In doing web indexing of DR Congo 1984 Census records, I often see that the surname of the "head of
"head of household" is in the "surname" position (i.e. precedes the given name, separated by a hyphen. Then, listed below the head of household are the children of the head of household, but what appeared to be the head of household's surname is now in the "given name" position for multiple children. Project instructions say: "Don't assume a surname from others in the record." My question: Is the best way, then, to type both names on the "given name" space, as project instructions would appear to direct me?
For the best answer, please share the Batch Code for your batch. Someone might be able to help you decipher what you're seeing by examining your batch. The Batch Code is the combination of letters and numbers beginning with M at the end of the batch name. Looks like MXXX-XXX.
However, as you noted, if you cannot determine which components of a name on a record belong in the Given Names field and which should be in the Surname field, then yes, index the full name, exactly as written in the Given Names field. That is what your Project Instructions and the General Indexing Guidelines both direct you to do.1
Thank you, John Empoliti, for the above response. The batch in question is [Partie A] [M95Z-MLH]0
You're welcome @JexRodneyMichael1
I don't work on these records and really can't give you authoritative advice on dealing with these names. I hope that someone with experience in these records will weigh in.
I see that naming conventions in the Congo are complicated. There can be up to three components, not just two.
"In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it is common for individuals to possess three separate names: a first name (prénom) and surname (nom) as well as a post-surname (postnom)."
But, back to your point, I believe I remember seeing recent comments on another African project by someone who lived there for a few years, indicating that it was a "sometimes" practice to use the father's surname as the given name of his child. If so, then this is not so unusual. I wish I could find that conversation. If you're out there, please weigh in on this question. And that seems to be what's happening here:
If you're not sure, you can always fall back on the advice given in the Field Help for Given Names that we've already discussed and index it as written in the GN field and Ctrl+B the SN field:
The surname was generally written first, but the given names may be written before the surname. Be sure to type the names in the correct fields in the data entry area. If you cannot determine if a name is a given name or a surname, type it in this field.
That's really all I have to contribute. Good luck.2
I remembered the conversation and location where the father’s last name was used for the children’s and wife’s first name. The comment by @LarryClark43 was about Papua, New Guinea 10K miles from the Congo. Butthe question was about Sierra Leone, West Africa, only 2.6 K miles away where the questioner observed a naming convention similar to your batch’s, and to what Larry experienced in Papua.
I think the same advice applies (see the link below). You can type what you see, assigning the first-written name the SN and the second-written name as the GN because it might be the custom and follows the Indexing Example. Or, if you’re uncomfortable with that, then index the full name, as written, in the GN field and Ctrl+B the SN field.
Below is the link and the question is about a situation like yours but regarding Sierra Leone.2
Thank you, John Empoliti, for your research on the question I have raised. Occasionally I have seen three names entered on the census sheets I am indexing, however, mostly there are two names for each individual handwritten by the census taker. As you have stated, typing the two (or three) names in the "given name" field certainly follows the project instructions.
The conversation has been helpful!
You’re welcome, JexRodneyMichael.0