How to put a "von" surname in WikiTree?

+8 votes

Adding a lot of 18th and 19th century German relatives, I also came accross several noble families with the "von" prefix in their family name. This is not an addition/explanation to the family name like in "Gertrud Staël von Holstein". Here the family name is Staël and "von Holstein" is a suffix, explaining their origin.

In my case it is rather like in "Eduard von Moltke". Here the "von" is a regular prefix and it belongs to the family name

I was wondering if it is correct to put the "von" in the LNAB field? In the project reccomendations for "European Aristocrats" I found the Name Fields guideline, stating "The common ...  ‘von’, ‘van’ before a surname does not go in the LNAB field; it goes with the surname in the Current Last Name field while the surname, ONE word, goes in the LNAB."

This does not feel right for me, as the "von" is an official part of the surname (even nowadays people have it like that in their passports). Especially when thinking of women, who were born "von" and later married, the Current Last Name Field would probably show their husband's name, but where would the "von" of their maiden name be visible?  Or is that naming guideline only applicable for older profiles?

I have seen many profiles with "von XXX" in the LNAB. I would also prefer doing it that way.

Can anybody please advise? I do not want to make mistakes here, as the LNAB cannot be changed later.


Jochen from Germany

in Policy and Style by Jochen Bonitz G2G6 (7.4k points)

3 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer
Yes it is correct to put the "Von" in the surname at birth box if it is part of the name given surname at birth.
by David Selman G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
selected by Lindy Jones
Agree to that, especially as a German ;-)
+4 votes
Please read up on our naming conventions at WikiTree.
by Maggie N. G2G6 Pilot (999k points)
+3 votes

The common ‘de’, ‘du’, ‘le’, ‘la’, ‘de la’, ‘von’, ‘van’ before a surname does not go in the LNAB field;

by Maggie N. G2G6 Pilot (999k points)
Maggie, I have seen these guidelines for European Aristocrats, and I have even cited them in my initial posting. And I have explained why I think that they are not a good method for the (quite common) case described here.

I was hoping for some more exchange or explanation, rather than just posting the same initial guideline again.
The current thinking in EuroAristo is that their guidelines do only apply to pre-1600 profiles. After that date the particles did become standard parts of names and can be used.

Thank you Helmut. This is in line with my thinking as well. I was looking again at the page indicated by Maggie, but indeed, it does have any hint as to the time periods where it is applicable. The thread that you refer to clearly points out that the "von " as a prefix (or particle, as you call it) can go with the surname in the LNAB field. (This is also supported by

 I think this is how I will proceed as well. Thanks for your support.

Related questions

+9 votes
3 answers
+4 votes
1 answer
0 votes
1 answer
+1 vote
1 answer
122 views asked Sep 30, 2020 in The Tree House by Carole Taylor G2G6 Mach 6 (64.5k points)
0 votes
1 answer
109 views asked Jun 16, 2019 in The Tree House by Anthony
+9 votes
2 answers

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright