Guillaume Néel, SV/PROG 1 - How should the surname of the first generation be shown?

Started by Sharon Doubell on Sunday, March 17, 2013
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3/17/2013 at 2:18 AM

Private User is "trying to sort out a few things on the Nel/Néel/Neel tree which seems to be in a bit of a tangle.

Could we please have a show of hands as to how the surname of the first generation should be shown?

Presently Nel with Néel in the aka but should it be the other way around. There is a school of thought that says the name should appear as shown in the baptism register but this could lead to a variety of spellings in this SV1b generation.
Thoughts please - majority consensus needed!"

3/17/2013 at 2:19 AM

Esther STIEGER (VISSER): "Guillaume Neel/Nel, SV/PROG 1"

3/17/2013 at 2:20 AM

Private User I am talking about the first generation Esther - all the SV!b's

3/17/2013 at 2:20 AM

Lee Cahill: I would go with Néel/Nel because, as I understand it, the former spelling was still in use by the family when they arrived at the Cape of Good Hope, and that it slowly evolved into the latter spelling over time.

3/17/2013 at 2:21 AM

Private User: I think that we need to stick to one or the other - using both in the surname field is not a good idea - the alternative needs to be in the aka field. Maybe a Curator's note could display the combined Nel/Néel format. The display name could be used but this does mess up the way the tree is seen in the preference people select.
There is also some discrepancy in the order of the b generation - presently the SAG numbers are how they are arranged but it is worth looking at the First Fifty Years Project. If it is felt necessary we could submit a report to GISA but would need to back it up with baptism entries. Some are on FFYP - they need to be added to the profiles if anyone has time?

3/17/2013 at 2:21 AM

Lee Cahill: For my part, I'm happy to be guided by you - I don't have nearly as much knowledge about this as you do.

3/17/2013 at 2:22 AM

Me: It might be an idea to move this very worthwhile Discussion Thread as it is excluding a lot of the managers - and there might be others interested in the outcome both now and in the future.

I'm with Lee on the Néel/Nel option, but am open to being shown why that is not a good idea, June.

3/17/2013 at 2:23 AM

Private User: I don't know whether it is something I have gleaned through various posts over the years - will we could put it to the Curators? Could you open a discussion Sharon as you are Curator on the SV Profile?

Private User
3/17/2013 at 2:46 AM

For the SV/PROG I would prefer the original French birth/baptism name so that the connection with the French ancestors can be shown.
It was later that the names where incorrectly spelt by Dutch officials etc.
For the children and grandchildren born in South Africa, perhaps we can then standarize to the 'modern'/mispelt name of Nel?
Just my 2c's...!

3/17/2013 at 3:10 AM

My first preference would remain for Néel/Nel, as the family was known by both names. But if we need to decide between one and the other, I agree with Michelle - the original name should be given in the primary record, and 'Nel' should be given as an aka.

Although 'Nel' is more recognisable in SA, we need to accept that surnames have changed over the course of history, and that variations exist as one goes further back in the world tree.

I honestly don't feel the first generation's name should be recorded as 'Nel' because even when they arrived at the Cape, it was still Néel. It was only contracted into 'Nel' over the course of time.

Private User
3/17/2013 at 3:24 AM

Please note that what I was asking was how the name should be presented for the CHILDREN of the SV/PROG. The "B" generation.

3/17/2013 at 4:16 AM

Ah! Hah! I confess I thought you meant the SV/PROG generation when you said 'first generation'. If it's the B generation that's under discussion, I'd go with 'Nel' because the surname was already being used in that way during Guillaume Néel SV/PROG's lifetime ...

Private User
3/17/2013 at 5:29 AM

For the sake of promoting ease of collaboration and ease of recognition here on Geni, I would support the use of Nel. Makes it easier for all who are looking for the Nel SV/PROG. In the Aka or the About me fields we can add the alternate spellings. As for the genealogical purists, they can do it the 'right' way on their private sets of data and save themselves a lot of frustration :-)

Private User
3/17/2013 at 5:30 AM

I would definately go according to the SA spelling as from the 1st one being the SV. NEL. With Niel/NeeL in the AKA field.As from there all Nel and in the profile before SA, Niel/Neel however they spelt it.
And as for all documentation in the archive, for those going there you will notice it is NEL. There are not such a surname in Afrikaans as Niel/NEEL, etc.
That is my penny worth.

Private User
3/17/2013 at 5:31 AM

Stem Chris. Agree Chris.

3/18/2013 at 1:34 AM

I think we need input on whether the aka field is searchable.

Private User
3/18/2013 at 2:36 AM

It is, - and that is why you always should put full aka names there, i.e "Bill Clinton" and not just Bill.

