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#1 mikebigball


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Posted 11 January 2018 - 10:05 PM

Hi, :rolleyes:


I'm a new user of RootsMagic, although this is something I've wondered about ever since using Family Tree Maker. A quick history before my question...It's regarding my family surname, which changed several times over generations. Originally from France, they eventually went to Quebec, where they picked up "dit names". For those who might not already know, it's a second last name applied to their original surname to distinguish them from others with the same surname. An example would be: 'Hugon dit Jarret', where Hugon might be their original surname and Jarret was added as a 'dit' or "also known as". Some of them used the full dit name so I enter the full name, some used either one of the names, so I enter whichever name that person used. But here's where my real question comes in: Some of them were born with one name and changed it to the other name in the course of their own life; for example; born John Hugon, but changed it to John Jarret, as it appears later in life and when he died.


SO: The question is, does anyone know how I should enter this in RootsMagic? Do I enter his name as John Hugon (as it appears on his birth records and when he was a young child) or John Jarret (as it appears in later census records and his death record)? I have several ancestors who did this, annoyingly, and I'm not sure which to use for their main name record, the one they were born with or the one they died with. (I will of course make a note of the full dit name in the notes section, but I'm just not sure how to enter it as it should appear in the 'name' field.


Thanks so much for any advice!

#2 zhangrau


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Posted 11 January 2018 - 11:45 PM

For the "main" display name, I try to use the most complete version of the person's name at birth in the Given and Surname fields. Then I add Prefix, Suffix and Nickname fields as seems appropriate for that person.


I also add an Alternate Name fact for every variation that I find in the different sources. One of my earliest French-Canadian ancestors is documented with 93 Sources and 8 Alternate Names. I have another person (historical royalty) with 120 Sources and 29 Alternate Names.


By attaching source citations to each Alternate Name, my reports document which name variation was used in which source, which (I believe) makes it possible for someone to re-verify my research better than if I did not list the Alternate Name sources so extensively. Using Sort Dates, the Alternate Names can be arranged into the order in which they appeared during the person's life.



#3 Don Newcomb

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 06:22 AM

There's no really perfect way to handle the problem but @zhangrau has described what is probably the "best practice". You have to decide what works best as the main name: Most complete version, version given at birth or the one used at death. 

#4 Renee Zamora

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:35 AM

To make sorting "easier" I add a "common" surname spelling for everyone in the family as an alternate name fact. I will privatize it if that person never used that spelling in their lifetime. It's just so I can search all my "Weatherwax's" at once.  


#5 karibeth61


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Posted 12 January 2018 - 05:51 PM

I personally am not a fan of having a lot of AKAs in my tree. I usually use the most common name (the one they were most referred to throughout their lives), but for some of immigrant ancestors whose names were Americanized, my 2nd Great Grandfather, for example, who added the Lynnes farm name (from Norway) because there were so many Olsen's in the US when he came over, I will put the birth name in the description field in such a way that it prints out "Andrew Olsen Lynnes, born Andres Olsen, was born March 11, 1890...." (A practice I started in FTM.) I do, however, make certain that the way the name is in each source (including spelling differences) is notated in the citation and may include a note as to why I'm so certain that they are one-and-the-same person if I feel it is warranted.