Saturday, June 7, 2014

What's in a Name ?

In the Cousin Russ Genealogy Community, there was an interesting question asked today.
Do I correct to birth spelling or let it change to what was at death? I haven't gotten actual vital records (as this is a 2nd great grand) but am using census records and as I said his headstone. Is there a "rule" about this situation?
The question is posted here: 

There is some read dialog going on with this question, but I thought I would share the best example that I have in my database.

That first column, on the right, has the number of Citations for each of the different forms of this name. For example the top one, has 11 Citations, with 6 images, the bottom one 12 Citations and 3 images. That's 36 Citations for 8 versions of his name.

But look at the Preferred name, it only has ONE (1) Citation. Look at that one citation:

It's MY citation, as first name knowledge. How can this be?

If I look at all 8 versions of his name, I could / can jump to the conclusion as to what is real name is. Much link the person asking the question, I don't have many vital records in my hands.

Looking at the first appearance of the name (with the green background) there are 11 citations. 2 of them are from his wife and 3 of them are my own citations. His wife wouldn't document his complete name in what I found in her archives. Id she ever called him by his full name, he might have been in trouble, but ... no documentation there.

What about my citations on that version of his name? All three were from 3 DIFFERENT Find-A-Grave Memorials. Guess I should contact the Memorial Owner for those three web pages. Oh, that is also ME. They are linked together BASED on the name on the Plaque that you see when you look at his memorial. That is what MY photograph shows.

Please understand that I record and cite what I see. 8 versions of his name and 36 citations. BUT the one I Prefer is the name I entered into Family Tree Maker.


Looking at the variations in the various documents and doing some evaluation, they helped me determine what hs full name IS, as I recorded it. But IF I go back a generation, HIS father bears the SAME name but without the "Jr" No, he is not a "Sr", although there are 8 citations with "Sr", but each of them were Authored Works. So, "Jr" is OK.

Looking back for a number of generations the First Name is consistent so there is a naming pattern going on here. The "Jr" was the first son, but of the 8th son from the previous generation, but we pick up that first name in the previous 2 generations. A family naming pattern hold.

But looking at the more recent generation, we had a "III". The oldest son, family naming pattern fits. But, that alone is not the reason for my Preference in the full name. That Middle Name does NOT fall in that Naming Pattern. That middle name doesn't appear in the direct line anywhere.

However, that middle name came from the "Father-in-law of his 2nd great aunt". That name is in fact a family name.

Keeping in mind that FTM2014 offers us a "Use Preferred Facts" in charts and reports, so when printing either the preferred Name will be displayed or printed.

There are two more clues here. 1) I have that family Bible that belonged to the "Father-in-law of his 2nd great aunt", and 2) I am the "III".

Bottom line, for me:

  • Record what I see
  • Cite where I saw the information
  • Evaluate the information
  • Draw a conclusion
But, I must be missing a step in this process. Isn't what I have presented "conflicting" information ?

For me, not it's not conflicting information, but a recording of the information that is an issue. How long ago was it that names became so important? When were Surnames created or made a requirement? There are some US government documents that only have ONE box to fill in, for middle names. It is taking me years to get my full name (minus those government documents) on all of the forms with my name on them. There are some OFFICIAL documents I can't put my full name on.

To make things more interesting, for the first 13 years of my life, Sr, Jr, and III lived on the SAME farm. My Grandfather and I both went by our Middle Name, my Dad his first. We handled my name in a different manner, but I won't go there.

Is there a "rule" ?
Copyright © 2014 by H R Worthington

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