Can I use the Dutch variant 'Levenloos kind' instead of 'Unnamed Infant' as Proper First Name?

+5 votes
Unfortunately many children of my (Dutch-speaking) ancestors were stillborn or didn't survive the first hours, so they weren't named. The WikiTree convention seems to be to use 'Unnamed Infant' as Proper First Name in those cases, however this looks awkward in a Dutch name.

In all official record I've come across they are called 'Levenloos kind' (Lifeless child). Can I use this phrase as a first name, or should I use 'Unnamed Infant'?
in Policy and Style by Koen van Hoof G2G6 Mach 2 (22.7k points)

1 Answer

+7 votes


I too thought that Unnamed Infant is what should be entered. Rereading the standard I conclude that I overlooked an essential phrase:

"If an infant died before he or she could be named use what is on their death record according to their conventions, otherwise use Unnamed Infant"

I guess that opens the way to code Levenloos, as that is the convention in Dutch birth/death certificates.

Another Dutch convention, in genealogy to use N.N. seems to be explicitly excluded in the WT standard: "Do not use NN"

by Jan Terink G2G6 Pilot (195k points)
I have been wondering that when changing some Dutch unknowns to unnamed infant. I wasn't sure if unnamed indant was the best option, but I knew it was better than unknown (and for my purposes, gets them out of a search for 19cen Dutch unknowns).

But then Levenloos kind (Stillborn child) would not apply to the babies that were born alive but died before a given name was registered. In those cases I would opt for applying the Dutch genealogical convention and record N.N., even if not conforming to the WT standard (that should be changed to allow N.N. in those cases).

Is N.N. a convention of the time the child died or is it a genealogical convention? If it is not on the records I think we should continue to use the wikitree standard.

I have also seen Levenloos Patronimic on wikitree. Would this be correct?

This is an example of the use of 'N.N.' in a Dutch language death certificate in Belgium from 1857. The name N.N. Quick is written in the margin. In the text itself only a description instead of a name is used: 'een levenloos kind van het vrouwelijk geslacht' (a stillborn child of the female sex).

So the only location were a name is used it uses the abbreviation N.N. Many other official documents don't write names in the margin and only use the description in the text, like the lower death certificate on this page, but N.N. is clearly a term used in the time the child died and not an anachronism introduced by genealogists.

Besides I think the abbreviation N.N. is better suitable for multiple languages, than a description in English like 'Unnamed Infant'.
I quite agree on N.N. being better for multiple languages. I just wanted to make sure that if Dutch Roots sets its own policy it is based on records from the time (which then isn't it's own policy).

I don't read Dutch; I rely on transcriptions. And on everyone who can read Dutch


Genealogists often use the abbreviation to signify an unknown or partially unknown name (such as N.N. Jones).

There is a slight difference between Unknown and No Name (NN) and a  more descriptive like Unnamed Infant, Unnamed Stillborn (or French equivalent).

I have seen some variations that give some insight in the type of reason no name was given, and personally do not like abbreviations (strictly, you would need to add at least one note with the meaning of each abbreviation on a page if you follow good scientific practices).

So I would opt for the 'Unnamed stillborn' or when it has lived for some hours (outside the mother) 'Unnamed Infant'. Especially as you can find all kinds of descriptions in the death certificates (there have been no birth certificates for stillborns in the Netherlands until recently).

There is an interesting link with the naming for vondelingen/foundlings who get their names later on and might change it again (but that is another thread probably).
Do you mean to use the English 'Unnamed Infant' on Dutch profiles or a Dutch translation like 'Onbenoemde/Ongenaamde zuigeling'?

I'd then opt more for the version 'Levenloos kind', which is often used on death certificates.

Yeah, I would go for a Dutch/local language variation.

This will require a rewrite on the documentation I think.

Thinking out loud: I don't think the database can handle it, but a more universal code would maybe be best (similar to a template, but then for the first name.) As it is not really a name, but a code to indicate why the First name is not present that gets translated into a nice term.

I think the database isn't the problem. To me it seems that it considers 'Unnamed Infant' at the moment as a name, as it's stored as a normal string. The users should consider that it's not. I don't think there is a Boolean entry in the database whether this person is an Unnamed Infant or not.

Related questions

+4 votes
1 answer
+6 votes
1 answer
+10 votes
3 answers
+8 votes
2 answers
183 views asked Sep 7, 2017 in The Tree House by Dave Dardinger G2G6 Pilot (406k points)
+6 votes
2 answers
+6 votes
1 answer
115 views asked Jan 4, 2019 in Policy and Style by Kathy Rabenstein G2G6 Pilot (229k points)

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright