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Suggestion 749 Middle Name used in some areas

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 30 Jun 2019
Location: Worldwidemap
Surnames/tags: data_doctors db_error_749
This page has been accessed 2,634 times.

Description of Warning - 749: Middle Name used in some areas

The middle name field contains a name for a person born in a region that doesn't have a concept of using a middle name.

Content of info column: The Middle name

Possible Causes

This usually happens with imported gedcoms, where the first name is automatically split and moved to middle name. It can be also the result of the yellow warning on profile save that middle name should be used instead of multiple first names.

Action Steps

Move the name to first name. Please note that not in all cases persons classified as Dutch born actually are. Examples of these are birth locations ending NL (Newfoundland and Labrador abbreviation) and ending Amsterdam (multiple places worldwide with this name). In these cases correct the place of birth by replacing abbreviations by full place names or by qualifying the place of birth with country name.

Warning Status

For each Warning you can set status. You can set it as Corrected, Not corrected, False Warning, Proposed merge or just add a Comment.

If there are related errors for the profile, you will also see them on status page.

Full description is available on Status Help Page.

Questions and Discussions on this Warning

You can read what other people have asked here db_error_749.

You can also share your best practices, experiences, problems about the Warning by posting a question in G2G. If you create a new G2G discussion for this Warning, add tag data_doctors and db_error_749.

Technical Stuff

Checks for presence of the middle name for profiles where it shouldn-t be used. At the moment it is checked for profiles where:

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Comments: 16

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Please include this error check on profiles for people who were born in México (1521 - present). Spanish naming conventions do not include the use of middle names. See

"Do not use the Middle Name field, but instead the entire first name included in the Proper First Name field (& the radio button “no middle name” selected)."

Thanks! Austin

posted by Austin Pérez
Is that an official request of the Mexico project? It is usually good to discuss this in the G2G and have some sort of a plan on how to correct those suggestions. Otherwise they will be just in the lists for a long time.

Are you asking this also for Spain project or only for Mexico?

posted by Aleš Trtnik
Hi Aleš,

Yes, this is an official request from the México Project. This request would be in conformance with WikiTree guidance on Spanish naming conventions.

On a side note, is there an error that checks that a woman's Last Name at Birth and Current Last Name are the same. Generally speaking these fields should match for women born in México since in Spanish speaking countries women do not take on their husband's last name.

Thanks Austin Pérez, México Project co-leader

posted by Austin Pérez
I was born in the Netherlands and I disagree. Yes, we have no concept of middle names, but we also don't have a first name. We call them all "voornamen" and whatever we usually introduce ourselves by is our "roepnaam" (not to be confused with "bijnaam", which means nickname or preferred name, which is different). Putting the other voornamen in the same place as the roepnaam is silly. It's not the same for all Dutch people.

For example, one person who's full voornamen are Marie Anne Lotte may be called Marie Anne by the parents, whereas another may be called Marie. In one case, Marie Anne is the roepnaam and Lotte is the second name, in another case Marie is the roepnaam and Anne and Lotte are the second and third name. You cannot say that in all those cases, the "first name" box should contain all three names. That is overly simplified.

I personally have been given three first names at birth. I only ever went by the first. My grandmother (private in tree) has six "voornamen" and she also only goes by the first, at best she is sometimes called by the second if we are teasing her. Nobody ever uses any of her other names to refer to her. Not in official situations either. The other names are a formality. So I consider those to be middle names.

Basically: not all names of Dutch people are first names. We don't adhere to the same first name/middle name principle that other countries have, but that doesn't mean we don't have some equivalent of middle names.

I've had multiple of my ancestors' names "corrected" because of this simplification. Can we please at least make the rule that if the profile manager is a Dutch person we just assume they understand the complicated situations of people they've researched better than some random error does? Thanks.

posted by Anonymous Tel

The guideline for the Dutch Roots project is to put the given names in the Proper First Name. Given names are those registered at birth or baptism, so the official names! Different used names (such as "roepnaam") or subsets of the given names can be recorded in "Preferred Name" and "Other Nicknames".

Please note that the GEDCOM standard does not know an item "Middle Name", that's a WikiTree curiosity. If you would follow that it would mean you would be named Alexis E.J. Umlevias on some WikiTree pages. How would you record the names in your example in theavailable data items?

posted by [Living Terink]
edited by [Living Terink]
This is why I stopped entering my data! My dbase of over 100.000 people (at this moment 103.358) all born in Groningen, the Netherlands or descending from Groningers, was built by me over the past 45+ years. Many of my families go back to the 1700's and even before that. As I have cancer I wanted to put all my data in wikitree for all to find also after I am gone. But before 1811 most Groningers only had a patronym, that was their only last name, and they are only found in the records by that patronym. That was a LAST name, not a MIDDLE name! When still alive after 1811, from then on they did have a "proper" last name. But they died with that last name, and were born, and evt married on their patronym. I hate putting that down as a middle name, for it was not!

