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South Africa - Profile Naming Conventions

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Conventions for Profile Management on the South African branch of the "World Family Tree" (WFT)

The Naming Conventions outlined in this project conform to:

The intention is to minimise data conflicts and optimise consistency in the GENi matching /merging technology & ensure that we do not find ourselves with names in the wrong fields when the GENi software engineers release program enhancements.

Despite rumours, these Conventions are not different to any 'South African Genealogical Standard'. If such a standard existed they would surely recommend that you use the fields as they are labelled in the software you are using, as well as recommending that you follow the published Conventions, so that you work "for the good of all" in that particular online environment. Creating 'work-arounds' that suit private interests would not be encouraged.

These Conventions are endorsed by the following Curators, who all work on the SA branch of the 'World Family Tree'

By joining as a collaborator you also indicate your support for these Guidelines.

Please note that you can set your Display Preferences to reflect how you wish to see names on the tree.

INDEX

A. Profile Guidelines

B. Master Profiles

C. Tree Etiquette


A. Profile Guidelines

On profiles where there is only one manager, fields can be used to suit individual preferences. If that profile is subsequently merged with another then the guidelines outlined here should be applied. However to avoid Data Conflicts occurring upon merging, following of these Conventions is recommended.

Forename & Middle Name / Voornaam & Middelnaam

  • There are two fields for given names - First and Middle. It is recommended that you always use the fields as they are designated.

There is an option in the name preference settings to ignore middle names. It is suggested that you set these NOT to ignore middle names as profiles are filled in both ways by users and valuable information may be hidden from you if your preferences are set otherwise. Having the names entered either way does not affect the search tool. See Middle Name Options illustrated

The multilingual tab (see '''Add Language''' in top line of profile edit window) can be used for "officially" used additional names. (Do not translate names, only record differences in spelling as used in source records)

Generally speaking the name to use is the one that is on a primary or "official" document – usually Birth or Baptismal records, and later documents such as Death Notices, Identity cards and Passports.

It is also best to add any nicknames in the AKA field - please do not include using brackets etc in the first, middle and display name fields.

Birth Surname / Geboorte Van

  • The Birth Surname field (if known) should always be filled in.
  • Zulu & Xhosa nobility often use patronymics (surnames which mean son / daughter of..) eg Mageba kaGumede (Mageba, son of Gumede) & Gcaleka aPhalo (Gcaleka, son of Phalo). These should be recorded in the Birth Surname field.

Spell the Surname as it was used by the family in documents at the time. There are accepted spellings for most names, and it is acceptable to record a variation if that is the way the family uses it. Take Jansen van Rensburg as an example - some families have always used the full Jansen - but others use Janse or not at all. If you have personal knowledge of a family’s way of spelling a name, especially in more recent years, then you need to use that, but also add a note in the “About me” section or in the AKA field.

Using van/Van and de/De etc.

  • Whether van or Van is used depends on how the surname is written. If only the surname is used, it is Van, for example Van der Merwe family. If the first name is used before the surname it is van der Merwe as in Jan van der Merwe. This is how surnames which have de or van etc. in front of them are written in Afrikaans. In Belgium the lower case van shows nobility. In Holland the lower case is always used. Reference - Leon van Schalkwyk.
  • With this in mind please use the lower case for all such names (de, la, le, van, von etc.) in the last name and birth name fields, but be mindful when using them in the notes etc.

Last Name / Familienaam; Laaste Naam

  • Legal married names must be recorded in the Last Name field.

Before the 1800 government change in SA, married females from the continent (France, Holland, Germany) are unlikely to have used their husband’s surnames this field may be left open if they died before 1800.However, British records most often show a woman's married name after 1600 (and as early as 1200). Mike Stangel has asked us to represent the documentation possibilities accurately. So do not delete any SA married names after 1800 in order to replace them with Maiden Names (And do not delete British Married names after 1600, unless you know for a fact that the woman did not assume her husband’s surname). Just set your Viewing Preferences in order not to view the Married Name/Surname field, if you don't wish to see them.

In the case of multiple marriages / surname changes over a lifetime, leave the last name the person used on death in the surname field and add all the other married surnames in the aka field. (We’re hoping Geni will provide more fields to help us solve this problem, in the future).

Display Name Field / Vertoonnaam

  • This field is used ONLY if the name a person was commonly known by is different from the one entered in the name fields.

Using a display name other than for the reasons given above distorts the tree view for people as it masks all the preferences. It is possible to elect to hide display names under preferences, but this then hides information added that is necessary. There is no need to repeat a name in the display name field - all preferences are catered for and should be selected according to how you prefer to view the tree.

