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question about alternate names in sentence templates


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#1 DJY

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 06:47 PM

I'm a new RootsMagic user and I'm working with a large project I've migrated from TMG.  Although I've found tips on calling the Principal person by different variants of the birth name (surname only, nickname, full name, etc.), I can't figure out how to construct a sentence using an alternate name.  Using a burial as an example:  I feel it's incorrect to say "Woman Maiden-name was buried...." since Maiden-name wasn't her legal name and a cemetery search of "Woman Maiden-name" would be futile since the tombstone lists her as "Woman Married-name." Ditto for land deeds, where the woman signed the deed with her married name.  How do I construct a sentence that uses an alternate name (other than customizing the sentence and manually typing it in for each event)? 

 

Also: Apologies for what I suspect is a redundant question.  I can see topic titles that seem to deal with the issue but I get a "file not found" error message when I try to open them.



#2 TomH

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 08:21 PM

Yes, Alternate Names are inaccessible in sentences for facts other than their own. It is a frustrating shortcoming.

 

I bet you are using a Microsoft browser. Try Chrome.


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#3 DJY

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 09:51 PM

Thanks, Tom.  I was afraid that was the answer. 

 

And you're right ---- I was using Microsoft's browser!  Switching to Chrome allowed me to see the posts and now I can tell that this alternate name issue is a long-standing one.  It doesn't give me hope for a future fix, so I guess I'll start customizing sentences!

 

I've played around with the thought of using the nickname field for married name and using this burial sentence template for the principle:

 

<%[person]|<[person:nickname]|[person]>> was buried.....

 

The thought is that males will print only the full name, and females will use the nickname if there is one (i.e., if they are married) and will use the birth name if there's not. I have only a half-dozen true nicknames in my files, so I'm willing to abandon the normal usage for nickname.  This template seems to work, giving this sentence for males:

 

 Firstname Surname was buried....

 

and using only the nickname [which would be married name] for married females.  The only problem is that the female sentence puts quotes around the nickname so it reads:

 

   "Jane Marriedname" was buried.....

 

I can live with that if I have to (and it sure beats customizing each event) but is there a way to remove the quotation marks? 

 

In playing with this, I also noticed that the nickname comes through as part of the full name.  I'll also have to modify all the sentence templates to [person:given:surname] to avoid having the married name as part of the full name in sentences. Is there an easier way to suppress nicknames?   Are there other downsides to using nicknames as married names that I'm not seeing?



#4 c24m48

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 07:08 AM

Input from TMG refugees and FTM refugees is always welcome and interesting in these forums.

 

If I understand correctly, FTM doesn't have alternate names. Rather, it supports multiple names and one of the multiple names is marked as the primary name. It is the name currently marked as primary that is printed in reports by FTM. It is apparently easy in FTM to change which of the multiple names is marked as primary, and each of the multiple names can have its own sources. I don't know if FTM supports the ability to print any of the non-primary names in reports as if they were alternate names.

 

In the RM model for names, there is a "main" name and alternate names. The alternate names can have sources but not the "main" name. It is not very easy in RM to exchange the "main" name with one of the alternate names. Again if I understand correctly, the TMG model for names is much more like the current RM model except that across the board the TMG model for sentence templates seems to be richer in its functionality than its RM counterpart. So it seems harder in RM than in TMG to use alternate names (for example) to list a married woman's burial under her married name.

 

I mention this here in this thread because I believe it's the case that RM is going to adopt something like the FTM model for names in the rewrite. I like the FTM model for names because it permits the "main" name to have sources and because it makes it easy to switch which name is the "main" name. On the other hand, I have no idea what will be done in the RM rewrite to accommodate the need to produce a woman's married name in reports. RM has done a great deal to accommodate both TMG and FTM refugees, and it will be interesting to see of the rewrite will be able to accommodate both the FTM model for names and the TMG model for names.

 

As for me, I've abandoned all names in reports except for the first mention of a person in a report. Which is to say I have adopted a point form style for narrative reports ( http://forums.rootsm...-for-this-year/ and http://forums.rootsm...-makes-it-easy/ ). So the main thing I'm looking forward to for name management in the RM rewrite is the ability to associate sources with a person's "main" name.

 

Jerry



#5 c24m48

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 07:19 AM

It rubs the wrong way in many ways, but one option with RM's sentence templates is to hard code the sentence or parts of the sentence the way you wish in difficult situations.  This requires customizing a sentence template for an individual fact rather than in Lists->Fact Type List.

