name in the sentence as if entered as a description, [desc].

I have tried a lot of different ways of dealing with married women with no maiden names, and this is what works best for me.

#18 Vyger

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 03:59 AM

Personally my research and sorting was always made more difficult by alternate spellings, one big name in my tree is Surgeoner, Surgenor, Surginor which all sort completely differently but are generally the same family just living in different regions. I ran through the gedcom and in any instance of the name I populated the Alternate Name (alternate spelling) with the other two main variations.

This has proved very useful and now with "Show Aternate Names" switched on I see these sorted as I always wished. Years ago I had posted a wish for a "sort by soundex" option but this has now overcome that problem even when the soundex is not exactly the same.

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#19 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 08:56 AM

I enter the woman as Given: given name, Surname: blank.

Then I add an Alternate name fact. Given: Elizabeth, Surname: blank, Suffix: [h=Greg Davis] or [h=Greg Davis, ch=James, John, Mary]

This sorts person's with no surname to the top of the Index and the Alternate name tells me which of the Elizabeth's I am looking for among all the Elizabeth's with no surname. I put whatever I need to identify that person in the suffix. The = is a search keyword. I mark the fact private.

I also add an Alternate name. Given: Elizabeth (Unknown), Surname: husband's surname, Prefix: Mrs., Suffix: [h=Greg Davis[. This sorts the Alternate name by the surname and the Mrs. in the prefix tells me this person was a spouse and not a daughter of the family. This fact is also marked private.


Ah, yes, of course. I was neglecting to consider that the Alternate Name fact can be marked as private. That completely changes things.

Jerry

#20 Anneli111

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 11:49 AM

I have scandinavian families in my reasearch. Many names consist of Given name, Patronym and a farm name. The farm name changes when they move to a new Farm. Then you have the cases where certain occupations it is common to change the name whenever they want. So it is very difficult to see relations by looking at last names.

I have tried to figure out the best way how to handle this, using brackets for the Farm name etc, however never was satisfied with the sorting.. Using Alternative names are described above by Laura gave me a lot of new ideas. Patronym is usally very common, and it would not be really correct to use Farm name as Surnname I assume.

Is there anyone that has a good suggestion for such name structures, and at the same time have some logic in finding relations?