Naming Practices for the Geni Community Wiki

Started by Erica Howton on Wednesday, January 5, 2011


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1/5/2011 at 12:24 AM

This section doesn't even exist yet. :{

Let's start with a definition of what we mean by "naming practices."

Private User
1/5/2011 at 9:56 PM

hi erica! remember me? :p

my first impression here is that using the term "naming practices or conventions" might just be the wrong foot forward. simply because naming conventions, in the proper sense, refers to a much broader set of variables and in context has no relation to the word "name," rather, referring to a consistent method (convention) respected when naming something.

my point being, maybe we call it "Data Input Conventions"

i say this because someone might think 'naming conventions" is so called because we are dealing with names, eg: genealogy et al., rather than the traditional attribute being lexicon related.

just a thought.


1/5/2011 at 9:59 PM

Oh well, I didn't name the project.

There is a need to build out naming conventions as a guide for the community. For instance, I have Scottish Kings ancestors -- and wouldn't have known the developed standards (which are quite sensible) without the guideline.

So we really need to go forward and build out more.

It's already all over the Wiki as "naming conventions," I wouldn't change it. Too much trouble and not really the problem at hand.

1/5/2011 at 10:25 PM

You know, your question raised another thought, which is about "naming patterns."

For instance the Coffins frequently used the names Tristam [sic] and Peter. The Wrights frequently used the names John and Henry. It's good way to make sure you're in the "right" branch of a common surname.

But that, I think, is a different topic: a true genealogical one.

"Data Input Guideline" *is* accurate for what we're after. Maybe we can include that point in the narrative section.

Private User
1/5/2011 at 11:43 PM

Naming patterns, I believe, are called "onomastics". Medieval genealogy seems to play around with the idea a lot, mostly as an indicator that you are on the right path to proving someone is part of a family, rather than actual proof of anything...

Private User
1/5/2011 at 11:58 PM

yes, i've just noticed that.

so, why wouldn't we simply extrapolate from that page?

i guess i am wondering about what is clearly an important issue in the genealogical realm, naming conventions with respect to history, culture, origin, political and other concerns. clearly there are very specific conventions that have remained intact and many that have degregated over time - which both need to be recognized to in order to properly document, research and utilize genealogical resources.

to me, that is one hand in the big picture, but the other hand is the conventions needed in order to manage and control (as reasonably as possible) how and what is entered where,

so, given that there is a fairly extensive wiki page that delineates what i've referred to as the first hand (although i think there are some parts needing revisions), would it be safe to assume this new document you'd like to generate is strictly related to the second hand; control of what and how?

oh, on a side note - i ran across the term honorific on that page, and i am pretty sure that "Sir" is not considered as such,.

what is being referred to as "naming conventions" across the wiki seems like a catch all for all things related to names, their conventions, how and where to place them.

naturally, since it all relates to genealogy, complication is woven deeply into the fabric. in my mind, we've at least two primary categories of concern; how to properly use the fields to accurately capture a person's name in a way that adheres to the historical convention- addressing all of the multitude of esoteric variables and such. and then, how to provide ample flexibility to allow users to do the above, while restricting the possibility of screwing things up.

in the end i see both of these landing on the usability "airstrip." here is why; if user 1 has enough flexibility to enter data in a way that the "convention" is undermined, then user 2 will likely encounter research, matching and ultimately having a positive user experience.

of course Geni doesn't want the site to have such a high learning curve that the adoption rate is reduced, i am guessing they're in business to retain and upsell customers.

so, i suppose the challenge is how to balance the restrictions and conventions against ease of use and "fun to do the genealogy thang" factor.

meh. since i am not on the payroll for Geni, i find myself gravitating toward advocating for the user, since i am one. :) of course, i have another hat permanently attached - the one i wear for clients etc.

i am sure this is way more than you signed up to read, sorry for that.

maybe it is best if you simply direct me on how i can help. i am game for that and take direction quite well.

1/6/2011 at 7:21 AM

Hi Tristam,

I think what I'm after is a simple guideline for data input for ancestors.

When I trace back by my family tree - and this is probably similar to most of us - I go thru:

United States 2000-1600
Scotland 1700-400ish
England 1600-1100ish
Normandy 1100-600ish
Scandinavia 600ish-300ish
Byzantium ? 300ish-50ish
Rome 50ish- -100ish
Greece -100ish - -500ish
Palestine - ?

So I need snippets for the most accurate way to enter names and places as possible, on a Wiki guide.

2/22/2011 at 4:32 PM

When you use the words "naming practices", I think of the rules about how the children were named after the grandparents and in what order. About how the custom was in naming a child after the childs mother when she died while giving birth, after an older sibling that just died or other customs in naming children.

Well, that is what I think about when you use the words "naming practices". I know it's not what you are thinking about, but as a genealogist, that is what first pops into my head.

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