Whitten-1: What is the problem with LNABs?

+7 votes

This question was asked of me by Whitten-1 and has since disappeared.  What is wrong with LNAB? As I do most of my research in Northern Europe the problem is connected to the patronymic naming system used where someone officially has no last name at birth. I have observed other times it comes up

1. With American slaves.The name is often not identified with a LNAB.

2. With the child of a pregnancy where the father is unknown I have had several unfortunate discussions deciding on a LNAB.

3. In Sweden if someone has a soldier name, sometimes the progeny will take that name, sometimes not.  Gender often makes a difference.

I have not seen a reasonable discussion on the issue on G2G discussing this issue and I feel it would be worth while.

edit: added tags style, surnames, and naming_conventions

in The Tree House by Norm Lindquist G2G6 Mach 5 (52.3k points)
edited by Liz Shifflett

links posted on [this page] include

Not sure if it's what you're looking for, but from Help:Name Fields:

"If the last name is unknown, use Unknown in the field. Do not use Not Sure, NN, Wife of X, Adopted, etc."


3 Answers

+6 votes
For number 1 - American slaves often took the family name of their last owners.

For number 2 - the child often takes the mothers surname.
by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (867k points)

Often does not easily translate to LNAB. I have family where the LNAB was Helenasson (Johan Eric Jansson).  Slaves were often given a last name at sometime in their lives, often the owner's name but not really the LNAB.

These were not LNAB but a last name given sometime later.

For number 2, the child is usually required to have a surname (certainly they are in the western world - excluding Scandinavia)) and so the mothers name is written down on the birth ceettificate, making it the LNAB.

I will grant you number 1 - the owners name usually comes later - but when they dont have a LNAB, the owners name is often the only official name they obtain in the official records.
Birth certificates are relatively modern inventions. Many of us are dealing with church book entries as the only source for a person's birth and often enough there is only a given name recorded, no family name. Fortunately for me I 'm dealing with a culture where it is well established that children born out of wedlock with an unknown father were indeed given the mother's last name but that is culturally and regionally defined and it would be far from me to suggest that it should apply universally.
+8 votes
Perhaps you are asking for a renaming of this data field from Last Name At Birth to First Known Last Name - putting the FKLN there is what is recommended for people way back when the records were thin.
by Eva Ekeblad G2G6 Pilot (385k points)
+2 votes
carpe diem

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