Portuguese Naming Conventions

Started by Private User on Sunday, September 11, 2011


Showing 1-30 of 115 posts
Private User
9/11/2011 at 4:52 PM

I'd like to open a discussion to naming conventions proposed by Lúcia Pilla and others in the Portuguese and Brazilian tree. Suggested is that the first surname be placed in the middle name field and the second surname in the last name field for Portuguese profiles.

First Name: João
Middle Name: Silva
Last Name: Pereira

For those familiar with Spanish surname conventions, it is similar but in reversed order. The first surname is usually the maternal family name passed down from mother to child and the second surname is commonly that of the paternal side.

The advantage to this is that the primary surname (paternal family name) is given more weight by occupying the whole of the last name field. It would also be very familiar to Portuguese and Brazilian users and thus easily adopted. However, if not universally accepted by all users, including non-Portuguese, misaligned fields may prevent profile matches and cause many duplicates.

One alternative is to place both the maternal and paternal family names in the last name field. The advantage to this is that it is in line with current conventions on Geni, including those used in the Spanish tree. This will also increase the likelyhood of matching duplicate profiles and make them more liable to be found when searched for by users.

First Name: João
Middle Name:
Last Name: Silva Pereira

Please share your thoughts and opinions.

Private User
9/11/2011 at 4:59 PM

good suggestion, but many brazilians and portugueses also have a second name (i.e Joao Luiz, Jorge Alberto) how do you suggest to register this second name ? should it be part of the first name ?

9/11/2011 at 7:02 PM

I'm an English only speaker. I do my best to follow naming conventions established for other languages.

It would be less confusing to me if fields are used similarly across languages. In English we have hyphenated last names. That has some similarity to the dual last names for Spanish and Portuguese. The English double surnames are put in the surname field, leaving the middle name free for middle names.

<private> McCann
9/11/2011 at 7:21 PM

i agree erica plus translations to and from other langauges are offen dificult running into that problem with my dad's side of the tree (nordic arivials to us.. how to translate them?

9/11/2011 at 7:27 PM

Naming convention in Scandinavia were established on Geni a while back. See http://wiki.geni.com/index.php/Naming_Conventions

9/11/2011 at 7:50 PM

In the project http://www.geni.com/projects/Coalition-for-the-Standardization-of-G...

The first rule is

"The name must be as close to the original name as possible, taking into account the dialect and time period"

You may need to refer to some legal documentation to set it. In somple of the S. American profiles I've seen, they name have been both hyphenated and not (sometimes in the same family by a living persons) so it may be more by Area than Language.

Need to tag some native Portuguese speakers into the thread.

<private> McCann
9/11/2011 at 8:44 PM

Erica Howton thanks..

The Shick
9/11/2011 at 8:59 PM

How could you tell the Portuguese from the Spanish if you had separate rules? Just a thought.

9/11/2011 at 9:24 PM

By pronounciation? :)

The Shick
9/11/2011 at 9:26 PM

Of course, what was I thinking!

9/11/2011 at 9:54 PM

Victar, my feeling... nothing in the middle name field. You just can't tell if you're not closely familiar with the family - plus the rules aren't strict anyway. Heck, even for my Portuguese in-laws I wouldn't be able to apply a single rule. Hence, all surnames in the surname field.

9/11/2011 at 10:34 PM

I just pulled out the AFS program application that my Portuguese exchange student "son" filled out. I was surprised to see that in both places where he (or more likely his mother) had to fill out his name they chose to put the matronymic in the MIDDLE name field.

I realize this is probably an artifact of the English form, but it may also be how he thinks of his "surnames".

Also, it should be mentioned that they use "de" with the matronymic, even when listing his mother and his maternal grandmother's surname.

So although I don't usually advocate putting surnames in the middle name field, I think this needs more discussion and more input from native speakers of Portuguese.

Private User
9/11/2011 at 10:52 PM

In the Nordic lines we often put the less-weighted patronymic name in the middle name field if the last name field are used for family or farm name.

Real middle names are put together with the first name to reduce the chance for bad merges since the hot-match algorithm ignores the middle-name field.

