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 Names

Fields for entering names:

  • Title, Suffix: The title and suffix fields are skipped in the tabbing order as they are used less frequently.  If you need to enter something here, either keep tabbing until the cursor gets there, or use the mouse to place the cursor there.  Title is for military or professional titles like "Capt.", "Dr.", or "Rev.".  Don't use titles such as "Mr." or "Mrs." as they don't really add new informatrion.  Suffix is for "Sr.", "Jr.", etc.

    Titles display in italics, to make it clear when it is a title, vs. a given name that can be confused for a title.

  • First Name: The person's given name.  Include here prefixes used with the last name such as "de", "ap", or "von", as in many cases it seems that this is either optional or dropped over time.  Thus including this with the first name and not with the last saves confusion when searching.

  • Last Name: The person's surname.  Try to keep the spelling accurate and consistent, and put only the name itself here.  For any parenthetical information (question marks, alternative names, alternative spellings, etc.), put this in the notes instead.

    Always use a spouse's maiden name here.  There are several reasons for this:
    • If you put in a married surname, it gives the impression that this was her name when she was born.
    • If you add a husband later, you don't need to edit the wife's name
    • It would get confusing if she had multiple husbands, or if she divorces and changes the name again.
    • It would get confusing if her maiden name were the same as his.  Then someone might not realize this, unless the maiden name is always the one that's shown.
    • It would be repetitive, as the husband's name is already there.  It is more informative to see what her name used to be
       
  • Alternate Names: Click the + in the upper left under "Name" to get a second set of name fields.  These are NOT used for:
    • Married Names
    • Listing various alternate spellings of the same name.  One is ok, but if there are many, go to the Notes instead.  Example: not someone who is known interchangeably as "Smith" and "Smyth"
    • Other people, different from the first person named.

    These are  used for:
    • People who change their name to different name.  Example:  "Schmidt" deliberately changed his name to "Smith"
    • People who are known by two different names that are not spelling variations of each other.

    Both sets of names will then appear, one under the other, separated by a dotted line.  This name appears on the main browse page, the pedigree chart, and the descendant chart, and is searchable in the main search.

    If any of the alternate name fields are filled in, the first & last names will automatically carry foward if not supplied.  For example:
    When you enter this: You get this: When you enter this: You get this:
    Johan Schmidt
    John
    Johan Schmidt
    John Schmidt
    Johan Schmidt
              Smith
    Johan Schmidt
    Johan Smith

Unknowns: In cases where a name is not known, just leave it blank.  Many other databases online show a wife's married name, or even both the first and last name of her husband as her name.  This was not really her name, and putting this in only confuses matters, and increases incorrect search results... so just leave it blank.

The system will show a blank name as ______ to indicate that the name is blank.

Case:  It is best to enter names in mixed case, or all lower case and the system will capitalize first letters.  Do not enter names in all upper case -- if you prefer all upper case, you can choose this as a display setting under View > Account, which will change it on-the-fly.  If names are typed in all upper case, then those who prefer mixed case don't have this choice.

Parentheticals:  Keep the name field to the name itself.  For alternate spellings or other additional information, put it in the notes.  Adding more here reduces chances that the name will be found in searches and duplicate checking.

Special Characters: For letters with accents and other special characters -- with the cursor in any text field when editing a person, hit the F2 key.  A small window will appear below the field showing a list of characters.  Click one to insert it at the end of the field.

Updated: 3-15-2015