Is there a way to group surname variants?

+8 votes
I've been entering many people with variants of the surname Beswetherick. This appears to be the spelling that most modern families have settled on. However, there are probably more than 50 alternate spellings from Buswerick to Beswarrick to Biswathick and Bosswetheric etc. I would like to be sure when entering LNAB that I don't miss existing profiles with a different variant. Also my Suggestions Report complains about my use of unique surnames in LNAB or other surnames. I have been entering some of the variants since individuals often use many of the variant spellings during their lifetime. But there is no standard surname that all have used or that I can truthfully add to the other names field.

Is there a method to make finding everyone of this surname easier, no matter how it was spelled originally?

Thanks, Irene.
in WikiTree Tech by Irene Marlborough G2G Crew (610 points)

2 Answers

+6 votes
Irene, the only way you will find variants is if the spelling you search for is included in the OLN (Other Last Names) field on the profile.  We are encouraged to list spelling variants there, so that they can be found in searches - there is nothing "untruthful" about adding commonly seen spelling variants of a name.  Unfortunately, if nobody had done this for a profile that has one of the variants you would like to be able to find, then it won't turn up on your search.

For an example, Bresnick is a name in my family, although different family members have spelling variants for their LNABs (Last Name At Birth) and CLN (Current Last Name).  You are likely to find names listed on one of these profiles as:

LNAB - Breznik
CLN - Bresnick
OLN - Bresnik, Breznick, Brosnick
by Gaile Connolly G2G6 Pilot (868k points)
edited by Gaile Connolly
I dont think that is quite right,  the matching seems to account for lots of phonetic and alternate variations when I search. Tech team may be able to comment if maybe we use the werelate name associations when matching, only use other last names, or something else?

Edit: this is what I was thinking of, just need to make sure all 50 variants are associated at werelate (*ack! Paste wont for "do you know of any first name or surname variants missing from wikitree?" Posted 12/15/20)
Yep, if the variants are added to the WeRelate database, then they will be added as variants on WikiTree the next time we update the database (which is coming up soon).
Thanks for this. I had never heard of the WeRelate database. I think that's probably what's required here. Otherwise, I would end up having to enter a ton of surname variants in every profile's Other Names field. It wouldn't be accurate either because the individual might have used perhaps a handful of variants depending how many events we have evidence for. That's not very many the further back they go. Not even baptisms in some cases. I'll investigate WeRelate further. Thanks again.
+1 vote
The following may not provide the answer your specifically asking about, but I believe that the Awareness of it can be helpful when it comes to last name variants.

Maybe the following WikiTree Project link can be helpful for you in some way.

That project is geared in providing assistance/awareness to families who have used variations to their last name (over the years).

Good Luck! :-))

~Brian Kerr
by Anonymous Kerr G2G6 Pilot (309k points)

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