 

For example, rather than Jane [Married surname at time of death] was buried, simply code the sentence template as Jane Smith was buried (where Smith was her name at the time of death). (And of course, [Married surname at time of death] is not really a variable that is available in RM's sentence template language. It's just something I made up). In other words, you don't have to use variables in sentence templates. As I said, this rubs the wrong way and it could be a lot of work for common situations such as burial to customize each sentence template. But this technique might be useful for a more uncommon or one off type of situation.

 

Jerry



#6 DJY

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Posted 18 May 2016 - 10:43 PM

Hi Jerry,

 

I'm not sure how TMG handles alternate names behind the scenes but as a user, here's what the "married name"  experience was like:

 

Every time I entered a marriage, it asked me if I wanted to create a married name for the bride.  Clicking yes created a new tag (or "fact") called "Name-Marr."  Each time I had a fact, there was a pull-down menu next to the person's name that allowed me to choose which name to use in the fact. (This was true for all name variations, not just Name-marr.)   I didn't use the sentence structure to point to the name.  It was selected via the pulldown menu.  So, for example, if I had a woman as the grantor on land deed before marriage and as grantor on another land deed after marriage, I would have 2 land deed facts, both using the unmodified sentence template, but I would select different names from the pull-down.  I would end up with two different sentences as output:  "Jane Maidename sold X acres..." and "Jane Marriedname sold X acres."  This function was also very handy for keeping track of alternate spellings.  I could easily associate the spelling on the record with the fact.  

 

I should point out that the "fact" screens work in a completely different way in TMG than in RM.  In RM, the fact is created from the individual.  The only way I can tell who the fact belongs to is by looking at that little window on top (sorry - don't know what it's called) or the title of the tag. [At least, that's the only way I've figured out so far in my 2 weeks in.]   In TMG, the fact screen behaves more like the "share event" screen in RM: I could choose who to put in the fact and where they belonged.   I had a slot to enter the ID # (or browse out to a people list) to enter the principle.  Ditto for witnesses.  I could change my  mind about how to structure an event so that the individual who started as the principle could be moved to a witness role.  I simply deleted their ID number from the entry box and moved them to the ID slot for witnesses.  I could also add a new person to the database from that main fact screen, which was incredibly helpful for events with lots of people who may be new to the database (bondsmen on marriage licenses, adjacent land owners on deeds --- I can't tell you how many times I've later figured out these "strangers" were actually part of the family.)  

 

While it's true there was great flexibility in TMG  sentence models, I've assumed it's because of the greater flexibility on the data entry side.  As an example, there is no restriction defining a fact as "individual" or "family."  Rather, there are events and they have some combination of principles and witnesses, who may or may not be related. Two principles (like grantor and grantee on a land deed) could be unrelated.   Like RM, there were pedigree and family views (neither as nice as in RM) but my main screen was the person view (similar to the timeline view but without the graph and no extra facts (like sibling or parent marriage facts where the person wasn't part of the event)).  I added other windows (children & siblings) to show closely associated people on the single screen.  Essentially, it was a hybrid of the family view and the timeline view but with spouses & siblings included.   The reason I bring this up is that it underscores what I believe is the fundamental difference between the programs:  RM views the world through a family lens (hence "individual" facts and "family" facts), while it seems to me that TMG views the world through a series of events and people interactions. The flexibility of the program reflects those views, in my opinion.

 

I view the programs as largely similar but the user experience feels very different to me.   RM feels more like a family tree software, whereas TMG feels more like an information database.  Things in RM are more defined and TMG allows the user more room to customize.  With that flexibility, however, comes greater complexity, so I think RM is easier to use if you're just entering standard facts with typical sentences.  That simplicity becomes complex, however, when you're trying to customize & keep running into the imposed boundaries.

 

Please don't take this as a knock against RM.  I prefer the aesthetics of it, and there are many features that are superior to TMG.  But I'm definitely having to rethink how I navigate through the program and design facts!    And of course, I'm on a learning curve. 



#7 Holly Kilpatrick

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Posted 24 February 2017 - 07:41 PM

I am another recent RM adopter from TMG.  I love RM in most ways.  But I have been trying to search this topic about making the sentence use the married name of the wife for death and burial sentences.  Is it still the case that -- say the wife is named Laura Mason, she marries Pratt, at death I want her sentence to say "Laura Pratt died" and "Laura Pratt was buried"  -- the only way I can do this is to customize the sentence and manually type it in?  Manually go correct very single  wife in the database, to make the sentences correct?  Or has some alternative been provided?



