What name to use for my ancestor?

Started by Marvin Caulk, (C) on Thursday, November 24, 2011


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11/24/2011 at 2:23 PM

As a standard, untill we get the original lists linked to actual profiles, the following applies within this project.

As an example I am using my own 8th great grandfather, Oliver Caulk. His profile is at http://www.geni.com/people/Olle-Matthiasson-Olof-Isgr%C3%A5-Oliver-...

I have used the name as he was known in New Sweden as the Profile name (Oliver Caulk).

He had an original name, Olle Matthiasson and a militay name Olof Isgrå. Both these are listed as "Also Known as" or Nicknames.

In the Display name I have Used "Olle Matthiasson // Olof Isgrå // Oliver Caulk " (we will not go into farm names right now because most are not known and is to hard to work with right now)

You will find that this way of naming is searchable, and it will show other how a name may have changed.

This rule can be changed later, if needed, after we have match the names on the lists with actual profiles.

Please do not confuse this with formal Naming Conventions. This is a temporary measure needed for this project to help in finding the correct profiles.

11/24/2011 at 6:28 PM

Private User

I need you to take a look at my temporary solution above an then look at http://www.geni.com/people/P%C3%A5l-J%C3%B6nsson-Mullica/6000000002...

Forget the fact that it does not match the wxample above. What I'm looking at is the the name "Mullica". In the history, one of the people put it down as a birth name but I assume it was a farm name.

First is it a farm name.?

2nd, using the example above (he did not have a military name)

I would say the display would be

Pal Jonsson // Pål Jönsson Mullica

also, what is the latest discussion on Scandinavian names?

Private User
11/25/2011 at 1:40 AM

Scandinavian names are usually normalized, like using å instead of aa which you often find in sources, even if the letter å was officially introduced in for example Norway first in 1912. I am not from Sweden, so I cannot answer for them, but the letter å does not exist in their primary alphabet...

When it comes to using farm names or not as the last name is a thing people never agree on. My only guideline on that is as my most important guideline: Never fabricate facts. If you don't have sources on that person where the farm name was bound to the name you should only use the patronym, - even if later generations did start using the farm name as their surname, - but mostly when they had moved from the farm like we see in other countries where they use "de xxx", "von yyy" to tell their origin.

Private User
11/25/2011 at 2:46 AM

Looking at the name, Pål Mullica came from Finland. Mullica probably is a surname derived from Finnish "Mullikka", a kind of young bull. I'm not convinced it's a farm name. I seldom see farm names in church records as surnames, especially in older books, even if some users like putting them in the profiles.
There are some areas in Finland, e.g Ostrobothnia, that seemed to have used farm names at later stage. But I'm not sure, that area gives me headaches....

Private User
11/25/2011 at 2:51 AM

Åå, Ää and Öö have been in use in Finnish church books since 1600 onwards. "Jöran" was a very common name. I would bet that for Sweden too as the Finnish church was forced upon us forest-Finns by Sweden around 1400...

11/25/2011 at 2:54 AM

At first Olle is a nickname for boys in Sweden baptised as Olof. The boy that were batised was Matthias son and therby he had that namn when i left Sweden + the soldier name. All soldiers and boatsmen were given a "soldiername". This soldiers name where connected to the cottage or farm. So when one soldier finished or changed his settlement to another farm he migth get a new soldier name. And the new soldier at that cottage got the soldiername connected to that cottage. Notable is that the soldiername was not the same as on the cottage or the farm.

Olof Matthiasson were given the name Isgrå and it seems to be a name strongly connected to his apperance. So he kept it. And it was not connected to any farmor cottage anywhere. A 'von' or 'de' or 'af' would therefore never be actual.

Bjørn: I don't know what you mean with "primary alphabet". å, ä and ö is what all swedish children learn at school. In the 1500-1700:s we used the umlauts or signs for umlauts as o or e written above a and o. In DK and N they use aa, æ and ø. Up til now Germany have used ü and changed into ue instead of y.

I do agree with you we ougth to the farmnames are not names on the persons. It's just an explanation that a person came from a specific place. But of course we do accept Leonardi da Vinci, which is only an explanation that Leonardi came from Venice. The noble people in Sweden, if they had the same family name they often differed each other from each other by telling/writing 'af Säby" or 'af Johannishus'.

