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South Africa - Profile Guidelines

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Guidelines for Profile Management on the South African Tree

The Guidelines outlined in this project, with the supporting documents and images, are currently in format (ver 3-2). These have been endorsed by the curators working on the South African Tree (see below) and are in line with Coalition for the Standardization of Geni Naming Conventions

They follow the method suggested by Geni head - Noah Tutak, and currently used by the majority of Geni users.

One of the preferences within GENi which the current exercise has addressed is similar to that aired in the discussions currently taking place on other forums.

Discussions outside GENi by non-members have no bearing or standing on the Guidelines outlined in this project.

Guidelines set up by non-members are a diversion and any concerns and/or input should be raised in the discussions linked to this project

The intention is to optimise consistency in the GENi matching /merging technology & ensure that we do not find ourselves with names in the wrong fields when GENi makes programming updates.

Please note...

... you can set your Preferences to reflect how you wish to see names on the tree.

See an image illustrating your options - Preference setting examples

There are a number of references to this in these guidelines.


Index

A. Profile Guidelines

  • Forename & Middle Name Fields/ Voornaam & Middelnaam
  • Surname/ Last Name and Birth Surname Fields (Married and Maiden Names) Familienaam/ Laaste Naam & Geboorte Van
  • Display Name Field / Vertoonnaam
  • Also Known As Field / Ook Bekend As
  • Suffix Field / Agtervoegsel

B. Tree Etiquette

  • Avoid capitalisation of the whole surname
  • Merge in Duplicate Profiles
  • Defer to Master Profiles in data conflict resolutions, & alert a curator to master any of your profiles on the world tree that are well documented
  • Set close family profiles as Private, and profiles in the World tree as Public
  • Do not delete other people’s accurate data out of naming fields; and do not delete other people’s profiles
  • Use the GENi fields as intended & set your tree preferences to suit yourself

C. Background History Of South African Naming Patterns

  • A little background history to the legal naming conventions in South Africa:
  • Traditional naming patterns for First Names
  • South African deVilliers Pama genealogical numbering system

_________________________________________________

A. Profile Guidelines

Accepted use of GENi Naming fields on the South Africa tree follows the guidelines provided by GENi head, Noah Tutak:

  • As much as possible, the current fields should be used as they are set-up.
  • Maiden name should be maiden name [Birth Surname / Geboorte Van field] and last name should be last name.
  • In cases where a married woman kept her maiden name, that should be her last name as well.
  • In cases where she legally changed her name to a different last name, that should be used in the last name field.

On profiles where there is only one manager fields can be used to suit individual preferences. However, if that profile is subsequently merged with another then the guidelines outlined here should be applied - UNLESS all the managers involved agree not to.

Forename & Middle Name Fields / Voornaam & Middelnaam

See Middle Name Options illustrated

  • There are two fields for given names - First and Middle. It is recommended that you always use the fields as they are designated.

There is an option in the name preference settings to ignore middle names. It is suggested that you set these NOT to ignore middle names as profiles are filled in both ways by users and valuable information may be hidden from you if your preferences are set otherwise. Having the names entered either way does not affect the search tool.

Do NOT put titles in the Forename field – rather append them in the Suffix field, or and/or add them to the Display Name Field. In time it is hoped that a Prefix field will be made available for this purpose. Until then using these in the first name fields make searches and matches more difficult.

The spelling of names in South Africa is subject to variations because of the mixture of Afrikaans and English cultures. eg Willem in Afrikaans is William in English, and John can be Johan or Johannes, to name but two. This means that there will to be conflicts in how information is entered on profile pages. Generally speaking the name to use is the one that is on a primary or "official" document – usually birth or baptismal records, and later documents such as identity cards and passports. Variations in spelling need to be listed in the "also known as" (aka) or nicknames field.

It is also best to add any nicknames in the a.k.a. field - not included using brackets etc. in the first, middle and display name fields.

There are accepted spellings for most names, and it is acceptable to record a variation if that is the way the family uses it. Take Jansen van Rensburg as an example - some families have always used the full Jansen - but others use Janse or not at all. The earlier records for this family have Janse(n) on Geni to allow for this. If you have personal knowledge of a family’s way of spelling a name, especially in more recent years, then you need to use that, but also add a note in the “About me” section or in the AKA field.

Surname/ Last Name and Birth Surname Fields / Familienaam/ Laaste Naam & Geboorte Van

Even though genealogical principals prioritise Birth Surnames, (i.e. women are correctly identified by their 'maiden names' over 'married names'), Geni provides the opportunity to record later-life name changes too. This caters for both the traditional genealogist AND the casual or new enthusiast, who enters and searches for what they know, adding immeasurable value to the World Family Tree that way.

The Birth Surname field (if known) should always be filled in, (for both genders). Legal married names go in the Surname/Last Name field. If you don’t want to see any legal married names, then simply adjust your display preferences so that the Last Name/ Surname/ Married Name field is not visible on your screen view.

Until Geni comes up with a new layout the following guidelines are suggested on the South African tree:

  • Always fill in the "Birth Surname" field - for both men and women. If the birth surname is not known a single question mark can be used. (Leaving both Surname fields blank results in MANY matches and tedious search results!)
  • For ALL marriages that took place after 1800 in SA (when SA became part of the British Commonwealth), use the name of a woman's last husband in the Surname / Last Name field.

In marriages before 1800, married females from the continent (France, Holland, Germany) are unlikely to have used their husband’s surnames so it is acceptable to use the birth surname in both fields for them.

However, British records most often show a woman's married name after 1600 (and as early as 1200).

So do not delete any SA married names after 1800 in order to replace them with Maiden Names (And do not delete British Married names after 1200, unless you know for a fact that the woman did not assume her husband’s surname). Just set your Viewing Preference not to view the Married Name/Surname field, if that is your preference.

  • In the case of multiple marriages / surname changes over a lifetime, leave the last name the person used on death in the surname field and add all the other married surnames in the aka field. (We’re hoping Geni will provide more fields to help us solve this problem, in the future).

Using van/Van and de/De etc.

  • Whether van or Van is used depends on how the surname is written. If only the surname is used, it is Van, for example Van der Merwe family. If the first name is used before the surname it is van der Merwe as in Jan van der Merwe. This is how surnames which have de or van etc. in front of them are written in Afrikaans. In Belgium the lower case van shows nobility. In Holland the lower case is always used. Reference - Leon van Schalkwyk.
  • With this in mind please use the lower case for all such names (de, la, le, van, von etc.) in the last name and birth name fields, but be mindful when using them in the notes etc.

Display Name Field / Vertoonnaam

See Display Name Options illustrated

  • This field is used ONLY if the name a person was commonly known by is different from the one entered in the name fields. Also if there is a Title - e.g. Sir; Rev. Lord; President etc

Using a display name other than for the reasons given above distorts the tree view for people as it masks all the preferences. It is possible to elect to hide display names under preferences, but this then hides information added that is necessary. There is no need to repeat a name in the display name field - all preferences are catered for and should be selected according to how you prefer to view the tree.

Do not put the De Villiers Pama numbering system in the Display Name (or Surname field) – It should be added to the suffix field

Also Known As Field / Ook Bekend As

  • The Other names - A.K.A. (also known as) field is for alternative spellings etc. and for multiple married names as described above. Nicknames are recorded in the a.k.a. field - not included using brackets etc. in the first, middle and display name fields

Suffix Field / Agtervoegsel

See Suffix Options illustrated Scroll down to 2nd part of this document

  • Use for titles and deVilliers Pama numbering system, if you want to add it. (Not obligatory, and reportedly a bit confusing on the world tree, apparently often being for the DNA numbering system that is increasingly being added here too.)

_______

B. Tree Etiquette

There are a few things that make a big difference to how the tree can be used and shared on Geni

Avoid Capitalisation of the Whole Surname:

  • Information should be entered in GENi profiles using Initial Capitalisation - John Smith. NOT john smith or JOHN SMITH or John SMITH. Last Names are not entered in upper case on GENi.
  • Should you want to see your Last Names in Capitals, simply click on the 'Preferences' button at the bottom middle of your screen in Tree View; then click on the 'Names' button underneath that, & check the 'Birth Surnames instead of Last Names in CAPS' option. GENi will now customise your view so that your surnames are shown in Capitals, even though you haven't entered them that way. Alternatively go to preferences in your settings.

Avoid Making Duplicate Profiles, & if you do, Merge Them in:

  • When adding new profiles, watch for the 'blue dot' that lets you know that Geni has found a match for that profile. Merge the two, or ask a Curator to do it for you, and that will mean your profile becomes part of that profile's line. Now you don't have to keep entering duplicates for it - the line will be there as yours. If you want, you can 'request (to be added onto the ) management (list)' of the other profiles in the line. Making whole duplicate lines creates a lot of work for the rest of us who have to merge them in for you; so please try to avoid doing that.
  • If you add a profile which is a duplicate of one previously added please MERGE them. DO NOT DELETE PROFILES managed by other people - if there is problem please contact the manager!
  • After a profile has been merged with another please go to the profile page of the merged person and under the "Actions" menu at the top right see if there are any Merge conflicts that you can resolve.Apply the following rule of thumb.
  • If both profiles have used the same method of recording the surnames leave them as they are.
  • If one has a Birth surname in the Surname field and the other has Married surname in the Surname field then follow the rule exactly as in the guidelines i.e. keep the married name in the last name field.

Essentially respect the preferences of the different managers, but in case of conflict, the guidelines have preference.

Defer to Master Profiles in Data Conflict Resolutions, & Alert a Curator to Master any of your Profiles on the World Tree that are Well Documented:

  • A Master Profile is the standard, most comprehensive and accurate profile for a given person. Other profiles for the same person are secondary and should eventually be merged into the Master Profile.
  • Curators have the ability to designate profiles as Master Profiles. In order to protect the integrity of the profile's data and prevent incorrect merges, Curators may either lock individual fields of a Master Profile or lock the profile entirely. If you would like to edit a locked field, please contact the Curator of the profile.
  • Only public profiles in the World Family Tree or in the same tree as a curator can be made into Master Profiles.

Set Close Family Profiles as Private, and Profiles in the World Tree as Public:

  • All living profiles should be marked Private. In addition profiles of people within the family group (4th cousins) can be set as private. However, profiles in the historical tree, beyond the family group, need to be marked PUBLIC. See this document for guidance on how to check your managed profiles.
  • We recommend that all deceased profiles, especially historically significant profiles, be set as public.

Do Not Delete Other People’s Accurate Data out of Naming Fields; and Do Not Delete Other People’s Profiles:

  • Geni has taken a pretty clear stand on deleting accurate data off other people’s profiles:

"Please be advised that on the subject of deleting content off other users’ profiles without their permission, Geni is very clear in the Terms of Service: http://www.geni.com/company/terms_of_use Vl. Proprietary Rights in Content.:1. .... If, however, you invite other Members to share your family tree on the Service, or agree to merge your family tree with another Member's family tree on the Service (in either case, a "Shared Family Tree"), then you agree that you will not delete Content in the Shared Family Tree except to correct inaccurate or offensive data. Wilful destruction of Content in a Shared Family Tree without Geni's written permission is a breach of this Agreement and grounds for termination of your Member account."

  • Rather than deleting other users' choices about naming fields, Please respect the choice of others to view the tree in way that suits them, and change your preferences to suit yourself (See detailed examples of the available options below).
  • DO NOT DELETE PROFILES managed by other people - if there is problem please contact the manager!

Use GENi Fields as Intended and Set Your Tree Preferences to Suit Yourself:

Give consideration to the preferences people use to view the tree and display names Using Mary Jane married to John Smith, birth surname not known AND using Mary Jane married to John Smith, birth surname Brown as an example. Her nickname being Sissy.

The following break down, supported by illustrated pdf documents to illustrate them, show all possible ways of adding the information and how they will appear on the tree.

§ is the entry using the name fields as designed for post 1800 profiles.

1. Do not display birth surnames

See "Do not display birth surnames" option illustrated

  • a. Entered Mary Jane - blank - blank where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane
  • b. Entered Mary Jane - blank - ? where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane
  • c. Entered Mary Jane - Smith - ? where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane Smith
  • d. Entered Mary Jane - Smith - blank where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane Smith
  • e. Entered Mary Jane - blank - Brown - Mary Jane
  • § Entered Mary Jane - Smith - Brown - Mary Jane Smith
  • g. Entered Mary Jane - Brown - Brown - Mary Jane Brown

2. Birth surname instead of last name

See "Birth surname instead of last name" illustrated

  • a. Entered Mary Jane - blank - blank where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane
  • b. Entered Mary Jane - blank - ? where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane ?
  • c. Entered Mary Jane - Smith - ? where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane ?
  • d. Entered Mary Jane - Smith - blank where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane Smith
  • e. Entered Mary Jane - blank - Brown - Mary Jane Brown
  • § Entered Mary Jane - Smith - Brown - Mary Jane Brown
  • g. Entered Mary Jane - Brown - Brown - Mary Jane Brown

3. Birth surname instead of last name in CAPS

See "Birth surname instead of last name, in CAPS" illustrated

  • a. Entered Mary Jane - blank - blank where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane
  • b. Entered Mary Jane - blank - ? where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane ?
  • c. Entered Mary Jane - Smith - ? where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane ?
  • d. Entered Mary Jane - Smith - blank where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane Smith
  • e. Entered Mary Jane - blank - Brown - Mary Jane BROWN
  • § Entered Mary Jane - Smith - Brown - Mary Jane BROWN
  • g. Entered Mary Jane - Brown - Brown - Mary Jane Brown

4. Birth surname appended, in parentheses

See "Birth surname instead of last name, in parenthesis" illustrated

  • a. Entered Mary Jane - blank - blank where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane
  • b. Entered Mary Jane - blank - ? where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane (?)
  • c. Entered Mary Jane - Smith - ? where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane Smith (?)
  • d. Entered Mary Jane - Smith - blank where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane Smith
  • e. Entered Mary Jane - blank - Brown - Mary Jane (Brown)
  • § Entered Mary Jane - Smith - Brown - Mary Jane Smith (Brown)
  • g. Entered Mary Jane - Brown - Brown - Mary Jane Brown

Where the married name is left blank or duplicated with the birth surname the result for those whose preference is for either CAPS or (parentheses) is not a true reflection of the known facts.

