Using husband's surname for wives instead of using the woman's surname.

Started by Carroll Holmes on Friday, September 9, 2011


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Carroll Holmes
9/9/2011 at 9:45 PM

I have just started back with Geni and I am disturbed that I am supposed to use a married surname for a woman and then her birth name.
In the 20 plus years I have been actively involved in genealogy, I have never seen this in a professional site. I know that it is common practice among some family members but it is not in genealogy.
It especially does not work well when a woman has multiple husbands.
If this is the way it is supposed to be in Geni, I will be terminating my membership.

9/10/2011 at 12:20 AM

The fields in geni are gender neutral. They are

First name
Middle name
Last name
Display name
Birth name
Also known as

Private User
9/10/2011 at 2:06 AM

You have a "Do not guess last name" option in the name preferences in tree view.

Michelle Elena Kempner, - this option seem to be missing from the regular name preferences page:

9/10/2011 at 2:14 PM

Thanks, we'll add it to the name preferences. Carroll Holmes the names are gender neutral and we are working to make even better name options moving forward.

Carroll Holmes
9/11/2011 at 11:20 PM

There must be a better way of handling it. It is not according to the standards I have worked with. I appreciate it being gender neutral since I have same sex marriages and partnerships in my family tree. Perhaps an explanatory phrase or note could be used to explain the birth name entry. This could easily apply to adoptees. It seemed odd to have someone give a surname AND THEN they are asked for their birth surname. You have a birth surname, you have married names and adoptive names. The birth surname should be first, the others follow unless you do not know the firth name in the case of adoptees.
Carroll Holmes

<private> Preller
9/11/2011 at 11:46 PM

Hi Carroll. The debate has been raging for some time and there ongoing efforts to work out a pragmatic solution.. You may want to read up at

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