To find a Olle Matthisson in swedish sources will be hard as it is a nickname. More correct i is Olof M. and the Isgrå part differs him from all other Olof Matthissons. It would be good if possible to find sources from the embarking the ship to America.

As for Pal Jonsson there is no name in Sweden ever Pal. Jonsson can be both as it is Jonsson or Jönsson. What Mullica is I don't know at all. It migth be a village or a farm or a title (Mjölnare).

11/25/2011 at 4:55 AM

So, use the name in the source and don't make up facts. If the source you have spells it one way, don't assume it is really spelled another unless you have a good source.

As always, spelling rules cahnge from time period to time period and what area a person was from so assume nothing.

Did I miss any points?

Private User
11/25/2011 at 5:29 AM

Agneta, - sorry, I wondered myself when I wrote that , - it is of course æ and ø you don't use, but have ä and ö instead which almost sounds the same.

Marvin: In Scandinavian genealogy you don't focus so much on the spelling because there did not exist any norm for that, so the priest, - depending on their own origin, just tried to write down the name as it sounded like. This is why we allow us to normalize the names to use "modern" spelling which makes us of today to pronounce the name in the way we read it, which includes the "modern" characters æäæöøå.

As Agneta tells, you do not however use the US method on just removing the accent because Pal sounds totally different from Pål and is not even a name. You would either write it as Pål or Paal.

If you have a place name mentioned in a source I often put it in the suffix, like the above 'af Säby" or 'af Johannishus'.

Private User
11/25/2011 at 5:57 AM

Now is the question Do we want to find the family in Scandinavia where the person is coming from?
If we want to find them and connect the nets, the names shoed be normalize the Scandinavian way
If it is of no interest to find the correct families then we use the US method
It will be a problem to find a good source for the correct name
Becource of the history the names have been written down by the Dutch and then the English
Ex. Marcus Laurenson on the Ships List there is a Markus Larsson, if Laurenson = Larsson then the is same person

Private User
11/25/2011 at 6:29 AM

Please take a look at the links/sources for this Wiki-article - there are several good overview for Swedish and Norwegian names.

Please also always use the Scandinavian/original language spelling (typically in normalized form as mentioned above): if you do not have the Nordic letters on your keyboard, find the characters (for ex on Wikipedia) and copy-paste to get it right.

Ææ Øø Åå Ää Öö

Private User
11/25/2011 at 6:29 AM
11/25/2011 at 7:45 AM

Private User

Yes of course we want to find the Swedish/Finish/German roots but we also need to find any thing writen in English.

As you see in the example above, I have put 3 names into the "also known as" these are searchable on Geni. I have also put the English spelling and another known spelling in the Display name. By doing so, it would be easy enough to copy and past any of the known spellings into a search engine.

As you state "Markus Larsson, if Laurenson = Larsson "

in this case if "Markus Larsson" is his name "Markus Laurenson" would be a "also known as" and could also appear in the display name as

"Markus Larsson // Markus Laurenson"

If I understand Pal Jonsson correctly He would end up with AKO of

Pal Jonsson // Pål Jönsson // Paal Jönsson

As you can see that would give everyone the possible spellings of the name without changing the name that we have a hard souce for- Pal Jonsson that would be the name in the profile the rest neing AKO and in the display.

I'm not trying to make it harder to search for the person, I'm trying to make it easier by having the names in clear text in the display so people can see at a glance that the name has more the one possible spelling.

As of now the only source we have for the people is an English Spelling (or mispelling) so we have to keep that to make sure that we still can connect it to the list- then add the others as "the correct" spelling so it can be understood on both sides of the atlantic. Once we, hopefully, cross to the european side of the atlantic to thier parents it no longer is a problem
because then only swiss/finish/german spellings will apply.

11/25/2011 at 7:54 AM

Private User

Thanks. but I think there was a discssion that made that obsolete because of the use of the middle name as the patronymic as it would clash with users who do not know the farm name and therefore would use the patronymic as the last name. Also, it would put what these people were using as a last name into the midle name feild that would cause some very bad results if they were merged.

Do you know were the newer discussion is?

