should "dit Something" be included in WikiTree ID? [closed]

+12 votes
I thought I'd seen the answer to this, but can't find it now.  If a family uses the "dit LeGrand" (for example), should the profile be Chauvin_Dit_Legrand or just Chauvin? I'm asking (again?) because Chauvin-121 and Chauvin_Dit_Legrand-1 need to merge and I don't know which way the merge should go.

Thanks, Liz
WikiTree profile: Pierre Chauvin
closed with the note: answered ages ago - see current guidelines (2019) at
in Policy and Style by Liz Shifflett G2G6 Pilot (473k points)
closed by Liz Shifflett
Great x Grandfather ,..Pierre Chauvin Le Grand,..Le grand ,..used to differentiate him from a dozen other Pierre's,  including children.. Hypolite "Pol' Chauvin. i know exactly who they're referring to..Most of the  Chauvins in America dropped Chauvin, and went by Dit names,. La Frenierre, De Beaula, De Lery,.. and Charlieville...Michel Richard Sansoucey "Fearless Soldier"..Pierre le grands Son Gilles Chauvin My ancestor never had reason to take a dit name, and all his children still go by Chauvin. There's last count 9 Zenon Chauvins, and 8 Hypolites in the children of Gilles's not about  nobility,.. it's about differentiating ..remedy  the confussion..
Sorry! I should have closed this question ages ago. It was whether or not the dit xx should be in the LNAB field, which is the basis for the WikiTree ID. It's been answered. The Quebecois Project's guidelines say no - see "DIT NAMES" under

Cheers, Liz
P.S. We're cousins :D  Pierre is my 9x-gr-grandfather.

6 Answers

+11 votes

Last Name at Birth

This field could also be called Proper Last Name, Surname, or Maiden Name.

This is the formal name that would appear in official documents at the time of birth.

It's generally a family name but it could be a patronymic or whatever other standard is conventional for the person's time and place.

"Dit" names should not go in this field. They can go in the Current Last Name, Other Last Name, or Nickname field, as appropriate.


As "dit" means "so called" or "also known as", I feel it belongs in "other last name". This way, it appears along with the "proper last name" but is not transfered on a gedcom to appear in my family tree.

This is however just my opinion.

by Gaston Tardif G2G6 Mach 1 (13.4k points)
Thanks Gaston. If the Pierre's are still unmerged when I'm back online in a couple of days I'll propose Dit Legrand to be merged into Chauvin :)
Liz, this is not a merging situation, it is rather an identity specification to be corrected that way. To me, the "dit" designation is only a kind of nickname related to the family name, not the first name and it only helps to identify the right profile amongs many of the same family and first names. In the case we mentionned, I already wrote a note to Lisa to explain the situation and hopefully bring a correction.

The lack of clarity in so many profiles is sometime cofusing and most of the time, the confused sources leed to that. Downloads of gedcoms are terrible for that. As profile managers, we have to be disciplined and organized.
I've been researching french canadian families for the past 5+ years.In my experience it is very important to include the "dit" name.  It's the only name that helped me define between other simular names!!! several cases their surname morphed into a combination of their "dit" name. Sometimes the "dit" name ended up getting dropped off 50 to 100 years down the road...however that "dit" name sure did help!!!! Please do not take light of the "dit" names.
Gaston, peux tu te t"occuper de la France là ou tu vis , tu ne connais rien du Québec et de leur situation de leur nom de famille ou autre. Le nom ''dit'' fait parti du nom de famille des personnes. Vois les filles du Roy, ils mentionnent le dit dans le nom de famille. Leur acte de naissance ou de mariage mentionne le dit. Pourquoi vous le reniez. Nous, au Québec nous l'utilisons encore ces noms, ils nous apparatiennent. Comment pouvez vous déterminez leur nom par un seul nom.  Ce n'est pas un surnom, c'est le nom légal de ces personnes au baptême. En tant que Québécois, je ne peux accepter votre faux jugement, qui ne repose sur rien d'autre que des supposition. Comment déterminer un nom plûtot qu'un autre. ex:  Meunier dit Lagacé.


J'utilise Meunier ou Lagacé ou Meunier dit Lagacé, selon l'acte de naissance.

nom de famille de cette personne devrait être Meunier ou Lagacé ou Meunier dit Lagacé, comment choisir entre Meunier ou Lagacé.


des enfant d'une même famille peuvent avoir à la naissance le nom de Meunier, Lagacé, Meunier dit Lagacé ou Lagacé dit Meunier selon le prêtre qui a écrit les documents.
[Apologies for the limitations of Google Translate-- out of curiosity, how'd it do?]
J'ai utilisé Google Translate pour comprendre votre post ci-dessus. J'allais poster la traduction pour les anglophones, mais j'étais mal à l'aise si après l'avoir lu. Wikitree Honor code IV se lit: «Nous savons que les malentendus sont inévitables Nous essayons de les minimiser en étant courtois à tout le monde, même ceux qui n'agissent pas en conséquence.». Il est bien évident que la question des conventions de nommage soulève beaucoup de passion. Je voudrais aussi être bouleversé si une règle apparemment arbitraire changé mon nom. Mais impolitesse envers un individu ne va pas résoudre ce problème. Je vous encourage à modifier votre message ci-dessus de sorte qu'il est en alignement avec le code d'honneur. En ce qui concerne, Jillaine [proche français: Ghislaine?]
I used Google Translate to understand your post above. I was going to post the translation for English speakers, but was uncomfortable doing so after reading it. Wikitree Honor Code IV reads: "We know misunderstandings are inevitable. We try to minimize them by being courteous to everyone, even those who don't act accordingly."  It is quite evident that the topic of naming conventions raises much passion. I would also be upset if a seemingly arbitrary rule changed my name. But rudeness towards an individual will not solve that problem. I encourage you to edit your post above so that it is in alignment with the Honor Code. With respect, Jillaine [closest French: Ghislaine?]


