What surname should be used for Robert the Bruce's ancestors?

+9 votes
I'm starting to look at the Lords of Annondale and I just want to confirm that Bruce-105 is the correct HSA for this profile. I had earlier tagged De Brus-71 as HSA but I will gladly remove it if we want to keep the surname "Bruce" as the official last name.

There are several choices : Bruce, De Bruce, de Brus, De Brus, de Bruis and others.

Apparently the ancestor of Robert the Bruce was a Norman knight who accompanied William the conqueror in 1066. From what I've been able to find he took his name "de Bruis" from his family estates at Bruis near Cherbourg.
WikiTree profile: Robert Bruce
in Policy and Style by Eugene Quigley G2G6 Mach 8 (82.0k points)
retagged by Chris Whitten
So, I am still unsure what to do with the names, mostly of royalty and aristocacy.

1. When trying to find an ancestor, having only one spelling of the name can  mean we don't find everyone.  Is there another way to search?

2. the "de" meaning "of" ( as in "de Callendar,"  "de Bruce") was initially not given to everyday fiolk, but only to nobility.  While removing it simplifies merging (de Bruce becomes Bruce) , we lose at the same time the nomenclature that signifies their high status.  We ought to keep the "de" someplace in the profile, if not in the name, perhaps in the aka?

3.  MY BIGGEST CHALLENGE:  I have not been able to find a protocol for something like this: "Sir John, 4th High Lord of Linlithgow" (a made up identity).  What do we put for the last name?  Linlithgow? "Unknown" is not a happy option.  In some other genealogy systems, NN is used, but that could be as difficult as "unk" to parse out.  Where does the "Sir" and the "Lord" go:  title?  first name?  preferred name? aka?  suffix? I see every different kind of placement in profiles.

I would really like to have my profiles consistent with the best presentation.  i just don't know what it is.

Some very good questions and comments.

When you do a search for "de Brus" it also searches the aka field so those with the last name "Bruce" aka "de Brus" will also show up.

As for your example: "Sir John, 4th High Lord of Linlithgow" here is how I would do it.

Prefex: Sir

Proper First Name: John

Preferred First Name: John

Other Nicknames: 4th High Lord of Linlithgow

Middle Name:

Last Name at Birth: Linlithgow

Current Last Name: Linlithgow

Other Last Names: de Linlithgow


Here's a great little article on medieval surnames: http://www.gaminggeeks.org/Resources/KateMonk/England-Medieval/Surnames.htm

Perhaps with a statement before the Biography such as: After the Norman Conquest in 1066 the use of surnames were adopted, first by nobitity. These surnames were generally restricted to the place of origin.

Thanks, that lines up with my thinking.  Placing his community function/title in the other nicknames box sounds like a good idea.  I liked the aka because that would show up in the name, but it can get too long.  Regards.

Remember that we don't have to reinvent the wheel on these types of questions! When in doubt, check out http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Name_Fields_for_European_Aristocrats and if you really want to delve into it, there are lots of discussions in the old EuroAristo Google group. Lots of this stuff was discussed endlessly about a year ago.

The Bruce family of Kildrummy descends from the Norman family of de Brusee who came over to England in 1066. One of the two de Brusee brothers inherited large tracts of land in Scotland and married into Scottish royalty. It was from him that Robert the Bruce descended. The Bruces of Kildrummy appear to descend from a younger brother of Robert the Bruce and descendants live throughout the world.

Thankyou Jeanne  Forbes Solity  starting this profile in Decembert 2013

=== Sources ===

The Bruces of Kildrummy : a family history by Hugh Glenrinnes Bruce
Bruce, Hugh Glenrinnes (Main Author)

2 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer
This is a tough one. I do have some input: the European Aristocratic Ancestors group came to the decision that things like "de" should be left out of the last name at birth. See here: http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Name_Fields_for_European_Aristocrats#How_we_create_LNAB
by Liander Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (456k points)
selected by Keith Baker
OK, so looking at many of the profiles for the Lords of Annandale the most common surnames used appear to be de Brus and Bruce. Therefore can we make the LNAB: Brus and the Current last name: de Bruis OR would the European Aristocrat Group prefer to use Bruce as LNAB and keep CLN as De Brus?

Personally I have no preference, in this case I'm thinking consistancy is more important.
I agree with Eugene Quigley in using Bruce as the default name because i is a name familiar to everyone.  I insert other iterations of the name in the aka spot, but when searching for someone, it would make sense to only have the one name to look for/at.  In the same way, I wonder if there is a default for Stewart, Stuart, and the more ancient Steward.  Again, choosing one as the default would make searches and merges more efficient.  Related question:  where should the title "5th Lord/Lady of xxx" be placed for consistency?  i find "Lord" in the title section sometimes, and in the first name sometimes, and finally in the aka sometimes.  I am very interested in what is the best protocol to follow.
At the risk of going slightly off-topic: I'm working on the Stewarts/Stuarts. I use Stewart for everyone before Mary, Queen of Scots, and Stuart for everyone after her. She changed the spelling to make it easier for the French to pronounce.

I think of it as the same as Windsor and Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha. They're the same house, but the name did change and I think that needs to be recognised, even at the risk of not having the whole family share the same LNAB.
I think the Stewart/Stuart names is perhaps  more of a geographic thing and both names are still used and recognized today. There is a Clan Stewart of Appin, Stewart of Atholl, Stewart of Galloway and Stuart of Bute and probably others. While I can appreciate what you are doing I don't think that we should be use only Stuart for those post Queen Mary.
Truth be told, my personal preference would be to use "de Brus" before "Robert the Bruce" and "Bruce" after him. I think removing the "de" is similar to removing "Mac" from the clans or "son" from the end of many nordic family names.
I'm only referring to the House of Stewart/Stuart, for which switching the spelling at Mary makes sense. I don't know about anyone else named Stewart/Stuart.
Two questions...

1) was not Steward a discriptive term for those who held stewardship of the country?

2) were not De and De La etc added to ancestral names in the 19th century by overenthusiastic genealogiests?

The novice in me hopes to have the conceptions critiqued.
Yes, I think Stewart came from Steward, as in "Lord High Steward of King XX."  Some of us have personal preferences on treating "de", and while I would rather have it another way, for the sake of consistency, I am deleting the "de" in the birth names of my profiles, and putting it into the "other" names' space.  As with Mac and Fitz (from French "fils de" and those denoting either "of" or "son of", there is a lot of variation among profilers.  Sometimes the words are split into two words(Fitz  Walter) and sometimes, you find one word (Fitzwalter.) The explanations of how to treat these did not completely resolve my questions.   i personally have chosen not to use spaces in such cases because the internet script forces an underline between them (also other symbols such as %) which can make merges more difficult.

I'm not so sure if genealogists are to blame for the use of  de and such. I believe it was a discriptive way to distinguish one person from another: Tom of Huntington was different than Tom of Hastings. As French was a favoured language of  the Nobility the "of" was replaced with "de".

When I was in highschool we had two girls named "Cathy MacDonald" in our class. It just made sense that whenever refering to them we used their community name to identify who we were talking about: "Cathy Glencoe" or "Cathy Judique". Worked like a charm!
Hi Tom

Yes Stewart started as a descriptive name and evolved into Stewart and Stuart depending on the region.  It is the same evolution as Fletcher, smith and the like Robert the Stewart, Robert the Fletcher (arrow maker) and Robert the Smith become Robert Stewart, Robert Fletcher and Robert Smith.  It is possible, prior to the assumption of the occupation that they had no surname, such as likely in the case of Fletcher and Smith or in the case of the Stewarts, Arnulf de Hesdin.

Which also answers the second question as the de and so on are location titles.  It was common practise amongst the Flemish and Norman noble families that followed or were brought by David I into Scotland to adopt the location name of the land on which they were settled if they did not hold titled land in the location they came from.

For all there is a very good discussion on the arrival of the Flemish and Norman knights and the adoption of names provided by the family historians of the Seton family at this web address.  This also addresses some of the other questions asked on this thread/

Tom, the 'de' and 'de la' and 'la' were not additions by overenthusiastic genealogists in the 19th century.  They were used in early medieval times and is what the people were actually known by, such as Richard de Clare, William de Warenne, Alan la Zouche, etc.  Usually these were 'dropped' in the 13th to 15th century.

Looking through the close rolls, fine rolls, or patent rolls will give you many examples (as well as a wealth of information about your ancestors, should you have traced some back that far).



Just a quick update on your note with regard to Fitz names.  It was decided, earlier this year, that all Fitz names are to be one word with mid cap, i.e. FitzHugh, FitzJohn, etc.  Any profiles that currently have the LNAB as two words need to be changed to conform.

Any new profiles added to WikiTree should be one word with mid cap, i.e. FitzHugh as opposed to Fitzhugh.

Darlene - Co-Leader, EuroAristo project

Just to make sure everyone realizes Steward as in "High Lord Steward" was not a high title really, except of course in cases where the person was themself "high" and a "lord". The job title in its original meaning can be understood still in modern English: "Sty ward", meaning a person who looks after animals kept in pens, such as pigs. (Apparently in royal and lordly estates, such functions evolved quite a lot, as did many others such as Chamberlains, and Spencers.) The point is that the name can have quite lowly origins in many cases. It will not always be aristocratic.
+5 votes

A couple of us have agreed that we would use LNAB "Brus" with CLN "Bruce"  for ancestors of Robert I (1274-1329) and use "Bruce" as LNAB for him and his descendants.

I have had a look at the LNAB "Brus" and found the following:

Robert I de Brus,  1st Lord of Annandale Brus-29
Robert II de Brus, 2nd Lord of Annandale Brus-39
William de Brus, 3rd Lord of Annandale  none found so created new Brus-85
Robert IV de Brus,   4th Lord of Annandale Brus-15
Robert de Brus    5th Lord of Annandale none found so created new Brus-86
Robert de Brus  6th Lord of Annandale none found so created new Brus-87
I have tagged the three existing as HSA  and the three new profiles to "protect" them. Unlocked other profiles for the same people - I think there are a few tagged as HSA. now we should start merging.
by Eugene Quigley G2G6 Mach 8 (82.0k points)

Great work!  Thanks for your scholarship and leadership on this line - you have definitely moved us forward on the pruning process!




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