Why is a married lady's name sometimes shown as LNAB and sometimes not?

+3 votes
After a few decades of family tree climbing, i got quite used to thinking of people by their LNAB.  Now I've joined you all here at WikiTree, and i'm getting used to seeing the maiden name of married females shown in parentheses before their married surname.

But it doesn't seem to be consistent.  Here are two ladies (or maybe just one) named Amey Merritt for whom i recently set up an Unmatched Merge.

 [Merritt-2688] (1720 - 1789)
 [Merritt-2123] (1715 - 1791)

(might be the same person.  Same father, same husband, approx same dates)

One of them displays as Amey (Merritt) Ragland while the other as just Amey Merritt.

What is causing the difference?

Is it optional?  Could i have all my generations of grandmothers display to me by LNAB? Can they display to other members by other members' preference?

Best regards

WikiTree profile: Amey Ragland
in Policy and Style by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (157k points)
edited by Shirlea Smith
BTW, i changed the Unmatched Merge to a Proposed Merge after reading some posts on the actual effects of creating Unmatched Merges.

3 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer
This is really a case of the way people have entered their information. Both profiles have the LNAB as Merritt as it should be. But one of the creators changed the current last name to Ragland and the other didn't. The accepted way to do it is to put a woman's married name (if they used the husband's name) in the current last name field resulting in Amey (Merritt) Ragland. This facilitates identification especially during searches.

If you find women who's LNAB is their married name. It is also the way the person was created, and usually indicates the last name at birth is unknown. This is not the preferred Wikitree method. Use Unknown as LNAB
by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
selected by Gaile Connolly
+3 votes
Hi Shirlea.  I agree with you that they appear to be the same person.  The reason the name displays as it does in the profile you linked to is that the profile manager entered Merritt, rather than her married name, as the Current Last name.  I think that is allowed because a female may choose to keep her maiden name, and go by that, rather than adopt her husband's surname.  (I don't know if that convention existed in the 1700s however).  My guess would be that, in this case, the profile manager of Merritt-2123 just made an error in entering Current Last Name.  Normally it does make some sense to display both a LNAB and a married surname, since a researcher might find relevant records cataloged under either name.
by Dennis Barton G2G6 Pilot (406k points)
+4 votes

I know it does apply in this case, but sometimes a woman does marry a man whose last name matches her LNAB.  The woman and her husband might be cousins or perhaps not.  Winnie Alexander from Scotland marrying Peter Alexander from Greece might not be related at all, yet they both have the same surname at birth.

Remember also the default on wikitree is that if no current last name is entered then the LNAB becomes the current last name.  So the person who failed to enter Ragland as a current last name automatically had Merritt listed as the current last name.  Not every one knows who the marriage partner is to one's ancestors or cousins.

by David Hughey G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)

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