How to record alternative proper first names?

+2 votes

I have quite a few records where a person had multiple proper given ("first") names at birth. Mostly it had to do with them being born in the Russia-controlled part of Poland, where (in the birth certificates) both the "Polish" and the "Russian" names were recorded alongside.

Both were official, proper names.

For example, one of my grand-grand-grandfathers went by the name "Каспаръ Адамчикъ" as well as "Kacper Adamczyk".

It's easy to record this in GEDCOM; I just record both:

1 NAME Kacper /Adamczyk/
2 TYPE birth
2 GIVN Kacper
2 SURN Adamczyk
1 NAME Каспаръ /Адамчикъ/
2 TYPE birth
2 GIVN Каспаръ
2 SURN Адамчикъ

However, I have no idea how to do it on the web site. It might be that the web site gets it "right" on GEDCOM import (I can't try yet, being a "guest member"), but on the editing formular itself I only found a place for the family name (in the inappriopriately named "Other Last Names" - they aren't actually "last" names in the Hungarian parts of my family ...), but that has the problem that it isn't clear that "Каспаръ Адамчикъ" and "Kacper Adamczyk" are correct while neither "Каспаръ Adamczyk" nor "Kacper Адамчикъ" are.

There is no place I could find to enter a proper, official, "other" given name. There's "Other Nickname", but they are not nicknames; they're official.

in Genealogy Help by Anonymous Sojka G2G Crew (540 points)
edited by Anonymous Sojka

1 Answer

+3 votes
Best answer

First off, the name written in Cyrillic script and the name written in Latin script are technically just different renderings of the same name. The cyrillic Адамчикъ is  a-de-a-em-che-i-ka-(hard sign)

But this does not help you enter it... as a generalization, my suggestion (and the sites usual guideline) would be to enter the rendering of the name the individual themselves used most frequently.

Applied to your example of Kacper, If I am Interpreting what you have said correctly - the individual is ethnically Polish, and his name is rendered in Russian Cyrillic in official documents because that is the language of the ruling power. If this is correct I would enter the proper first name and last name at birth in the Polish rendering of the name, and add the Russian rendering of the family name to the other last names field (so it appears in search and merge results).The Russian rendering of the first name can either be entered as "other nicknames" even though it is an official name. Or you can just reflect the two different renderings of the name in the narrative.

That would be my solution.

by Rob Ton G2G6 Pilot (274k points)
selected by Chris Whitten
Thats exactly the conclusion I had come to before I read your reply, Rob. The key point is that they are not strictly multiple names.

That would be my current workaround as well. It has its problems though, my chief one being that the data doesn't exactly represent the reality of the situation.

I actually have a similar problem with my own name: It's either "Marcin Roman Sojka" (on my official Polish ID) or "Martin Roman Sojka" (on my official German ID). Being a dual-nationality citizen of both I use both interchangeably and they are both official and valid, though only the Polish version of it is the one I was registered with at birth.

I prefer to be as exact as possible given the limitation of whatever data format or software I'm using.  Else, I'm trying to use the same workaround as everyone else with the same problem does, which is why I asked the question in the first place.

By the way, it's not just a case of different "rendering" of the same name; it's often actually a translation. For example, I have people named "Katarzyna" and "Екатерина" ("Jekatjerina"), while others with the same Polish version of the name have something closer to a transliteration: "Катаржина" and "Катарзина", specifically. The three people have the same given name in Polsih, but different given names in Russian ...

I agree with the suggestions given here, with the added point that everything can be explained in the bio! I think it would be very difficult if not impossible to make the data fields work perfectly for people of every culture with their varied name styles. So it's inevitable that we'll sometimes have to use workarounds.

Actually I'd be happy with "just" the GEDCOM 5.5.1's NAME structure, despite it missing a few name part types. Alas, I'll work with what I have, just need to know how to input my data in a way which makes sense both for the human readers and the underlying computer system, and how to make it the easiest to find the people I add.

Short version of the GEDCOM 5.5.1 standard for names in case somebody doesn't know it in detail:

A person can have any amount of names, each has one field to display the "full" name and optional fields for setting which part of it is a name prefix, given name(s), nickname(s), surname prefix, surname(s), name suffix, type - one of "also known as", "birthname", "name assumed at immigration", "maiden name", "married name", or user-defined string -, phonetic spelling(s) with type of spelling used, romanisation(s) with type of romanisation used, notes and sources. Notably for the area I'm working on, it's missing mostly: call name [specific chosen "main" given name, part of the name law in West Germany until 1960 and East Germany until its end], patronymic [in particular in the Russian part of the family ...] and estate name [name of the estate, usually a farm, the person is born or lives at, used instead of, in addition to or as surname].

I am not sure what system you keep your personal records in, and it doesn't help with your wikitree issues at all, but Gramps is fantastic at keeping track of multiple types of names for each individual; although you still have to choose one 'preferred name' for displaying in menus

Related questions

+2 votes
2 answers
+3 votes
3 answers
202 views asked Nov 30, 2014 in Policy and Style by John Beardsley G2G6 Mach 3 (37.7k points)
+5 votes
1 answer
+2 votes
1 answer
+5 votes
3 answers

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

disclaimer - terms - copyright