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Bob vs Robert


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#1 strathglass

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 09:32 PM

What is the convention for capturing that someone goes by a shortened form of their formal given name:

* Bob vs Robert

* Dick vs Richard

* Katie vs Catherine

...etc.

 

I would think the Nickname field is not for this purpose.

So maybe given name might be something like this (assuming middle name Joseph):

Robert "Bob" Joseph



#2 TomH

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 09:36 PM

That is the convention for incorporating the nickname with the formal name.

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#3 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 05:57 AM

I'm probably in the minority, but I don't think that Bob is a nickname. I think a nickname is something like Butch or Whitey or Red or Tootsie. I think Bob is properly called a diminutive form or a familiar form of Robert. I think that all of genealogy (including RootsMagic) handles names so poorly that there is not a very good solution that doesn't run afoul of the genealogical names standard police. I think the genealogical name standards need a huge overhaul, but in the meantime there really aren't any good solutions that are standards compliant.

 

Personally, I enter such names as Robert Joseph (Bob) Smith, or as Robert Joseph (Joe) Smith if he went by Joe or as Robert Joseph (Joseph) Smith if he went by Joseph. I include the whole "Robert Joseph (Joseph)" thing without the quotes in the given name field in RM and I don't use RM's nickname field at all. I don't like the "quotes" convention for these kind of names and I think that that the "quotes" convention should be reserved for true nicknames. I'm a middle name person AND a diminutive name person myself, and I have a lot of middle name and/or diminutive name people in my immediate family. For example, my mother and all three of her sisters are middle name people. That's just reality. If genealogical standards won't recognize and embrace reality then it seems to me that such standards don't have to be followed. Indeed, it seems to me that genealogical standards that won't recognize and embrace reality MUST NOT be followed.

 

By the way, I'm well aware that there are a lot of very experienced and very reasonable folks who feel that the genealogical name standards are just fine and that it's very important to follow them. As I said in the beginning, I'm surely in the minority and if I discuss this issue in person I'm usually able to convey my views with elements of humility and humor and goodwill that are difficult to convey in writing. But nobody who I have discussed this with in person who supports the way genealogy handles names has ever had an explanation for why genealogy doesn't handle the actual reality of the way names work in practice. It's not just Robert vs. Bob. It's people who go by their initials. It's people who are known as things such as "J. Robert". It's things like initials that that are just initials and aren't short for anything. It's people whose legal name and birth name are not the same. It's things like people who go by both their first name and middle name, such as my mother's cousin is know as Virginia June, not as Virginia and not as June. And there are a lot of issues about women's name when they are married. For example, my mother and her three sisters after marriage all had a legal name of Middle-name Maiden-surname Married-surname. It's people whose birth name is in one language and alphabet (say Arabic) and whose legal name is in a different language and alphabet (say French, with its accents and cedillas). And I'm sure I'm leaving a lot of issues out. Genealogy should handle all such issues in a reasonable and rational fashion, and it just doesn't. Instead, genealogy tries to put all names into a tiny little box where many names just don't fit.

 

Jerry

 



#4 KFN

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 07:49 AM

Jerry,

 

Here are a few name recording customs that I learned back in the 80’s from my mentor.

 

1) Quotes around a name, John “Butch” JOHNSON, is a nickname.

2) Underlined name (previously an asterisk following the name), John David JOHNSON  -or-  John David* JOHNSON, Preferred/Call/Rufname

 

3) Uppercase Surname, John JOHNSON

 

4) For cultures that have multiple surnames all surnames are recorded, Maria SILVA SANTOS, each surname is considered independent when indexing.

 

5) For cultures where a previously identified surname is now used as part of a given name, it is recorded without additional marking, Hiram Ulysses Simpson GRANT, (NOTE: “Simpson” was his mother’s maiden name but not part of his “true” name, and used here just for illustration)

 

6)  Patronymic names are treated as given names and not capitalized.

