Naming Conventions: Kings of Scotland

Started by Erica Howton on Sunday, January 16, 2011
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1/16/2011 at 3:28 PM

Is there any change or update needed to what's on the wiki?

Scottish Kings Naming Conventions:

* Name as close to original name as possible, language, geography and time period to be taken into consideration
o Gaelic names for Scottish/Gaelic speaking people as far as possible
o Patronymics in the Middle Name field
o Titles usually go in the Last Name field
o Adjust First Name field to avoid misunderstandings or mistaken identity where necessary, by adding order/number or byname.
o Maiden names are normally avoided as there were none at the time
o All names a person is known by in any source listed in Nicknames: bynames (especially in English), additional titles, variations.

Private User
1/16/2011 at 11:03 PM

Well, I don't agree. First of all the patronymic name IS the maiden name / birth name and is important to use if you are not using the last name field for that. Secondly the title of course goes into the suffix field.

1/17/2011 at 2:53 AM

OK, glad I asked. I certainly agree about the Suffix Field. I really want those Title and House fields in the database. :)

Private User
1/17/2011 at 3:20 AM

The question is what to put in the last name field if the person is not best known by his patronymic or family name.

In the viking lines I use the local "best know as" name there. In case I use the local "best know as" I usually use the english/international with quotes in the middle name field.

To avoid edit-wars of the fields or junk from a merge I always fill in the Display name with a combination of all fields (except suffix because the label will be to long in tree-view)

Currently we don't have a place for "House of", which in any case can be mentioned in the About Me. Remember that you have limited space in the node view of the tree. I sometimes wish we could tag profiles to a miniature icon which can be used for royal and other "important" profiles in the tree view.

Example: Harald I "Fairhair", king of Norway
First: Harald
Middle: I «Fairhair»
Last: Hårfagre
Maiden: Halvdansson
Suffix: King of Norway
Display: Harald I Halvdansson «Fairhair» Hårfagre

If this model can be used on the Kings of Scotland most other's give an answer on.

Private User
1/17/2011 at 3:26 AM

As you see having rules on how to use the fields depends on how the person is best recognized and what values you have. The Patronymics in the Middle Name field is an example of that, - sometimes it is best, sometimes not, -but don't add it if the person never is mentioned in a source with a patronymic name. Never fabricate facts you know.

Private User
1/17/2011 at 3:37 AM

You should also remember that a title is within a time period. A person is never born as a King, so genealogically you should not use it since the basic genealogical fields should reflect the values at birth, but we allow us to use the "best known as" for titles too.

Private User
1/17/2011 at 6:17 AM

Can I make the following small contribution to the debate on Scottish Kings and naming conventions:

According to my understanding of my country's history (I may be under a misapprehension of course, in which case I will be pleased to accept correction), there has never been a King or Queen of Scotland. The reigning monarch is the King, or Queen of Scots, an honour which is still held not by divine right but by the consent of the community of the realm.

Neil Reid Ford

1/17/2011 at 7:14 AM

Thank you, we need to change that in the Wiki. I think the profiles accurately show it as King / Queen of Scots.

Take a look at the latest iteration of this profile with a critical eye for naming, if you would be so kind. I am not happy that it's getting 446 matches in other trees ...

James I, King of Scots

1/17/2011 at 7:24 AM


Questions for you. Are you familiar with Scottish Gaelic? Because we can't quite figure out which is correct:

Seumas I mac Roibairt, Ard Righ Albainn or Seumas I mac Roibairt, Ri Alban.

Also, FMG has the Latin style of his name as Jacobum regem. Is that how he would have signed documents? Or is it better to go with the full translation of Jacobus [Secundus], Rex Scotiae ?

Private User
1/17/2011 at 8:27 AM

Dear Erica,

I regret to tell you that I'm not a gaelic speaker and so I cannot answer your first question with anything that would come anywhere near confidence. I would guess, though, that the first phrase quoted by you might be a more accurate representation of the way in which Robert II, King of Scots, might have been addressed by one of his gaelic speaking subjects than is the second. I would need to investigate this possibility, though, before I would feel confident about giving an opinion. According to my understanding of this language, the gaelic words: "Ard Righ" mean High King, or more accurately, perhaps, High Chief. This leads me to suppose that the Gaels of olden times might have regarded the King of Scots as the Chief of Chiefs, rather than as king of the land which belonged to them, the Scots.

Similarly, I cannot say what the language of the Scottish Court actually was at this period, but the surviving records of government are either in Latin, or English. It does not follow from this that a gaelic title should not be used in the Geni-profile of this king but I'm not sure what his English speaking subjects would have made of it?

With regard to the use of long titles in Geni-profiles, can I make you aware of this important fact. Scotland has never been a gaelic speaking country. It is true of course that in the time of Robert II, King of Scots, many of the inhabitants of Scotland did speak gaelic but I would guess that a great many more, the majority, perhaps, spoke English.

I hope that this opinion is of help.

Kind Regards,


Private User
1/17/2011 at 8:49 AM

Dear Erica,

Please ignore my references to Robert son of James, and Robert II, King of Scots: I must try to pay more attention. My observations are still valid though, at least I hope that you will think they are?

Kind regards.


1/17/2011 at 10:57 AM

Yes, and they are in line with my understanding as well.

What I think we've decided is that for the earlier kings -- probably pre- Stewart -- when more clearly Highland / and perhaps pre-Norman influence -- is go with English (or English with a Scots accent:)) in the main naming fields and include Scottish Gaelic in the "nickname" field and "about me" text. And go with whatever Cawley at FMG Medlands says for the Latin title. Does that sound reasonable?

1/17/2011 at 11:17 AM

Dear Neil-- Thank you so much for helping us!

Private User
1/17/2011 at 2:22 PM

I don't think a discussion between a few people is not representative to ruin two years work with the naming Wiki.

Private User
1/18/2011 at 12:10 AM

YOU have started a project and want to define and force rules on everybody and draw conclusion after just a few days without even talking to those who work in and have experience on these lines and especially not even talk to those who have developed the naming wiki, - which in any case just are a guidelines. Personally I don't care prefer to look at every profile individually.

Private User
1/18/2011 at 1:30 AM

Bjorn has a point. The original wiki pages are a result of a curator's work. Changing them should be an agreement with the previous author. Just doing changes could distantiate the author even further from the curator community.
As this is still a hobby for most of us, doing things in too fast pace is a problem. While we get new curators on board we risk losing the most experienced.

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