What are Wiki Tree rules specific to "dit" names

+5 votes
I see changes are being made to my French Canadian ancestors. The "dit" names are being removed and then are listed as an alternative name. It is my understanding that a "dit" name is an integral part of the surname. I do not think it is optional, nor is it an alternate name. Does WikiTree have a standard method for capturing a surname which includes a "dit" name? Thnx for your help.
in Policy and Style by Debra Messenger G2G Crew (340 points)
retagged by Ellen Smith

Hi Debra,

Both the Quebecois Project and the Acadians Project have guidelines for handling the name fields (including dit names) of profiles associated with those projects. I'd suggest editing your post to include the appropriate tag(s) for your ancestors: quebecois and/or acadia, and hopefully members of the appropriate project(s) will view your post and be able to help out.

Thanks Rick,

I am looking for an example of the best way to capture a "dit" name. I hope some one from the Quebecois project will be able to help. I have many, many ancestors in Quebec prior to 1763. Most have "dit" names.
I'm not a member of the Quebecois Project, but there is guidance for naming described in the link that I shared above.

There is an example of an individual with dit name provided there, but if you have a different specific example in mind, I'd suggest editing your original post to include your own example and include the specifics of the information from the birth/baptismal record for the individual in question.
The Quebecquois Project Guidelines on Names lists just the examples I was looking for.

Thank you, Rick
I'm glad you asked this!  I've been avoiding adding a few of my husband's family members from Quebec since I wasn't sure what to do about their "dit" names.
Hi Debra,

Dit names are peculiar.  This from someone who is very conversant with their usage.  Realize that although a parent may use one dit name, the child may not.  Or may add his own instead.  These things evolve.

The most frequent reason for them evolving over time is the repetition of given names, so that cousins of the same name need something to differentiate them.  Many will adopt a different dit name than their parents, some taking their mother's or grandmother's name as a dit name, some taking a dit name based on some geographic feature of where they live, etc.  Lots of variations on a theme.  

One has to go by the actual records to determine what is the right name for each person.  There's no easy fix for this one, it's painstaking research.

Thank you all for your input.

Here is the Quebecois Project guideline on dit names:  GUIDELINE on how they should be used in Wikitree:

The surname of a child should always be the surname of the father on the baptism, without the dit name (unless illegitimate of course, in which case it will be recorded under the mother's name). If the father is recorded as Jean Doublon dit des Rosiers (not a real name), then only Doublon would be used in the LNAB field of the child . Current last name (CLN) can be used to reflect the Doublon dit des Rosiers IF the child actually used it. BUTif the only name used on the baptism is a dit name, then that is what is recorded in LNAB field.

The name of the father would be recorded as Doublon in LNAB field, and the name Doublon dit des Rosiers would be entered in CLN box, and also des Rosiers would be entered separately in other last name (OLN) field, for search purposes, and because some records only show the dit name by itself.

Is should look something like this:

  • Last name at birth (LNAB): Doublon
  • Current last name (CLN): Doublon dit des Rosiers
  • Other last name (OLN): des Rosiers

Keep in mind that some children once adult went only by the dit name of the family, in which case it would be entered by itself in CLN field.

*I see profiles being changed without following this guideline. Specifially, the CLN field and the OLN fields are both being populated with des Rosiers (see example above) with no mention of it being a dit name. The existence of a dit name is extremely important for retracing family lines. Please do not remove this key piece of information.