+4 votes

Somewhere in this world there will be a person called "dit Something".

I feel we should do our best to accommodated them, even if they are just the same as the person next to them :-)

by Peterson Cobbett G2G6 Mach 2 (20.2k points)
+4 votes
Dit names were used to differentiate between people with the same name. My family is a good example: several Brunet emigrated to la Nouvelle France. The Dit names were used to differentiate them from each other. My family was Brunet dit Bourbonnais until the mid-1800's when it was changed to Bourbonnais. I think the full name - Brunet dit Bourbonnais - should be used in the profile until official records show only the shortened name.
by Denis Bourbonnais G2G1 (1.0k points)

Placing "Brunet" in Family name at birth and "dit Bourbonnais" in Other last name and eventually in Current last name when it becomes the commonly used one, makes each of those entries searchable and visible at the title of the profile.

And this approach is in respect of the "General naming conventions" on this site:

Thanks for clearly describing the conventions. If I create a GEDCOM, will the GEDCOM adhere to these standards?

When I joined American-French Genealogical Society in 1978 I was advised to record "dit" names with a hyphen and this practice is mentioned in  That being said, this variation is probably best recorded in the Other last name field out of respect for the consensus elsewhere in this forum to not include the "dit" name in the LNAB field.

+4 votes
Good Question!  I have debated how to add the dit, le and de prefixes to the profile as they are not part of the surname.  I had about concluded that it would become part of the persons middle name.  In this way it would appear in the name for name search.  I thought about including it in the bio but that would not lead others to the profile.

I'm glad you brought up the subject.  We need a standard to work from or perhaps just as we have a spot to add Jr or Sr etc.., we could have a surname prefix spot.  If it can be done without compromising the surname.  It would make a great discussion topic.
by A B G2G6 Mach 4 (41.2k points)
Yes, the word "dit" is not part of the name and should not be used in the surname field.  I use TMG - The Master Genealogist as my genealogy program, and it has a surname prefix field where the dit belongs, which I really love.  Having both names entered is really important, since so many families switched to the dit name and if, for example, a Hudon dit Beaulieu is only listed as Hudon, but his children only went by Beaulieu, it becomes extremely difficult to make connections.
I disagree on the word "dit " not being part of the surname.  In viewing many parish records, you will see that indivuals are documented with dit in the surname and you will also see signatures in a persons own hand including the word dit.  I think each individual deserves to be called by the name they used while living.  Changing their name should not be an option.

If you are trying to find a surname in a search engine, it is a wise practice to leave out the word "dit".  You will likely get an overwhleming response of everyone with the word dit in their last name.

I jsut don't agree that we have the right to change someones name to accomodate computer search techniques.
I agree fully with John Hebert's comments.  If that person used a "dit" surname then that is what should be used in his "Current Last Name".

Someone needs to write the standard to make this the official way to record names.

I think the way the Name Fields page explains it now makes sense. The important part is that it does not go in the LNAB. Beyond that, current name, other last name, and nickname are all possibilities, depending on how a person used the name. I think if we make the rule more specific than that, we risk having a rule that doesn't make sense in all cases.

Does it really make that big of a difference whether a dit name is in the current last name field or the other last names field?

It evidently makes a difference to some people who change other contributors' work.

I could accept Lianne's suggestion if people would not change the names of people in profiles that I have initially started.

We only want one profile for each person.  Maybe we should consider changing the privacy or locking the names on those profiles where others do not accept what the originator listed.
"dit" names are not nicknames, they also are not names that change over time, i.e. born with one name then changed name when moving or marrying. Many people with "dit" names are listed as such in their birth record and then throughout their lives their last names may appear on documents as A dit B, B dit A, A alone, or B alone. While I agree with John Hebert's comment, I do think a way needs to be found to facilitate searches on all components of the name (except the "dit" of course).
+2 votes
Yes! Include dit names- always! I vote "yes"

1) at some point in the tree, the dit name may become the "real" family name

2) by having both names it may help when searching for an existing  profile reducing creation of duplicates!
by Mary Beth Mylott G2G5 (5.6k points)
+2 votes

As other answers have indicated, "dit names" were important "call names" to distinguish individuals with similar or identical family names, and have even become surnames in later generations. I think you definitely should include "dit names" in profiles, and I suggest using the "Nickname" field as well as the "Preferred name" field when applicable. The important issue is to provide indexing references for users to locate the correct profile, and a dit name may be the best way to do it.

by Morris Simon G2G4 (4.2k points)
Nickname field is inappropriate for dit names, since dit names are last names rather than first names, and a nickname is considered a first name.  Other last name box is the better choice to enter it.  Some children get baptized under the dit name only, and later use the original name, so that should be taken into consideration.

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