Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

South Africa - Profile Guidelines

« Back to Projects Dashboard

Top Surnames

view all

Profiles

Conventions for Profile Management on the South African branch of the "World Family Tree" (WFT)

The Naming Conventions outlined in this project, with the supporting documents and images, are currently in format (ver 3-2). These are in line with:

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

The intention is to minimise data conflicts and 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.

These Guidelines are endorsed by the following Curators, who all work on the SA branch.

By joining as a collaborator you also indicate your support for these Guidelines.

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 / AKA
  • Suffix Field / Agtervoegsel
  • About

B. Master Profiles

  • Types of MPs

C. 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

_________________________________________________

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 should be entered in the multilingual tab (see Add Language in top line of profile edit window) thay may also be listed in the "Also Known As" (AKA) or nicknames field.

Do not translate names, only record differences in spelling as used in source records

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.

It is also best to add any nicknames in the AKA field - please do not include using brackets etc. in the first, middle and display name fields.

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

  • The Birth Surname field (if known) should always be filled in.
  • Legal married names go in the Surname/Last Name field.

Before the 1800 government change in SA, 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 if they died before 1800. However, British records most often show a woman's married name after 1600 (and as early as 1200). Mike Stangel has asked us to represent the documentation possibilities accurately 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 1600, unless you know for a fact that the woman did not assume her husband’s surname). Just set your Viewing Preferences in order not to view the Married Name/Surname field, if you don't wish to see them.

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 can be added to the suffix field, AKA and "about section".

Also Known As Field / Ook Bekend As / AKA

  • The AKA field is for alternative spellings etc. and for multiple married names as described above. Nicknames should be recorded in the AKA field - Do not include 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 De Villiers 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.)
  • In order to make the numbers less cumbersome and untidy on the tree the recommendation is that the full number, (2b4c6d7e7f5), be added to the AKA field and only the last two generations, (e7f5), used in the suffix field.

About

The About field should ideally have some information in it, if you cannot do it, immediately, make a note and re visit the page on a quiet day. Information in the About box will help the page get "indexed" on the search engines, this is how people will find the page, and, be able to build on to the tree.

It is also respectful to give the memory of that person some time and importance. Too easily people can forget that we are recording the lives past of "real" people, who have "other" descendants as well. To share here is to preserve some of their existence, and, allow others to know them better.

This information can now be entered in different languages (See Add Language Tab) Important information (Info that helps to uniquely identify the profile) should be translated into the default language.

_______

B. Master Profiles (MP)

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. You may request a Curator MP your profiles in the following circumstances:

Types of Master Profiles.

  • Historically significant people. Famous living people may require a duplicate public profile of the private one.
  • Well sourced profiles where the researched data fields need to be protected. In this instance fields may be locked.
  • Profiles that are at high risk of being mis-merged (including duplications due to adoption).

When whole profiles are locked, an explanatory Curator note giving the reason will be added.

Locked fields should be filled in correctly according to Geni & SA Profile Guidelines.

If you would like to edit a locked field, please contact the Curator of the profile.

Defer to the Master Profile in Data Conflict Resolutions.

For more info on MPs please see: http://wiki.geni.com/index.php/Master_Profile

_______

C. 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, PLEASE 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.

Set Living Profiles as Private, and Deceased Profiles 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 AKA field is searchable. If the married name(s) are not reflected in the AKA 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.

Go Back To:

See Also Related Geni Project Pages: