GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 1998-09 > 0906707351
From: Leo van de Pas< >
Subject: Re: Given v. Surnames - Part I
Date: 25 Sep 1998 00:09:11 -0700
Dear Diana and others,
I am absolutely horrified with what has been said.
>From a friend I received different complaints about FTM
but, reading what Diana has to say, it seems even worse.
Computer programs should be made to suit genealogy,
not genealogy twisted to suit a computer program.
In 1990 I decided to buy a computer and had my own
program written. When I enter a person I can record
all 27 first names for Spanish Infantes if required,
however I can indicate the one name by which he/she
is known, which then will show up in genealogical reports.
I can enter the surname (or title) which is wanted and
at the same time indicate where I want that person
in the alphabet. For instance Prince Michael of Kent,
Prince of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in my system
he shows up as such but in the alphabet he appears under
The way this is done is that every person has a space for
surnames and a space which decides where in the alphabet
this person will appear. Hans Adam Prince von und zu
Liechtenstein, in the surname section I enter
von und zu Liechtenstein, in the section for the alphabet
only Liechtenstein. The latter segment after having been
entered cannot be seen anywhere, unless you want to.
What to do with :
and quite a few more?
In the surname segment these are recorded, and in the
small part Schleswig1, Schleswig2, Schleswig3 and this
will group the people with the same surname/title.
What when there is no surname? We all know the entry
NN. In the unseen segment for the alphabet that is where
I decide and I use NAAA and so in the index of a report
at the beginning of the letter N all these surnameless
If you have to use a surname, you give Tudor as an example,
what is wrong with England? Under Tudor you should find
Owen, Edmund but not Henry VII or Henry VIII, well that
is my opinion.
With births and baptisms, when both are known both are
recorded but births appear in a report. When I only know
the date of baptism, I enter that year (dangerous, I know)
as birth and add to this a sign, result in reports it
will only give the date of birth and this is made clear.
I have to do this, as the year of birth also is needed
if you want to find that person under the year of birth.
It also helps to decide where this person is recorded in the
I think FTM, and other commercial genealogy program makers, should do a
re-think and allow more possibilities,
especially for titled people.
In my program (to make it short, because there is more)
a.entry for surname (which I can leave blank)
b.entry for first names (which I can leave blank)
c.entry for occupations or titles
d.entry for honorifics (which appears before the first
name in a report) such as Prof., Dr., Lord, Count
e.the hidden alphabet entry
If I want Henry VII, King of England
then I leave a blank, b Henry VII, c King of England
and it will appear as such. If I want Prince William
of Wales :
a. of Wales, b William, c Prince of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland, d Prince, e Great Britain
he then shows up as : Prince William of Wales, Prince
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
If you want to find him you ask for Great Britain
The system I use gives so much more freedom.
You want Henry VII, King of England to be found under
Tudor? Simple in the hidden alphabet segment you enter
When I search to find a person, I can search under
surname only, under surname and first name, I can
search under year of birth.
The reason I had this program written for me was that
I did not know (thank goodness) where to find commercial
programs and I wanted it to be able to perform a few
more tasks. One segment is devoted to asking questions:
is A descended from B?
do A and B have common ancestors?
how many times is A an ancestor of B, and with less
than (I think) 19 generations it will provide the
numbers used in the ancestor list, for more than
19 generations it simply counts how many times.
does A have interesting ancestors?
does A have interesting descendants?
how many ancestors does A have and how many came
from which country?
In all I think I found a gem in my computer programmer,
who did it in his spare time. I think it must be horrendous
to change systems in midstream, and therefor I think FTM
and others should amend their programs, so they suit
genealogy and not make genealogy suit their program.
Hope this was of some interest.
Leo van de Pas
At 11:08 PM 9/24/98 -0700, you wrote:
>I'm new to the list, and I generally do not post to a list until after I've
>member for awhile. But you have touched on an issue that intrigues me
>I'm a relative novice to genealogy, I have had many years experience
>of many kinds.
>I had been planning to write up the following "some time," but this thread
>me to write it now. I am "testing the waters" here with these ideas and
>my "first draft." I would greatly appreciate input, especially if my
>astray at any point.
>"Before and After SURNAMES"
>We in the 20th-Century are so used to using SURNAMES that it can be difficult
>to the notion of personal names without them (i.e., given names only).
>of computerized databases has virtually locked us in the developed world for
>foreseeable future into the concept of a given name, a middle name, and a
>regardless of historical or cultural differences. For most of us, conforming
>uniformity of a trinomial naming system is a matter of "assumed normalcy" and
>convenience, if not legal necessity. For genealogists, especially budding
>the computerization of genealogical information (whether creating it or
>can lead to very real frustration when dealing with names of individuals who
>before the use of surnames became the norm. The key to solving the
>conceptual, and the conceptual leap that must be made is to simply let go of
>of surnames when dealing with these ancestors and recognize that before
>surnames" came into widespread use, ALL NAMES WERE GIVEN NAMES.
>Therefore, these single or even multi-word given names should not be split up
>they will comfortably fit into fields in a modern computer database. The
>these old names is to put the entire name in the GIVEN NAME field. I
>desire to have family members fall together alphabetically, but that's a
>hangup) resulting from the way we use names today. Changing your mindset
>given names will not only allow you to be more consistent in data entry and
>it will aid you in viewing given names in the same way they were viewed by
>who had them, which was as unique identifiers of unique individuals who were
>known to each other.
>And I might add here that the LDS Ancestral File has almost universally
>given names into SURNAMES for such individuals, so some of the blame for this
>mindset can be placed at their door. It also means that they are in an
>position to undo that mindset if they would choose to do so.
