Women not taking husband's surname

Started by Alex Moes on Friday, May 4, 2012


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Showing 31-60 of 206 posts
Private User
5/6/2012 at 4:00 AM

To all,
I know this is a topic that has been running, debating, caused very ill feelings between curators, friends and family. In South Africa, you normally take on the husbands surname, but you can also make a double surname, like in my case Marais-Meyer. Woman can even keep there own surnames and sometimes the male takes on the female surname - family matters,
Since the start of civilisation in SA - white and coloured - the woman was know by her husband's name but on all her childrens baptism records she is written down by het maiden name. Even so late as in 2009 my granddaughters mom is shown as Krugel and not Meyer.
Main sources I would say is that as this is a genealogical site, we should all try and stay as close as the rules of the countries genealogical patern is concerned. In SA and I am sure in a lot of countries, I only know of USA and UK it is the same.
But the start this debate again I would rather state my problems that I have when giving a woman a merried name other than in the aslo known as colomn. Due to the name given way it is certainly better to correctly identify a Anna Susanna Marais X to Johannes du Plessis, as there are 100% of them and not the same person.
I do hope you understand my dilemma. I am battling for the 1000 time to correct my Marais tree when trying to add my husbands sister in law, who is also a Marais, but not family of mine, because of the simple fact that a wrong merge were done and now I can't add the correct parents - the father was married twice and only 1 of his 13 children had the second wife as a mother.
And the reason for battling is also again the same problem- locked and persanal tree -"Contact the manager" who never comes back.

Private User
5/6/2012 at 5:48 AM

In a genealogical family tree, Mother's names are supposed to be listed by their birth name, it is assumed that they took the husband's name (the man they are linked to for children). If they didn't take husband's name, it doesn't matter for a family tree or genealogy. Geni has made the basic means for tracking ancestors more difficult by putting the current last name as the listed name. If I'm looking for a great grandmother in your tree by her birth name and you have her listed by her married name, a connection is not made. Geni does a good job in making suggestions based on surrounding family members but I think a standard should be promoted to put everyone on the same path. Everybody from my mother's side is from either Curacao or Aruba and I have 100's of cousins down there so I have links all over geni, the names get up to 5 and 6 long, so it's a little confusing as to how the names are constructed sometimes.

Private User
5/6/2012 at 5:58 AM

By birth name, I mean they name on their birth certificate, the name they were given when they were born. That would mean the husband and wife would have different last names linked by their children. Multiple partners would create adjoining links to multiple sets of children.

Spelling should be also based on birth record, name spelling changes but birth records don't. My mother's maiden (birth name) was Hooyberg, but it started as Hooijberg in Holland, the spelling in my tree is based on their birth record regardless of what they may have used later.

Private User
5/6/2012 at 8:41 AM

To answer a couple of Agneta's questions:

- I've now seen that many Geni-users put in the mothers birthfamily's Surname as a middlename. Has that ever been in use in USA??

Yes. Many famous American women are known by their maiden name as a middle name.

- I belive Erica's earlier statement about that in USA anglosaxian/english Law and traditions was the case.

Yes. This is a fact. United States law derives from English common law. There has never been anything other, for 400 years, but the common law of a husband's surname at marriage.

For my family tree it's quite easy; name at death for the last name field, name at birth for the birth surname. These are both documentable. These are both unique qualifiers, which have resulted in

- better Geni matches
- better distinction between similarly named persons

I've seen all kinds of genealogical systems and standards. I think using Geni fields, as labeled, is as good as any.

Another statement and a question.

In the US there is no such thing as "married name.". There is only a "last name" and a maiden name.

Is this something legal in Europe or other cointries? Because it is entirely not applicable to the US.

Private User
5/6/2012 at 8:55 AM

In case it's not clear - of course I follow naming conventions as best I understand them for other languages and historical periods!

I just would ask that others do the same for the United States.

5/6/2012 at 9:39 AM

we got some trouble with these aspect while doing the TITANiC-job earlier. Women were even called with not only the man's surname, but even also with all his baptist's names...

