My thinking is now so proposophised (maybe by the ghraphics of the prosopis) that I will respond later!!
Due to similar names of my father and grandfather, I was called a different name by family and others until matric. At University they called me by a different name which I changed to a less dimunitive version after I started working. When somebody whom I can't remember immediately calls one of my names, I can at least place that person in one of the categories : family/pre-university acquaintances or varsity mates or career acquaintances.
Have no idea what will appear on the gravestone!!
Depends entirely of course what your personal objectives are and what we are busy with here on Geni. From a genealogy research perspective, which is what Geni is for me, when it comes to names and in genealogy terms 'Alternate' or 'Married names' if you do not have a document with that name on it, you do not put it in the field.
Trends are not good enough. Assumptions and incorrect interpretation is your enemy. You run the risk of one persons mistake being propagated by the next which is so often the case especially if you are working with the data from others as many of us do.
In this respect I would accept a name on a gravestone as an alternative name and I hope and believe that alternate names will in future allow us to link a date and reference as to where the name is mentioned.
This would be a good place to mention if it is not clear already that I myself have a particular obsessive objective. I want to get more genealogists and in particular, South African genealogists to participate in Geni. Simply because they have the best, most complete and accurate data and they will make us more relevant as a genealogy site in respect of accuracy and completeness. Without them I will always feel we are chasing our own tails. In many respects current publications are out-dated and incomplete and there are many researchers working on future publications (some even only intended to be released after their death). If you think the latest 'So and So' book or information you find on some website represents the latest and most accurate data, think again. Also consider that everyone's data contains errors. Even the best genealogists and most thorough researchers out there has errors in their data. I can only dream and it may be pie in the sky stuff, but imagine every researcher contributing to our genealogical organisations also doing so in Geni. We do have some of them in Geni by the way, truly genealogical gurus, but they are mostly silent. This is what I want to change in the long run if possible. The question I keep asking myself is what can I do to make this happen.
I would like to cite a real life example that I participated in briefly from a genealogy perspective. I think it is difficult to comprehend unless you have done so yourself or spent time with a research orientated genealogist exactly how complex the challenge is to piece the picture together from the documents and the importance of the approach I am advocating for us in Geni. This exercise was my coming of age in genealogy and was the most compelling reason for me accepting to work with birth names of women in line with genealogical approach and the importance of meticulously validating and verifying and not inventing information. Also to take the time and effort to accurately mention your sources.
It is difficult to sketch the picture but essentially the challenge was to correctly place one Jan Adriaan Venter found on a document in 1810, I think it was married to one Anna Maria Last name unknown. We do not have all the Jan Adriaan Venters on Geni yet, but this url may provide a perspective http://www.geni.com/search?names=Jan+Adriaan+Venter to the challenge. Consider all the wife's with the names Anna's and/or Maria's and Johanna's - (Anna Maria turned out to be Johanna Maria van der Walt). If we were dealing with Johanna Maria Venter the task would simply have been an impossibility. The one Johanna Maria Venter in the mix actually caused more pain than any of the others. I'm glad to report she was in the end in fact Johanna Maria Venter. (Read birth name)
I would like to note that this was a 6 month project and it is in fact still on-going as we still have one unplaced Jan Adriaan. Not the same one we started with, but in correcting a previous mistake elsewhere we ended with another one we simply cannot place yet.
This was me spending some time helping a Venter researcher. By the time we started we already had copies of church documentation for most of the Jan Adriaan Venter's and their spouses and the use of 'the books' was only for reference towards the end of the exercise.
So my question to you is Sharon, do you want Geni to be accurate and factual or do you not care?
From my perspective there is only one answer to the question on point 6 if we have genealogy as a core objective and if we want the researchers to participate, but that's my perspective and objective.
I do not see though how we can compromise on this principle however if are busy with geneaology...
I think Geni is dualistic. It is a site for scientific genealogists and a site for popular genealogic hobbyists and all between that.
Both have an important desire: to be able to find the profile of a wanted person.
