Use of Prefix box for "Saint"?

+9 votes
I have come across a few profiles of saints of the catholic and orthodox churches. The Prefix box has been used for "Saint" in these profiles. Two questions:

Should this be used for Saint?

And if so, shouldn't the Saint be rendered in the language they spoke?
WikiTree profile: Václav z Čechy
in Policy and Style by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (553k points)

They were never saints in their lifetimes.  It's a rule that you have to be dead.

And they tend to be known as saints by their Latin or Greek church names, not their real names.

Mother Teresa becomes a saint this year.  Apparently her real name is an Albanian form of Agnes, and her church name is Spanish.

I think of Saint as a title, given posthumously, but still a title so appropriate for the Prefix box. And I guess by our naming standards, it should be in the language they used or perhaps in Latin, but it's certainly more useful (to me) in English.

I'm looking forward to hearing what others think.
I agree with Anne on putting SAINT or St. in prefix box.

But RJ's point is that-- according to wikitree guidelines-- we're supposed to use what the person used in their lifetime. (RJ, see? I don't always disagree with you... ;-)

But what's also clear is that there is not agreement about whether that rule should apply to prefix and suffix... 

hm... the suffix directions specifically say "Preferably, this should only be used for the Suffix at Birth." Prefix doesn't make any specifications, I hadn't thought about general naming convention:

"We aim to use the names that people themselves would have known and that would have been recognized in their own time and place."

This goes on to say : This is true for the "official name fields", Proper First Name and Last Name at Birth, and it's also true for the "preferred name fields", Preferred First Name and Current Last Name. These are meant to be the names they would prefer, not the names we prefer to call them.

My point being the naming guidelines don't specifically say use their conventions for prefix.

Am I nit-picking? :)

He is known as Saint Wenceslaus (the Good King Wenceslas of Christmas carol fame) in the English world. His Czech name is Václav, so putting Saint in the Prefix box would make him Saint Václav, a hybrid that I think nobody would be quite happy with, the Czechs would most likely prefer their Svatý Václav.

(BTW, this comment box has an annoying habit of autocorrecting vowels with diacritical marks to just plain vowels.)

There's titles and titles.  If John Smith becomes a Lord, he doesn't become Lord John Smith.  Likewise Popes - Pope John Paul not Pope Karol Wojtyla.



Just to provoke thought.  What do you do when documenting a Russian name for example?  Do you put it into the profile using the Cyrillian alphabet or spell it using the western alphabet and the equivalent letters?  In my opinion some decisions need to be made on a practical basis.  If someone were to enter a person's name using the Cyrillian alphabet because that was his name when he was born and would have been known, would not all/most of us have a "hissey" because we are not familiar with the Cyrillian, therefore, can neither spell it nor pronounce it?  (Of course all of this is predicated on having the tools to use the Cyrillian alphabet.)  I am aware of your ultimate goal--to have one database to encompass all peoples.  Do you remember the story of the Tower of Babel?  Since we cannot undo the dispersement of people to the different nationalities, etc., it seems to me there needs to be some flexibility built into the programming and "rules" to accommodate these differences  rather than trying to be so rigid.  Rigidity may bring down the tower.  Add some flexibility so it can adjust to the environment.  One of the great problems of genealogy is that we are working with data for periods centuries old using our current perspectives yet trying to imbue current perspective with older attributes (or vice versa).  Another reason for flexibility.

PS:  An additional thought.  A retired general of the military in entitled to use the title of the highest rank he achieved FOR HIS LIFETIME.  The same with people who held other positions such as a certain Secretary we all know!

Humility, being a virtue associated with saintliness, would drive the assumption that none of the Saints would use "saint" as the name they would prefer. Besides, sainthood is recognized posthumously so none of them would have used the name during life.

Actually, her Albanian (born) name was Gonxhe Agnesë Bojaxhiu, while Theresa is the nickname they gave her.
Brisilda, who are you referring to?

Gonxhe Agnesë Bojaxhiu is known as Mother Teresa, a 20th century Catholic saint (mentioned in RJ's comment above).

3 Answers

+2 votes
I would favor NOT having that in the prefix field. It could go at the top of the biography section, which is where I suggest we put their common name(s).
by Darlene Athey-Hill G2G6 Pilot (471k points)
0 votes
I would consider this being a "profession" which should be indicated in the bio section, ideally also as a category, although I doubt there is a nice template for it (there could be one!).
by László Kóczy G2G6 Mach 1 (11.1k points)
There is a category [[Category: Saints]]
0 votes
It seems to me that the correct way to handle this would be to use the name of the person at birth in the name fields and to add their Saint name in the aka field. For example, Karol Józef Wojtyła would fill the first middle and last name at birth fields, and "Pope Saint John Paul II" and "Saint John Paul the Great" would populate the Other Nicknames field.
by Michele Britton G2G6 Mach 1 (18.5k points)

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