A plea to Clean-A-Thon and Data Doctor participants regarding Scottish profiles

+28 votes
326 views
As we are in Clean-A-Thon and Data Doctor time, a plea to all those participating and the Team Leaders guiding them. You are doing an important and thankless task. We all appreciate what you are doing. However, beyond tidying up obvious errors like wrong sex etc PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not start altering profiles for Scots if you don't know anything about the profile you are "correcting".

Unless you know and understand the intricacies of Scottish aristocratic titles and designations of members of the Landed Gentry and Highland Clans, you should not make substantial changes to profiles. After the last Clean-A-Thon I had to spend almost an entire day undoing the damage to a number of profiles by an enthusiastic amateur who had no understanding of how things work here.

It is the policy of the European Aristocracy Project for titles and territorial designations to go in the nickname box because Wikitree has thus far not created a searchable box in the profile naming field into which we can insert them. We in the Scottish Clans Project adhere to that policy and therefore designations of Clan Chiefs and their family members are set out in the same way.

IF you are receiving an error message about a profile, please send a private message to either me or one of my team members at the Scottish Clans Protocol Team and seek our guidance before making a change. If you don't have the time then don't make the change! IF you do and you make an error, you have only created unnecessary work for a fellow Wikitree member and probably seriously irritated him or her into the bargain.
in Policy and Style by Mark Sutherland-Fisher G2G6 Mach 3 (34.9k points)

2 Answers

+21 votes
Also: don't change married surnames of Scottish females - they often kept their maiden names!
by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
Yes.  Until the early nineteenth century it was standard practice in Scotland for married women to retain their maiden name.  Assigning them their husband's surname is entirely anachronistic!
In some countries the name you are given at birth is the one you use all your life.
But since we know this, we're free to use the database fields for computationally useful purposes.  We know that "Jean (MacDonald) Fraser", if she was a Scot, should be interpreted as "Jean MacDonald, whose husband was a Fraser" (rather than "Jean MacDonald who became Jean Fraser when she married").
First Name at Birth: Jean

Last Name at Birth: MacDonald

Current/Married Last Name: MacDonald

Other Last Names: Fraser
It was the law in Scotland at least until I left the legal profession in 1997 that although a woman retained her maiden name all her life, on her first marriage she acquired the surname of her husband and if she subsequently remarried, she retained the surname of her first husband and also acquired the surname of her second husband and so on for each marriage. The normal practice was for her either to use her maiden surname or her most recent married surname. However in formal legal proceedings all her surnames would appear. I well remember seeing court papers with e.g. Margaret Smith or Jones or Black or White meaning that she was born Margaret Smith, her first husband was a man named Jones, her second a man named Black and her final husband a man named White.  Where a woman went up and down the social scale with her marriages, she would often continue to be known by the most senior of her names though she may no longer use it. For example Lady Millicent St Clair-Eskine by birth became Her Grace Millicent Sutherland- Leveson- Gower, Duchess of Sutherland on her first marriage and after being widowed was regularly referred to as the Dowager Duchess or simply as the Duchess of Sutherland even though after her second marriage she called herself Lady Millicent Fitzgerald and after her third Lady Millicent Hawes.
Other Last Names don't appear anywhere useful.

They sometimes get matched in searches, but they aren't shown in the search results list, so you can't see why the item's been matched and it looks like a false match.
And this applies to the Anglo-Scottish Borders too, such as Cumberland
I would like to see Elizabeth Taylor's name then.  LOL!!!!
+9 votes

This  is also true for Scandinavian naming conventions, as I learned the last time I ventured into that area! Never again! 

Do what is familiar to you! laugh

by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.2m points)

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