For that reason it is necessary that all the names a person was mentioned are to be found by the search engine. So I think that all names of a person (in fact there is no difference between man and woman) must be mentioned in the alternate names section and that section must be object for the search engine also.
Also all wrong names, par example by mistakes of the government, by mistakes of genealogists, by mistakes of genealogic sites, etc. should be mentioned there.
Official there are some important events for the real legal name: birth, marriage, death, baptise, divorce, buried; but also at this events there are made mistakes. The longer ago the time the worser the possibility to know the real names. Don't forget most people were analphabetes and names were written according the name a person thought to hear.
Maria, agree with you completely and you expand so eloquently part of the point I'm trying to make. One addition, the ommission of a name because it is not on a document I also see as important.
Certainly where there are mistakes, I would like to see them mentioned particularly in 'About me' and part of my drive to get the genealogists involved is that in so many cases, they are the one's who will know about the mistakes. I want to get to this information.
I believe the new changes in Geni will in time allow for all the names as they occour in these events to be captured.
I want to mention that Geni search (at least for Pro users) does allow you to also search by the name of a partner, so this does not need to be represented in a field.
I would be interested to know how it works for non Pro's... heading over to create a test account for myself..
Is there a possibility in the search engine for non pro's to search for a combined name. When I ask for Maria Smit then I get to many Maria's with other names before and/or after Maria. Searching in Google can with this search limitation "Maria Smit" and then I only get Maria Smit and not Johanna Maria, Maria Theresia, etc.
Mauritz - so in that case, you are agreeing that we should for the moment, err on the side of caution before removing married names from the ambiguous dates of the tree - because they are soon going to become the 'alternate name field' anyway.
Then we prove this could never have been used as an alternate name, and remove it. (You can do this case by case, if you prefer - I'm going to be happy with establishing a historical reality for a period.)
Fred, from what I can see, the search is so 'kak' that it doesn't work for pro curators any better! Hopefully they'll make it more nuanced soon - but let's not distract them from fixing the name fields - it's taken us so long to get them to prioritise that for us.
Daan, I love your name as life-stage history marker story. I'm going to call you 'Danny boy' from now on.
Mauritz, can you isolate your examples from your post and re-post them separately below? I'm scared we will too easily lose them as reference info if they don't stand alone.
By ambiguous dates, I am, of course meaning that there are dates at which it is simply a foregone conclusion that no married names would have been used anyway. I just want to establish when that is in SA, because we are such a young country relative to the 'motherlands'.
It seems prudent to do the least damage while we research that - and deleting is more difficult to repair than not. This doesn't mean I'm just trying to hang ontto the names. I'm trying to take the historian's approach to the preservation of the accuracy of the data base, not just appearance - that seems to me to be the only concern of old-school pen & paper genealogy.
I'm not opposed to genealogists being courted, but I don't want to chase the historians away in the process - and Geni is attempting to be closer to a wikipedia consensus data collection entity than the genealogists appear to be able to conceive of or even begin to allow for.
I have not adjusted my last statement on the matter is to freeze any removal and wait for further communication on 4/15/2011 at 4:42 PM.
I was hoping that we would also have a reciprical situation when coming to adding them back and I was considering the year somewhere between 1850-1875 as a guideline based on my interpretation of documents and gravestones as a temporary measure. I do now find married names being added back onto profiles where I feel and pretty much know that they are constructed. I also see no new references to any sources that would justify this being done, so I wanted to put some effort to see if we can agree at least the principle and approach as I am doing here, so that I can be clear about what to communicate and do myself going forward.
For me erring on the side of caution is of course to remove married names where there is no clear reference or source mentioned. I take note of the alternative name field and rather than basing any decisions on a time period, I was hoping to come to some agreement on the principles we apply when filling in fields as a basis and this would then also apply to the alternate name field and it's use. Using a general date would simply not work for me in the long run for the reasons mentioned in my earlier post.
I could use location for a similar example although for location fields the complexities are even more than the name fields.. From my perspective it would be completely wrong to refer to someone born in the Cape in 1754 to be born in Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa, although I feel ambiguous about South Africa as it brings or takes nothing away from the understanding on where that person was born. I would rather see 'Cape of Good Hope' for instance than anything else.
I appreciate the attempt to apply time periods as a guideline and this thinking is probably also perpetuated by my own analysis for my and other's understanding earlier on JMP van den Berg.
From your comment about old-school pen & paper genealogy you don't seem to have fully consumed the importance that I'm trying to attach to the principle in point 6 and that it makes no difference whether you are using old schoold pen and paper genealogy or a modern computer system called Geni, when it comes to genealogy research. To construct a surname based on your opinion and interpretation is simply not accurate. Also not historicaly.
I would hope the historians could appreciate this if we agree the principle and that it being a genealogy site, education and explanation on the why's and why not's would help us get there. I feel that for the historians there is the 'About me' and Aka fields with ample space to state their interpretations and opinions. For the genealogists there are only these fields..
Having said that, and it being Geni, I would also go with what I see as the common consensus, so if a majority of people said to me here, forget about point 6 after considering my explanation, I would know where I stand in respect of my own preferences and objectives and move forward accordingly..
"of course meaning that there are dates at which it is simply a foregone conclusion that no married names would have been used anyway."
I suppose this is the principle difference in approach between us. Unless you have a document, there cannot be an conclusion either way. To my mind this will be an incorrect assumtion either way when it comes to accuracy and genealogical approach..
To be able to get a perspective on where we all stand, I've set up a basic voting system. Been looking for a long time for an opportunity to test it, so it seemed like a good idea and this is as good a time as any to test it, I thought ;-)
The two profiles can be found here. To vote request management by selecting "Actions" and then "Request Management of this profile"
To register that you disagree with point 6...
Request Management to Vote - I DISAGREE with point 6 and WOULD NOT like to see it applied in our tree.
To register that you agree with point 6...
Request Management to Vote - I AGREE with point 6 and WOULD like to see it applied in our tree.
And now I will come in. Sorry if I sound upset, but the people that knows me well, will know it takes me ages to get upset, but this issue is really becoming a laughing stock!!!!!!! I will try my best to express myself in ENGLISH although I would have said all better in Afrikaans.
1. Willem you are also a well respected Genealogist and know for yourself that a woman in Genealogy keeps her maiden name - PUT!
2. As a registered Genealogist myself, and been doing it for 35 years, I also made the mistake at first and ended up getting 100's of souls being married and having different parents and children. By looking up a Death Notice, in SOUTH AFRICA as well as all other countries I have been doing research, if you don't know the maiden name of the female nobody can help you. I have just received a Death Notice from Germany af well as FRANCE and believe you me, the WOMEN IS KNOWN BY HER MAIDEN NAME. NO MENTION, OTHER THAN MARRIED TO HER HUSBAND of her married name.
3. I state this clearly - if a women dies after being married 3 or 4 times, what would you people say her surname is? The first husbands GGchildren will look under surname 1, the 2nd wifes under surname 2 etc. If they have the knowledge, which not all have of more than 1 marriage, they will never find her.
5. The old people weren't innocent babies as we all thought. I was looking for my Marais- my maiden name - grandmother the only one I knew as my biological grandmother died when I was only 1 year old, under Martha MARAIS. After 7 years not knowing her full names, as I was only a 12 when she passed on, and only knew her as Martha Marais, that is what her tombstone say, to discover by accident that she and grand dad were never married but as her DN state_ written by my Grandfather - (in Afrikaans) lived as husband and wife for 10 years. Her Maiden Name was BOTHA and her 1st husband, who died in WWII was NEL.
Is the whole idea of researching your family tree not to make it easier and leave a legacy for you grandchildren?
Being on the National Excecutive Committe of Genealogy South Africa as the person who does the Omnibus book with different family trees I can assure you, we change everything back to maiden names.
LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST - If we put in the married names a women shall end up being called or displayed or whatever as -Johanna Catharina Elsina Regina Botes/Marais/Meyer/Retief(du Plessis).
NOW HOW DOES THAT LOOK!!!!!!!
Sorry but I don't agree on the married name/s in the profile or on the tree at all. There are the PERSONAL COLUMN to do that in.
I have 10,000's of profiles still to change but anybody that are working with me and not against me are welcome to change the married name to the maiden name if the come on to it.
JUNE, MAU,WILLEM your are welcome to do that. SHARON seems to have been suddenly changed from her view, but Sharon, if you get to one of my profiles and see a married name, please change it to the maiden name, if known.
Or else I am really going to lock all my profiles for only direct immediate family and this getting information for free days, that I have been working on for 35 years and as a love for helping other people to make life easier for them to get their tree's connected, will be over if THIS ISSUE CONTINUE. Even more I will also start deleting my profiles. This is the main reason we have lost a great and highly respected genealogist, regocnised all over the world, ERIK KRIEL from Geni.
It has been going to and back for 7 years now and a point, GENEALOGICALY CORRECT must be taken.
Judi, your answer isn't collaborative at all, and Mau, I have not begun re-inserting surnames anywhere at all, for fear we enter the kind of edit war that Judi is suggesting - which I seriously assume you never intended!
Judi I'm not sure where you think it has, but my view has not changed:
I have ALWAYS said we shouldn't have married names in times when there wasn't any possibility that they existed.
I have ALWAYS been one of the people bugging Geni to have maiden names as the default name. (Look at my record on the discussions & my posts on Geni help.)
I have ALWAYS believed that married name data in eras where women could be logically searched as that too, is essential to include.
I am strongly OPPOSED to Mau or anyone (but especially a curator) being able to do a wholesale deletion of accurate surname data (this involves hundreds of profiles in the 20th Century - when it must be little more than 1% of married women who would not have taken on their husband's surname for the whole of their adult life) that belongs to other people too,
Deleting other people's historically accurate data because you don't like how it looks (especially when you have the option to hide it, or to download gedcoms without it) is irresponsible as a curator -
it uses your enormous powers as a curator not only to access and delete from other people's profiles you are supposed protect - without even having to ask first; but it also treats historically accurate data as something we can afford to lose for no better reason than because it doesn't fit the appearance mold that suits you. This is why genealogy loses credence in the academic world that views accurate information as sacred in itself, not something you delete if it upsets the template you use to make money from it.
Geni is changing the appearance mold - hooray!!
Now please, surely there is no longer any reason to oppose the re-insertion of women's married names in eras when we know they used them!
Both you and Mau have now threatened to leave Geni if we don't agree to do it your way.
I'm not even going to engage with your threat to lock us all out of YOUR profiles - as I don't know what you mean. I'm sure can do that to any of them where you are the only manager, and I'm sure nobody would object.
Sharon, you can hardly point a finger at Judi for not being collaborative. I will gladly go dig out some conversations where she supported you fully and collaboratively. Also where you have recognised Judi's iron hand on our tree.
You again choose to ignore our and my arguments comments with your statement: "Now please, surely there is no longer any reason to oppose the re-insertion of women's married names in eras when we know they used them!" How I find that most uncollaborative too. How about raising a counter argument on the points from Judi and engaging her on it?
I would like to point out again that you together with us, participated and collaborated on this project related to this discussion for a long period. You can be found in the discussions and claim not to be aware of my requests for comment although you were quick to respond to this discussion and can be found in other discussions explaining the use of suffix.
Again, I find that most uncollaborative.
I would like to remind you the text you recently changed fully supports Judi's perspective and the the initiative from me to remove married names is fully supported by the project that you were part of:
''IMPORTANT NOTE - MARRIED NAME:'''As noted earlier in South African genealogy practice we do not use a woman's 'married name' in the 'LAST NAME' and 'MAIDEN NAME' fields and both are (mostly) set as per her birth name ie. fathers LAST NAME. Of course there are always exceptions.
