What is the naming protocol for the New Netherlands Settlers project?

+8 votes

I am seeking guidance on how best to determine the correct profile to merge into on a specific profile. 

I know that the EuroAristo Project has decided that two-worded names such as von Hohenzollern should drop the "von" in the Last Name at Birth (LNAB) field. (And that this decision remains highly controversial.)

Has the New Netherlands Settler project come to any decision about naming conventions within its project? I reviewed the NNS Project page and it appears the project is going on a case by case basis. Is that true?

If so, can someone please advise me and other profile managers of emigrant and NNS settler Abraham Pietersen Van Duersen. He is profiled at both Van_Deursen-25 (underscore between Van and Deursen) and VanDeursen-5 (no space) -- both profiles currently project-protected.

(I realize there's also still a disputed mother identification-- one has Pauline Vincke; the other has Maria Jans Wessenaer. But we still need to know which profile to merge these dupes into once that's determined.)

And that's just for the emigrant. 

What should pre-emigration surname be?

What should post-immigration surname be?

Many thanks!
WikiTree profile: Abraham Van Deursen
asked Aug 12, 2014 in Policy and Style by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (467,240 points)
That is REALLY low profile. I had no idea.

Okay, I think I have it now.

I'll work on digging up the source for the parents. There's reference to a Dutch Reformed Church in Haarlem, Netherlands, even with a link to a web site, but I can't find the actual digital records.

Steven, your post came at the same time mine did; I hadn't read it when I wrote my message immediately above this one.

Thanks for the clarification.

Okay, Liz asked if I disagreed with a decision, to let you know. I don't have any skin in this game, personally; I'm just trying to test out your criteria and process here...:

I have a potential challenge for you all in the case of Abraham Pietersen Van Deursen-25. If this has been discussed already, please point me to it. 

Steven, you wrote:

So when the patronymic is not glaringly obvious, NNS convention goes with the prefix, such as van, which means "from" or "of." 

BUT, the patronymic for Abraham IS glaringly obvious-- it's Pietersen. In fact, when I went looking for the source for Abraham's mother's name, I spent some time in Albert Harrison Van Duesen, Van Deursen Family, NY, NY: Frank Allaben Genealogical Co. (1912), vol I. (This book can be found through openlibrary.org)

Page lxii discusses the use of surnames in this family.  Through the marriages of Abraham's children, they used the patronymic form of a surname.  There are no records where Abraham appears as Abraham Van Deursen; the author points out : "He did not use his [Van Deursen] surname nor did any of the family until 1667, when Peter Abrahamszen Van Deursen is so designated on the baptismal record of one of his children."

So um, what do we do with that?

NOTE: I have not been actively involved in the New Netherlands Project because I've been too busy elsewhere and my own "New Amsterdam" folks (De Veaux -- on my husband's side) came after the era of the NNS project.  However, not too long ago, I discovered that my near 99% German heritage has one itsy bitsy line that goes back to colonial New England and New Netherlands/Amsterdam: Selina van Deusen (1825- aft 1910), dau of Ethan Allen Van Deusen and Climene Tobey.



I think I followed that. Let me recap:

the final WikiTree ID profile should be a new one with Pietersen as LNAB instead of Van Deursen-25 based on the passage in Albert Harrison Van Duesen, Van Deursen Family, NY, NY: Frank Allaben Genealogical Co. (1912), vol I. (available online through openlibrary.org):

Through the marriages of Abraham's children, they used the patronymic form of a surname.  There are no records where Abraham appears as Abraham Van Deursen; the author points out: "He did not use his [Van Deursen] surname nor did any of the family until 1667, when Peter Abrahamszen Van Deursen is so designated on the baptismal record of one of his children."

That's fine by me. Steven? Did you run across anything that says we should start a Pietersen/Van Deursen G2G discussion, or do you think just posting a notice on Van Deursen & the remaining "to be merged" profile will do it?


Jillaine - in regard to discussing decisions...

