Merging different last names

+1 vote
94 views
How do I go about merging Beals-782 to Bales-1751.

Apparently family changed spelling of last name around 1800.

Thanks
WikiTree profile: Caleb Bales
in Policy and Style by Charles Bible G2G Crew (400 points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
Before you merge, you need to determine if either spelling is correct. That determination, of course, should be backed by documentation, preferably birth/early-life-event records.

Short any documentation, you are basically free to choose either spelling, though following the surname spelling of Caleb's father (1780s USA convention) would probably be the better choice.

...my opinions, of course...

1 Answer

+2 votes
1st thing. Do NOT change the last name of either before doing a merge because that will cause a redirect of a profile that is not needed.

Propose the merge into the last name that you want to be retained.  Explain the reason for it in the message.  When the merge is being done, the reason for the last name  change  will be requested instead of just the regular message, but other than that, it is a regular merge of 2 profiles.  Let me know if you need help or you want someone to actually do the merge
by Linda Peterson G2G6 Pilot (366k points)
edited by Linda Peterson
Furthermore, whichever name you retain, be sure to include the other spelling in the "Other Last Names" section so that people searching for that name in Name Search will find the profile.
I find that this merge has already been proposed by another member, but without a message explaining the reason for merging. In that case, it's important to add a profile message explaining which name is the correct Last Name at Birth (LNAB).

A note on one of the profiles indicates that the family name apparently changed from Beals to Bales around 1800. Since this man was born in 1780, are you saying that his LNAB was Beals and later in life it was Bales? If so, Beals should be the LNAB and Bales should be the Current Last Name.
Charles, to expand on the other comments, I just want to add that it is not all that unusual for one or more branches of a family to change the spelling of the family surname for one reason or another.  When that has occurred, it's not the policy to go back and "correct" the spelling of their ancestors to match the current spelling.  The ancestors should retain whatever names they went by during their lifetimes, and as Ellen indicates, that could involve two or more different spellings for some ancestors.

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