Married names can go in Nickname field which may be renamed to AKA - 'Also known as' field).
So Elsjie van der Merwe born Cloete is correct as only "Elsjie Cloete"
Important to note that historically people were not as conscious of correct spelling of names and there are examples of the same name being spelt numerous ways even in the same document.
There are many arguments to be made for and against using Married name and Geni is currently considering changes and additions to the name fields, but ultimately the 'weight of generally accepted genealogy standards seems to be a pragmatic and wise approach for us building a South-African tree.
There is a reason why this is a genealogical standard and despite the fact that a computerised environment may allow for different rules, tree maintenance and merging is just so much easier without it. There is one less surname to type when adding a profile and one less surname to change if it's wrong. Also much easier to identify and manage merges.
The biggest benefit of building our tree this way is that this may invite more of the experienced genealogists to participate in Geni which will be to all of our benefit. ]
You had all the time in the world to make your opinion heard and didn't. The same as Judi feels now, I felt last week, when all of the sudden you woke from your slumber and decided you like married names and feel we are vandalising them - and now it's your way based on your preference. I feel that if I didn't highlight it in this discussion you would simply not have noted. I again invite you to look at my revisions to see for how long I have been removing them and also to go and look around the tree at some of our most active users to get an understanding of how wide our support for this initiative actualy is. You keep on wanting to ignore this point.
We've taken pains over the years to lobby and work to find agreements on our preferences and I still believe based on actual discussions I had with people over time, that we had and have popular support for our efforts. I just happen to be more political in my approach than Judi but her response pretty accurately mirror the way I felt last week.
Judi is simply expressing a position we have long held and which is supported and furthermore ties in exactly with the point I made earlier. You want to invent names that do not exist on documents and are neither acceptable genealogicaly.
If you want to go around inventing married names as you did here Susanna Janse van Vuren, b1 SM at least do so with the support of original sources.
I would like to remind that we have an equal right to call you to account for wholesale addition of inaccurate and invented married name data.
Actually, quite frankly, would you mind removing the married name on this and other profiles where you have done the same until you can provide a credible source to substantiate that it is accurate and based on a record.
Yeah, sure Sharon, let's get rid of me and Judi, that's very collaborative!
I do see the new intended changes solving this argument and bringing us in line with standard genealogy.
And no Sharon, I do NOT AGREE that there is no longer any reason to oppose the re-insertion of women's married names in eras when we know they used them!
The only option here for you to do that would be if you have an original source to prove your insertion.
I have in the last week transfered my forest with gedcom back to my own db. I went through a period where somebody deleted profiles that i uploaded and had to redo it. I am not prepared to go through the same effort. It seem that this is now going the same way where people threaten to delete profiles.
I want to remind you that most of the profiles now have multiple managers and curator access.
I will put my effort into my own db. I don't see the problem with women having the lastname of her husband. To my knowledge geni provide for searching for both lastnames.
Willem, the good news is that your deleted profiles are easily restored so do not fear this and you should probably also be able to recover those previously deleted if that will help: http://www.geni.com/list/deleted
I read Judi's reaction as simply a human reaction from a blind fury. Please appreciate that this conversation we have had hundreds of times over and over and every time we believe we have agreement on an approach someone else comes along and we have to start over. Every time we have less patience with it and it's a little more painful when a profile that we had without a married name has one. This coming from Sharon who had ample time to also raise her issues with the approach is what leaves us completely despondent.
I think this issue will now come to a point and Geni will ultimately need to decide whether they have a key genealogical objective at heart or not and want the research genealogists or not. I interpret Noah's comment that they do. Of course they want to be inclusive which is a pretty tall order to achieve, but I think it possible and I see a solution coming with the intended changes.
What I do not see as a solution is the genealogical principle of not recording a name or any other data for someone if you have no source. I tried to explain the key reasons for this also earlier in this discussion and would appreciate your thoughts on the points I raise about why this is so.