Some relatives did have 2 first names, i.e. a normal middle name. Now all of those are put in Suggestions for me to correct. I do not want to spend my time to correcting what is already right! Like Catharina Henderika Voos (Voos-21) was called Catharina (first name) and Henderika (middle name). Why do I need to correct??? While others that were born with a patronym should get that (their then last name) as a middle name? This is way too much American, it doesnt work where we come from... So pity, I could add so much to wikitree but I quit doing that as it is not according to our official history.

Same btw with all those suggestions for so called wrongly spelled first names: in Groningen for instance Anje and Antje are 2 totally different names, spoken in Gronings they sound very different. They may look similar to americans, but it is NOT where they live(d). Same for Rijke and Rijpke, 2 brothers, yes 2 different names here, that I then get back as suggestions for missspelling... No it isnt, it is a proper name here! Not all the world is American... so maybe you either make wikitree only for americans, or accept the ways of other countries as well. This has put me off, which is really sad but I won't spend most of my time correcting things that are correct already.

posted by Sjouwke Nube
Hi Sjouwke,

Het is inderdaad een "amerikanisme" dat gedoe met "middle name". Wat ik doe bij het opvoeren van iemand met meerdere voornamen is al die namen in het "Proper First Name" veld noteren, en dan die waarschuwing daarover negeren en "save anyway" te doen. De "Preferred Name" (roepnaam) wordt dan identiek aan de "Proper First Name". Als de roepnaam anders moet zijn dan wijzig ik die. Ik heb zelf bijvoorbeeld Gerrit Jan als voornamen (PFN) maar roepnaam Jan (PN). Voor de meeste profielen weten we niet wat de roepnaam ooit was, dus gelijkstellen aan PFN is daar logisch.

Overigens hoef je niet alles te corrigeren, je kunt het ook als "False Suggestion" aanmerken. Ik hoop echt dat je niet stopt met het inbrengen van je database!

posted by [Living Terink]
Just for clarification, this suggestion was created for Project: Netherlands who states that: "Middle names is something we don't have, know or use at all in the Netherlands."

If you are in disagreement with this, I would suggest contacting Project: Netherlands or creating a post in G2G with the tags styles and Netherlands. After discussion and agreement by the community, this guideline can be changed and this suggestion deprecated.

posted by Steven Harris
The bottom line of Sjouwke's comment is that the concept of middle name is inapplicable to Dutch given names, so perfectly in line with the Dutch Roots Project. It is just that he, like many, many others were upset by that crazy yellow warning and obediently put all given names but the first one in the middle name item.

All this could have been avoided if the WikiTree team would live up to their international aspirations and discard the middle name item.

posted by [Living Terink]
I believe you mean the warning on the middle name field? The middle name field itself cannot be completely dropped; where would I put mine?

And the warning you get for the first name field is just a suggestion, it doesn't mean you can't use it (as you noted above already).

posted by Steven Harris
Yes the warning on create. It has been suggested time and time again to have the "No Middle Name" radio button on the first page of the create function so the warning could be avoided.

The Gedcom standard does not have a middle name item. The WT import process did, and probably still does, split multiple given names in PFN and PN, to the horror of non-americans. Results in presenting name on non-open profiles with just initial for second given name, creating mysteries.

As to your "middle name": just append to the PFN (and possibly PN).

posted by [Living Terink]
The Dutch persons born before 1811 and still alive in 1811 have a different last name at birth (patronymic) than their last name after 1811, because of the French law during the occupation. Indeed no middle name. Then I will not introduce a middle name.

But there are exceptions, in the region of NL-Friesland some people have both (before 1811). In this case I use the middle name for the position of the patronymic.

posted by Minke Wagenaar
All my 'errors' are still there week after week although I update the status. My information came FROM the Netherlands and the index to the info definitely is sorted by the FIRST name. I think this is nitpicking.
posted by Sue (Howard) Ison
And furthermore: the tool to Match the WikiTree Watchlist to the FamilySearch Family Tree also uses the concept of a Middle Name for Dutch people.
posted by Ed Visser
This may be an issue for some people but not for all. My Dutch ancestors definitely have middle names that are not part of their first names.
I think this is a non issue that should be left out of the warnings, as this is not visible on the pages and causes people to create other mistakes, especially the appearance of the Proper first name as the Preferred name without there being any proof of this.
posted by Ed Visser

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