11/25/2011 at 7:55 AM

PS I f I recall right, they were putting the farm name as the birth name

11/25/2011 at 8:11 AM

Now this is why you should not change the original list. Befor the list was changed he was "Paul Jonsson" and that makes him

Paul Jonsson // Pål Jönsson // Paal Jönsson and that make more sense (at least to me)

Please do not cahnge the Original document. Change the profile or the about to reflect information that is not correct in the original document.

Private User
11/25/2011 at 8:16 AM

Marv, - what we need in Geni is an alternate name section where we can add multiple names, their classification and optionally any dates and sources attached to it.

This is a snapshot of a desktop tool for Geni I am working on which also will be used as an example on how Geni should do it:

11/25/2011 at 8:32 AM

One thing that make teh project in case sink in front of me, is that all this writings in "About me" is not searchable. I can bring on a good portion of understanding different ways to spell and pronounce according to different motherlanguages.

Although all the languages in question are part of the indo-european german languagefamily. Finland was at the time a part of the Swedish kingdom and in that part of the country they had two languages. And finnish is an urgic language spoken by very few people in different parts of eastern Europe. Finnish is the huge problem if no members of the project speak finnish.

As far as I have been concerned the project have no "original documents" so that the passenger lists can be studied and controlled by several memebers. I know the way to read old swedish (european) texts and my conclusion about the originals in US are written by swedes, dutchmen, germans, englishmen who all were educated i Europe before they arrived to New Sweden, New England etc. Still in the 1600:s and about 100 year more all higher educated people in Scandinava completed their educations in Germany and Holland.

I don't think it's optimal to have 2, 3 or even four diffent names in the computer nameboxes. If that's sensus in US I can just fill in, it will not fit with finding the people in Sweden for a very long time.

(Paul and Pål is not pronounced in the same way in swedish)

11/25/2011 at 8:32 AM

Bjorn, I know that you are working on this, but alas, at least for now, we have to work with what we do have, not what we want to have.

As long as the AKO will match on Geni and people can see the other name in the display name, then we can get usable information for people on both sides of the big pond. It may not be Ideal, but at least it is doable.

11/25/2011 at 8:49 AM


The original documents you are searching for is called the "Gloria Dei Records Project" and like the rest of our lists come from "The Swedish Colonial Society"

I call you to http://www.colonialswedes.org/Publications/GDRecord.html

You can either go by the version that I have supplied or you may buy a copy of all the info they have from the church at


Public profiles are indexed by Google and are searchable. Putting in to much information into a profile will cause people to simply miss the most obvious.

It does not matter how a name is pronounced, It is the name he used (or at least the why it was entered into the record). What is in the record is more important than how it was spoken becuse you can not search for a spoken word.

11/25/2011 at 10:30 AM

Thank you for all information!

You say or write:

"It does not matter how a name is pronounced, It is the name he used (or at least the why it was entered into the record). What is in the record is more important than how it was spoken becuse you can not search for a spoken word."

Probarbly it is lika you write, that in New Sweden it doesn't matter how a name is pronounced but what matters is how it was written. In New Sweden. My interest awoke when I realized the loss of people from Sweden to the Atlantic Ocean or to New Sweden. As in all countries with alphabetic writing we use different letters depening of the sound. In the inodeuropean german language areas we don't pronounce the letters in the same way. So at first, when we teach our swedish children english, we teach them how the Alphabet sounds in english.

So yours and my searches depend on how we pronounce and spell. My knowledge and experience of how finding information in Sweden, as for others in Finland and Germany and Netherlands, depend on how a name sounds since the spelling, as in english, is a different way to say the same thing (written instead of spoken).

I do agree that "Putting in to much information into a profile will cause people to simply miss the most obvious." That's why I focused on the most obvious spelling of the swedish names as when they were probarbly writtten down i Sweden and in the embarking registers. Swedish names were written down as they sounded in swedish and spellt like that in swedish. At the arrival to New Sweden the names were written down on papers by people who choosed other letters for the same sounds.

It's maybe more clear in the example Lars Söderström gave about Millica and the finnish name Millikka.

You can use theese registers for research in New Sweden from the establishing New Sweden and probarbly quite far into the future. And maybe be lucky to find some in old Sweden too now and then. But not with the nameboxes filled with the youngest names, maybe in three versions.

It's a little bit to much of discission to me I promise to send information if I get any.

Private User
11/25/2011 at 9:39 PM

Robert and I speak Finnish, so that language is covered.

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