See Display Name Options illustrated

Title Prefix

Please use the title field only for professional, noble or uncommon honorifics, such as Doctor, Duke or Deacon. Certain titles are placed after the name and should be placed in the suffix field such as Esquire or Ph.D. Do not use this field for default courtesy titles such as Mr., Mrs. etc SA specific honorifics include:

  • Ingwenyama ('lion') for the King of Swaziland
  • Ndlovukati ('she elephant) for the Queen Mother of Swaziland

Also Known As Field / Ook Bekend As / AKA

  • The AKA field is for alternative spellings etc. and for multiple married names as described above. Nicknames should be recorded in the AKA field - Do not include using brackets etc. in the first, middle and display name fields.

Suffix Field / Agtervoegsel

  • Use for titles and De Villiers Pama numbering system, if you want to add it. (Not obligatory, and reportedly a bit confusing on the world tree, apparently often being for the DNA numbering system that is increasingly being added here too.)
  • In order to make the numbers less cumbersome and untidy on the tree the recommendation is that the full number, (2b4c6d7e7f5), be added to the AKA field and only the last two generations, (e7f5), used in the suffix field.

See Suffix Options illustrated Scroll down to 2nd part of this document

Overview / About

The Overview/ About field should ideally have some information in it. This information can now be entered in different languages (See Add Language Tab)

Sources Tab

Please upload any primary documents associated with the profile, and cite the facts that the document validates (which creates the little document icon you sometimes see on profile view).

This is one of the most important things you can do to develop our tree towards data accuracy. You can also get a Curator to lock the data in those fields, so that it 'wins' any merge resolution of data conflicts.

DO NOT UPLOAD WEBSITE PAGES and use them as citations that validify fields. References / links to the SAF; GISA; Stamouers; FFYP etc website pages are very useful in the About/Overview, but these are not primary documents and are as subject to error as geni is.


B. Master Profiles (MP)

A Master Profile is the standard, most comprehensive and accurate profile for a given person. Other profiles for the same person are secondary and should eventually be merged into the Master Profile.

Curators have the ability to designate profiles as Master Profiles. You may request a Curator to MP your profiles in the following circumstances:

Types of Master Profiles.

  • Historically significant people. Famous living people may require a duplicate public profile of the private one.
  • Well sourced profiles where the researched data fields need to be protected. In this instance fields may be locked.
  • Profiles that are at high risk of being mis-merged (including duplications due to adoption).

When whole profiles are locked, an explanatory Curator note giving the reason will be added.

All Locked fields should be filled in correctly according to RSA Profile Conventions/Guidelines.

If you would like to edit a locked field, please contact the Curator of the profile.

Defer to the Master Profile in Data Conflict Resolutions.

For more info on MPs please see: http://wiki.geni.com/index.php/Master_Profile


C. Tree Etiquette

There are a few things that make a big difference to how the tree can be used and shared on GENi

Avoid Capitalisation of the Whole Surname:

  • Information should be entered in GENi profiles using Initial Capitalisation - John Smith. NOT john smith or JOHN SMITH or John SMITH. Last Names are not entered in upper case on GENi.
  • Should you want to see your Last Names in Capitals, simply click on the 'Preferences' button at the bottom middle of your screen in Tree View; then click on the 'Names' button underneath that, & check the 'Birth Surnames instead of Last Names in CAPS' option. GENi will now customise your view so that your surnames are shown in Capitals, even though you haven't entered them that way. Alternatively go to preferences in your settings.

Avoid Making Duplicate Profiles, & if you do, PLEASE Merge them in:

  • When adding new profiles, watch for the 'blue dot' that lets you know that Geni has found a match for that profile. Merge the two, or ask a Curator to do it for you, and that will mean your profile becomes part of that profile's line. Now you don't have to keep entering duplicates for it - the line will be there as yours. If you want, you can 'request (to be added onto the ) management (list)' of the other profiles in the line. Making whole duplicate lines creates a lot of work for the rest of us who have to merge them in for you; so please try to avoid doing that.
  • If you add a profile which is a duplicate of one previously added please MERGE them. DO NOT DELETE PROFILES managed by other people - if there is problem please contact the manager!
  • After a profile has been merged with another please go to the profile page of the merged person and under the "Actions" menu at the top right see if there are any Merge conflicts that you can resolve. In cases of a Data Conflict, the guidelines have preference.

