add nickname in quotes to an individual's vitals "name"
FS's "name" is so official that it loses a great deal of personality for the common user. The addition of a nickname in the name field of vitals would add much personality to the individuals in the database.
I realize the "also known as" is available in the other info but it is seldom noticed since it's further down on the page and doesn't receive the attention and warmth that a nickname would be if the nickname were in the person's vital "name" which everyone sees immediately and focus' on.
A nickname (or also known as) in the name would create a warmth and individuality for the person who in the database. Rather than a cold phone book-type listing, the name would immediately gender a story and personality about the person.
Technically this name reflects the "birth" name of the person, but many individuals used other names throughout their lifetimes that the "birth" name is almost a foreign person. We already modify that original name with pre-fixes and suffixes which often didn't exist when the child was born (Dr, Lt, III, etc)
The idea is to create a nickname using quote marks soas to separate it from the given name. Thus when temple cards would be generated, the name on the cards would exclude anything in the quote marks soas to keep the name more like the original.
The nickname could be an actual nickname, or the name most often used throughout the individual's lifetime.... thus a person known as John Foster Allen Jones who went by Glen would have "Glen" in quote marks... or if Foster was the most commonly used name, then "Foster" would also be in quote marks.
My own father spelled his name differently from his birth certificate and was very surprised when I pointed it out later in his life. So I think we need to be sensitive to the fact that each person in FS is an individual with their own personalities and the more we can do to highlight that, the more personal the database becomes.
Thanks for your kindness in considering this change.
One post has been edited to remove personally identifiable information.0
The use of the Name field has been discussed many times. Regarding nicknames, my implementation of choice would be to read the first name of the Nickname field, put it in quotes and append it to the Name-First Names data when displaying the name. If one can actually see the nickname in the Name field, it should not be editable there. The user must make changes in the Alternate Name-Nickname field.0
Paul W ✭✭✭✭✭
This would cause problems in regard to the search algorithm finding records / sources and possible duplicates of the individual concerned. So, it might look better in your eyes, but it certainly would not help in finding further details relating to that person.
The current practice of adding the nickname (or other "aka") as an Alternate Name proves far more useful to other users / researchers - as well as yourself - in helping find further data.4
Nowadays people have "official" names that are used for important documents. In the past, people used many variations on their names. Sometimes their name was written several different ways in the same document. Nicknames were important. "Catharine Maria Witte" might be entered as "Trin Witte", "Cath Mar Witte", "Marie Catarina Witte", ...
I can't search on an exact name. For these time periods, it is helpful to have the nickname included with the "official" name. It doesn't hurt the search algorithm, but it is much easier to see that there is another variation that may be found.0
Gordon Collett ✭✭✭✭✭
Every alternate name is used by the search engine and the search engine generally does pretty good picking up minor variations in names. So if the Name field is kept clean by having just one name, not two or more names smashed together as had to be done with paper forms that had only one name line, and every significant name the person used listed separately as alternate names, whether that is one additional name or twenty, the search engine will use every single name in finding hints and duplicates.
The alternate names are right there under the Vital section and not that hard to see:
Using the alternate names, it is also easier to put in an explanation in the reason statement of where that particular name came from and when the person used it.4
WikiTree concocts the displayed name out of the various fields that people fill out. This results in utter nonsense any time a person's names don't map exactly to modern American concepts. (For example, if I try to use the dratted middle name field for the one person in my entire family who actually used a middle name, it results in his name being displayed as Csaba Csaba Palotay.) I am therefore pretty vehemently opposed to any scheme that assembles a displayed name out of various separate fields. There are just too many ways for it to go wrong.
As others have pointed out, FS's search algorithms use every name field, and the Other Information section is really not that far away from the Vitals box. While I would not be averse to the Vitals and Other boxes being combined, I don't think special treatment of nicknames has any real utility.1
I know about the alternate names, and use them. But you have to remember to scroll down on the screen to see them. I find it helpful to see 'Catharine "Trin" Witte' as a name. That's not cluttered. It's informative.
The search algorithms are lousy with name variations. Or maybe they can't handle German names when working in English. I've added lots of alternate names to people because the algorithms don't know that "Elsabein" & "Ilsabein" are the same. Or that "Jürgen" & "Gürgen" are the same. Or that the names of women and children in a time period were often written in the possessive, turning "Witte" to "Witten".0
I would like to see all of the name fields grouped. In my mind, the distance between Name and Alternate Name may result in cognitive uncoupling.0
A few days ago, I saw an atrocity created because someone thought it would be a good idea to use the given name field to include such terms as "husband of Mary Smith" or "born in Yorkshire" to differentiate between people with similar names. I spent a lot of time cleaning up that mess.
It's possible to do a lot of things, but it's usually a bad idea for specific reasons. And those reasons are outlined as best practices or usage guidelines.1