5/6/2012 at 9:57 AM

Today, I had a Geni profile where the lady's name at birth was "Hereditary Prince of Sachsen" LOL.
I think we're talking about people working on Geni profiles in a very careless manner, and often taking too easily the automatic field 'fill-in' that Geni applies.
If everyone would respect each other's cultures AND be more rigorous on Geni, life on Geni would be easier :-)
(By the way, if I do make errors myself, forgive the messenger :-) )

5/6/2012 at 10:07 AM

Among men there is of course not any 'maiden name' . In Sweden we translate 'maiden name' with the word 'flicknamn'. Flicka = girl, and in Sweden all girls/flickor were 'maiden' until they became married. Then they became wifes/hustru and changed the last name/the family name/ the surname from the fathers and brothers name (as they were familyowners) into the husbands, his fathers and brothers familyname as she became his wife.

He became her husband but all belongings in his name was still his and she might have brought some property to his property. This was an agreement between the men. If she came from a rich family and he showed up to be a bad husband he had to agree to to some deals and how much he would pay back if happened sad things. In the case the husband died and his family could not take care of the widdow and the children, then the brothers could "take her back". But she always kept the husbands name (and title if noble people) until she died. If it was not able to find a new husband to her. But the children "belonged" to the father and his family even if she remarried.

I was born Harrysson, which is my father's patronymikon. Harryson is my "maiden name" or flicknamn. I was not married until my seccond son was three month old. So he and my first son was named Harrysson, as it was my last name then. We had time off from our jobs and managed to arrange a wedding when the seccond son was 3 month of age. So what should the naame be? Well either all of us
Åhrberg or
all of us Harrysson or
I+ the sons Harrysson and my husband Åhrberg.

When we had chosen and decided we did as the law says: Send a message to the governement "We have chosen to name the family Åhrberg and all the members of the family shall have this name." A sister in law in USA changed from her maidenname into Watson as she got married and got a son.

About female celebrities and their name as a "matronymikon" there is an AKA-field or an about-field to tell your are an air of the "famous Tinge Ling". But this is not in the birthcertificate or the census' or anywhere else but in the stories within the family, isn't it? Well are all the men with the middle name 'Washington" related to the president Washington!And do females in US use Washington as a middlename?? I have never used my fathers "patronymikon" as a middlename. My baptism names are Agneta Marianne and Agneta is what I'm told. My sister is Eva-Lena Cecilia and Lena is what she is called. My parents told the priest/the governement that when we were baptised. If not baptised the parents have to message the governement this themselves. And by doing so the name is documented officially.

Private User
5/6/2012 at 10:08 AM

first we got"dont shoot the messenger" now "forgive the messenger" ?

Private User
5/6/2012 at 10:22 AM

Easily forgiven, Jennie!

Agneta, I should have been clearer. The "maiden name as middle name" is "not" just an AKA. There is a cultural tradition, especially in the US South and Midwest, of the "maiden name" becoming the middle name. I do not seem to have it in my own family tree so much so leave it to others to describe better.

I also need to say again that on Geni the field is labeled "birth surname" NOT maiden name.

Private User
5/6/2012 at 10:26 AM

And yes, there are plenty of women with a name like Washington as a middle name. The US has never had patronyms or matronyms.

5/7/2012 at 2:44 AM

The 'maiden name' in Europe is not an AKA or a 'middle name'. The 'maiden name' in Europe is the same as "Birth surname" for females and up til maybe 25 years ago was changed at marriag into the husbands surname/family name/last name.

The recent change on Geni into "Birth surname" from 'Maiden name' is okey for the northern european countries as it to females is the same. (I born Harrysson and married Åhrberg. The husband is born Åhrberg and kept Åhrberg when we married.)

We often are given several names at baptism. If not baptist in a church the parent can give the child several names by sending the names to the gouvernement. Then telling which of the names will be used as "tilltalsnamn" which in english is said to be the first name' and says which of the names others shall use to adress a person. My names are Agneta Marianne and Agneta is my first name. Marianne could in my case be called a 'middle name' maybe.

It would be impossible to use a typical male name or a surname as a "middle name" for females.

There is even a differens in intonation of the male names compared to female names in swedish. We have had lots of fun about that in the county council since one of the politicians adressed the chairman with the wrong intonation. Female name have the emphasis on the first part of double names EVA-Lena and male names on the seccond part Jan-ANDERS. Sture, another politician went up into the speaking table and adressed JAN-Anders when he started to speak. Noone hade ever thought about this but everyone was totally clear of the "wrong" and noone could do anything but laugh to that days lesson in what we know about our everday doings and sayings.

Be sure we know from when we are very small the differences between male and female qualities and how to express values. I'm not clear about everyone would have noticed if Sture had said Eva-LENA. But to express JAN-Anders was to use a femal intonation to an important man and noone have ever thougth about it before. It was written about it in the newspapers, so it is obviousely important.

