Middle name imported as part of primary name

+2 votes

I have imported several GED files that were created by Tribal Pages. I am alarmed to discover that middle names have been imported as part of the "Primary Name" and not into the "Middle Name" field.

I didn't think this would be much of a problem,  but it causes some problems with privacy e.g. someone whose public profile should display Deidre M. James, actually displays Deidre Mostyn James

Do I need to check and and manually amend every profile?


in WikiTree Tech by David Wilson G2G5 (5.4k points)

4 Answers

+2 votes
Best answer
To err is human.  To really screw things up requires a computer.

That is a warning about the trick I am about to teach you.  WikiTree used to do this automatically but they couldn't always do it right so they stopped doing it.

Download the free Notepad++ text editor.  Make a copy of the .GED for safekeeping.  Edit one version in Notepad++ and choose Search - Replace (shortcut key is Ctrl-H).  Click the radio button (circle) Regular Expressions at the lower left of the dialog to fill it with a black dot

Next to Find What copy and paste in the next line:

2 GIVN ([A-Za-z]*) ([A-Za-z ]*)

Next to replace with copy and paste in the next line

2 GIVN $1\r\n2 _MIDN $2

click Replace and it will find the first given name having two or more names and change it to one given and one or more middle using the WikiTree Middle Name GEDCOM format extension.


2 GIVN Gifford Pershing



2 GIVN Gifford
2 _MIDN Pershing

Once you see how it works you can choose Replace All.


Try uploading to WikiTree.  Do not upload to any other target, as the target is not likely to understand the WikiTree GEDCOM format extension _MIDN.

A more conservative choice for the Find What box is this:
2 GIVN ([A-Za-z]*) ([A-Za-z]*)
By removing the space inside the second bracket we will skip over three or more names in Given, such as Samuel Finley Breece.  We won't claim to know what the middle name is.  With the space there, the middle name becomes Finley Breece and the given name Samuel.
by Randy Hersom G2G1 (1.8k points)
selected by David Wilson
+1 vote
I'm afraid that is probably the only answer. At least you can now correct future GEDCOMs before uploading.
by anonymous G2G6 Pilot (257k points)
That's the problem - I'm not sure how to do that. The middle name is a discreet field in TribalPages, and I had presumed that the GED file export would be suitable for uploading into WikiTree.

When I examine the TribalPages downloaded GED file, I see (as an example):

1 NAME Alfred George /WOOD/

does WikiTree expect something different, such as

1 NAME Alfred /George /WOOD/


And if so, how can I "correct" any future GEDCOMS before loadng?
+1 vote
As far as I am aware the 'standard' for gedcom does not understand the concept of middle names, tribal pages are bending the rules to create a middle name but wikitee does not unserstand the alteration, in the same way it does not understand surname prefixes.

Two solutions are to exclude the middle name before exporting and add it manually afterwards or edit the profile after import to move the middle name into the middle name field.

A different alternative that many people prefer is to add profiles manually instead of using gedcoms, as gedcom import need editing anyway it does not take any longer to do it manually.
by R. G. G2G6 Pilot (213k points)
"it does not take any longer to do it manually"

Hmmm. That may be so with a few records containing limited information, but I would imagine this would not be so with large files that contain a lot of information (e.g. notes and sources, which I would prefer not to have to re-type!
The point is you have to edit the profile biography narrative after a gedcom import, it is, in many peoples opinion, easier to enter it manually, cut'n'paste from your original files and layout the narrative as you go all in one edit.

Some members only add manually some only add by gedcom, I sit in the middle with about half of each. There is freedom to choose either way and as Lianne said the only ones where the middle name is  a privacy issue is on Private profiles.
We do import and export GEDCOMs with the tag _MIDN, but that's not a standard GEDCOM tag.
+1 vote
Like Rhian said, GEDCOMs don't normally have a middle name field.

WikiTree actually used to try to separate them, but that was eventually changed because it was wrong too much of the time. (Eg. Names like Jean Baptiste got split up into first name Jean and middle name Baptiste.)

I'm not sure if there'd be a way to change the GEDCOM so that WikiTree can find the middle name. You'd have to ask Chris about that; I don't know enough about the technical importing process. But I do know that GEDCOMs exported from WikiTree do use a middle name field. So maybe on import it looks for the same thing?

As for manually changing the profiles, you'd only need to change the private ones if it's privacy you're worried about. It doesn't make much of a difference on public profiles.
by Lianne Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (423k points)

Yes, I see that WikiTree uses the following fields in their exported GEDCOM:

_PGVN (Preferred)
_MIDN (Middle)
NICK (Nickname)
SURN (Surname)
_MARN (Married name)

but TribalPages certainly does not provide these fields in their export, even if WikiTree recognised them in their import.

I take the point that every record imported into Wiki Tree by a GEDCOM, really needs to be  individually checked and if necessary, manually edited.

I am reassured by your advice that a middle name can happily appear in the Primary name field with no loss of function (apart from privacy for living people).

Thank you.

P.S. On another unreatd matter why do I avetrouvble withthe txt editor onG2G?

You can see the troble I m hvng! Dos ths hpen to othrs,too?

And why can't I paste into it?


Text input obn G2G is a source of problems for a lot of users, you should be able to paste, many problems seem to be operating system dependant.

It would be nice if there was a spell check function as well.
Regarding the copy and paste problem, we haven't isolated that yet. What browser are you using? There has been some trouble with the latest version of IE on the latest version of Windows, I think.
Luckily I have not used windows for 12 years, chome on Arch linux works.

I am currently using Windows 7 Home Premium (x64) Service Pack 1 (build 7601) using Internet Explorer Version 11.00.9600.16476 - and this causes the problems above.

No problems (except I need to use Crt-V to paste) with Mozilla Firefox Version 26.0 nor with Chrome Version 32.0.1700.76.

So I guess anything but IE is the way to edit on G2G.

Related questions

+7 votes
1 answer
+4 votes
1 answer
+5 votes
1 answer
+15 votes
3 answers
+3 votes
1 answer
0 votes
0 answers
+2 votes
1 answer
54 views asked Sep 22, 2020 in WikiTree Help by Richard Russell G2G Rookie (220 points)

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

disclaimer - terms - copyright