Why is Unk being used instead of Unknown for family name?

+2 votes
Am seeing many more profiles with "Unk" as the family name, but which appear to be additional "Unknown" family name profiles.  There are hundreds of thousands of "Unknown" family name profiles, and now, almost 2000 "Unk" being used.  Is there a reason why "Unk" is being used instead of "Unknown"?
WikiTree profile: Catherine Laicon
in Policy and Style by Victoria Crosley G2G5 (5.3k points)
Made me smile.  I had a cousin who always referred to our uncle as Unk.  Brought back memories of a Santa figure in my mind.

1 Answer

+7 votes
Best answer
Someone (apparently quite a few someones) just decided to use the abbreviation "Unk" instead of the recommended "Unknown." The Unknowns Project tries to track down and identify these unknown profiles and/or change the designation to the preferred standard. But it is a never-ending battle.
by Shirley Dalton G2G6 Pilot (503k points)
selected by Kevin Conroy
Thanks, Shirley - there is an Index of Unk, which can be accessed from any profile using Unk as a surname or maiden name.  There are 2000+ listed; I guess it involves a merge, and permission of the current PM?
It would require a change to the LNAB from Unk to Unknown or to a corrected surname if identified. The PM or someone on the Trusted List could make this change.
Unk can also be a real last name. It does not always mean unknown.
You are correct. And that is one reason changes to the LNAB should be carefully researched.

Victoria, Shirley's answer is right on point.  Going forward, if you come across any of these again, please email the person who created the profile and refer them back to this page and also to the help page on the use of Unknown for the surname of people whose surname is unknown.  If you don't feel comfortable emailing them or it doesn't turn out well if you do, follow the problem with members link (top right of any page in the "help" pulldown).

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