Geni have already built functionality to support sources, so I would believe this is also a key objective in line with what I would expect from a genealogy program.
I'd be interested to know what fields you use in your own db for your wife's married and maiden name?
Like Judi, I express myself better in Afrikaans, but I would really ask everybody in this discussion to hold their calm.
I am not that experienced in genealogy but being blessed with some logical reasoning, I can state that having tried out many websites, I have not found a better one with also nicer people than Geni.
I also backup my tree to my private db, I would never like to leave Geni and would hate to see any one like Judi, Mau or Sharon to leave Geni - that will be a catastrophe. I understand Sharon's view ( and has followed that for some time) but please let us hold our horses as requested by Mau until we get some decision from Geni.
Please Geni family, let us not sink this one due to different viewpoints or ever increasing heated arguments!
Thank you Daan for your voice of reason.. Daan is Great!
I went cold at reading Willem's comment and realise my arguments are causing these kind of feelings and that is not what I want. We all have a lot invested and we all feel quite passionately about our views, but the argument should not be personal and should stay at the level of discussion. I realise I am at fault here and my reaction is also disproportionate. Stress elsewhere is costing me perspective.
Similarly I would also not like to see anyone leaving Geni..Not even Sharon. ;-). Hoping we can both get our sense of humour back somewhere along the line Sharon, and hoping you will see this last comment in that light.
As good as we all fight, that well we also work together. From my side I will keep looking for consensus and looking for a win win for all of us.
Willem, Mau, Daan - thankyou for your insights. I would also like to protect our tree, rather than my ego :-) at all costs. I am prepared to take a step back and find my sense of humour again, if that's what is needed.
I am going to leave this discussion for awhile and concentrate rather on researching the tree's connections to families in the Cape. Esther Stieger (Visser) has just checked with the family and confirmed that a 4 year old 'David' Baird David Wegelen Baird
was indeed responsible for finding the first reptile-mammal fossil in the world - in Beaufort West. So I'm going to see what more I can find out for us for the Cuzzin Country Travel blog.
Please look after our part of the tree while I'm on the road to the Cape
love cousin Sharon
A camel is a horse designed by a committee, but is still very useful. Geni is a website for all, newbies and genealogist. It is a db of geni info in tree format. Not a genealogist research tool for a thesis on surnames. Yes because it is world wide there will have to be compromises but let us use the platform to collect data. Our part of the tree do not have to be exactly the same as in Russia or Japan.
Ok women do have multiple surnames but it is all part of the info.
To geni please elevate the use of names at birth to the required search priority.
I do agree with you and was really quite fed up with this ongoing issue that has been changed and changed and then some one is in, then they diagree, was just to much.
So of I sounded - and forgive me but for this is don't have a better word than the Afrikaans one - opstandig en kras, I am sorry about that.
And yes, I can not see why the trees in other countries must be the same.
As long as no one changes the way it is done once they stike the connection with the SA trees. I have put my du Plessis tree on, before their were even any other well sourced one, way back to 1400. My own work as well as the du Plessis research of Prof Coetzee, with sources and all, and that is only one family that has been in my managment in then suddenly my name disappeared from the profile totally. The same goes for Marnewick, Marais, Meyer ( the SV/PROG) of Johan Georg Meyer and not the wel known family, Retief and Dirkse van Schalkwyk. That latter two my husbands moms family. Luckily Wynand, June and Mau works on them as well. My one line totally disappeard last year up to the Prog. and just don't see the need to put it back on again. It takes days, night and hours of work and it is not fair.
After reading the above. Daan you for one know me very well and know I hate fighting or hard feelings. Sharon I was not pointing fingers please. Esther and myself also work closely together in GGSA and she is great. Enjoy your hunting.
I don't feel like leaving Geni anymore this morning, family and cousins. I have calmed down.
Enjoy the Cape to all the people there. One day I will be able to go and visit there again but until then, I will work on the PC at home and play with my wonderful granddaughters ini SA.