If one in US never have used patronyms or matronyms why then on Geni as a middlename put in the mothers birth surname?

Private User
5/7/2012 at 4:16 AM

My wife made her Maiden name (or birth name since they are the same thing) her middle name when we got married. That's the decision of the bride when filling out marriage and social security paperwork.

5/7/2012 at 4:31 AM

Willem Jan Ferdinand Lutke Schipholt - misschien wilt/kunt U ook laten blijken wat Nederlandse emigranten gewoon zijn geraakt te doen, want Nederlanders gebruiken in de genealogie ALLEEN de naam van de geboorte om dames aan te prijzen, maar via deze discussie blijkt weer eens hoe weerbarstig de werkelijkheid kan wezen. Maar de WET is daarover hier in Europe, Netherlands overigens wel duidelijk, toch Private User?
Met mijn geni-genootje en col-laborator/co-operator Private User heb ik afgesproken dat wij voor profielen met een Nederlandse afkomst of geboorte consequent blijven met het vermelden van de GEBOORTE-naam = voor sommigen Meisjes-naam (alsof we nooit volwassen zouden zijn) en af en toe neem ik de moeite ook de Vaders - oh jee, neeh, de partnersnaam- te vermelden als dat nodig is, omdat het niet zou kunnen blijken op de profiel-edit-pagina met wie de Moeder voor deze nakomelingen heeft gezorgd. groet, jeannette from Holland, Europe.

5/7/2012 at 10:52 AM

I have my preferences set to birth name and I think if people want to connect trees, a birth name in common is probably the best way to insure that trees connect appropriately. Adding an Anglicized name after immigration or a misspelling on Ellis Island that stuck or any other information is fine but if you have the birth name as the principal name with or without a parenthesized "new world name" for the immigrant ancestor, that would be helpful for that purpose.

There can be a plethora of matches for my Catherine Macdonald (birthname) when married names are tossed into the mix! Its tough enough already to sort out Macdonalds!...etc etc. I also happen to have a Jane Macdonald who married a James Macdonald..

Private User
5/7/2012 at 11:17 AM

Wendy - I have Hill, Smith and Jones as surnames in my tree. You can imagine my Geni "fun" :). One of my grandmother's "birth surname" was in Cyrillic, which is useless for her descendants as none of us know it nor how it was spelled in any language or writing system. There is a point when "genealogical purity" begs the point of "useful research" I think.

I am very glad to see people taking advantage of the customization options in Geni to give the best results for building the tree. Geni is robust and complex but used well is a good product.

5/7/2012 at 11:18 PM

Erica, now you mention a really serious aspect about changing names, not in ancient times, but now and here in Europe. For the many immigrants, not yet accepted as new-netherlanders-o-even-new-europans are living rather long in our -tolerant?- country-continent before they get the change to get a identity card of later -to be paid by themselves- insurance-and good housing. My 'stepdaughter and her mother, coming from Kazachstan and not Russian, nor Kazachish, but somehow from Mongolia mixed with German/Polish roots, had to wait more than 15 years before she got the change to change her name officially from Cyrillic in Roman characters. In the meantime in every school she attended the teachers spelled her -not even so complicated- Cyrillic birthname -of her mother, she now is getting to know her father- different and when I suggested to ask at Leiden university where they teach Cyrillic languages, she resisted, for at that moment her mother's friend had invented a good spelling for their names. Will be rather difficult when she is a age when you want to show her own children their roots to find it back in archives far away....
It's even worse with Chinese and Vietnames names, coming to Europe and trying to integrate in just some generations.
So, a lot of difficulties to overcome for GENI-staff, I think.... groeten van jeannette uit holland, europe.

5/7/2012 at 11:59 PM

Transcription of different language characters is even more difficult than translating these same languages, i suppose. Is there some-one around who know anything about these matters? Maybe worth to start a new discussion-line?

5/8/2012 at 2:43 AM

^ on romanization.

Transliterating Cyrillic into Latin is a fairly simple process, although there are several common standardization systems to pick from. Since 2010, it's probably wise to keep in mind the Russian Federal Migration Service system dubbed GOST 52535.1-2006, used for romanizing names in international passports, etc.

When it comes to Mandarin, Pinyin has been the official system since 1982, but there are other common systems as well.

In general, these are not overly difficult or complex systems to adhere to: they have emerged because of practical needs. Of course, if you do not know or wish to learn any of the language to begin with, expect a very painful uphill struggle.

