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How to handle surname changes

How to handle surname changes

Posted: 26 Feb 2011 4:27PM GMT
Classification: Query
I use Family Tree Maker. The problem I have right now is with an ancestor who changed his surname when he was already widowed with children. That was (and still is) legal in the UK, even though he didn't go through any legal process -- he just dropped his old name and started using the new one. His new wife and the children they had together took his new surname; the children already born kept the old one. How do I handle this surname change in Family Tree Maker? That is, how do I start someone off as Fred Fanakapan and then show him as Fred Newname?

Re: How to handle surname changes

Posted: 26 Feb 2011 5:16PM GMT
Classification: Query
FTM 2006 version 16.0.350
I don't know the right way but I add the new name to the AKA field and the use the new last name for their children

Re: How to handle surname changes

Posted: 26 Feb 2011 5:22PM GMT
Classification: Query
Yes, I though of that -- but it doesn't seem like a complete answer. Changing your name is more than an "AKA". My gg-grandfather's name was John Oliver, and he was also known as Coffee Johnny. He had a sort of associate called Tommy Ferens who was also known as Tommy on the Bridge. Those are what I think of as AKAs. There should be a way in the software to show when someone has taken the more serious step of actually changing their name.

Re: How to handle surname changes

Posted: 26 Feb 2011 6:55PM GMT
Classification: Query
I'd have to disagree with you there. An alternate name or a change of name is very much an 'AKA' and the term gets used in legal documents in exactly that way. The examples you show I'd generally consider as nicknames and although in some contexts you might consider them as an 'AKA', I wouldn't enter then in an 'AKA' fact myself.

Re: How to handle surname changes

Posted: 26 Feb 2011 7:20PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 26 Feb 2011 7:51PM GMT
"There should be a way in the software to show when someone has taken the more serious step of actually changing their name."

I understand your point though I'm not quite sure just how or where you'd like to see this reflected in the program.

That being said, use his original name as the preferred, his new name as an alternate (or vice-versa) and create a custom fact that reflects the approximate date of his name change...source...and stir over medium heat.

Re: How to handle surname changes

Posted: 26 Feb 2011 7:32PM GMT
Classification: Query
"I'd have to disagree with you there. An alternate name or a change of name is very much an 'AKA' and the term gets used in legal documents in exactly that way"

Not so. I have his will, his marriage certificate and his death certificate and none of them mentions his earlier name. A death certificate merely says what the registrar has been told, but you can't say that about a will. Of course Tommy on the Bridge is a nickname. They are not the same thing.

However, the answer to my question is clearly that the software has no way to handle this, so I'll have to accept that the software is deficient and post a Story to say what actually happened.

Re: How to handle surname changes

Posted: 26 Feb 2011 9:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
What I do is start them as a completely new person under the new name and under the old name do a custom FACT:
"On xxxx he ceased to use his birth surname and assumed the surname "_____". See [insert new full name] for details after the date."

I also put a custom FACT in the new person:
"Born as XXXXX but assumed the surname on xxxx. See {insert old name] for details before this date.

Re: How to handle surname changes

Posted: 26 Feb 2011 9:15PM GMT
Classification: Query
Doing it as two separate person with special notes, how do you maintain continuity through the generations in family reports?

Are both the new name person and the old name person attached to the same set of parents so it appears those parents have one more child than they actually have

Re: How to handle surname changes

Posted: 26 Feb 2011 10:08PM GMT
Classification: Query
No- the new person is not attached as another child of the parents of the old person.

When doing family reports I include a separate report on the new person so that when they see the old person and the note they have something to refer to- and vice versa.

I figure that if someone is really interested in that line then they'll read both reports.

Re: How to handle surname changes

Posted: 26 Feb 2011 11:49PM GMT
Classification: Query
I would add a second name fact for the individual. Use the name fact notes to explain the name change. When creating reports make sure the option to include only preferred facts is turned off. Both names will show in the reports.

Curt
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