Naming Guidelines for French Aristocrats? Should "de" be in LNAB?

+11 votes

Hi! The EuroAristo project says not to include "de", "le", etc., in the LNAB, but it appears to be Anglo-centric. MatchBot found duplicate profiles for Jean de Croÿ. Before I comment that the final LNAB should not in include "de", I wanted to double-check. Also, the match is Croy (no accent). Is that ok? Should a new profile be created that has the accent but no de?


WikiTree profile: Space:Name_Field_Guidelines
in Policy and Style by Liz Shifflett G2G6 Pilot (539k points)

3 Answers

+7 votes
Best answer
Trivia answer. The double dots are not an accent but apparently a diaresis. They do not say "pronounce this differently than you usually pronounce y". They say "pronounce this y without looking at the letters next to it". (Information not applicable to other languages like German and Hungarian.)
by Andrew Lancaster G2G6 Pilot (117k points)
selected by Maggie N.
+10 votes
The house of Croÿ does use the diaeresis in their name (and still exists today). The use of "de" in the LNAB would depend on the timeframe: roughly before 1600 follow Euroaristo guidelines, after the families began using the house name with the "de" more consistently and the "de" should probably stay.
by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (553k points)
so, since the profile for Jean says he was b 1365, the LNAB should be Croÿ instead of de Croÿ ... right?
I think what Helmut is saying is that we should look at what happened to a surname in modern times in order to work out whether the prefix is inseparable or not. I understand for example that De Vere is always De Vere, because it is today also still De Vere.
No 'de' in Croy.  Contrary to what Helmut said, the whole reason the EuroAristo project chose (several years ago prior to my being part of it) to not include 'de', 'le', etc. in the LNAB field was to avoid duplicates, as the Wikitree search engine didn't locate (as an example) Hervey de Stafford if someone searched for Hervey Stafford and his LNAB field was 'de Stafford'.  So they had to eliminate the prefixes to cut down on the huge amount of duplicates created every time a new person joined Wikitree and decided to add someone...  That's why we go with 'de Stafford' in the CLN field but 'Stafford' in the LNAB field.
Darlene are you sure this surname is not like "De Vere"?

If it were, wouldn't it be House of de Croÿ instead of House of Croÿ?

Well, the French wouldn't use "house of", it would be "famille de Croÿ" or "maison de Croÿ".

Andrew, no I'm not sure.  According to this site, , there are different Croÿ lines, and some of them (within the same line) used 'de' while others used 'von'.  For example, Charles Alexandre de Croÿ had a nephew Ernst Bogislaw von Croÿ.  Can we be certain that people know if they used 'of', 'de' or 'von'?  My concern is to avoid duplicates.  As I've stated numerous times in discussions, the LNAB field for the older profiles is used as an 'index' (as Chet said) as opposed to the actual LNAB, only because of the limitations of the Wikitree search engine...

The site provides this list of 'members of the House of Croy':

  • Jean I de Croÿ (1365-1415)
  • Antoine de Croy, Comte de Porcéan (1385-1475)
  • Jean II de Croÿ (1390-1473)
  • Philippe I de Croÿ (1435-1511)
  • Philip I of Croÿ-Chimay (1436-1482)
  • Charles I de Croÿ (1455 - 1527)
  • William de Croÿ, advisor to Emperor Charles V (1458-1521)
  • William de Croÿ (archbishop) (1497-1521)
  • Philippe II de Croÿ (1496-1549)
  • Charles II de Croÿ (1522-1551)
  • Philipe de Croÿ, Duke of Arschot (1526-1595)
  • Charles III de Croÿ (1560-1612)
  • Ernst Bogislaw von Croÿ (1620-1684)
  • Charles Eugène de Croÿ (1651-1702).
  • Louise Elisabeth de Croÿ-Havré (1749-1832)
  • Gustave de Croÿ-Solre (1772-1844)
  • Princess Isabella of Croÿ (1856-1931)
The Croÿs are probably one of the more confusing families in Central Europe but with the help of a little bit of history it is still not too hard to discern whether they are "de" or "von". They started as a French noble family but when the Habsburgs inherited Burgundy they started to split up into different branches. Today survive the French, Belgian, Austrian, Bohemian, and Westphalian branches. The first two use "de Croÿ", the others "von Croÿ" and neither uses "of" or any anglicized first names like William. And since the German speaking branches did not exist before the 18th century the "von" really is not an issue here. gives a nice overview of the branches and who uses de and von.
Hi Darlene

With all my usual doubts about the importance of indexing on a website in the age of google, I am trying to follow it. (I still find it odd that we are pretending the searching method on wikitree is practical given that it means normal visitors to the website can not even find members of the royal family. They first need to learn Wikitree surname policies to try to guess how they will be indexed. And even then using a google site search for King John is much easier than searching through all the John Plantagenets.)

...But as in the case of the De Veres, if the surname ALWAYS has the prefix, then there is no special indexing problem from keeping it? (Indeed it seems to me to be asking for trouble to start putting in spellings never seen before into Wikitree.)

(I would say that the use of "of" or "von" is translation, so not necessarily of concern for how to use Wikitree policy at least for the main French speaking lines.)

Best regards

I am glad that someone else thinks that the generation of all these policies inevitably leads to problems.

As someone who spends a great deal of time delving into ancient charters and other legal documents in England, I am amazed that a fixed set of policies for the mediaeval period can be properly established and yet still be functional.

I thought that the overriding principle was to try and establish the earliest record of a name for an individual and place that as their LNAB. It matters not if their immediate family have different names, as long as you can prove the link.

I can show evidence of one person being named differently on different lines of a fourteenth century charter. I have evidence too of charters with confirmations of earlier deeds that clearly show that in the contemporary society in England, a male line could have as many as six surnames in use simultaneously within three generations. The document might say, for example: "Robert de Pul grants six acres of grassland in the manor of Haxted to the Abbot of Cherwell, in confirmation of a charter made by his father William the Armiger and of his grandfather Edward de Stapelton. it merely shows that until the fifteenth and sixteenth century it was still common for a person, usually a man, to hold lands and to take his name from them - if they were not the same lands of his forefathers, then the surname was different.
+5 votes
I think that the LNAB should follow Euro Aristo guidelines and NOT include the DE or D' or DE LA etc. unless, like De Vere, it is considered an integral part of the name.  Another, more common example, is Dupont - the "DU" is incorporated into the name and so it stays.  Even modern French dictionaries eliminate the "DE" in their Indexes so they are not overburdened with names starting with "D".  WikiTree adds the "DE" etc. to the Current Last Name so the Index will pick up BOTH names:  eg.: de la Rochefoucaud and Rochefoucaud .   Again, because many type systems in English do not have easy access to special letters like the "y" with the diaresis it might be good to use the Y diaresis for the LNAB but also include it with NO diaresis in "other last names" - again for most-easy reference by those without easy access to that character.
by Chet Snow G2G6 Mach 6 (60.1k points)

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