 

7)  Maiden names are surrounded by parentheses

 

8)  Italics, Used to denote title

 

9)  Cautions....  Understand when a surname prefix is part of the surname and when it is not, based on culture.  NOTE: I never fully understood this because no-one I’ve worked with either knew about or used them.  For example di, von, van, De, Di.  Different cultures make them part of or not part of the surname.



#5 strathglass

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 08:02 AM

Thanks for the input.

KFN's approach sounds like a valid approach, but when using tools like RM today you will not always have the ability to format the way you want, so I won't opt for that method.

 

I think I like Jerry's idea best: just use parenthesis, which I think is better than quotes.

I do use the Nickname field - but only for true nicknames (Tootsie, Snooker, Skinny, ...!).

Thanks all.



#6 KFN

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 08:17 AM

Back in the day, before I used computers, before I knew GEDCOM, before I studied library science, before I knew what an index was,

 

I would have recorded James Robert Walton as:  James Robert “Jim Bob” WALTON.  Just saying, ;-)



#7 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 08:21 AM

I think I like Jerry's idea best: just use parenthesis, which I think is better than quotes.

 

I like that approach as well, but be aware that the Names Standards Police will fuss at you. For example, I just found out that one objection to the parentheses is that FamilySeach prevents LDS ordinances from being completed for individuals with parentheses in their names. So they changed my William Harley (Harley) Bryan to just William Harley Bryan even though he was always known as Harley or as Harley Bryan. After they changed him to William Harley Bryan, there was no indication that he was Harley Bryan instead of William Bryan.

 

Jerry



#8 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 08:35 AM

I would have recorded James Robert Walton as:  James Robert “Jim Bob” WALTON.  Just saying, ;-)

 

That's a great example, even though Jim Bob was just a fictional character. There was one show where he did something wrong and his grandfather called him "James Robert" very sternly so he would know he was in big trouble.

 

But there are also people whose birth name and legal name actually is something like Jim Bob. One of my families had brothers named Billy and Bobby, and those were their real names. People forever tried to put their names down as William and Robert on official forms, but those weren't their names. I had a great grandmother named Sallie, back in the day when Sallie was usually a familiar of diminutive variant of Sarah. I'm pretty well persuaded that my great grandmother really was named Sallie and not Sarah, sort of like somebody really being named Bob and not Robert.  But in the 1880 census when she was 10 years old, my Sallie was enumerated as Sarah. I'm persuaded the census enumerator heard Sallie and automatically translated it to Sarah. It took me a long time to realize that this Sarah was my Sallie because the family had been broken up by parental deaths and my Sallie and each of her sisters was living in separate homes and listed as servants. I probably would have recognized her sooner had she been enumerated as Sallie rather than as Sarah, but eventually I figured it out.

 

Jerry



#9 KFN

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 09:34 AM

Jerry,

 

I find it fun to use fictional characters to explain names some times.

 

John Lee WALTON Jr.  -or-  John Lee “John-boy” WALTON Jr.

 

The names people use always make me chuckle too!  When I was a supervisor for a crew in the 2010 Census I looked at and review a lot of names that were entered by the Enumerators.  I recall, Wanita being entered, by one.  I asked, “did you verify the Spelling?”  Yup, they said.  I was able to reenumerate the family and yes, that is how they spelled Juanita.



#10 Nettie

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 11:23 AM

I'm also a middle name person.  Companies don't like it either., as I had a supervisor who insisted I change my name.   My first name, middle, surname  always had to be signed using all three names for legal purposes.  In RM, I note the nickname as a separate entity.  My name on here is my nickname.  Because of the legal issues, and tired of writing first initial/name, middle name, surname, I changed all of it to middle name as a given name, maiden name, married name legally, Alt name was used for recording in RM for all my names and you can not change it via Options menu either. Jerry's idea using square brackets is another good way to do it. 


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#11 Vyger

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 12:33 PM

What is the convention for capturing that someone goes by a shortened form of their formal given name:

 

Birth name as registered, then

Alternate Name Type AKA


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