variations in spelling of names

+1 vote

Every computer I have ever used has in the email section a statement "add to dictionary" when you use a word that is not in its memory. 

For the variations of spelling in names, all the names, givens, middles and surnames, is it not possible to write a few lines of code that would produce a button that would say "add this spelling to the list"? If the button is clicked and it flashes a red warning sign that says "Are you certain you want this variation added?"  that would also be helpful. 

I don't know where WT sources its spelling of names, however.  SUGGESTIONS has a query about "unique spelling" so it might be that the register of alternate spellings would be an auxiliary.

in WikiTree Tech by Susan Smith G2G6 Pilot (510k points)

2 Answers

+2 votes
Best answer

My understanding is that the determination of the "uniqueness" of a name is automated for the purposes of the suggestions report. A suggestion is generated for any first name that appears on fewer than five WikiTree profiles. For most first names that are unusual but not truly unique, that means the system will automatically add the name to its "dictionary" once enough profiles have been created for people with that name.

Of course for people who have a first name shared by less than five people across all (documented) time anywhere on the planet it will never be added automatically, so for those few people it will always be necessary to mark it as a false suggestion.

For more information see the "Technical Stuff" section on

by Paul Masini G2G6 Pilot (191k points)
selected by Susan Smith

Thank you Paul, pretty much in line with what I wanted to know. The gist of your answer is that software changes are not being considered and may not be necessary, if the number of times a particular spelling for any part of a name (first, middle, surname, and etc) occurs five or more times in the full roster of profiles at WT? 

But this is reassuring, that some method of "updating" the roster of names is accounting for variations in spelling. 

+3 votes
Firstly, I use the spelling in the primary sources.

Secondly, if there are variations, I use the commonest or most recent, and add all the sourced variants to the appropriate field, whether for Last Name At Birth or Given name.

Thirdly, I MAY put a modern, accepted spelling and mark it Uncertain if the variants are not obvious. E.g. sources only have Latinised names, such as Jana for Jane.

I use iPads and iPhones for my WT work, and they usually make good stab at what I’m trying to type. “Add to dictionary” never appears - it’s a MSWindows thing.

by Chris Little G2G6 Mach 3 (37.0k points)
But are you one of the techs in the software dept who could answer whether it could be done, is being considered, or whatever the current status might be?
I think what you are requesting is impractical. There is no Tech Dept - we are all volunteers, apart from Aleš.

And I certainly do not have the skills to program WikiTree.

Essentially there is no separate, definitive list of names, only what we put on the profiles.

I am not sure what problem you are trying to solve? If importing new info from a source, I would either copy and paste or re-type. Doing so adds that name to WikiTree and it could then, within reason, be found by searches.

I think you are asking for modification of whatever software you are using for text entry, so that is not really a WikiTree issue. Perhaps you could explain more what you are trying to do?

Best wishes, Chris

Merely asked "is it not possible to write" and wanted to know the status of such possible software revisions, whether pondered or contemplated ... and Paul pretty much stated the status of such --  nor did I need help on this matter. I wanted to know, now I pretty much know, and thanx to Paul. 

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