What do you enter in the name fields for someone with an assumed identity?

+6 votes
144 views
I have a case of a boy who was kidnapped in Germany* in the 1850's and forced into whaling duty. While the ship was docked in Hawaii, he escaped and lived in the wilds for a time. Fearing for his life, he took on a fictitious name and never admitted his true identity to friends or family, despite living to an advanced age.

Also, what location data do you use for 'Germany' pre-unification when you have no idea where specifically they are referring?
WikiTree profile: William Thompson
in Policy and Style by Ron Moore G2G6 Mach 2 (21.3k points)
Ron, are you saying that this fella’s real name was never known? If that’s so, then you’d have no choice but to enter the assumed name. Maybe add a note in his bio so others will know, and, if he was the source of the info, add that also.
How do you know who his ancestors were if he never revealed his true or legal name?

If this were me, I would not be adding a profile for someone with a fake name unless I also knew the real name and hopefully the parents names as well.
Well, on this profile, no parentage is given. The line stops with him.
\William's name may be fake, and possibly even his origin, but his life was definitely real. And I do know the immediate descendants. His son, Charley Thompson, was a famous paniolo. Oprah Winfrey currently owns most of his (Charlie's) ranch.
My philosophy: if someone lived, he/she gets a profile with as much data as is presently available. What’s the alternative?
I think you've done a very good job with the information available.

1 Answer

+8 votes
As you don't know his last name at birth, I would mark Thompson as uncertain. That seems more helpful than calling him Unknown Unknown with preferred name as William and current last name as Thompson, which is the alternative way to treat this. I'd also leave the birthplace as Germany as it's as accurate as you can be and at least provides a starting point. You have explained it all clearly in the bio.
by Fiona McMichael G2G6 Pilot (165k points)

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