<private> Preller
9/11/2011 at 11:41 PM

I also prefer not to see Surnames in middle name field. It makes things very confusing. Patronyms and Matronyms in Middle name, mabe if there is a name a person was commonly called in I will add that in brackets in the middle name...

Private User
9/11/2011 at 11:43 PM

Mauritz, - the point is that it traditionally are not weighted as a surname.

9/12/2011 at 6:49 AM

I think this discussion is completely useless. I am the only curator who speaks Portuguese as native. What is expected? That I fix all the thousands of profiles to suit a rule that is not natural for Brazilians and Portugueses?

In Portuguese, the middle name is usually the maternal surname. But I ask again, what is the purpose of this attempt at standardization? What effects are expected?

9/12/2011 at 6:56 AM

By the way, I didn't propose any naming convention. I was just working at the profiles and was watching by Victar.

9/12/2011 at 7:08 AM

Plus, it's really too dangerous for people with no affinity with Portuguese families. I just looked up and down again in my wife's tree (all Portuguese). No rule applies whatsoever - except the desire by different generations to perpetuate the names that had the most 'social significance' ;-)

Private User
9/12/2011 at 7:09 AM

Quite simple: Make your own rules for Brazilians and Portuguese as we have done in the Nordic lines independent of what "outsiders" try to force on us and make sure that it get known by making a Portuguese portal/project.

9/12/2011 at 7:33 AM

Sure, George. The middle name is usually the maternal surname nowadays. In the past it was not a rule.

More simple, Bjorn: I'm not worried about creating rules.

9/12/2011 at 7:54 AM

Lucia, it sounds like you are using a "rule" (so to speak) of putting the maternal surname in the middle name field. I think what others are asking is that, if that is the convention in Brazil and/or Portugal, it should be written into the Naming Conventions so that everyone is following the same system. We have naming conventions for many other countries and time periods, and if Portuguese is indeed different from Spanish in terms of names, then that just needs to be made clear to everyone.

The major problem that Portuguese-speaking users might face is because of the way the Geni search operates. If it indeed ignores middle names (is this true, Mike Stangel?) then that will cause a problem if someone searches by maternal surname and they are not able to find the person.

9/12/2011 at 8:20 AM

Lúcia Pilla I am confused..you said
I think this discussion is completely useless. I am the only curator who speaks Portuguese as native. What is expected? That I fix all the thousands of profiles to suit a rule that is not natural for Brazilians and Portugueses?

Are you saying you do not want what Victar is proposing?

9/12/2011 at 11:24 AM

Pam, middle names are not ignored in search but they will not match against other profiles' last names.

Private User
9/12/2011 at 1:53 PM

I am not in favor of putting a surname in a given name field.

I suspect that if Geni did not have a separate middle name field - as don't other genealogy software - we would not be having this discussion.

9/12/2011 at 2:33 PM

Agree with Phydeck

Private User
9/12/2011 at 2:58 PM

So back to my suggestion: remove the middle name field ;-)

9/12/2011 at 3:02 PM

Personally I hope the Geni powers have read the various discussions on the name inpu fields and will come up with the best compromise solution in the end. I'm sure they won't please all the people all the time but ....

9/12/2011 at 5:29 PM


I am curious about somethng.

When I fill out a form, I base it on my identification - drivers license, passport, birth certificate.

The fields in Geni are similar to those forms.

Is it different in Brasil? In other words, how would the name Private User be written out, in which fields, on a passport?

9/12/2011 at 5:49 PM

I support Bjorn's proposal to remove the middle name field. We see the confusion it causes. Really, there are just given names and surnames.

I'm staying out of the discussion about how to format Portuguese names. It would be better, I think, if we let the discussion be driven by Portuguese and Brazilian users.

9/12/2011 at 6:07 PM

Name: Jorge Alberto (George Albert)
Maternal Surname: Patricio
Paternal Surname: Vasconcellos

I'm Lúcia Pilla Damasio
Name: Lúcia
Maternal Surname: Pilla
Paternal Surname: Damasio

99% of people in Brazil have this setting. If I leave the middle name blank, every time the profile is merged the field will take the middle name again, thus:

Lúcia Pilla Pillla Damasio

Showing 1-30 of 115 posts

Create a free account or login to participate in this discussion