#8 TomH

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 10:37 AM

There has been no enhancement to the sentence template language to support Alternate Names. Manual customisations of the Death and Burial sentences is the only way you can get the married-name-at-time-of-event into the sentence. I suppose you could share the event with the husband assigning a custom role, say, "HusbandName" and revise the default sentence in some tricky way to switch on sex to test for this role and output its surname. But you still have to go through the wives and share the event so the effort involved might prove to be even worse.

 

Just thinking about how one might automatically fetch the married name at time of death raises programmatic issues such as picking the latest Marriage that did not end with Divorce. Perhaps a SQLite script could do so and output the custom sentence...


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#9 c24m48

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 11:41 AM

This is always a very interesting topic. If Jane Doe marries John Smith, a rather huge number of RM users seem to prefer that Jane's death sentence read something like "Jane Smith died on 12 Sep 2016". Sometimes the preference is for "Mrs. Jane Smith died on 12 Sep 2016". Sometimes, the preference is even for something like "Mrs. John Smith died on 12 Sep 2016". Then there are situations where Jane Doe marries first John Smith and and as a widow marries second Andrew Williams. Upon divorcing or perhaps being widowed from Andrew Williams, she then might revert to being known as Jane Smith rather than reverting to Jane Doe or remaining as Jane Williams. The variations are endless.

 

For better or worse, when I first started doing genealogy I was taught and mentored by some very experienced and well qualified researchers that in genealogy, women are always referred to by their birth name. Doing it that way solves a very huge number of problems. You still record and produce transcripts of documents according to whatever the document says. For example, a marriage certificate for a second marriage would still be transcribed as Jane Smith rather than Jane Doe if her first husband were named Smith and if she were still going by Smith at the time of her second marriage, and similarly for transcriptions of things like death certificates and obituaries.

 

Not too long ago, I switched over to using point form sentences such as "Death: 12 Sep 2016". The use of  point form sentences totally eliminates these kinds of problems and many other kinds of problems in sentence construction. Point form sentences in narrative reports are often frowned on as not being "narrative enough", but I find that with the judicious use of notes that my point form narratives read rather nicely.

 

There are many aspects of roles and witnesses and sentence templates that are not supported as completely by RM as they were by TMG. It will be interesting to see how much, if any, of such support makes its way into RM8 as RM is being rewritten.

 

Jerry



#10 Holly Kilpatrick

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 12:09 PM

Jerry and Tom, I tried to click Like on both your answers but for some reason it said I have reached my quota of positive votes for the day  :mellow:   Since I haven't voted today (or maybe ever) I guess my quota is zero.

 

I don't remember how TMG made that happen.  It would be nice if there were an option to use a variable [MarriedName] in the sentence, and for a husband it would have no impact.  Then there might be a handful of weird circumstances that needed cleanup.

 

Jerry, I can appreciate that from a genealogical point of view, there is a good case for sticking with the maiden name.  Some societies do/have done that also.  But for the general reader, it is confusing.

 

For now, I added a line in my "Using this Database" section to explain what to expect.



#11 TomH

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 02:49 PM

The "Like" feature is disabled.

 

I created a SQLite script that may suit your purpose. It's at Names - married name in death sentences


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#12 Trebor22

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 06:36 AM

This is always a very interesting topic. If Jane Doe marries John Smith, a rather huge number of RM users seem to prefer that Jane's death sentence read something like "Jane Smith died on 12 Sep 2016". Sometimes the preference is for "Mrs. Jane Smith died on 12 Sep 2016". Sometimes, the preference is even for something like "Mrs. John Smith died on 12 Sep 2016". Then there are situations where Jane Doe marries first John Smith and and as a widow marries second Andrew Williams. Upon divorcing or perhaps being widowed from Andrew Williams, she then might revert to being known as Jane Smith rather than reverting to Jane Doe or remaining as Jane Williams. The variations are endless.

Personally I preferred the surname to reflect the time of the event, so maiden name before marriage and married name after. However when I circulated some Family History info (manually typed)  to (Scottish) relatives  in a 'newsletter' one Christmas, I was soon informed that Scottish women retain their maiden name after marriage! Not so easy to please everyone as the same document also went to relatives not familiar with this.

