Why does an oddly spelled first name come up on the Error List? We enter them as they were spelled in their records

+22 votes
in Genealogy Help by Patricia Kent G2G6 Mach 1 (13.9k points)
retagged by Dorothy Barry

5 Answers

+11 votes
I already brought this topic up in the original thread about the new Error report.


And agreed, that error category should probably be removed. It's not really a *database error*, it's more of a warning, and it causes way too many false positives to deal with. It's more hassle than it's worth.
by Eric Weddington G2G6 Pilot (384k points)
Rather than removing it, maybe it can be flagged as an optional warning instead. Its nice to be able to review and catch obvious spelling typos, but you're right, we can't assume that they are all wrong.
+12 votes

This error has a lot of false error report.
Can you give me some feedback of how many are false and how many are typos? I cannot really determin that ratio.

First name for me is combined prefix first name and middle names. But I am not completly sure how Chris creares this field.

I am checking all unique first names. I split it into several names by space as delimiter and check each name against others. I set condition for each name to appear at least 20 times to be ok. I will probbably reduce it to 10 to have less errors.
by Aleš Trtnik G2G6 Pilot (671k points)
I can only tell when it looks to me as a false error, then I dare to report it as a false error. In all other cases I cannot deside whether the name is correct or not. I can only make that desision when the birth certificate is available. And that is very seldom the case, in those cases I leave it as it is. So I hardly ever correct a name, and you only get reported the ones that I call false error.
Even when you reduce it to appear at least 1 tme, and the name is realy unique, it will only be possible to "correct" the spelling if you have the original document available.
I was looking at the Error 511 - Unique name - 1-1499 section of this database yesterday and found it very helpful.

I was particularly looking at the European Aristocrats and found many with names that weren't correct according to the naming standards.  It was slow going because many of them also didn't have sources and I was trying to correct that as well but I vote that it is retained.
Same here , I think, for the Dutch profiles it has to do with the patronymics that are added to the name fields ? (they don't have a middle name)


Some feedback from my Error Report for the current week:

From a total of 130 errors, there were 51 recorded as “511 Unique first name (spelling)”. Of these, several were beyond my control (not on trusted list and profile not “open”, and two were clear typos.

The disturbing part was that there were 40 False Errors and there are two areas that need to be addressed here. 

37 of those 40 “unique” names were certainly “unusual” but were the names given at birth. From my experience, with predominantly Australian families of British heritage, such names are historically based, e.g. the maiden name of mother, grandmother, or other ancestor. Although these names are often passed down through many generations, albeit with spelling variations over time, and may occur more than once, you will not find them twenty, ten, or even five times as a general rule.

Other “unique” names are often given which relate to a specific life event or place of birth and which will invariably be a once-off occurrence on Wikitree. A real example of this is my relative’s first (proper) given name which was Werribee - named after the river which ran parallel to the road in which the family lived and the birth occurred.

Another cause of 511 errors, which related to three profiles on my report, was the appearance of the preferred first name  as the only first name on the profile being checked. In all three cases, the error report clearly referred to a Public View of a Private profile, where the preferred name only appears as the given name.  The preferred name in these cases is an abbreviation of their full name which appears only on Public or Open profiles.

Although I was able to correct two genuine errors, the amount of work involved in checking all of those listed 511 errors and satisfying myself that they were, in fact, false errors, makes me wonder whether I will bother looking at 511s in the future.

Having said all that, Ales, keep up the good work - your program is MAGIC


Perhaps we should change the name of the Database Errors Project to something like Data Verification and Discrepancies Project.

Just a thought!.
+3 votes

I've run across a number of first names that are clearly misspelled (for example, "Jospeh" instead of "Joseph") -- and do not match what was on the record. These are instances where someone made an error in copying the information. It would be nice to have a way to flag those errors in order to gently suggest that the contributors go back and check their sources, but I can't imagine a way to get a computer algorithm to do that.

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
I would have thought 'Jhon' was an obvious misspelling for 'John', but the man's brother is still living, and apparently that is how they spelled his name.
Yeah, Jhon is a credible alternative spelling for a man's name. But I contend that Jospeh is not -- at least not in the context of western European languages.
Some mis-spellings are so common they probably won't be detected as errors unless there's an ad-hoc blacklist.  I expect Jospeh is one of them.

Corrine for Corinne is another.

Johnathan is one I could live without, but it seems to be "correct" in many cases nowadays.

Now we have black lists for names. 

I can add Jospeh and Corrine if those are really wrong in all languages.



I am not so sure, since Corrine vs. Corinne is almost 50;50 occurrences.



Please don't blacklist "misspelled" first names. I prefer the gentle approach that has been embodied in the "unique spelling of first name" feature in db_errors.

In the United States, there is no such thing as a wrong spelling for a name. There are no official standard spellings for first names. So if new parents say they want to name their child Jospeh or Samule, the person filing the birth registration probably will try to advise them that the conventional spelling is Joseph or Samuel, but the parents can ignore the advice.

And when I've contacted profile managers regarding obvious misspellings like Jospeh, I found that I was talking to people who can't spell -- they could look at a profile that said Jospeh and their source that said Joseph, and they told me they saw no difference. We need to be gentle with people who can't  see spelling errors.

Answer is in this G2G post. http://www.wikitree.com/g2g/282652/black-listing-first-names We should continue discussion there.

+6 votes
Patricia, to answer your question directly... the computer is not checking against your source records, it can only check against what it thinks are common correct spellings.

So if it flagged a spelling as an error, and its not (because it matches the source records), then simply mark the error as a 'false error' and move on. Flagging it as a false error is how one would then 'fix' the error.
by Dennis Wheeler G2G6 Pilot (540k points)
+4 votes
I get a of of 511s, so far I think only one has actually been wrong and it was a typo. None of them were ones I had to check as they were close in age to me. I have to wonder how eurocentric this error is.  How many African American families try so far to give their kids utterly unique names? How many children are given their grandmother's last name as a middle name and sometime a first - very common in my family. Gayle was a 511, which relly surprised me.

Personally I think we have to trust that people either know that the odd spelling is the correct spelling or they are citing a reference that gave a particularly odd spelling.  

I came across a tree online once that called my great Aunt Elmo Emo and male, and my Uncle Lacey - -Larry,  which made perfect sense as the 1900 census said she was E*mo and he was Larey.
by Susan Fitzmaurice G2G6 Mach 5 (57.4k points)

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