Should related LNAB Unknowns have the same Unknown Wiki number?

+3 votes
Before 1650 in the Netherlands, sur/family names were mostly not used.   Only first and patronym.    So I have many profiles with LNAB = Unknown.     Quite of few of them are related, but currently each has their own wiki number.     Should I attempt to modify related (brother, sister, father/son, etc) LNAB Unknowns so that they have common Unknown Wiki numbers?   And if so, what procedure do I follow for the abandoned wiki numbers to "recycle" them?  TIA!     Related remark ... I'm Dutch born to Dutch parents as are my sisters, and we each have TWO "middle" names that are NOT patronyms ....   where do these names go if not the "middle" name FIELD that some posters claim does not fit or apply to common Dutch naming behavior.     Thanks on that too!
in The Tree House by Pieter van Leeuwen G2G Crew (720 points)
retagged by John Atkinson
Hi Pieter, I've added some tags to your question.
No two profiles have the same name-number combination, no matter how closely they're related. That's the whole point of a unique identifier. It applies whether the number is in the thousands, like for "Unknown" or "Smith" profiles, or in single digits, like for "Palotay".

4 Answers

+12 votes
Best answer

Hallo Pieter,  

Voor Nederlandse profielen gebruiken we geen Middle name. Alle voornamen worden in het PFN- veld (Preferred First Name) geplaatst. Als er sprake is van alleen een patroniem komt dat in de LNAB. Als er een achternaam en een patroniem is, zet je de achternaam in het LNAB-veld en het patroniem achter de voornaam/namen in het PFN-veld.

 Naast de Nederlandse Naam conventie, hierboven genoemd, vind je hier uitgebreide informatie met voorbeelden zie: NAAMVELDEN IN NEDERLANDSE EN VLAAMSE PROFIELEN

We do not use Middle name for Dutch profiles.  All first names are placed in the PFN (Preferred First Name) field.  If there is only a patronymic, it will be added to the LNAB.  If there is a last name and a patronymic, put the last name in the LNAB field and the patronymic after the first name (s) in the PFN field.

In addition to the Dutch Name convention, mentioned above, here you will find extensive information with examples see: DUTCH AND FLEMISH NAME FIELDS

by Joop van Belzen G2G6 Pilot (100k points)
selected by Enoch Stuivenberg
Thank you Joop and Enoch.

I will have some editing to do.   :-)
+4 votes
Its not possible for them to have the same number.

Each "surname" spelling and number combination must be unique.
by Dennis Wheeler G2G6 Pilot (532k points)
Thanks Dennis, but I don't follow you.

I have John Doe and Sue Doe currently as ..

John Doe Unknown - 555555

and Sue Doe Unknown is 555556.

They are brother and sister.     Why not

Sue Doe Unknown 555555 ?

To convey that neither has a known surname (that might not even exist) but they are in the same family.
Because they are different individuals.  One is male.  One is female.  That they have an unknown last name does not make them the same person.
OK ....  gotcha ...  there is no way of linking them since the profile numbers are unique to each individual with that surname.    What is needed is a Surname (LNAB) proxy of some kind that isn't Unknown as that implies no connection ... short of giving them a surname that isn't their's.   Thanks!
It may be a little clunky, but you CAN link them by adding the WT ID for each in the other's biography. So for the sister, you would add to her biography "sister of [[Unknown-555555]John Doe Unknown]]" -- and in his you would do the same, but using her ID#.

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Thanks, Melanie.

The related profiles are already linked in that fashion, not in the bio but in the profile section where siblings are noted with hyperlinks.

Where I was headed, I think ... was an alternative to Unknown (which is broad), maybe Family_xyz,  where xyz is just a numeric placeholder that distinguishes from other unknown families with known relations.    


In my situation, pre 1650 Dutch, it might be DNE_xyz ... where DNE indicates that surnames do not exist, in the same way that for many folks, they have no middle name.

+5 votes

Can you add the tag Dutch_Roots to your post? You’ll get the best answer from that project. But my understanding is that early Dutch profiles should not be created as “Unknown” but rather the LNAB should be entered as a patronymic with ending determined by the father’s ending in the birth/baptism record:

by Barry Smith G2G6 Pilot (134k points)

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Hi Barry ...

     I understand that, but in my case doing so would magnify the confusion as my family's deep history is all about how they came to get the surnames they chose ....  they went from none to Huijygens to Bout to Leuwen to Leeuwen in four generations.

Using the patronyms in LNAB tells you nothing about lineage and would only confuse matters ...  they flip Willems to Pieters to Willems to Pieters over generations, that sort of thing, while neighboring families were doing the very same thing often with the same names.     The old records used PLACES to distinguish families with similar names from one another ... 'opt de Zijl  ....  by this river, etc.

I don't see these naming conventions as any different from Sweden's.  My great-grandfather was born Waldermarsson.  His father was Waldemar (Wollemar) Larsson.  I have a  collateral relative whose first known "last" name was based on his father's soldier name, and his sister used the same.  But his brother used a made-up patronymic based on that soldier name.

It's not that difficult to follow the relationships based on the patronymic system, or the land-name system.
+6 votes

The naming conventions for the Netherlands are here: . Patronymics are put in the LNAB field. The complete given name should go into the first name field; use of  middle name will generate a suggestion. You could enter your own name as you wish and mark the database suggestion as false. I am sure the dutch_roots leaders and experts can provide much more assistance; they are a very friendly group and always happy to lend guidance to others on WikiTree.

by W Robertson G2G6 Mach 6 (60.6k points)

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Hi W. Robertson ... " The complete given name should go into the first name field"

I've gotten database errors feedback when I try to put more than one name in the first name field.

No such issue in middle name field, aside from Editors who show up now and then and change those on me.

That's happened only a couple of times, but that invariably compromises the available info, where my multiple middle names (patronyms) are there to suggest alternate spellings from back in those days when no one could read or write and they transcribed what they heard in myriad different ways.    Google on the other hand, doesn't accept wild cards in searches, so nothing comes up until you plug in each of the various spellings.     This is REALLY important when using phrases in quotes to search for first name patronym as a unit.   Miss a letter and you get nothing, so information on the various spellings encountered is helpful in a profile.    Cheers,


The DBE for multiple names in first name field was removed some while ago.

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