5/8/2012 at 7:03 AM

Jason: If a woman would like to keep her Birth surname and take up her husbands name at marriage i Sweden we do like this Harrysson-Åhrberg. When we get children we tell the midwife which of the names the child should have Usually it's still the fathers name. If the couple have not decided at marrige to have the womans birthname, as for the new Prince Daniel in Sweden who is no a Bernadotte.

I would call my seccond name Marianne a kind of middlename, because I never use it otherwise than for insurrances or in governemental acts. I would never give a "surname", familyname, last name as a middlename. Especially not a male name to a female or vice versa.

But it's different in US. The big thing to you is that you yourself know what you're doing and why and if looking backwards in history one has to be aware of where you are.

The most problematic thing to me is the placing of patronymicons as "middlename" and tell it's not a name.

5/8/2012 at 1:37 PM

Dutch law on this changed in 1998, after a long discussion, that started in 1980. See http://www.wodc.nl/images/ob201_Volledige%20tekst_tcm44-57544.pdf ( in Dutch).

Private User
5/8/2012 at 2:21 PM

For genealogy the law isn't important. Every person is identitied by his or her birthname, all other names are perhaps intersting but not for genealogy.

Private User
5/8/2012 at 5:12 PM

Fred I was taught that Geni is a "documentation" database. It has the capacity to field source vital statistics, records based (ideally) or gleaned from published indexes.

What you describe sounds to me more like a pedigree? Which is a report based on the records obtained and presented in chart and narrative format.

So if I follow correctly - again - this is about individual display choices for the charting aspect, especially tree view. But wouldn't this take away from the "storing documents" aspect of Geni?

Private User
5/8/2012 at 11:32 PM

I cannot stipulate enough the basics of genealogy. There are two things Geni and Genealogy. It is my opinion that users who are not wellknown with real genealogy have to know what the basics are of real genealgy. The way they want to work on Geni is of course their own choice.

Private User
5/8/2012 at 11:49 PM

I guess I'm confused then about what "real" genealogy is supposed to be. I thought it was record based, like history.

5/9/2012 at 12:05 AM

Maybe it's wise to listen to the customs of people who like to emphasise on the way new ones came in this world:

* muslims say: I don't mind having more women to get more descendants, for it's important wich womb produced it, we created them together. The woman is responsible to feed them, the man to defend them against..... -differently in ancient times than in our modern world?-

* in jewish culture the role of the mother is rather important for ancestry and descendsy or the education of younsters, for they might emphasize on the little amount of DNA that is of importance in the female part of the co-pulation, con-junction & con-ception of the co-creation called embryo [messenger RNA or what? so long ago I was in university now] and a lot of orthodoxe like even to have women not in other families as soon they married one and only man - this is also to be found in other cultures where the women becomes part of the man's family after marriage.

* in some christian cultured based circumstances -where LOVE should be the ruling role- like the Amish in the America's, it's the leader of the group who is the one to be who describes the new marriages... and decides about mixing religions e/o cultures or not. But Love alone will stand, for that's insurance for new baby born and a better world?

So, what is wise, if we do not even know yet enough what Confusius or Plato was telling their students?

Geni, thank you so much you give me the opportunity to learn about so many differents socials behaviours etceter.

jMu from Holland, Europe, where the law and Grondwet is based on even Hellenistic origine.

see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fertilisation

Private User
5/9/2012 at 12:38 AM

Private User there is no conflict about that, Real genealogy, I meant the science of genealogic research is record based of course. But to identify persons in this research allways the birthname is the basic name and of course all other names are also recorded, but as other names.

Private User
5/9/2012 at 12:47 AM

I think this is just an English language or US issue to be honest. We do not have "other names" - there is no such thing. We do not have "married name" either. There is only your "last name" and any other names you might have had before.

Private User
5/9/2012 at 2:12 AM

I must agree with Fred's argument here. I would like to see Geni as a place to teach new researchers or the people just wanting to know more of there ancesters. The SA people always thank us for doing more by "teaching" them. I get a lot of Geni people contacting me personally by e-mail and once the start with the maidan names, they come back and thank me for how fast they are now able to find links. I love helping people. Stay well all of you. Judi

Private User
5/9/2012 at 2:45 AM

Different languages, records and cultures, Judi! Surely we are all able to work well with each other and respect the differences, as I do for my one Dutch line.

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