Recording names

+4 votes

I have used FamilyTreeMaker, Ancestry and Family Search for many years and I realize there are various acceptable ways of recording female ancestors.  The Wiki format for recording females can be confusing even when the maiden name is bracketed.  See the example below.  There is enough confusion with duplicate names in families and people who have been incorrectly added to trees due to careless research. 

It would be extremely beneficial to all if women were recorded in precisely the same format as men.


Mary (Nickname) Smith b. 

Daughter of:  Harry Smith and Lucille Wilson

Wife of:  Jack Coleman, married 1942

Wife of: Benjamin Adams, married 1958

Mother of:

I found the following example on a Wiki family tree today...(different names)

Elizabeth M (Hanson) McConnell (1900-1980)

Elizabeth M McConnell formerly Hanson aka Miller

Miller is the only spouse listed on Elizabeth's profile page.

in WikiTree Tech by Private Private G2G Rookie (260 points)
edited by Ellen Smith
This is another area where it really shows that WikiTree is currently just an American website with international pretensions. The practice of a married woman taking her husband's family name as her own is by no means universal, but WT pretty much assumes it unless you leave fields strategically blank.

People always bring up searches as a reason to clutter the name area with extra things, but I think this is a result of exactly backwards thinking. One should not need to massage the data to accomodate the software. The software should accomodate the data.

My guess, the creator, probably assumed genealogists research male lines only.

2 Answers

+4 votes
Sometimes you may have a married surname for a woman but don't know the name of the spouse. I have several instances of this on my tree. Eventually, I may ferret out the elusive spouse, but in the meantime being able to add additional surnames to profiles without creating a profile for an unknown spouse is a huge bonus as far as I'm concerned. It is also beneficial to others who may not know the individual by all of their names because adding those names to the profile causes them to come up in searches on WikiTree by any of those names whether the spouse profile is attached or not.
by Deb Durham G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
Just to add, in the example you have given it is very possible that the information came from the the SS Applications and Claims index. This is usually how I come across other surnames/marriages for some women without knowing who they married. The index will often list all surnames of the individual as they update their information with Social Security.
I appreciate your comment, but I'm not convinced because the spouses would be listed beneath the female on her profile.  If a researcher is not familiar with all of her names they would not recognize the names if they came up in a search for her.

I'm new to Wiki, so I'm not sure if you can add the spouse's surname without their given name in the profile.  If that isn't possible, it should be.
Yes, you could, but if you have no other information on him there wouldn't be much point in creating the profile. Listing all known names, even if you don't have the particulars of the spouse is useful information when hunting for records, including who that spouse might be. More and more records become available daily, the more information I have about the individual, including all possible surnames, the more likely I am to make use of those records.

How would I find an entry in the SSDI if all I had was a woman's birth name and her first husband's name, but she had two or three husbands after that but I don't have enough info to create profiles for them? If I have available to me all possible surnames for her, I am much more likely to find her.

I like the way WikiTree handles this much better than other sites..
I don't think any helpful information should be excluded.  Every little bit of info helps.  It's the current format that is problematic.
+1 vote

Personally, I would like to see the full birth name as the primary name displayed, with nicknames and other names placed in a secondary name display. This format may not fit all naming conventions, but would probably cover most of our current generalized and specialized naming conventions.

Additionally, our name displays should be programmed to accommodate more than given name(s) displayed first/surname displayed last.

by Lindy Jones G2G6 Pilot (260k points)
I agree

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