How do you "officially" indicate two siblings with the same name?

+5 votes
My family (Lamberton, Stetson) had a habit of naming a later child the same name as one who died early.

Right now I am putting their birth order number in parens in the Suffix area, but I can't find a definitive official description of how this could be done.

Is (#) in the suffix the right way to do this, or is there a "correct" way?
WikiTree profile: Henry Stetson
in Policy and Style by Roy Lamberton G2G6 Mach 4 (41.9k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith

6 Answers

+12 votes
Best answer

The suffix should not be used for this purpose. See -- especially the Suffix section and the part about Personal Coding Systems -- for more information.

One reason for creating the sticker "Died Young" was to help identify profiles of children who died and whose names were used for later children. Add {{Died Young}} immediately below the "Biography" heading.

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
selected by Kevin Conroy
Please remove the (1) and (2) from the suffix fields of the profiles you identify in your question.

Also, please check the data. states that the firstborn Henry died in 1858, "well before" this brother's birth in 1779. Is that one of those annoying 100-year errors our fingers make sometimes? And the profile for the firstborn Henry shows his birth in 1764 and death "after 1779" -- did you mean to enter "before 1779"? (And if there's a date certain for Henry's death, as the later-born Henry's profile suggests, that death date should be recorded in the profile.)
+5 votes

I have many of these in my lines as well. I don't think that there is a "correct" way to address this situation. I generally do not have any formal indication, and just have them linked as siblings with the correct birth dates to order them.

I have seen suffixes used, on the one hand it makes it much easier to read/understand, on the other it is not likely a suffix they used with their name. Ultimately I think it's a matter of taste. I am also curious what other might suggest.

However I would strongly recommend including as the top line of the bio in big bold letters:


Otherwise well meaning Wikitreers who might not notice the birth dates will try to merge them.

by Greg Shipley G2G6 Mach 6 (69.0k points)
After reading what Ellen linked to, I would have to agree with her that a policy exists, more than any matter of taste.
+5 votes
This is fairly common. I have many such instances in my family, but I see no need to do anything to differentiate. Their parents didn’t number them, so why should we?
by Lynda Crackett G2G6 Pilot (629k points)
It happens in my family, too.  I make sure that the profile of the little child who died has 'no spouse' and 'no children' ticked; then when someone looks at the dates, they are closer together physically (about an inch apart) so it is easier to see that the individual died young.
+11 votes
You might also consider setting the two siblings as a "rejected match." This would at least slow someone down from proposing a merge.
by Shirley Dalton G2G6 Pilot (476k points)
Excellent idea!
+5 votes
French lines so I have many of these including cousins with the same names, I use the Died Young sticker for the ones who died young, frankly, the only way to differentiate between them is their birth and death years.
by Lynnette Dovy G2G6 Mach 1 (18.1k points)
+7 votes
I'm not sure what you would need to do that's different from any other pair of people with the same name. If you just put "Died in infancy." in the bio of the first one and source it, I don't think anyone is going to be motivated to try to merge them with someone else. And yeah, don't use the suffix for that.
by Anonymous Buckner G2G6 Mach 5 (51.8k points)
Well, the theory  was that It would help me keep them straight late at night when I'm digging thru the old Stetson Kindred Books, kinda the way I use the Stetson Kindred Genealogical Index in all my profiles (which I also have on my "other" trees). I'm just trying to keep a family tree correct where it is possible to have 4 or 5 generations of "Roberts," that's all..
They don't want people using codes in the suffix field for a couple reasons. One is that it gives a false impression that that's a real thing that someone actually used with their name, which is what the suffix field is for. Another is that it sort of presumes that everyone agrees on the code system. Finally, code systems that are based on counting generations are quite susceptible to errors, especially in the sort of situation you're talking about. It might help keep track of people, but if you're keeping track of a skipped generation or doubled generation, it's just reinforcing a mistake. It's certainly encouraged to put that kind of info in the profile though, and if it's too late in the evening to keep track of it, it's probably best to edit it some other time. ;)
One last reason for not putting your designations in the suffix field is that profiles do not belong to any one user, they belong to everyone, and can be edited by any qualified WikiTree user.  The only profile suitable for personal notes is your own.

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