In the early days, we initiated G2G discussions on almost all decisions. As it became more and more apparent that most profile managers didn't feel strongly one way or another (just wanted to get on with the merging and development of profiles), and not much, if any, discussion occurred in the timeframe alloted, we dropped the practice. If there's a conflict, we generally do e-mails among the profiles managers to resolve it before making a decision. Doing the public discussions was only slowing down the process. The LNAB decisions aren't written in stone - they can be revisisted.  That's why I asked you to let me know if you disagreed with the Van Deursen decision (which it appears you do).

Cheers, Liz
I was just about to post what Liz said so well there. We have several thousands of profiles to process just in the early years of the project time scope, and part of the problem we face is time constraint. People would end up simply merging around us.

Another problem is that people would get somewhat upset by application of the patronymic as a LNAB, because it is not a good *index* name by which the descendants are known, searched, etc. This is a WikiTree failing in structure.

By a "glaringly" obvious patronymic, I meant one where the match already exists in that form, preferably across multiple matches, with the same spelling.

We have almost all profile in the project which include a patronymic of some spelling or other as middle name, or as extension of the first name. But not often as existing LNAB. So it would be a bit presumptuous of us to change LNAB in thousands of cases to be any particular patronymic spelling. Even the sources vary often on the spelling.

Ultimately we envision migrating all NNS profiles into a proper patronymic LNAB. But that also envisions creation of a proper index systerm to be developed by the WikiTree tech folks, so that we can satisfy all parties.

So in this round of deciding *final* LNAB, we are ruling out the glaringly wrong Americanisms where they exist (concatenations of prefixes on deep ancestors, for exxample), and merging those away. And preserving any existing good patronymics in LNAB where we find them, and where it does not generate more trouble than it is worth.

We also want to minimize back and forth LNAB changes. Each time, that completely obliterates the Changes history, which is another massive WikiTree design failing.
Liz and Steven,

Thanks for the thoughtful responses.

As I wrote, I'm not attached, per se, to switching Abraham Van Deursen to Abraham Pieterszen-- just using this example as a way to walk through and understand the protocol you've established. Guess, too, that I'm also hoping that all instructions are clear for folks-- not just those actively involved in NNS, but folks like me who realize they have someone associated with the project and want to make sure we're following protocol when requesting merges, etc.

Steve, while I realize it's not obvious, when I want to see the change history of a previously merged-away profile, I go the Changes tab of the current profile, and then simply edit the URL of that page, replacing the Profile-# part with the merged-away number. Did that recently, actually, and it was quite easy to see the changes on the pre-merged-away profile page.

I *do* concur that I'd like to see wikitree add the ability for search to find and display matches with the contents of Other Last Name.

So, if I'm following you now, we leave Abraham's LNAB alone? Might be worth a short explanation in a comment on his profile(s).

Thanks again.

To clarify: Yes, it's easy to plug in the old WikiTree ID in any Changes tab's url (e.g. replace Van Deursen-25 with whatever ID you want - http://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Special:NetworkFeed&who=Van_Deursen-25 ).  What Steven meant was that when you edit the LNAB, the previous WikiTree ID is lost. It doesn't show as a merge (or it didn't the last time I did one). If the name is changed without first adding the link for the "about to be changed" Changes tab in the bio, it can become impossible to figure out later what the previous WikiTree ID was.

Also, for detailed instructions about the Approval System, click here.

And thanks - keeping Van Deursen would be better than changing the LNAB.

and... I added a "Why Van Deursen-25" section at the bottom of the profile. I also moved the patronym from middle name to be with first name. I think it works better that way, since it doesn't show up as just an initial in some name displays.  Cheers, Liz
Thanks, Liz.

Interesting approach to adding the patronymic to the first name field. I hope it doesn't raise issues with the Style police. (Heh heh, I'm one....)  I read somewhere that the first name field should only hold the first name. But I like your "adaptation."

Re changing LNAB removes previous profile name. I haven't tested this recently, but my understanding is that changing a LNAB is the same thing as merging (technically). Ie we're merging the old LNAB onto the new one. That *should* generate the same note in the Changes tab that merging does. But as I said, I haven't tested this.

I do more merging than editing LNABs, but next time I do, I will check the Changes tab and see if/how it's recorded.
Hi Jillaine, falling into this discussion feed (in betweeen Liz, Steven and yourself an excellent discussion on the reasoning and logic behind the LN'sAB - can't explain it better than Steven and Liz - I'm going to save it seperately as a source of information itself) - on your question about Abraham Pieterszen van Deursen - he came from [http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deursen Deursen] or a place near that town, his patronymic indicates that his father's name was Pieter. If you want I could have a look for you for any records in Haarlem (I think you said). It is not always easy, there are numerous databases and sometimes it is like looking for a needle in a hay stack as you have probably found yourself many times, others times it is luck at first strike ... Only my time is limited as I'm totally focussed on the Cape Dutch Colony project and the adjacent South African Huguenot surnames (and also still helping out with the NNS-project); trying to get that sorted and stay ahead of the continual onslaught of GEDCOM's by getting as near to the original spelling of the French LN'sAB before they became first Dutchified and then completely Afrikanerized ...., profile for profile, LNAB by LNAB and generation by generation ...

2 Answers

+3 votes
I would leave the hyphen out between the two words as this is the common way they are being spelled.  I have an ancestor who was called van duesenbery. This was how it was spelled and was how he legally used his last name.

answered Aug 12, 2014 by Mary H. G2G6 Mach 7 (76,010 points)
I don't see a hyphen. There is an underscore, however. Is that what you meant? Can we have a space in a wikitree profile name? Or does it need to have an underscore to serve as a space?
yes.....   I would use a space between the two names as Van represents (of  family).
When creating a a last name at birth such as Van Deursen you do just like that - with a space. Do not add the underscore (I don't think you can anymore anyway). When needed for technical reasons, WikiTree adds it automatically.
Thanks Mary and Liz. I didn't know that. (Clearly I don't have many two-named profiles in my work here. Makes me appreciate the challenges you who do have. )

Jillaine,  you have helped me in so many ways, it was the least I could do!  cheeky

+5 votes
The van shouldn't really be capitalized, but I know it will be so I won't argue that point.  But I will say people from Holland are generally proud of what look like little unimportant words in front of their last name.  These little words represent a sort of elevated rank at one time in society and people that have these little words as part of their last names should be shown that respect.  It might be an idea to only let people that have these little words as part of their last name or are from Holland decide of what and how these last names should consist and be spelled.  There is a Wikitreer from Quebec and one from South Africa that keep bringing this point up and they are correct, but nobody listens to them.

Here is an exaggerated example of what I have seen:

Barack Obama President of the United States

Barack States
answered Aug 12, 2014 by Vincent Piazza G2G6 Pilot (197,290 points)
edited Aug 12, 2014 by Vincent Piazza

My understanding of the process being used here continues to grow with each discussion. I believe that there is some sensitivity to the use of the LNAB as it was actually used. This being the preferred LNAB.

Thus, if there is some kind of documentation that demonstrates how it was used closest to birth that is the prefered LNAB.

Then, in the absence of such documentation, Steven has outlined the convention being used and why.  Rather than a blanket convention for all time periods, I believe Steven is suggesting that the usages have changed with time and location.  

I think the rub comes from a difference between trying to get it right vs convience and consistancy in the absence of documentation.

Also the input of strongly interested parties are considered as well.

So using the Irish for example.

The Gaelic O'Baoighill becomes O'Boyle which becomes Boyle.  But then an English Boyle comes to Ireland and establishes a different line of Boyles (now called Irish as well).  So time is spent figuring out which Boyle to use.  Gaelic Boyles might suggest using O'Boyle while Engish Boyle's would balk at such a suggestion.  

Then there is the matter of what works best in the software program being used and what is the intended function to muddy the waters.  

I know a lot of effort is being used to balance these conflicting values, and I appreciate those efforts.

(Not sure what happened with the line spacing on the last paragraphs or how to fix it?)


I think you covered that nicely Michael (and I don't know how to fix funky spacing in G2G posts either).

I think of all the projects, the New Netherland Settlers project is the most flexible when it comes to LNAB decisions. Probably because our settler ancestors were so flexible about it. Not only did they not really use surnames in a LNAB sense, but their names were recorded as their patronym, their occupation, or their home town, in English, French, or Dutch too.

The challenge for the New Netherland Settlers project was to pick one of the many documented names used by our ancestor that was logical, usual, and agreeable to the parties involved.

Cheers, Liz

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