Should a preferred name be set as 'uncertain' if the proper name is added there by default?

+1 vote
60 views
When I enter the proper first name and leave the preferred name field empty, the proper first name will be put in the preferred name field.

When the person died long ago, especially as a child, nobody alive now will know what first name this person would have preferred. Should this preferred name set as uncertain in that case? Or can I just say that both names are the same in that case?
in Policy and Style by Koen van Hoof G2G2 (2.1k points)

The bold name fields are required to be filled, so the Preferred Name automatically defaults to the Proper First Name if you try to leave the Preferred Name field empty.

Here is the link to the Help page for using the Uncertain designation:

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Uncertain#When_should_information_be_marked_as_Uncertain.3F

Like me, you may feel that the guidance is less than helpful, particularly outside Anglo or American naming conventions.

My personal view is that I rarely know what the individual preferred to be called. I only know what names are used in my source documentation. Therefore, I usually mark the Preferred Name as uncertain, unless I have seen the individual's signature.

Thanks! The Help page you gave tells mostly that uncertain should be used on information from secondary sources. It is indeed not very helpful for this case.

In the catholic part of the Netherlands there is a distinction between 'doopnamen', which are often a Latin or biblical names, but it is used as official name, like on your passport and in government documentation, and a 'roepnaam', which is often a Dutch version of one doopnaam. The roepnaam is also used in a formal context, while the doopnamen are only used on some official documents. Maybe it's comparable with Bill Clinton, whose proper first name is William, but Bill is also used in a more formal context.

As far as I can see the Dutch convention here is to put the  doopnaam/official first name in the proper first name field and the roepnaam in the preferred name field.

Adding the proper name by default in the preferred name field, would at least bring in some uncertainty, even though a primary source (the birth certificate) is used. So I think I'll follow you idea to mark it as uncertain.

1 Answer

+5 votes
I don't think the profile will display any differently if you check the Uncertain button, and in many cases nobody but you will know you did it.  Personally, I don't do it.
by Dennis Barton G2G6 Pilot (319k points)

Thanks! I tested this on the children with the same name. Indeed there isn't a difference between the representation of the names on both profiles.

- Hendrikus van Stiphout (preferred name set uncertain)
- Hendrikus van Stiphout (preferred name set certain)

But this uncertainty information ís in Wikitrees and can be seen. Maybe someone without knowledge of Dutch naming would think that Hendrikus really called himself Hendrikus (which is quite improbable).

True, it's an open profile and the designation can be seen by other site members on the edit screen.  If it's unlikely that Hendrikus would have used that as the preferred name, but you're not sure of the preferred name, it may be worth mentioning that in the Biography for all to see.

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