>This isn't the place for a treatise on the evolution of names, but as
>possible: in small groups and villages, it is only necessary for each
>individual to have
>a unique word attached to them as an identifier. Everyone knew everyone. As
>groups/villages grew larger and favored names were reused, it became
>modifiers. And so began the systems of modifiers that had to do with places
>de Conteville, Anne of Cleves, Miles of Gloucester, Jean du Lac, etc.), with
>relationships to the father, that is, the patronymics (e.g., FitzAlan,
>Maredudd, Yaroslavna, Olafsdottr, verch Gruffydd, Ivanovich, Anderson, bin
>etc.), with age (e.g., Junior, Senior, the Elder, the Younger), and with
>(e.g., Richard the Strong, Henry the Fat, John le Blond, etc.). However,
>still not surnames. Each person was a known individual with a unique name.
>these modifiers of given names ultimately evolved into modern surnames, but
>not be turned into surnames prematurely (i.e., when they were not being
>functional surnames during the lifetime of the individual whose name is
>that means *not* entering the modifier into the surname field of your
>database. I will
>give some examples, and I will use Family Tree Maker as the model software.
>modify the suggestions according to the software you are using.
>FTM is both simple and highly adaptable when it comes to entering names
>a single field for the name. FTM uses an algorithm to decide which is the
>last name, but the foundation of that algorithm is the binomial/trinomial
>If you put two words in the name field, FTM assumes the last one is the
>first is the given name. If you put three words in the field, it assumes the
>word is the middle name. In alphabetized lists, "Mary Ann Smith"
>as "Smith, Mary Ann." FTM is also intelligent enough to know automatically
>de Vaux" is "de Vaux, Jane" not "Vaux, Jane de" without being told (ditto
>FTM also knows that anything after a comma is a title, so "John Charles
>alphabetized "Smith, John Charles, Jr." and someone with a title would be
>"Charles Henry Beauchamp, 4th Baron Ixworth" and appear in an alphabetized
>"Beauchamp, Charles Henry, 4th Baron Ixworth". FTM also recognizes that
>are not surnames. "William Brown III" will automatically be alphabetized
>III," not "III, William Brown." These names all work because they adhere to
>binomial/trinomial, given/middle/surname pattern with its recognized
>what do you do with a name that does not?
>FTM allows you to set the surname with the use of backslashes. For
>has a last name in two or more words, it can be entered as "Joan Alice \Burke
>and it will be alphabetized "Burke Whittier, Joan Alice" not "Whittier, Joan
>Burke." And this example brings us, finally, to what to do with all those
>Enter the surname as "\\" (without the quotes).
>(If your database has separate fields for given, middle, and surnmes,
>So, "Anne of Cleves" is entered "Anne of Cleves \\". In an alphabetical
>will come up "Anne of Cleves" *as it should*, because Anne of Cleves is
>Anne"! Anne of Cleves has no surname; she has only her given name. When you
>her, search under "Anne..." She will not be difficult to find there because
>Anne's without surnames* will be listed together in the A's. All of your
>Anne's will be listed elsewhere with their modern surnames (e.g., "Thompson,
>Patronymics should be entered the same way. Many patronymics later became
>that should not tempt one to treat them as surnames prematurely. A simple
>line of descent through four generations using Russian patronymics should be
>illustrative of why not:
>Anna Yaroslavna, and brother Ivan Yaroslavovich
>It's very clear that while a patronymic may bind siblings together, it serves
>*distinguish* the generations from one another, so nothing could be further
>function of a modern surname! Anna Yaroslavna is not "Yaroslavna, Anna" any
>"Igor Ivanovich" is "Ivanovich, Igor." If you enter them that way, you will
>together people whose fathers had the same first name, which makes no
>Again, these are individuals with NO surnames. They should be entered as
>Yaroslavna \\," "Igor Ivanovich \\," etc. If you want to treat the
>something other than a "first" name, at least treat it as a middle name,
>If you have too many "Anna Yaroslavna's," you can distinguish them further
>modifier, for example, "Anna Yaroslavna of Kiev \\". And, as there
>Princess of that name, it brings up the question of titles. But before I go
>on, I will
>just add a word on Welsh
>The Welsh patronymics should not be used as surnames, either. So "Nest," the
>of "Osbern," should be entered "Nest verch Osbern \\" not "Nest Verch
>Maredudd, the son of Owain, should be entered "Maredudd ap Owain \\," not
>Owain" or "Maredudd \ap Owain\."
>As for titled royalty, they should simply be treated as individuals with no
>"Anna Yaroslavna of Kiev \\" can be entered as "Anna Yaroslavna \\
>And this is where FTM starts to fall down a bit.
>Note that I did not put a comma between \\ and Princess. It is a quirk of
>sees \\ as an existing, if "empty," surname. If you put the comma in, it
>before the title in descendant trees (boxes), as below
> Anna Yaroslavna
> , Princess of Kiev
>The down side of leaving the comma out is that in alphabetized lists, the
>appear without the comma as "Anna Yaroslavna Princess of Kiev." I find the
>lack of a
>comma in an alphabetized list less objectionable than its unwanted appearance
>There is another way to enter the name and *prefixed* title of an individual
>and that is
>to use FTM's "Title" field (these always turn into prefixed titles, not
>Our Anna would be entered "Anna Yaroslavna of Kiev \\" in the name field and
>in the title field. The big disadvantage of this method is that the entire
>name ends up
>on one line in trees and the title doesn't show up at all in alphabetized
>circumstances where I most use this field is for the appellations Sir, Capt.,
>Lady, Doña, etc.
>But I don't want to get bogged down in the minutia of formatting the names.
>to do is experiment until you find a pattern that's acceptable in FTM's (or
>software's) various modes of output (trees, reports, etc.). The important
>point is to
>not try to turn parts of these old given names into surnames when they are
>End of Part I