What are the preferred options to put in the last name
The policy as I understand at: https://www.familysearch.org/en/help/helpcenter/article/how-to-enter-names-in-family-tree is that if you don't have a last name, is to leave it blank.
However, I see folks putting all kinds of alternate data in this field. Is there any guidance else where which spells out what is preferred alternate data and which has highest priority?
Right now I am butting heads with folks, that keep changing what I put in.
I find that having just a first name only, result in great difficulty finding folks. And the multiplicity of options entered by folks also makes it difficult to search.
Now, my method is to put in the last name field " son or daughter of Parent name". I have used this method for a year now in a certain area of FSFT with no arguments with anyone. I have now moved to a different area and am now getting the field "corrected" by others into something else.
My approach spins off this: https://www.familysearch.org/en/help/helpcenter/article/how-to-enter-scandinavian-names-into-family-tree and the "Joseph" "son of Jacob" method used in the Bible.
I'd love advice on what is preferred if something is put in the last name field. And what would it take to get FS to update the first above article to show suggestions in a preference order.
If you search on : "Salome" you will not find her, whereas, if you search "Salome" "daughter of Antipater" you will find her. If you search on last name only: "of Antipater", the search pulls up all his children. (this is area I worked on the last year)
Now, the new area I have been trying to do the same method, is "Charles Martel". The patrons there refuse to allow me to enter "of Charles Martel" as a last name for any of his children. As such, I can't find them in a search. These folks either leave last name blank, or plug in "Title of place" or "of place". They refuse to put titles in the Title field, but in last name or suffix field. All this is problematic in that if folks can't find these folks, then they make duplicates, over and over again.
So, bottom line, can a policy be set and what do the folks here think are best options for last name field in absence of a last name, that I can submit in a request? Does my suggestion make the best sense?
Best regards, LeEric Marvin0
The FS policy at: https://www.familysearch.org/en/help/helpcenter/article/how-to-enter-names-in-family-tree states that when last name is not known, to leave that field blank.
It seems thou, that folks are putting various things in the Last Name field. And those and/or blank last name is NOT conducive of finding folks. Which, then results in patrons making many duplicates over and over again.
I am also guilty of putting things in the last name field to help searches and identity of persons. The method I use is a spinoff of: https://www.familysearch.org/en/help/helpcenter/article/how-to-enter-scandinavian-names-into-family-tree and how Biblical lines are done with: “Joseph” “son of Jacob”.
If you search for “Salome” as first name, you can’t find the “Salome” of interest. But search on “Salome” ”daughter of Antipater” and she shows up. Search via the last name field only with “of Antipater” and all his children show up. The search results are stunning.
I have spent the last year doing the above method in a particular area of FS and have had no complaints. But I just moved to a new area of interest and the folks there keep changing my entry’s back to blank, or “Title of place” or “of place”. Or if left blank, they may also put the above in the suffix field. And for some reason these folks aren’t putting Titles in the Titles field, but in last or suffix fields, any ideas why?
Try searching for “Charles Martel”. See what awful results you get. I had gone through his whole family adding “son of Charles Martel” and “daughter of Martel” to all his kids as last name and can search on “of Charles Martel” and it pulls up all his family. But then everyone there deletes and restores back to “blank” or other varied named fields and then the searches are failure.
If some policy stated that the first prefer alternate Last Name is “son/dau of parent”. And if everyone was educated and solidified around that, the end result would be much better searches, both for human and the FS system which seeks duplicates. And a lot less duplicates being make because folks can otherwise find stuff.
Also, I discovered that if you enter an alternate name for the person in same format for several of the languages most likely to search, that they get very successful search results too. For some reason again, many folks delete my efforts there as well. Oh, there is a check box on the search page to have the search include “Alternate names”.
I seek input about what is preferred here and if policy is written somewhere other than the above, that I linked too.
And then who/how to contact FS to make some minor adjustments to policy that would help immensely. Does anyone here see any of my points/ideas problematic in any way? This doesn’t involve any adjustments to the system. Just a few words of change to data entry polices.
Best regards, LeEric Marvin0
Good morning, @LeEric S. Marvin
You might try submitting your suggestion to the Suggest An Idea section - https://community.familysearch.org/en/categories/suggest-an-idea0
Paul W ✭✭✭✭✭
The generally accepted "rule" is to leave an unknown name blank in the Vitals, but (in Family Tree) to add names that might be of help in a search as Alternate Names, in the Other Information section.
I have seen advice on some websites to add the husband's surname if you don't know the wife's maiden name, but most users (like me) prefer to leave the name blank - hence why you are experiencing having your inputs removed.
How to add Birth names to the Vitals section has always brought about debate - even for men. For instance, do you enter the name they were christened or registered by (even these can vary), or the one they were known by throughout most of the rest of their life?
So, no hard-and-fast rule - but just be prepared for some regular editing of your inputs!2
Thank you Áine Ni Donnghaile I have submitted as an new idea.
Paul, I have tried to put a copy in as English and several other languages as an alternative. But folks delete them, they apparently think it is superfluous. Maybe if they was a spot I could refer folks to, a policy document that states the above is Preferred.
So, if a record can be made with just a first name and then a bunch of alternate names with all the languages and combinations folks think it should be search by, then the primary fields shouldn't have anything else but the first name. This might keep the primary fields from being switched from one language to another as well, all the time. If this is preferred by the FS department, could they just please spell it out in some policy document that we can share/point folks too, so as to get us all on the same sheet of music. Maybe flash it on the website splash screen to bring to everyone's attention.1
I submitted a "Suggest an idea" on the 10th of Jan. How long can I expect before I hear back that someone has looked into my new idea or not?0