Plans for Chinese names?

+15 votes
While surfing through WikiTree some while back I discovered that one orphan profile needing adopting was that for Mao Zedung (or, for traditionalists, Mao Tse-tung), the Chinese leader who established the Peoples Republic of China in 1949.  Having been a boy in China when his troops took over Chengdu in January of 1951, I adopted his profile.

So on behalf of him and anyone else who has a Chinese name, I'm wondering if WikiTree has plans to enhance the naming and display structure for cultures where it is the first name, not the last name, which is the family name/surname?  The person who managed the profile before me actually did a masterful job of jerry-rigging the various names so that it displays almost correctly!  But it involved giving him a "current last name" of Zedung -- which is actually his given name, not a surname.
WikiTree profile: 澤東 毛
asked in WikiTree Tech by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (242k points)
I sincerely hope this issue will get some attention soon! We want to be international, but we do not address the naming conventions of 22% of the world population. Even if we only look at the US 5% of the population are of East Asian descent with Asia providing the largest plurality of all immigration groups. The number of multiracial people had a 134% increase from the 2000 census to the 2010 census. The chances for people eventually ending up with East Asian ancestry are getting greater and greater.

I'm not a programmer, therefore I don't know how hard it would be to incorporate a toggle for the name display between Eastern and Western, but it seems to be the most logical solution.
I think the superguts of the system are already accomodated as the WikiTree ID is Mao-18.  The abbreviation LNAB (Last Name at Birth) is an Americanism that doesn't make sense here because the family name is the first name, so we really shouldn't call Mao-18 a LNAB.  It's his surname or family name.  

We already have an "edit screen" where the data is entered which is different from the "display screen" which is what you see.  In fact, the current system accomodates a "public" display screen and also a "private" display screen, both of which are driven by the information in the edit screen.  

I'm not a computer programmer, but it would seem like a simple thing to put at the top of the edit screen three or more blanks entitled "name display".  It would default to Given Name 1, Given Name 2 and Family Name (we really should try to stop saying "First name" and "last name"!), but you could specify which name to go in each blank and whoever is entering the data could specify Family Name in the first blank,

The name that is displayed at the top of the display screen would be whatever is specified in these blanks.

So 90% of the WikiTree users would notice no different because it would default to the status quo, but differing naming conventions could be accomodated.

The only reason this profile is named Mao-18 is that the name was first entered in a way that would display as Zedong Mao and then edited to change the Preferred [First] Name to "Mao" and the Current Last Name to "Zedong", resulting in the display "Zedong(Mao)Zedong formerly Mao", really an entirely unsatisfactory result in my opinion.

But following the style guide his name should really be 毛泽东, with Mao Zedong in Other Names, he should have been born in 韶山市, 湖南省, 大清 and died in 北京市, 中华人民共和国, with the romanized names in the biography.

As I said, the person who created the profile was clever in jerry-rigging the system to display the name approximately right, by making some strange entries as you've described.

Obviously, if we're going to be a world-wide genealogy, we need to display in Asian characters and Arabic script as well.  That's way beyond my pay grade, and I would personally not be able to tell whether an entry is correct or incorrect!
Luckily, names can be easily googled in their romanized versions and Wikipedia gives them also in their respective script. Let's just hope we won't get Mongolians as they still write vertical and there is no way of adjusting to that.

Another example: Inko-1 :

16 April 1702: “Easter Sunday. In the morning the glorious resurrection of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was remembered. In the afternoon the catechism was continued, and after preceding confession a Chinaman named Abraham was married to a liberated female slave named Maria [Journal,16 April 1702];
Lim Inko alias Abraham [de] Veij / V(e)ijf(f) - pardoned Chinese convict banished ex Batavia; vrij Chinees / de Chinees [Lim] Inko / Neniko / Liniquo / Thin Heenko / Thimseengko alias Abraham de Veij(f) from China; formerly Lim Inko [林 = Līm = ‘forest’], assumes family name of De VEIJ [at times (mis)recorded as De Vijf) meaning ‘of Africa’ [The Netherlandized ‘Veij’ or modern-day romanized ‘Fēi’ is 1st part of romanized reading of Chinese ideograph 非 for ‘Africa’ 非洲 Fēizhōu - eg South Africa = 南非 romanized as ‘Nán Fēi’]; ‘Inko’ - previously mistranscribed by researchers as ‘Junko [sic] & gone viral - has yet to be semantically verified; 19 February 1702: baptized Abraham Cape (Namen der Christen Kinderen)[Chinese name probably Lim Inko] ...
Philip, your fascinating example certain illustrates the importance of moving toward an edit screen that permits entering a variety of name combinations that are appropriate for search functions, plus a display screen that the user has major control over in deciding what names in what combination would be displayed.  Because in this case there is no way you want to display all of them.

I make use in many cases of a ===Name=== section at the beginning of a narrative where I can list all the names -- in the correct order and combinations, a person was known by.  That is the real place, in the narrative, where all the combinations can b e addressed -- and in the case of Abraham Cape (surname), who began life as Lim (surname) Inko, that is the place it can best be explained!
Yip, I do that too - had there been more to the bio I would have done so - problem I don't speak or understand Mandarin, and as is said above somewhere even if WikiTree could accommodate for the Chinese language, it would mean the first name last and last name first ....
There is a merge ready for the ppp profile.
Linda, did you mean for your comment to go somewhere else?  It doesn't seem to be realated to a discussion on how Chinese names are displayed, and you haven't identified to anyone where this merge is that is ready to be project protected (presumably once the merge takes place.)
Thanks Linda -- somehow I had lost track of the proposed merge.  I'm now in contact with the other profile manager to see how we want the combined profile to look.  Then we can get a leader to take the PPP off.  Because the data field has been cleverly jerry-rigged to make up for WikiTree's international deficiencies, I don't want to lose that accidentally in a merge.

2 Answers

0 votes
The merge is for Mao Zedung,, and any one who is a member of the project can do it, I can't, so I,m passing the info along.  I thought the post would be under the top comment for Mao..

answered by L S G2G6 Mach 1 (13.5k points)
Linda, the two profile managers are in conversation with each other.  First we will make the data fields in the two profiles compatible with each other. Then we can merge them.  We ask that nobody else intervene at this point because we want to do this carefully.  Once we have the two profiles prepared for merge, we will ask for the PPP to be removed and we will do the merge.
+1 vote
I think that the simplest way to get the names to display culturally correctly would be to have a check box, that if checked, will switch the display to show the name as Family Name - Given Names (s).

A note next to the check box could say "Only for Asian names" or similar.
answered by Leslie Cooper G2G6 (7.9k points)
It should be noted that Hungarian names also have the family name first, then the given name. The label for such a checkbox (an idea I fully endorse) should take that into account.

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