I have partly overcome this by including the persons first name and surname at the beginning of the article but using only their first name later along the lines of  Jane Jones 1 Jan 1830 to 1 Jan 1900:- Jane married John SMITH 1 Jan 1850 and Jane was buried 1 Jan 1900 etc.

But I guess I'm not going to please all of the people all of the time!



#13 c24m48

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 06:43 AM

I have partly overcome this by including the persons first name and surname at the beginning of the article but using only their first name later .....

 

Another possible variation on this theme is the use of pronouns after the first mention of the name.

 

Jerry



#14 Holly Kilpatrick

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 06:56 PM

The "Like" feature is disabled.

 

I created a SQLite script that may suit your purpose. It's at Names - married name in death sentences

Tom, this looks like I may be able to use this script.  I will try it on a copy of my database.  Thanks!

Holly



#15 Holly Kilpatrick

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 08:02 PM

I haven't yet tried the SQL script above, I've been off down many other rabbit holes.  But I am quite frustrated by the inability of RM to use the woman's married name when she is married.  I am finding my users get really confused (and sometimes I do also).  It is not only with death and burial events, but also directory listings, and census events that say "in the household of " and give her maiden name, even though she is a 65 year old widow with 10 children, even though her obituary is in her married name.  It causes viewers on the website to scroll up and down, trying to figure out if they got on the wrong page by mistake or what.  To make it more confusing, manually typed text, such as newspaper articles, obituaries, etc, of course use the married name.  So from event to event, the woman's last name keeps flipping back and forth.  

 

If I had a wishlist for RM, my very first item on the list would be the ability to put a flag on each event, "use married name" if desired.  Then I could check that flag for every event that happened after she was married.  



#16 rrh7254

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 08:31 AM

Add me to the list of people that would like to say some way to switch to married names (or any other alternate names) for certain fact sentences.  I"ll give two problems for which the current design does not seem to work for me.

 

1) I have a male person in my database who legally changed his name part way through life and I have been hard pressed to figure out how to properly handle that situation in a logical manner.  For now, I've chosen to abandon all standard facts for him and instead have just written one huge note for him.  A very ugly solution in my opinion!

 

2) I have a few individuals where the ONLY name information I have for them comes from an interview with a 90 year old lady.  She is recalling names of people she has only heard spoken of in her family when she was a child and she doesn't know how the names were spelled (and she was an orphan and war refugee with no possessions by age 15).  To compound the problem, these people she once "knew" were all from a very rural area of Western Ukraine that within a very short span of years was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, 2nd Polish Republic, Germany, USSR, and Ukraine.  The people there at the time were of many different ethnicities (Austrian, Hungarian, Polish, Jewish, Ukrainian, etc).  And to top it off, the area was nearly completely obliterated multiple times during World War II and it's people murdered, imprisoned, or forced off the land, so there is almost no likely-hood of any original records surviving.  As a result, I have no real PRIMARY spelling and instead have only possible spellings.  But there are multiple depending on ethnicity, time-period, etc.  An example being Anastasia/Anastazja/Anastaziya/Anastazia.  So I wish there was better options in RM for what I would call "spelling variants" of the name.  I don't want my fact sentences to say "[Person] was also known as ..."  because I don't know they were EVER known as any one of these particular written names.  And I don't have a clue which to make Primary, so for now my primary name entry just says "Anastasia/Anastazja/Anastaziya/Anastazia".  But of course, should there ever be a possibility of record showing up, I'm not going to get a name match with that. (love to hear suggestions from others with this same type of AKA name problem).

 

I would also add that I shy away from the idea of using SQL scripts for things like the maiden/married name problem (no offense to TomH who does amazing things with them) as the whole reason I buy a genealogy software package is to have IT take care of managing my database.  The idea of constantly relying on external tools to solve program deficiencies and make wholesale batch changes to the underlying database contents just troubles me a little too much (on many levels).

 

--Randy


-- regards,

-- Randy


#17 c24m48

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 09:26 AM

Let's take your case #2 with all the eastern European name variations. It's hard to see how any genealogy software could deal with your particular situation in a way much better than you could do it yourself with notes.

