Since the birth name is supposed to go in the first name place why do people put the same name in the alternate place? Shouldn't we put nicknames, goes by, and names of people who were adopted and actually have a different birth name there?
If the alternate name input is not a variant - I don't know that the Search parameter does anything. Yes - the spelling or the 'complete' name should vary for it to be an alternate.
I think alternate name searching is most helpful for female maiden/married name searches - in this case there typically is an alternate. If searching from the details view of person pages - alternate name from 'other information' is defaulted into search parameters (or at least it was a couple weeks ago).
Yes adding an alternate name in 'other information' should vary and the appropriate type of alternate selected. If birth name changed (somewhat rare except in situations you sited) I guess that's why it is an option there...1
You are correct. But sometimes when a new research hint becomes available the source link may try to add the birth name as an alternate name. If you find the birth name listed as an alternate name you can delete that.
Hopefully that will help.
Thank you for contacting FamilySearch. Best wishes as you continue finding records for your family.1
I think you should leave the birth name in the alternate Birth Name field. If the main PID name is changed by someone then you still have the birth name entered somewhere.1
I delete the alternate if it is not actually an alternate name. I ignore minor spelling differences: Family Search handles them well, based in part on correspondence between curated names on Family Tree and deviant spellings on Historical Records. So entering Snith as an alternate of Smith is counterproductive.
Often the alternate birth name is useful for language localization of emigrant names. Johann Schmidt in German becomes John Smith in English or Juan Forjador in Spanish. If those variations are found in the historical records of that person, they belong in the alternate names field.0
To Ryan’s point, Users do not universally keep the birth name in the PID profile name field despite the general rule that it should be the birth name and you never know when they might change it. Some will put in the common known by name used by the person during his life or during the time frame they knew them. In the case of adoption or legal name change that PID profile name will not reflect the birth name. I see no real harm in leaving the birth name in the Birth Name field under Other Information.0
If historical records are attached that have name X, the PID remains findable even if X no longer appears on the profile.0
This article from the Help Center might be beneficial.0
Here are two more thoughts:
- The Alternate Name option is tricky to find! Many do not know about it, so leaving a name in there may trigger some to learn about this option.
- Often when merging, the alternate name may be pulled over, even if it is the same name.
I use to remove the alternate name if it was the same, but then realised it may be a quick way for people to see it's an option. Or I look at the names given in sources and edit the same name to an actual alternate.
Just some ideas!!1