Sarah Dewey (Orton) - Sarah's Surname

Started by Timothy Romaslovsky on Sunday, June 30, 2013


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6/30/2013 at 1:35 AM

Dear all,
I suggest to fill the "Surname" field as "Orton" (as she have not change it after marriage) and the field "Show as" as "Sarah Orton". It will be more correct. If anyone have a permission to change these fields and agree with me then please do it as I have no permission.

Private User
6/30/2013 at 7:42 AM

I agree with you but unfortunately, though she is one of my relative's ancestors, I have no access to do it.

6/30/2013 at 11:37 AM

Is there documentation her name was not changed after marriage? It would be very unusual for this time and place. In the US the first (and noted) evidence was Lucy Stone in the late 19th century whose surname was NOT changed after marriage, and she had to go take it to court.

7/1/2013 at 8:51 AM

Dear Lilian,

Erica is a Curator and she can change this Master Profile but could you kindly explain the basement of your conclusion that she was not change her surname after the marriage? It is very interesting.

7/1/2013 at 2:24 PM

Yes, that's why I asked the question.:). I've looked at hundreds of records from Colonial America, and married women are documented as "wife of" (as in this tombstone) or "widow of" - or with their husband's name only (maiden name quite often unknown unfortunately, unless there has been good research from wills, probate records, and vital record extrapolation).

If she had not been married her tombstone would not have said "wife of."

Private User
7/1/2013 at 10:30 PM

"Wife of" is not a documentation that they used the husbands name. It is just a fact that they was "the wife of".

7/2/2013 at 2:35 AM

I have one more question about the birth date of Sarah. On the tombstone the date of death is 20/11/1711 and her age at this moment is 60. Then we calculate the birth date as before 21/11/1651. But in profile we see the date of birth - 22/08/1652?
P.S. As you see my name in Cyrillic than let me introduce myself in Latin as Timothy Romaslovsky for your convenience.

7/2/2013 at 3:06 PM

Timothy Romaslovsky

That's a very interesting question and calculation, thank you.

I do not see that her birth was recorded in Town Vital records (which is not very meaningful - it could well be there and misspelled, or pages missing, etc). There is however reference to her BAPTISM date of 22 August 1652; I've added that citation to the "time line" tab.

Now often enough the tombstone "birth date" is whatever the family told the stone mason, and not necessarily the best record for birth date. But on the other hand, unlike in Europe at that time & due to so few churches & ministers close to the farms, baptism / christening could follow the birth event by years.

I believe we should format the Geni profile with a "between" date range - before the baptism date and at least 9 months after her older sister's known birth date of 16 May 1650.

This Rootsweb database seems well referenced:

I don't understand why her children have Orton in the middle name? Middle names were not used in America until around 1700

7/3/2013 at 4:47 AM

1. For birth date - OK.
2. For surname - waiting an answer from Lilian.
3. For children's middle name I saw that Orton Dewey for children are placed not in two fields but in "Surname" field only for both. I suppose that the function "Add son/daughter" (made for Sarah) could done it automatically if at that moment Sarah's profile had Orton Dewey in Surname field. In this case we need to fix this mistake. In history of Jedediah Orton Dewey the first manager of his profile is @Robert Ditmann. How can we include him to our dicussion?

7/3/2013 at 5:03 AM

Using contact manager goes to all managers.

I added into Sarah' profile will data from her father which was in his profile. He names "my daughter, Sarah Dewey."

Private User
7/3/2013 at 9:36 AM

Sorry, but I see I have a very personal point of view concerning naming-order pattern. Then I only can conclude if most users would rather follow the traditional way of addressing married women by her husband's surnames, I'll leave the door open to change what you would consider is a mistake. I just only thought it would be very interesting and useful that present and future generations would get to know their married females ancestor's surnames in a very fast and simple way. I don't understand why we should have to stick to old patterns that complicate the reading of trees- For instance. If you have FOUR generations of JOHN SMITH - you have to name them John I. II. III, IV or Sr. , jr, and so on - while if you take advantage of middle surnames one can identify each member of the same family more easily. But you have the right to disagree with this standpoint.

7/3/2013 at 12:00 PM

Why not use the AKA field then? It shows easily but it's more clearly a nickname and not a "record based" name (which a researcher wouldn't be able find and verify).

What I use for dis ambiguation is record based display name or suffix field. For instance, Thomas Orton of Farmington in the display name is historically accurate.

I do see what you mean about being able to more easily follow the maternal line. But within 2 generations of Thomas' children you do get into naming patterns where maiden names were used as given names, and as recorded middle names. So it may end up causing issues also.

7/3/2013 at 12:08 PM

Oh I should make an important point about middle name, maiden name, and display name in Geni, which is that every user can customize their view to what's most comfortable for them in

So if you'd prefer to see the traditional pedigree view of birth surname only, that's very easily done.

7/4/2013 at 12:14 AM

I fully agree with Erica. As for me I use the view with visibilty of Name/Middle Name/Surname/Suffix/Maiden Name fields and have no misunderstandings.
Thanks a lot for Lilian for her explanation. It is clear that Erica now can fill Sarah's Surname as Dewey, Maiden Name - Orton and amend overview to delete that she has surname Orton and not Dewey to avoid future misunderstandings. And I think that now we can fix the Sarah's children surnames too. Agree?

Private User
7/4/2013 at 3:42 AM

Just for the sake of backing up my 'theory'
1) If you have (as I do in my tree) 2 or 3 John Wheeler OF AMPYHILL in diferent generations of the same family, then you'll also face issues...while I think we may solve the problem by using their maternal surnames as I do-
2) Or if you have several John Wheelers (as I do in my tree) of same place of birth and approx. same date of birth you'll have a high brick wall to jump over till you`d be able to identify which John is yours. While if they would bear their maternal surnames as well, the search would be simpler.
3) As to the case of people bearing maiden surnames as middle names I either use initials as their maternal surname or show both middle/maiden names - I agree that is the weakest solution.
In any case you have the right to decide.

7/4/2013 at 10:53 AM

Lilian - we have faced the problem of same name, similar location & dates on Geni, with literally millions of profiles!

In fact that's one of the big reasons members requested the Master Profile / curating program. Two MPs cannot be merged together, and we have the additional text box that floats on top where we can add "caution" notes or simplified chart info (son of X & Y, married A, B, C).

Geni is also a documentation / record match program. We are fortunate to have a free partnership with Findagrave, for instance. That data matches on the name fields. So what would happen for someone working on the Dewey tree, looking for matches into the US census after 1790, which they paid for? For Findagrave? If the name is Orton Dewey, which is a different last name from Dewey, they wouldn't get hits on that data.

Yet another disambiguation tool of course is the use of images. For some of my same / similar name ancestors I use icons representing their cost of arms (English ancestors), the town of origination (town seal for Farmington, CT), and of course - lots of tombstones.

Again, also known as / nickname is whatever you want that is a reasonable nickname - and if there's a documented "use" name that's even better, put that in the display name (Robert "the cooper" Wheeler, of Concord; Sgt. Robert Wheeler).

7/4/2013 at 10:58 AM

NB I know the pain of the Wheeler tree! Everyone had the same 3 names ....

7/5/2013 at 1:16 AM

I amend the name fields for Sarah's children and for their wifes. Please verify my amendments. And there is a match in Findagrave for Joseph Dewey but I do not know how we can take the photo of gravestone from it to put it into his profile.

7/5/2013 at 11:36 AM

Hi Timothy

uploading photos to Geni is very easy, there are FAQ here

Or to say it quickly - it's 2 steps:
- save the image to your hard drive
- upload from your computer to the Geni profile

7/5/2013 at 11:43 AM

The names for the children look good to me, I made one adjustment & will explain why.

James Dewey, Deacon

He had been written out as James Deacon Dewey

"Deacon" can be a name, but in this case, is a title, a courtesy honoring his work wth his church.

Geni does not have a prefix field and that's where it really should go, so I use "Display name" instead.

7/7/2013 at 8:25 AM

Concerning James I saw Deacon in middle name but I had no information about if it is the middle name or the suffix. So, I decided to remain it existed. What I do not clear understand are your following words "Geni does not have a prefix field and that's where it really should go, so I use "Display name" instead". Geni has suffix field and I usually put title into this field. It this case it will be shown as James Dewey, Deacon. Is this way of writing not right? What it is the difference between prefix and suffix?

7/7/2013 at 8:45 AM

I find here the marriage date for Margaret Orton but I do not find relationship fields in her profile in Geni. Why are they absent?

7/7/2013 at 12:33 PM

Timothy - I'll take the easy question first. When I go to

Margaret Orton

Select Edit profile > Relationships

I see

Thomas Orton was her Order Unknown (Change Marriage Order)
Married on June 16, 1641
Married in Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut

(I updated it from 1 June 1641 based on your citation)

If you don't see that it could be your permissions on the profile. So I am curious as to your view; as a curator with some "super" powers I may have a different view)

7/7/2013 at 12:49 PM

For the second question:

"It this case it will be shown as James Dewey, Deacon. Is this way of writing not right?"

It's not wrong, and as you mention, many on line trees use this method. I will explain why I prefer to use the "display name" field to capture a preceding title.

"Prefix" precedes a name, "suffix" follows it.

Firstly, these are matters of stylings & address, not documented names. So in English, from eras in time when there is good documentation, a suffix may be part of the "legal name" inscribed on birth / death certificate etc. I have a great grandfather named

James Henry Howton, Jr.

So when I source the name, I use the suffix field for what is on the document. Since his father was James Henry Howton (NOT Sr. - he didn't become "known as" Sr. until his son was born, of course!)

Now "old Uncle Henry" (a nickname - which did NOT mean he was elderly, it meant he was an "original settler" of the territory) could have also been a deacon in his church ... and a Lieutenant in his local militia. Either or both are appropriate modes of address - but I don't have the suffix field available. So my solution is to use the "display name" for "best known as" -- basically, what history remembers him best for.

In my example he is "best known as" (in my opinion! Hopefully my cousins agree)

James Henry "old Uncle Henry" Howton

7/7/2013 at 11:27 PM

Hi Erica,
Concerning Margaret profile I incline to agree with you (I am not a manager of her profile) but I wonder what is the use to make relationships invisible for anybody?

7/7/2013 at 11:32 PM

Timothy I think it's about collaborating with one of the profile managers / being a profile manager in order to revise relationships. Or it could be how you're viewing it? Much easier from profile view.

7/7/2013 at 11:36 PM

Thank for your explanation about prefix and suffix. I do not feel this subject to the end. The reason is that I have not very good experience in this question. But I realise now that ancient naming was not so simple as nowadays.

7/7/2013 at 11:47 PM

During the investigation of Sarah Dewey (Orton) I discovered that a tremendous amount of profiles around her are constructed in this not correct manner when in surname field mother and father surnames exist simultaneously. In such manner all match engines will not work properly. How can we fix this? Do you know? For me it is too big task as I have not enough time to correct such amount of profiles. May be we could cooperate together with another managers to segregate the tree between them for revision? Or someone volunteers to do it?

7/7/2013 at 11:52 PM

I can help out, sure, on optimizing the profiles. Is there a target area?

Naming is hard! And when it gets to different languages and countries, such as my immigrant ancestors, it's a little like trying to squeeze square pegs into round holes. Even 150 years ago in the USA naming conventions could be slightly different.

7/7/2013 at 11:54 PM

Erica if I see a profile view then I see only Basics and About bookmarks and not a Relationship. If I see edit hyperlink from the tree view profile then I see only Basics bookmark.

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