Hi Debra, not entirely sure what you are driving at here, I am very familiar with this whole subject, since I wrote the guidelines.  If a child doesn't use the dit name, then it shouldn't be entered on their profile.  And Desrosiers is NOT just a dit name, there are some who came here who were named that only.
Hi Danielle, Thnx for responding. I see you are an integral player on the Quebecois Project team. Here is my concern. Let's use Tetreault-62 as an example. Joseph Marie Tetreault dit Ducharme's profile has been cleaned up to reflect more accurate place names. Additionally, his name was changed to remove the "dit" reference. According to the guidelines, this is correct for LNAB, and Ducharme has been added to the OLN (also correct). The CLN now reads Tetreault. However I believe the CLN should be Tetreault dit Ducharme. Shouldn't it?   I have been researching my Tetro/Tetreau/Tetreault/Tatro ancestors for many years (my mom is a Tetro) and would love to see the fact that a dit name was used be retained somewhere in the profile. It is extremely helpful for tracking these very prolific family lines. I understand that inconsistent recording of dit names can wreak havoc, but if the dit reference is completely removed from the LNAB, the CLN and the OLN, there is no record that a dit name was ever associated with the individual profiled.  Does this make sense?

hmm, interesting, just went and fixed him up, he does use the name.  If he hadn't used it then it would not be included, but records show he did.

I see a bunch of his children with the Ducharme entered as a SUFFIX rather than a dit name, fixed one up but will leave it to someone else to correct the others.  A dit name is NOT a suffix, which are very limited in what they include.

Part of the problem may stem from how people read their sources, some sources just do a box presentation with any and all names used by the person (PRDH does this) omitting words like ''dit'' and ''de'', which leads to their omission in our tree.  One has to consult the original records to see the actual usage.  

There is also the problem that GEDCom uploads very often would stick any extra name into the suffix box.  Never mind that it's not a suffix, the program would do it.  Still lots of cleaning up to do in this respect, suffixes will not be found in name searches.  They aren't a name.

Have a care however: when adding a child to a parent with a dit name added in CLN box, make sure the child's name does not come out with that also, presently the program automatically sticks the CLN of the parent used to create from into the LNAB of the child.  Edit it please.

Thank you so much for the very clear explanation, Danielle.

Dit names are very confusing for many Wikitreeers. I hope this discussion will be helpful to them as it has been to me.

I really appreciate your caution regarding adding children to a parent with a dit name. I think it might be a good idea to include that caution in the Quebecois Guidelines on dit names.

Been trying to get the automatic fill-in of LNAB canceled, it also does the automatic trick if you are on the mother's profile adding a child, which then comes out with the mother's CLN.  In this part of the world, that doesn't mean her ''married name'', since we don't do that.  Women keep their own names. laugh (There speaks the feminist, hehe)

2 Answers

+3 votes
by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
–1 vote

From reading the « rules » re ´dit’ names, you are entering the names properly in the LNAB. If the birth record has a « dit » name, it should be in the LNAB field, not relegated to a secondary names field that is not always included in the search parameters.  The Wikitree-ers that change those names are NOT following the guideline as stated.  I have found the repeated experience of finding names changed incorrectly somewhat frustrating. I guess english speakers still find « dit » names confusing. I have basically stopped using Wikitree because people keep changing profile records contrary to the guidelines. Bonne chance.

by Denis Bourbonnais G2G1 (1.0k points)

Denis, the dit name present with the original name on a baptism gets excluded from last name at birth.  Only if the dit name is the only name on the baptism is it used for the LNAB.  

This may appear arbitrary, and in fact it is.  The primary reason it is done this way is that we want a single profile per person in our tree.  The variations possible on entering a name with dit name in LNAB field are multiple, ie blah dit blow, blah blow, blah-blow, dit blow, blah, blow-blah.....  All the possible permutations will NOT be recognized as the same person by the system.  Hence the rule.  And yes, I have seen profiles where the last name at birth was entered ''dit xyz''

« Only if the dit name is the only name on the baptism is it used for the LNAB ». 

But people ARE changing them in contradiction to the rules!

in that case, if pointing them to the guidelines doesn't resolve the problem, then possibly ask a Mentor's help, see Problems with members in help pages.

Realize that one can put the whole set of names in the CURRENT last name box without any problems, one should also put any extra names so covered in the other last name box for search purposes.

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