What LNAB to use for the children of Franz II, Holy Roman Emperor

+4 votes

Due to the recent addition of another daughter of Franz II, I noticed that there is inconsistency in the LNAB for his children.  What surname should be used for his children?

WikiTree profile: Franz II Österreich
in Genealogy Help by Darlene Athey-Hill G2G6 Pilot (437k points)

We have the same issue with the children of Karl Ludwig ...

1 Answer

+2 votes
Hi Darlene,

Thanks for this and for the connection of the emperor's daughter.  To be honest, I think the real answer is that 'surnames' aren't a very helpful concept for the higher nobility who didn't have them in the same way that, say, Otto Müller down the street would have done.  That said, I think the best convention would be use to 'von Österreich' for a reigning emperor like Franz and 'von Habsburg-Lothringen' (i.e., the name of the imperial house) for his non-regnant children.  Does that make sense?

All the best,

by Kelsey Jackson Williams G2G6 Mach 1 (15.2k points)

Kelsey, EuroAristo tends to not include 'von' in the LNAB field.  See this prior discussion where it was determined to use Habsburg-Lothringen.

With respect, that was a bad decision which should be reversed.  Wikitree is not well coded for dealing with noble or royal names, but we can still do our best to approximate the usage of the relevant time and place.  As I've said before, arbitrarily removing the nobiliary particle makes no sense at all and results in horrible, anachronistic attempts to make early modern noblemen conform to the naming conventions of twentieth-century America.

All the best,


Kelsey, the reasoning behind this has nothing to do with 'the naming conventions of 20th-century America.'  You can look back at prior discussions with regard to the use of prefixes in the LNAB field.  You also can refer to the Name Fields for European Aristocrats.  We strive for consistency to avoid the creation of duplicates.  Some of the location projects (such as Cymru) use different naming conventions.  When in doubt or creating a new profile, we ask that people post on G2G or contact the project in advance.

My point was that the naming fields in Wikitree are designed for the given name - middle name - surname customs of modern America or elsewhere in the Anglophone world, not those of the individuals we're dealing with here.  I'm afraid I still disagree with what seem to me to be a series of bad decisions which have significantly and negatively affected Wikitree's ability to be taken seriously where continental and pre-modern research is concerned.

All the best,


This was decided several years ago -- prior to my joining Wikitree and taking on the leadership of the EuroAristo project.  And many discussions have ensued since that time.  The bottom line is that, after the decision was made, volunteers (which we all are) took on the enormous task of standardizing the LNAB field.  This helped prevent duplicate profiles.  There still are many that need correcting.  Meanwhile, there continue to be people who bring this up as they find Wikitree and decide to get involved.  And some of us take the time to explain the thinking behind it.  In which case, we request "Please don't shoot the messenger..."  When it comes to the nobles and aristocrats, we don't consider the LNAB field to actually be the person's name.  Rather, it is more like the field in the old library card catalog where we looked for a book by title or author.  Rather than looking in the 'V' file for von Habsburg, we look in the 'H' file for Habsburg.  We then use the CLN field for the person's actual name.

No one wants the task of changing several tens of thousands of profile LNABS to go with a different standard.  As mentioned, with the advent of location-specific projects, they have set their own standards for their project profiles.  Wikitree certainly has limitations with the fields.  And while we may not be crazy about things, we agree, if we want to participate in Wikitree, to work within the guidelines set by the projects.

 I'm not sure what you mean by 'series of bad decisions.'  Since this G2G post is to try and determine what LNAB to use for the profiles mentioned, I would ask that you please begin a new post if you want to discuss your last comment.
Dear Darlene,

I certainly don't want to shoot the messenger and apologies if I gave that impression!  I just don't think the decision made concerning 'LNAB's of noble and royal individuals was a good one or makes for readable and serious-looking profiles.  This is a pity, because if a little more thought had been put into these matters - or if changes could be made - Wikitree would be a valuable resource for amateurs and scholars alike.  By 'series of bad decisions' I mean (a) the coding which resulted in indexing being tied to a concept of surnames which isn't universally applicable, (b) the decision concerning royal and noble surnames we've been discussing, and (c) the sunk costs fallacy of sticking with this usage even in the face of clear evidence that it doesn't work well.  I'm happy to discuss these at greater length if there's any chance that would result in positive change.

All the best,


Darlene, there has been a more recent decision to use the particle for profiles after 1600. See John Atkinson's comment to a recent post from Kelsey here.

Thanks, Helmut.  I missed that on that post.  Which still leaves us with the issue and needed discussion on what name to use for the children of the above-linked profiles to create consistency.
I don't think "von Habsburg-Lothringen" is right. Either use the house name as we do for medieval profiles (without particle) or use the actual "name" they used, which could be von Österreich, if that is really what is wanted. We can use categories to group together members of the same house, since they will all end up with very different names. Also keep in mind that the names of these people will be different in each language (I mean.... they are translated. In other words, people who don't speak German won't know how to find them, and I'm not saying that only for the overwhelming majority of Anglophone users on this site).

I would argue that these people did not have family names, even in the 18th century. Members of the royal family of France only signed with their Christian name.
The French revolutionaries certainly had no problem giving Louis Capet a family name.
I agree, Isabelle: the concept of a 'family name' really doesn't make sense for the Imperial family.  I suppose the problem is that Wikitree indexes on surname so we have to find the least objectionable option to fill that field (at least until someone has a rethink of the code underlying name fields!).  I think you're right that 'von Österreich' makes the most sense.  If no one has any objections shall I change Maria Leopoldine's 'surname' accordingly?

All the best,

Isabelle, thank you for the input.

Kelsey, please hold off on changing the LNAB field for at least a couple of days.  The system gets overworked by having multiple redirects.  That's why we like to discuss these things prior to creating new profiles.  But we need to allow several days for people to voice an opinion.

If others have opinions/comments with regard to the children of the two men noted, please respond as a new answer as opposed to a reply to this comment.  Makes it easier for others to review.  Thanks.
Of course, Darlene.  Happy to wait until there's clear consensus.

Related questions

+5 votes
0 answers
+4 votes
2 answers
+9 votes
10 answers
+9 votes
1 answer
+9 votes
1 answer
323 views asked Jan 22, 2016 in Policy and Style by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (544k points)
+10 votes
17 answers

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright