Hmm, Liz, the name field guidelines have several points that are conflicting with what I know of usage in records for the era. The ''particules'' (what these are called) ''de, des or du'' were considered part of their names, and denoted noble birth when written that way originally. de Bermen, de Lauson. Not capitalized in any record I have seen. And when you consult baptisms of noble offspring, the name gets written 'de Blah', and not just 'Blah'. The particule was retained. Many of them evolved in time to become connected. Some got dropped, particularly after the French revolution. As time passed also, they got used more and more by people who were not of noble origin, like the 'dit' names des Rosiers and du Tremble, which both evolved to become Desrosiers and Dutremble. The place name in Québec, Lauzon, was actually named after the two ''de Lauson'' who were lords of the area. Notice that the particule is dropped there, because that belonged to a person, not a place.
The guide also says we should have only one name in the first name field. But so so so many girls got called Marie X, boys Joseph X, and that was their full names. I come across profiles where the name entered is Marie, and Louise for example is entered in the middle name field. That is simply wrong. When you consult the records, their names are either written out Marie Louise, or else either one is dropped, so they use Marie or Louise by itself (which shows up normally in preferred name field). Some took another totally different name as their fantasy suited them. Some members hyphenate the two names: Marie-Louise, which can get around the single name requirement, but factually does not reflect usage of the time. Hyphenation of names is fairly modern usage.
The third point is on the statement that women generally took their husband's last name. This is not true of the French settlers and their descendants at all until the conquest, and even then most records to this day list the woman under her 'maiden' name, unless it was not known. See http://www.wikitree.com/g2g/199892/proper-treatment-married-women-settled-france-17%2618-century?show=200038#c200038
for a discussion on this subject.
There's another point in there I find a bit conflicted:
PREFIX FIELD: This is for a title such as 'Sir' or 'Reverend'. A man who was knighted was called Sir. Do not use this field for long titles, such as 'Earl of Angus'. Titles such as that belong in the 'Other Nickname' field. Don’t use this field for ‘King’, ’Duke’, ‘Lady’. For medieval and earlier profiles, ‘Sir’ or 'St" are almost the only acceptable uses of the prefix field
TITLES: Titles do not go in prefix or suffix fields. They go in the biography. However, what people were called (King of England, Duc d'Angoulême, Lord Mountbatten, the Fat) belongs in the OTHER NICKNAMES field.
I have come across profiles where the other last name field reads something like ''Sieur de Repentigny''. Since Sieur is a title and not a name, I remove it and put it in prefix field, leaving 'de Repentigny' as the other last name. I find the directive to put titles in the nickname field odd. It's not a nickname, any more than Sir is. Why the difference in treatment?
As a note, in French, the St before another name is hyphenated, always when it is a name of a person who is not the original saint. Goes for place names even more. So you have the original person, Saint Louis (Louis number 11 king of France). Then you have Pierre so and so dit St-Louis. Hyphenated, always, no period after the St, I totally agree with that one, although oodles of profiles have a period on them, very annoying when doing a search. And place names that bear the name of a person also are always hyphenated: island named St-Jean is hyphenated, Jacques-Cartier place is hyphenated (the hyphen differentiates from the actual Jacques Cartier).
I realize I may be rambling all over the place here, but since I like accuracy, I think the style guide needs to be reviewed. As a suggestion, maybe the tech folks can see if they can get the program to ignore spaces within a name box, so that when doing a search for ''Marie Louise'' so-and-so, it will not throw up every girl whose name starts with Marie and the last name so-and-so. Would help tremendously on searches.