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Inaccurate reporting of surname

surname MyHeritage

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#1 ckasper1


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Posted 21 November 2018 - 12:12 AM

I have noticed that RM is reporting my surname inaccurately when matching to MyHeritage. For some odd reason, it is reporting a "married" name in spite of the fact that while married I've never changed my name. How do I fix this issue to avoid confusion an perpetuating inaccurate data.

#2 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 21 November 2018 - 07:07 AM

I don't know for sure, but probably you can't fix it. The name you object to is not really being reported by RM. It's really being reported by myheritage.


I know that many researchers work very hard to be able to treat women's married names as their name. Indeed, that's sometimes a complaint about RM by new RM users that it can't very well use women's married names in sentences. But when I first started doing genealogy, I was mentored by some very experienced and very wise genealogists that it was far better for purposes of genealogy always to use women's birth names as their names. I have tried to do so, and it has served me very well. I know that this is a somewhat contentious issue that experts disagree about, but that's what works for me. And I obviously do know that if Mary Smith marries first Samuel Jones and marries second Thomas Williams that Mary's marriage record to Thomas Williams is likely to list her name as Mary Jones. That doesn't change my basic approach of sticking with a woman's birth name for genealogical purposes.


That being said, myheritage seems to take the approach that a woman who is married then has the surname of her husband. Period. No exceptions. Nothing you can do about it, except not use myheritage. I think their approach is really just wrong, but that's just my opinion and I'm sure that many other researchers like the myheritage approach.


I think the harder problem to deal with is when a person's birth name ceases to be their name. For example, I have a person born Theodore Paul Smith who was adopted by Albert Edgar Jones Jr. and whose name was changed legally to Albert Edgar Jones III. But Albert Edgar Jones III was still known as Teddy in deference to his birth name. I list his name as Albert Edgar Jones III and I have a note about his birth name. I have no idea if that's really the best way to do it. For another example, I have a couple named Russell Smith and Kristan Jones who had four children - Haley Jones, Phillip Smith, Eli Smith, and Jacob Smith (omitting all middle names). The first child was born before the couple was married or lived together. The second and third children were born after the couple lived together but before they were married. The fourth child was born after the couple was married. And after the couple was married and when the first child was a teenager, her name was legally changed from Haley Jones to Haley Smith. I list the first child's name as Haley Smith with a note about the name change. Also, I have the first child's newspaper birth announcement as a fact in RM and it quotes the newspaper in giving her name as Haley Jones. Again, I have no idea if that's really the best way to go. All the surnames I used were changed for privacy purposes.



#3 Vyger


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Posted 21 November 2018 - 09:15 AM

I think their approach is really just wrong, but that's just my opinion and I'm sure that many other researchers like the myheritage approach.


And I second that, how can you be born with any other name than your Birth Name !


I make good use of Alternate Names for other spellings and Married Names, so apart from your birth Name, records between 1910 and 1920 might refer to you as Mrs. Jones, records between 1920 and 1930 might refer to you as Mrs. Smith and records between 1930 and your death fact might refer to you as Mrs. Brown where you have has three marriages.


As regards online interaction with Alternate Names I understand "MyHeritage uses them.  FamilySearch and Ancestry depend on having the alt names in the trees online. FindMyPast does not use alt names"

Keeping ones customers and their important views at a distance is never a good approach


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