Naming conventions - First name fields, not LNAB

+15 votes
Hello everyone,

A group of us are doing a name study on the Binkley/Binggeli/Binckele surname, which is of German/Swiss origin. Like many others, they had particular naming conventions but for these, it's is the first name that is causing the issue. Seems like all of them had Johann as a first name, with Johann Heinrich, Johann Peter, Johann Christian, as common full names. We are trying to clean up the abundance of these in the tree but cannot agree on what to do.

1) some of us of  think the Proper first name field should contain both names (ex: Johann Peter), because this was their baptismal name.

2) Some of us think only Johann should be in the Proper first name, while the preferred name should distinguish between the hundred thousand Peter/Heinrich/insert name here.

I can't find anything on first names, everything is usually about LNAB. Any help is appreciated!!
WikiTree profile: Space:Binkley_Name_Study
in Policy and Style by Summer Orman G2G6 Mach 9 (96.8k points)
retagged by Summer Orman
Hi Summer, I believe that the first name should only have one name, Johann. The sysops may have to weigh in here, but I seem to recall that the first name field can only have one word, although I don't remember how two word names are handled, like Mary Ann.  

Something similar was discussed years ago about John Smiths.  You might want to set this as a WikiTree Tech question for the sysops.
Thanks Kitty, I will do that.

7 Answers

+7 votes
Best answer

I found this on the internet which may help

Birth/ Baptismal Names

Two names were usually given to a child at birth or baptism.  In Germany, the first name - what we often refer to as a given name - was a spiritual name, usually to honor a favorite saint.  The spiritual name was often used repeatedly in families.  The second name - what we now would refer to as a middle name - was a secular or call name, and was the name by which the person was known.  One of the most common and heavily used saint's names for males was "Johann" (with no "s"), and for females, "Johanna" or "Anna".  Thus, in a hypothetical German family, we might see the male children named:

                                        Johann Heinrich Riepe
                                        Johann Hermann Riepe
                                        Johann Friedrich Riepe

Respectively, these children would be known as Heinrich (Henry), Hermann, and Friedrich (Fred).

For girls, we may see:     Anna Maria Riepe
                                        Anna Catherine Riepe
                                        Anna Louise Riepe

Respectively, these children would be known as Maria (Mary), Catherine, and Louise.

Again, these patterns were not always carved in stone, but it is helpful to understand the basic custom when researching German families.  You may know your ancestor was called Henry, and thus assume his name was Henry Something Riepe, when in fact, his name was Johann Heinrich Riepe.  If his parents were called William and Catherine, their full names may have been Johann William and Anna Catherine

by Anonymous Dienelt G2G6 (8.5k points)
selected by Paula Dea
+11 votes
You may want to ask the leaders of the Dutch or German Roots projects for suggestions. The One Name Project has no rule for how to assign a given name.
by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.7m points)
Thanks Doug, I retagged the post with German roots, so maybe they can weigh in.
+16 votes

Please place both names in the first name field. When a family baptized its children as Johann Henrich, Johann Peter, Johann Adam, Johann Mathias, Anna Maria, Anna Margaretha, and Anna Barbara, they did not have four sons named Johann and three daughters named Anna. Rather, each child's first name consisted of the pair of names.  Often it appears that the children went through life using the second name (i.e., Henrich, Peter, Adam, etc.), but not always.

This naming practice has survived to modern times. In my generation and later generations I've known more than a few females named Ann Marie, Mary Anne, Mary Ellen, Jo Ann, Jo Ellen, Erin Claire, Sara Ellen, Barbara Ann, and similar two-word first names. Sometimes they are hyphenated or concatenated for clarity, but often they are kept separate.

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
Thank you, Ellen. Very well said. This is particularly important for German given names pre-1900 (at least). We need the full given name to help distinguish Johann Heinrich from Johann Adam.

From Abby:  "There isn't a technical reason that can't be used that way, just like preferred and middle names and anything else can be."

So....We ARE allowed to use both names in the Proper first name field. I am perfectly fine with it since we received their blessing!!!!

In the Dutch Roots project we standard record multiple first names in the Proper First Name.

Also note that the concept of middle name is unknown in the Netherlands and most likely also in Germany. In the Dutch Roots project we therefore have the convention to set "no middle name".

The full description can be found here.

+6 votes
by David Selman G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
We've already looked in there, and there's nothing specific on first names.  Only last names and Patronymic names, neither of which are the issue here.

Here is a description of first names in the Dutch Roots Project.

+6 votes
Seems to me that too much thought is being put into the first name issue.  Their first names, as we have many in our German families, are Johann Peter, Johann John, Johann Jacob, etc...  Just use the two names.  It IS their Given, Baptismal names.

If it is an issue with not being able to add more than one name, then the problem lays with the information form, not the persons' name.  The form needs to be changed.

If their is absolutely no other choice, I would use their signifying name, Peter, Jacob, John.  I would also make a notation that each of them has Johann as the first name.

In one of our families from the mid 1700's, John Jacob Sr. went by John and his son, John Jacob Jr went by Jacob.  That was VERY difficult to figure out.

(p.s.  Just my opinion)\

Also, I think that Ellen Smith's answer was most perfect.
by Ken Wise G2G4 (4.1k points)
+5 votes

Everyone - Our issue was not with what to call them, it was with the format, due to name fields.  I probably should have been a little more specific.  But, it's been settled now, we got word from the higher ups that putting 2 names in the Proper name field is fine and will not cause a system error.  That was our major concern.  

by Summer Orman G2G6 Mach 9 (96.8k points)
+5 votes
In another cultural context - we find a different case of double first names.  Koreans use a double first name - though when transliterated to our alphabetic system (and Westernized) the two components may be joined as one name.  Generally the first name part is the same among siblings.
by Michael Maranda G2G6 Mach 7 (72.0k points)

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