Birth name or adoptive name for LNAB

+3 votes
I have a biological aunt, actually two aunts (sisters of my father), who were adopted young and went by their adoptive names for the rest of their lives even within the biological family.  They even got birth certificates made out with the adoptive names.  Both of them have passed on and their children are getting on in age also (as am I).  The profiles I will creat will be under their biological parents (my grandparents) with descriptions of the adoptions.

So is there a standard for which name to use for LNAB?  It seems to me that if I use their true birth names it will make it harder for anyone to find them in a search on Wikitree, and many looking for their husbands might not recognize the actual birth name and believe the profile is incorrect or an additional wife.  Which means I am inclined to use the adoptive name for the profile and LNAB, but want to make sure that it would not be an error on my part.

Thanks for your help.
in WikiTree Help by Art Black G2G6 Mach 5 (56.3k points)

1 Answer

+4 votes

The Last Name At Birth (LNAB) should be the biological parents name. As far as the adoptive parents it can be shown as follows:

Adoption Template for anyone adopted.

Here is an example

My grandfather was adopted and then used his LNAB as his middle name.  The adopted family name should be in the current last name if not married or in Other Last Names.

by Kevin Conroy G2G6 Pilot (255k points)
Thanks for the quick answer Kevin.  Had checked the help files but must have overlooked this template.  Looks like it should work just fine.  Thanks for the example link also, it really helped in understanding how it worked.  Looks like I will need to research and create profiles for the adoptive parents too but that's not a problem; in fact, it should give credit to everyone. Thanks again!
I don't think this is in general always correct. In the case of a planned adoption where an adoptive parent's name is used on the original birth certificate at birth, I think it would be most sensible to use that as the LNAB. Of course it's an unfortunate fact that in many places it's impossible for those adopted before they can remember to find their biological parents' names, so for them that's the only real option until they've discovered their bio parents.

For later adoptions, it would often make more sense to use the last name at birth (e.g. from their bio parent) as the last name at birth, and then use their adoptive last name as Current Last Name or Other Last Name (if they later use another, e.g. married name).

As a final point in the case of living adoptees, privacy would dictate that the adoptee's preference be used if they did not want to use one or the other. Also, some living adoptees on WikiTree have an additional profile besides their member profile, so they can have one linked to adoptive parents and one linked to bio parents. Again in those cases, LNAB choice should defer to the adoptee's preferences.

For historical adoptees, I believe the policy/practice here is to prefer to link to bio parents if known (and link to adoptive parents in the Biography), and adoptive parents otherwise.

Last Name at Birth

This field could also be called Proper Last NameSurname, or Maiden Name.

It is generally a family name but it could be a patronymic or whatever other standard is conventional for the person's time and place.

It is usually the formal name as it appears in official documents at the time of birth. However, it may not be exactly what appears in a birth record if:

  • There was a spelling mistake or error in the document, or if the family name was more commonly spelled in a different way at the time of the birth (see the spelling conventions section above).
  • The person was adopted as an infant and they never used their birth name.

"Dit" names should not go in this field. They can go in the Current Last Name, Other Last Name, or Nickname field, as appropriate.

If the last name is unknown, use Unknown in the field. Do not use Not SureNNWife of XAdopted, etc.

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