* Surname changes

Questions regarding use of any Version of Family Historian. Please ensure you have set your Version of Family Historian in your Profile
Post Reply
avatar
MLawrence
Gold
Posts: 16
Joined: 08 Aug 2012 17:28
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Plymouth, Devon, UK.

Surname changes

Post by MLawrence » 09 Nov 2019 17:22

Hi
I'm looking for advice on the best way to record/document changes in surnames in Family Historian v6, other than on marriage. Also should the individual be listed with the surname of the father, the surname registered at birth, the surname noted in the baptism or the surname from one of the census years?
Several of my ancestors start life with one surname, change it on some census years, change it back again on others and even combine the two at times.
I believe this stems from one particular ancestor, Thomas b 1775, who started life as an illegitimate son with the surname Stevens. He then changed his surname to Ross, possibly when his mother married a man with the surname Ross, who may or may not have been his biological father.
John, son of Thomas, was baptised as John Ross, married under the surname Stevens, death registered as John Ross alias Stevens, 1841,1851 census - Ross, after his death his wife in 1861 as Stevens.
James, also a son of Thomas, was baptised "Stevens otherwise Ross"
Richard, son of Thomas, kept the name Ross throughout his life, but Thomas was noted on his marriage certificate as Thomas Stevens Ross.
Enoch, son of John, married under the surname of Stevens and John was noted as John Stevens, he became Ross in 1841, 1851 census and then Stevens for the remainder of his life. His children from 2 marriages were all named under the surname Stevens.
Levi, son of John, baptised as Ross, married as Levi Stevens Ross with father listed as John Stevens, listed in census years as Ross. His children kept the surname Ross.
..... and so this continued for other children/descendents of Thomas.

Any advice would be very gratefully received.
Kind regards,
Margaret

User avatar
AdrianBruce
Megastar
Posts: 875
Joined: 09 Aug 2003 21:02
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: South Cheshire
Contact:

Re: Surname changes

Post by AdrianBruce » 09 Nov 2019 20:51

There's a page Knowledge Base > How to Handle People With Multiple Names which will give you all sorts of ideas to think about.

The usual idea is to record someone under their birth-name with Alternate Names for the others. The article recommends also using specific attributes for the other names - these are recorded in (new) custom attributes that you can download as per instructions on the page. This is especially useful if a date can be associated with the alternate name and so recorded in that custom attribute. As I understand it, if you use a custom attribute for the secondary name, you need to record it twice - once as an Alternate Name and once in the custom attribute. (I'm a bit vague on this because I've never used that download myself - I always create my own custom attributes).

If the birth-name is only used once and once only, I would sympathize with making the later name the primary name.

For instance, "Levi Stevens Ross", I would put the primary name as "Levi Ross", an alternate name of "Levi Stevens Ross" and a dated Married Name attribute (I know, Married Names are usually used for women!) with the value (name) of "Levi Stevens Ross", dated at the time of marriage.

Does this make sense?
Adrian

User avatar
tatewise
Megastar
Posts: 16882
Joined: 25 May 2010 11:00
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Torbay, Devon, UK
Contact:

Re: Surname changes

Post by tatewise » 09 Nov 2019 21:34

Yes, the conventional norm is to record the birth name as the Primary Name.
Any significantly different names are recorded as Alternate Names and optionally with custom attributes where the Date &/or Place of change is known.
Relatively insignificant different names, as often occur in Census records, can simply be recorded in the Source Citation and assumed to be mistakes on the part of the enumerator.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

avatar
MLawrence
Gold
Posts: 16
Joined: 08 Aug 2012 17:28
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Plymouth, Devon, UK.

Re: Surname changes

Post by MLawrence » 11 Nov 2019 12:16

Many thanks to both Adrian and Mike for their advice, which is greatly appreciated. I've already added the alternate names in the Main tab for Individuals, as per the knowledge base article.
I like the idea of custom fields with dates when changes are noticed, e.g. census years/marriage date etc. I just need to figure out how to make the population of these fields easy/automatic, preferably from within Ancestral Sources, so that they appear in the list in the Facts tab, as per Occupation, Residence etc.

Kind regards
Margaret

User avatar
tatewise
Megastar
Posts: 16882
Joined: 25 May 2010 11:00
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Torbay, Devon, UK
Contact:

Re: Surname changes

Post by tatewise » 11 Nov 2019 15:15

For Census and Marriage events I suggest using the standard dated Events and AS.
Then the different Name is recorded in the Source details, and each associated Citation can be copied to the Alternate Name field.
If necessary, any extra clarification can be added to a Note field for the Event, Citation, or Source record.

To add specific custom events, start with the Fact Set mentioned in the Knowledge Base article.
However, they are not supported by AS so need entering by hand.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

avatar
MLawrence
Gold
Posts: 16
Joined: 08 Aug 2012 17:28
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Plymouth, Devon, UK.

Re: Surname changes

Post by MLawrence » 11 Nov 2019 19:02

Hi Mike
When you say the different NAME is recorded in the Source details, where are you referring? Is this the modification of auto text within Ancestral Sources or in the Sources section in the properties box for the associated Fact in the Individuals record, or somewhere else?

Kind regards
Margaret

User avatar
tatewise
Megastar
Posts: 16882
Joined: 25 May 2010 11:00
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Torbay, Devon, UK
Contact:

Re: Surname changes

Post by tatewise » 11 Nov 2019 22:13

Margaret, it depends on exactly what method of Source Citations you employ.
It is wherever you record the literal transcript of the source document.

If for example you have a Source record per Census household, then the Ancestral Sources auto-text should hold that literal transcript and become saved in the Source record Text From Source field, which would therefore include each person's name as recorded on the Census page and reiterated in the Census image of that page attached to the Media tab of the same Source record.

A similar example would apply to names on a Marriage Certificate.

Those documents are the proof that those names were used, but you should take into account that most Census records were written by enumerators based on what the household resident's said, who were often illiterate so would not know what was written, and whose names and nicknames changed with usage rather being their formally recorded names on their Birth Certificate.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

avatar
MLawrence
Gold
Posts: 16
Joined: 08 Aug 2012 17:28
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Plymouth, Devon, UK.

Re: Surname changes

Post by MLawrence » 13 Nov 2019 22:37

Thank you.
Kind regards
Margaret

Post Reply