Sunday, May 6, 2018

User Question: What Name to Use


Answering another Reader Question:
What would be the proper procedure to: If a male changes his surname name legally is his birth surname still the name the one used ? Ie: born Gingles Adopted and name changed to Yaworski Legally changes surname to Sundberg What name do I use for my genealogy records? or do I use notes to show the history?

I'll expand on that to "Any Name Changes", including names that the Family knows.

The simple answer is, Record the NAME as claimed by the record? With the appropriate Citation.

Here is an example from my own database:


The "Also Known As" or A.K.A. is what he was called by many, others by the Preferred AKA Fact.

The highest number of Citations, also does not Drive the Preferred Name Fact. In this case, there are 7 records that has his name with "Sr" at the end. I have blogged about that as well. As with females, I make the Preferred Name as the Birth Surname. He wasn't born with "Sr" as part of his name. Later records may reflect "Sr", but I do not use that as the Preferred name.

The control over the Preferred Name comes from User Evaluation of the records.

The Reader's question gets to the next level, where the Surname Changes. My preference, in general, is Birth Surname. The Exception, and I have them, gets down to the reader or audience of your database. My cousin was adopted by her step-father. I made her Preferred Name to be her adoptive surname. So family may drive the name preference. So, the person asking the question might choose to use the most recent surname.

User's choice.

Now, the AKA issue. Not specifically asked, but in Reports and Charts, that AKA field is Optional.

In the Publish Workspace, Chart Collection, Pedigree Chart (and most others) you have this option under Items to Include


In a Descendants Report, with AKA selected, it would look like


Which option to use ? It's up to you. As mentioned, my preference is Birth Names, Family or Given Names and Surnames, but there are times, when it is appropriate to make another Name entry as Preferred. In my example: I have 10 different Name Facts, with 42 Citations for all of the Name facts. In this specific example, the Name Fact with 24 was my choice, as my current thinking it is the most accurate, but I have another example of 8 different Name Facts, 39 Citations, but the Preferred Name Fact only has 4 Citations. 

Or, as I have seen and heard "It Depends"


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Copyright © 2018 by H R Worthington
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