See - Merge Guide Step by Step guidelines to merging duplicate profiles and How to merge profiles on Geni.com Video by Randol Schoenberg

Do Not Delete Other People’s Accurate Data out of Naming Fields; and Do Not Delete Other People’s Profiles:

  • Geni has taken a pretty clear stand on deleting accurate data off other people’s profiles:

"Please be advised that on the subject of deleting content off other users’ profiles without their permission, Geni is very clear in the Terms of Service: http://www.geni.com/company/terms_of_use Vl. Proprietary Rights in Content.:1. .... If, however, you invite other Members to share your family tree on the Service, or agree to merge your family tree with another Member's family tree on the Service (in either case, a "Shared Family Tree"), then you agree that you will not delete Content in the Shared Family Tree except to correct inaccurate or offensive data. Wilful destruction of Content in a Shared Family Tree without Geni's written permission is a breach of this Agreement and grounds for termination of your Member account."

  • Rather than deleting other users' choices about naming fields, Please respect the choice of others to view the tree in way that suits them, and change your preferences to suit yourself (See detailed examples of the available options below).
  • DO NOT DELETE PROFILES managed by other people - if there is problem please contact the manager!

Use GENi Fields as Intended and Set Your Tree Preferences to Suit Yourself:

See Preference setting examples illustrated.

The following break down, supported by illustrated pdf documents to illustrate them, show all possible ways of adding the information and how they will appear on the tree. Using Mary Jane married to John Smith, birth surname not known AND using Mary Jane married to John Smith, birth surname Brown as an example. Her nickname being Sissy.

§ is the entry using the name fields as designed for post 1800 profiles.

1. Do not display birth surnames

See "Do not display birth surnames" option illustrated

  • a. Entered Mary Jane - blank - blank where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane
  • b. Entered Mary Jane - blank - ? where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane
  • c. Entered Mary Jane - Smith - ? where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane Smith
  • d. Entered Mary Jane - Smith - blank where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane Smith
  • e. Entered Mary Jane - blank - Brown - Mary Jane
  • § Entered Mary Jane - Smith - Brown - Mary Jane Smith
  • g. Entered Mary Jane - Brown - Brown - Mary Jane Brown

2. Birth surname instead of last name

See "Birth surname instead of last name" illustrated

  • a. Entered Mary Jane - blank - blank where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane
  • b. Entered Mary Jane - blank - ? where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane ?
  • c. Entered Mary Jane - Smith - ? where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane ?
  • d. Entered Mary Jane - Smith - blank where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane Smith
  • e. Entered Mary Jane - blank - Brown - Mary Jane Brown
  • § Entered Mary Jane - Smith - Brown - Mary Jane Brown
  • g. Entered Mary Jane - Brown - Brown - Mary Jane Brown

3. Birth surname instead of last name in CAPS

See "Birth surname instead of last name, in CAPS" illustrated

  • a. Entered Mary Jane - blank - blank where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane
  • b. Entered Mary Jane - blank - ? where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane ?
  • c. Entered Mary Jane - Smith - ? where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane ?
  • d. Entered Mary Jane - Smith - blank where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane Smith
  • e. Entered Mary Jane - blank - Brown - Mary Jane BROWN
  • § Entered Mary Jane - Smith - Brown - Mary Jane BROWN
  • g. Entered Mary Jane - Brown - Brown - Mary Jane Brown

4. Birth surname appended, in parentheses

See "Birth surname instead of last name, in parenthesis" illustrated

  • a. Entered Mary Jane - blank - blank where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane
  • b. Entered Mary Jane - blank - ? where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane (?)
  • c. Entered Mary Jane - Smith - ? where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane Smith (?)
  • d. Entered Mary Jane - Smith - blank where her birth surname is not known - Mary Jane Smith
  • e. Entered Mary Jane - blank - Brown - Mary Jane (Brown)
  • § Entered Mary Jane - Smith - Brown - Mary Jane Smith (Brown)
  • g. Entered Mary Jane - Brown - Brown - Mary Jane Brown

Where the married name is left blank or duplicated with the birth surname the result for those whose preference is for either CAPS or (parentheses) is not a true reflection of the known facts.

So - be aware that if the maiden or birth surname is added to both surname fields, in cases where a 'married surname' exists, then those people who select the preference to either do not display birth surnames (i.e. view married names) or Birth surname appended, in parentheses, do not get an accurate picture. It is therefore preferable not to fill in the Birth Surname in the Last Name/Surname field when a legal 'married name' applies. The AKA field is searchable. If the married name(s) are not reflected in the AKA field on a woman's profile where only maiden names are used in the surname fields, a search using her married name will have less chance of finding her.

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