Private User
3/18/2013 at 2:39 AM

I tested it the other day - tried it on a woman with maiden name in both fields without the AKA, searching for her using just her married name - it does pick up the AKA, but if it isn't there you won't find her. Hard to test sometimes because it seems changes don't always show up in searches for a while. I will test it again when I come across a double maiden name with no aka.

Private User
3/18/2013 at 3:32 AM

I don't know how often the search index for AKA names is updates, but if you search on my example you will find Bill Clinton even if the only place that name is used is in the AKA field.

3/18/2013 at 3:42 AM

The other option when the spelling of a person's name varies over their lifetime, would be to use the first version in Birth Name (eg Néel, if that is the spelling on his birth certificate before the Dutch officials change it), and the subsequent version in Last Name/Surname (eg Nel).
Not sure this is better, just making sure we've explored all options.

Many people find it quicker and more accurate to use google to search Geni. Do you guys know if google searches aka as well?
Again, not sure this is vital, just making sure we've explored all options.

3/18/2013 at 4:24 AM

Good idea to put the original surname into the 'birth surname' field and the later surmane into the 'surname' field.

WRT to Lodewyk's comment above, though, my understanding is that there aren't any 'private' sets of data and that all trees are essentially merged into the world tree. Am I missing something ...?

Private User
3/18/2013 at 5:44 AM

Hi Lee, I was not clear enough. My apologies. The private sets of data would be those one keeps on one's own computer/website; not on Geni.

Some people still try to keep their own information on Geni 'private' by entering their information only on profiles that are kept private, even if the profiles are of people who lived more than 150 years ago. At the same time, it is preferable to keep profiles of living persons private for security reasons.

Some of us, like me, sometimes inadvertently mark a pre-1900 profile as private without noticing it. If anybody notices this in a specific profile, please feel free to contact me about it so that it can be rectified. I like the Geni collaborative approach a lot.

3/18/2013 at 7:37 AM

Is Nell not also one of the variations -

I saw that in one of my searching regarding the families I'm researching. I think it goes back in my du Toit lines - but now I am not to sure ... just that I saw that spelling.

I am a baby in genealogy - but loves it :-)

3/18/2013 at 10:57 AM

Hi Lodewyk - Ah! Hah! I understand :)

I admit that it took me a while to get used Geni's collaborative approach, but once I did, I found I loved it. I certainly would never have uncovered the wealth of information that I have if I'd been working on my own. It's also nice to make contact with people who share one's passion for genealogy!

3/18/2013 at 10:58 AM

Hi Willa - Yep, Nell is also a variation. My branch of the family used the spelling 'Nell', which appears on many of the old family headstones.

3/19/2013 at 12:27 AM

So far, I haven't heard disagreement with this: =The other option when the spelling of a person's name varies over their lifetime, would be to use the first version in Birth Name (eg Néel, if that is the spelling on his birth certificate before the Dutch officials change it), and the subsequent version in Last Name/Surname (eg Nel). =

Private User
3/19/2013 at 12:57 AM

I would prefer Nel from SA Prog but is not dead set on it.
In the SV it can be either/or but further on I think I am quite sure that we decided long ago it should go with the most used surname.
SO Juune if you are talking about the SV as per your answer to Esther, I am happy with your decision.

3/19/2013 at 2:15 AM

I think Birth Name should be his historically accurate name at birth, and would support Michelle & Lee on having the historically correct French spelling in that field: Néel
June's point that she was talking about the 'b' generation follows logically from that - Their historically accurate birth names should be recorded in Birth Surname: in this case, Nel I think.

The option to use the Last Name / Surname field to record his changed name spelling at death: 'Nel' AS WELL AS recording it in the aka field, is, to my mind, the real question.

3/19/2013 at 2:19 AM

June's point about the problem of a variety of spellings for the 'b' generation then arises as still to be discussed. I'm for historical accuracy over standardization - but bot inflexibly so.

Private User
3/19/2013 at 3:23 AM

The historical accuracy thing is also problematic. Take for example the progenitor of the Steyn family. His 'birth' name would not be a surname but a patronymic = Gerbens. But this patronymic is spelt in at least three ways in official documents: Gerbens, Gerbrants, Gerbrandts. Then the surname which he added to his patronymic after he moved to South Africa - also spelt in many ways: Stein, Steijn, Stijn. BUT not as Steyn, the way in which the surname is being spelt today. What do I use if I want to be historically accurate? The spelling that is used most frequently, or that I like most? What I have proposed to those who are working with me on the Steyns is that we simply use Steyn everywhere and add the variants in the Aka and/or the About me section. The reasoning is that Geni is a collaborative website. We need to make it easier for people to find their progenitors. If we all use the birth surname and surname that we individually prefer, however logical it sounds to us, we end up introducing avoidable difficulties in our collaboration.

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