Please look at 005491549_00798 Batch ID M386-5lQ Zwa Zulu records and tell me if the two names given for the child are to be indexed as the given name? There is no way to determine if the second name is the surname. Please advise. Thanks.
I tried to open the batch with the code you listed but for some reason it would not open.
You can always follow the general guideline that states:
• If you cannot determine whether a name is a given name or a surname, type it in the Given Names field.
Determining a surname is tricky since there is rarely even a specific field for it on the South African forms.
Follow the Indexing rule: If you cannot determine whether a name is a given name or a surname, type it in the Given Names field.
Some indications where you can leave second/last name as surname in Reviewing:
Ultimately, what we enter here is just a guide to help direct people find further information on their ancestors. I think those of Indian descent who have native names themselves or in their lineage are well aware of the problems that occur when trying to fill out these standardized forms, and will adjust their searches accordingly.
And no, I am not of Indian descent, but as a child had neighbors that were. Their children used American first names until they were in junior high because they thought they would be too hard to pronounce and it would help them to fit in.
Brief history: These records apply to the Indians who were brought over from India (a British colony) as indentured laborers for the British and Bores in South Africa, as well as later Indian migrants (passengers) during the late 1800s and early 1900s, plus their descendants.
As a general rule with Indian cultural names during this time, their naming practices do not follow first/middle/last name. On many of the records only one name will be recorded (and it should be entered into the Given name field. Since I have been working on this particular project for some time now, I have become familiar with some of the last names, and in this example, Pillay is a last name. Sometimes the word "surname" will be printed on this type of Birth form which makes it obvious, but it is rarely used. Othertimes, they will put the "middle" or "surnames" below the "first" name. This is not always true, however, depending on the length of the first name.
Additional tips for these records:
Let me know if you have any more questions about the KwaZulu Natal records.
Thanks so much. I have been indexing multiple names as a given name, but in reviewing I see that some indexers have not done that. In reviewing should I change the surname and add it to the given name?
Easy answer: "If you cannot determine if a name is a given name or a surname, type it in this field."
I am not of Indian heritage. I had a childhood playmate whose parents immigrated to the US from India. She and her brother used American first names until they were in junior high to fit into the system.
I wasn't able to find any "simple" explanation of how names are given. Variations can come from region, religion, etc. What I did find I've indicated in the tips.
Often the given name, any secondary names, and surname are put on separate lines as shown in the example below from a marriage license registration form.
The second entry for the female [F] has 4 names in total. The first 3 would be entered as "Given" name, and the last line, "Singh" would be the surname. For the male, "Nanhoo" could be his second name or his surname. Since we, as indexers, are not supposed to assume or guess it should technically be entered as part of the given name.
If a parent/spouse is listed on the same form (sometimes in a note for consent on marriage forms) and has the same second name (of a two-name), then that second name would be considered the surname.
Common Indian surnames: Gounden, Govender, Moodley, Mudaly, Naidoo, Naik, Naiker, Sing, Singh; [Female only]: Bee, Bi or BiBi
Here is an example of the multi-line format I mentioned from a marriage registration:
The groom [M] has 2 names on two lines.
Given Name: Udithpersadh
Surname: Nanhoo (Normally would be considered a secondary name, but has period after it indicating end of name.)
The bride [F] has 4 name on three lines.
Given Name: Lilawathee Harrirum Ramchuran
Surname: Singh (Has period after it indicating end of name. This surname* has appeared in many batches.)
*Note: Names are indexed according to the information entered on the forms provided in this project: South Africa, KwaZulu Natal—Vital Records, 1868–1976, and reflect what in English is known as "Given" and "Surname." Due to lack of name field differentiation on the forms, the names may not be accurate in the Indian culture.