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Managing the Fitz Randolph family in Wikitree

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Surnames/tags: Fitz Randolph FitzRandolph Fitz-Randolph
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Fitz Randolph One Name Study

This is a research page of the Fitz Randolph One Name Study. Click this link to return to Study's Fitz Randolph Traditions home page.

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Facilitating Fitz Randolph research in Wikitree

Facilitating research on the Fitz Randolph family within Wikitree faces two perennial problems: (1) various variations in the surname that complicate systematic indexing and search functions; and (2) tracking Fitz Randolph womenfolk who married, and their descendants. This page shares ideas for how we might address these challenges.

The Challenges

As noted above, there are two principal challenges identified so far. Please add here any others that you think merit attention.

  • Other issues to consider: (add here)

Challenge 1. Variations in Fitz Randolph surnames

The problem

The single most common variation relates to families that have dropped the Fitz from their surname and are recorded only as Randolph. In other cases, Fitz may still be used, but is considered a middle name rather than part of the surname, so family members are recorded as Randolphs. There are other spelling variants, such as FitzRandolph or Fitz-Randolph, and even more dramatic changes to different version of Randall. The result is that when researchers look for a Fitz Randolph in Wikitree, they may miss relevant candidates because the name is not indexed as associated with Fitz Randolph. Fortunately, the Wikitree search function is usually pretty good about picking up a reasonable range of variants if you set the filter correctly, but still may not be exhaustive. Also, this means, especially in the case of Randolph, that you will get a long list of Randolphs of which only a few, if any, relate to our Fitz Randolph line.

The objective

Ensuring that descendants of Edward Fitz Randolph who bear a variant of the Fitz Randolph surname are identified as Fitz Randolphs, e.g.

  • they show up in a list when doing a search for Fitz Randolphs
  • there is some indication on the profile page that the current surname is a variant of Fitz Randolph

Possible strategies

  • Adding a Surname Note to the profile that (1) identifies the person as a Fitz Randolph, (2) describes what surname was used in the family, noting evidence for any variations used or changes in practice over the person's life, (3) recommending the surname to be used for the profile. This approach has been used in a number of profiles including Edward's.

Suggested template:

Surname note (as a second level heading) In this Fitz Randolph family, Fitz appears to have been used by all family members as part of their surname: the Oris H.F. Randolph genealogy (referenced below) assumes this to be the case when listing the children in both the family in which Jonathan is a child and the one in which he is the father. The current consensus is therefore to use the surname Fitz Randolph. The names used in legal documents and when births were recorded included: (list examples) Please don't hesitate to contact the profile manager if you think this decision should be reviewed!

  • Using Wikitree tags. [I am not clear about how this works and what the pros/cons would be]
  • Other suggestions??

Challenge 2. Tracking Fitz Randolph women with married names, and their descendants

The problem

Women born as Fitz Randolph who marry typically take on their husband's surname. Wikitree still displays their maiden name and these married women will show up when searching on the Fitz Randolph name. Their children and further descendants will no longer have any trace of the Fitz Randolph name, so become difficult to identify as Fitz Randolph descendants. Oris H. F. Randolph acknowledged this issue in his genealogy and made a special effort to identify certain female descendant lines.

The objective

Make it possible to identify all descendants of Edward Fitz Randolph, even those who have lost the Fitz Randolph surname (or variant thereof).

Possible strategies

  • Using Wikitree tags. [I am not clear about how this works and what the pros/cons would be]
  • Other suggestions??

Challenge 3. Improving communication among Fitz Randolph family researchers

The problem

Wikitree has the advantage of identifying and facilitating contact with the 'manager' of existing Fitz Randolph profiles, which is one way to identify and reach out to someone doing research on a Fitz Randolph line of interest. Other people interested in the Fitz Randolphs may be named in related exchanges in the G2G pages. There may be other Fitz Randolph researchers who are less engaged and don't show up as easily.

The objective

How can we identify Fitz Randolph researchers as a 'community of practice'?

Possible strategies

  • Use these Fitz Randolph One Name Study pages. The various pages for this Fitz Randolph One Name Study maintain membership lists so that people can self-identify as interested in Fitz Randolph research. We can expect these lists to include mainly 'hard-core' researchers, so may miss many family researchers who are interested but not confident or willing to declare themselves as dedicated to Fitz Randolph research. Perhaps we establish another page in this One Name Study entitled 'Fitz Randolph family researchers' where people list there interests?
  • Use other sites. We could point people to other sites where they might feel more comfortable interacting, e.g. the Fitz Randolph Facebook pages. Which would be appropriate?

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