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Cascade lastname change

cascade lastname

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#1 hydnawaab


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Posted 22 October 2019 - 10:46 AM

Is it possible to change a lastname and have that propagate to all the children downstream. This is because one of the family members who is in middle of the tree changed their lastname and his descendents have the changed name. Please help.

#2 robertjacobs0


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Posted 22 October 2019 - 11:14 AM

You can use search and replace for surnames. Once the screen opens, you can choose between "replace" and "replace all." "Replace all"  obviously isn't suitable in this case because you evidently have people who kept the original surname.


Unless you have a very large number of people to screen, search & replace is still probably your best bet. RootsMagic won't, AFAIK, descend the ladder.


Another option would be to make a named group consisting of the person who changed the name and all of his descendants. You could export the named group to a new database, make the change globally (i.e., "replace all"), import the people back into the main database and use the merge function to make it all coherent again. The first method looks better to me.

#3 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 11:49 AM

RM cannot automatically cascade a name change through descendants of a particular person as you need to do. It would be very helpful if more of its "global" kinds of operations such as global search and replace could be restricted to a Named Group.

If I were doing this renaming project, my approach would depend on how big it is. If it were a few dozen people (or maybe even if it was a hundred or so), I would probably do it manually. If it were much bigger than that, I would probably do it with SQLite. In either case, I would start by making a Named Group of all the descendants who have the surname that needs to be changed. RM can definitely do that. Making a Named Group is not totally trivial to do, but neither is it super hard. So let's assume you have done that and let's assume you are going to do the renaming project manually.


I would then go into RM's People View and filter People View by the Named Group I just made. If I made the group correctly, the only people in the view will be the people who need to be changed and all of them will have the "old" version of the name. I would edit the first person in the list, changing the "old" name to the "new" name. I would use Windows Copy to copy the "new" name. I would then edit the second person, the third person, etc. all the way to the end of the list and make the same change for each one. After the first person, I would no longer need to type the "new" surname each time. I would just use Windows Paste to replace the "old" surname with the "new" surname.


Windows offers many different ways to do Copy and Paste of a string of characters. For example, you can do it with a mouse and right click. For this application, I think keyboard shortcuts are both faster and easier. Do Ctrl+C to Copy and Ctrl-V to paste.



#4 Nettie


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Posted 22 October 2019 - 10:06 PM

Personally, I would do the name change by keeping the old name with an Alt Name  and explain the name change. Then put the new one in the Surname.  One of the most frustrating search issue is, whether it was done in legal records that way also.   If you know it was a legal change, then document it that way.   One of the many issues with my maiden name [DeCourcy] is many people think all of us are not related to anyone with the other spelling [DeCoursey].  Which is not true.  So when a legal court documents [in my case a will] says in one place one spelling and in another place in the same document the other spelling.  Then you know it is true. 

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