 

The best way to handle these situations is very much a matter of personal preference, because I don't think there is a single "right" way to do it. I'm personally not a big fan of the name1/name2/name3 approach nor am I a big fan of lots of alternate names. I certainly record names from records exactly as they appear in records, but that doesn't have to generate name1/name2/name3 nor does it have to generate lots of alternate names. The mere fact that I have records for John A. Smith and J. A. Smith and J. Andrew Smith and Andrew Smith and Andy Smith doesn't mean that he had five different versions of his name. His one and only name was John Andrew Smith and he was known as Andrew or Andy. The other ways his names were recorded do not to my way of thinking constitute alternative names.

 

So I would probably just record your Anastasia/Anastazja/Anastaziya/Anastazia as Anastasia Smith (or whatever her last name was - which obviously could also have had a lot of variations). Then I have a user defined fact called Names, which is mostly just a note and a sort date to put the note into the proper place in a narrative report. By being its own separate fact, the Names fact provides a place to attach citations. In the note I would say something to the effect of what you said - that her name might have been spelled variously as Anastasia, Anastazja, Anastaziya, or Anastazia and that no written records survive. The note would go on to say that the only evidence is oral family history as provided by (name of your 90 year old informant). If possible, my citation for the Names fact would include an MP3 file which is a voice recording of an interview with your 90 year old informant. Absent the MP3 file, my citation would include something like a txt file or a docx file (Microsoft Word) where I summarized my interview (or interviews) with your 90 year old informant.

 

Jerry



#18 rrh7254

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 11:28 AM

Thanks Jerry.  I think what you propose is a very reasonable solution.  I'll have to think about what my true objective is for this person's record.  I guess the initial reason I was leaning toward individual AKA names was to enable a match notification on the odd chance that at some point in the future a record or a submitted tree might pop up for this individual.  If I had the names recorded separately, then hopefully web hints would hit upon the match for that spelling.  But I suppose that is highly unlikely for my situation.  I also suppose a hybrid approach might be to do as you say for the person in my tree, but also separately create another set of un-linked persons using each of the other name spelling variants.  These "pseudo" persons could then be monitored for web hint matches without interfering with the data presentation of the main person in my tree.  I'll have to think more about that.

 

--Randy


-- regards,

-- Randy


#19 c24m48

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 12:35 PM

I'll have to think about what my true objective is for this person's record.  

 

I think most everybody has to think pretty seriously about their true objective in recording their family history. I like to think my true objective is the production of reports, either printed or via Web pages. That's more important to me than is getting WebHints or anything like that. I find that I make data entry or research decisions on a regular basis that best meet my reporting needs but that might be sub-optimal for other purposes. Everybody's needs will be different, and there is no one size fits all solution for a lot of these questions.

 

Jerry



#20 zhangrau

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 03:04 PM

Jerry's approach seems reasonable to me, in terms of calling Andrew by the name he preferred. But my recording habits are quite different from his.

 

I prefer to describe myself more as a family historian than a genealogist, although I do feel like I want my research and reports to appear well-constructed to any professional genealogist who might get a chance to peruse them.

 

I make an effort to track down vital records (birth, marriage, divorce, death, burial) and census and city directory and newspaper references, etc. etc. It never ceases to amaze me how many different ways a person may be referred to in all of these records. Indeed, I only manage to find many of those sources by using wildcard searches. And by wildcard searches I mean the obvious use of * and ? in computer searches, as well as being flexible in what I'm looking for as I scan through hard-copy records (county clerk indices, books, etc.)

 

As a result, I have a section at the end of each person's Edit Person screen that lists every variation I've found for their name. I have a habit for organizing them that I follow to create a consistency in my narrative reports. For a woman (or man) who changes surnames over the course of their lifetime, my Alternate Name section will show those surnames in the proper sequence (except when I goof, of course). Every Alternate Name gets citations attached for which ever source I found that variation in, The primary (or display) name that I use is usually my best understanding of that person's FULL birth name.

 

I recently created two new custom facts to create a beginning and ending bar for Alternate Names in the report:
Alternate name separator -       which prints 30 hyphens, which lands after the Burial and before the Alternate Names

Alternate name separator =      which prints 30 equal signs, which ends up being the very last line of the Edit Person screen

 

Like so many other things in life, there is just no single, correct way to document a person's name variations. But once a researcher selects a method, CONSISTENCY will be essential to helping your audience make sense of your reports.

 

Here's an example for Sarah Jane Santus. Note that I never found a source with this version of her name, but it is clear (to me) that this is the correct form of her birth name.

RM_alt-names.png