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Germany Project Name Field Guidelines (Nobility and Medieval)

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Surnames/tags: Germany german_roots name_fields
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WIkiTree Guidance on Name Fields
Go to: Germany Project Name Field Guidelines


Name Field Guidelines


Although the prefix field is appropriate for modern titles, it is not used with aristocratic titles. Do not use this field for titles of nobility. Titles should go into the Other Nicknames field.

Proper First Name

Required field

Preferred First Name

Usually same as Proper first name

Middle Name

Never used

Other Nicknames

Lands held/residences should be noted in the biography and do not belong in the Other Nicknames field. Descriptors such as "of such-and-such a place" do NOT usually belong here, but there are certain exceptions that should be discussed in the profile comments or on G2G.
The Other Nicknames field is commonly used for Titles of Nobility that represent what people were called during their lifetime. Titles should also be set out in the text of the biography. If in doubt, ask in a profile comment or on G2G (with the tag Germany).
Help: Name Fields for European Aristocrats
Names of Nobles
Wikipedia: German Nobility
Wikipedia German Nobility: Titles and Ranks

Last Name at Birth

The Last Name at Birth (LNAB) is the last name a person was born with, in their native language. For the Middle Ages we have two issues, one for noble families, one for commoners.
Nobles: In the Early Middle Ages people outside Rome went by one name only. We identify those people by house names: Carolingians, Ottonen, Agilolfinger etc. Women marrying into these families did not necessarily become members of these lineages. In fact, since marriages at that time among nobility were eminently political it made more sense to highlight the woman's family connections since they were supposed to enhance one's own standing and let everybody else know what support one could fall back on. Even in death that did often not change, numerous epitaphs for women buried next to their husbands still list their family name. Somebody marrying into the Carolingians, therefore, should not become a Carolingian but retain her own house name. See this page for a list of proper spellings to use for certain German "house" names. In later times, after 1200, people started to more or less consistently use a family name.
Commoners: About the 16th century, when early church books, land registries and seigniorial registers start, many people went by only one name and were further identified in various records by their profession, parentage or origin. What LNAB should we use for somebody whose only documented name in the village of ABC is Hans der Schmied aus XYZ? This is a question that should be asked on G2G before creating the profile.
Also, before about 1600, the common "von" or "der" before a surname does NOT go in the LNAB field; it belongs with the surname in the Current Last Name field while the surname, ONE word, goes in the LNAB.
Example: Last name at birth: "Hindenburg", Current Last Name: "von Hindenburg".

Current Last Name

Usually this will be the same as LNAB. Women will often be known by their own house name (see above). Documentary proof that women went by their husband's name should always be included, as it was not the norm for a woman to change her name at marriage. Also see guidance HERE.

Other Last Names

Variations on spelling of LNAB go here as well as any other names the person was known by.


This field is generally not used.


  • Detailed History of German Names: Eng. and Deu.

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