So - be aware that if the maiden or birth surname is added to both surname fields, in cases where a 'married surname' exists, then those people who select the preference to either do not display birth surnames (i.e. view married names) or Birth surname appended, in parentheses, do not get an accurate picture. It is therefore preferable not to fill in the Birth Surname in the Last Name/Surname field when a legal 'married name' applies. The a.k.a. field is searchable. If the married name(s) are not reflected in the a.k.a. field on a woman's profile where only maiden names are used in the surname fields, a search using her married name will have less chance of finding her.

C. Background History Of South African Naming Patterns

A Little Background History to the Legal Naming Conventions in South Africa:

Prior to the British occupation of the Cape in 1795, the Dutch custom of a woman using only her birth name throughout her life was followed, as the Dutch, Belgians and French were legally obliged to do. The English (or common law system) custom of women adopting their husband's names after marriage (dating back to the 1600s, & in some cases, as early as the 1200s) only became widespread in South Africa after the take-over by the British from 1795 onwards, with the largest influx in 1820.

Roman-Dutch Law, a variety of the European continental civil law, was the legal system of the Cape Colony before c.1800, and is still considered the basis of the SA legal system today. This may be why it is legal for a woman in SA to assume any name she has ever been legally entitled to – e.g. her father’s or any of her ex- or present husband’s surnames. It is still most common for white women in SA to legally change their surname to that of their husband when they get married.

A very interesting and informative article by Hermann Giliomee of University of Stellenbosch on the status and role of Afrikaner women pre-1930 has been attached to this project and is well worth reading.

Traditional Naming Patterns for First Names

In Afrikaans families children were often named according to European tradition. This tradition was also strong in Ireland and Scotland (less so in England) and across to eastern Europe, including the Netherlands and Germany. It seems to be most common from about the mid 1700’s to the first part of the 20th Century.

  • The first Son was named after the Father’s father
  • The second Son was named after the Mother’s father
  • The third Son was named after the Father
  • The fourth Son was named after the Father’s eldest brother
  • The fifth Son was named after the Mother’s eldest brother
  • The first Daughter was named after the Mother’s mother
  • The second Daughter was named after the Father’s mother
  • The third Daughter was named after the Mother
  • The fourth Daughter was named after the Mother’s eldest sister
  • The fifth Daughter was named after the Father’s eldest sister
  • Subsequent children were named following the same pattern, being named after the next eldest sibling of the father and mother.

This system can be very useful genealogically. If there is a break in the pattern or the names appear to be out of order it could indicate that a child has died young. The names were not usually used more than once (see note below), but the system can result in children having the same name, e.g. if the child is the third child, and the father is the first child of a father who was the first child!

Note - if a child died, the name was usually used again, particularly in Afrikaans families and commonly in English families. It was not the name of the dead child that was being re-used but the name of the grandfather or grandmother, etc, that was being given again. The system is by no mean invariable, even amongst Afrikaner families.

South African Genealogical Numbering System

  • Please DO NOT add these to any field other than the SUFFIX field

These numbers MUST NOT be added to the surname, added as a middle name or used in a display name. They can be written into the SUFFIX field. The SUFFIX field is not editable in the "add a profile" menu, options are limited to a drop-down Menu. When you go back into the edit screen you can enter a suffix other than those previously available. Please Note This numbering system is not obligatory. It is not universally endorsed by everyone. You do not have to add them, but if you do, please respect the request above. If you do not wish to see them displayed then you do have the option to hide them in your preferences - something that can be done temporarily whilst viewing the South African tree.

The genealogical numbers used in the South African tree are according to the system that was introduced in the 19th Century by C.C. de Villiers and now being used by many genealogists in South Africa. In this system the genealogical number of the South African Stamouer/progenitor is “a” (although on the South African Geni tree we us SV/PROG instead), and his children are numbered chronologically “b1”, “b2”, “b3” etc.; his grandchildren are the ‘c” generation, great grandchildren “d” and so on. (e.g. b1c3d5e2f5g8 etc.)

If there was more than one SV/PROG then they would be SV/PROG 1/ SV/PROG 2 etc. and their family would be numbered SV1b2c6 etc. or SV2b4c6d7 etc. Richard Ball has written an introduction to this System.

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