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Best method if you don't know surname/forename?

Best method if you don't know surname/forename?

Posted: 27 Dec 2012 11:49PM GMT
Classification: Query
Hello all,

Quick question: if one does not know a surname or forename they are entering into their tree in FTM, what is the best method of entry? For example, if you know the last name is Smith but the forename is unknown, would it be:

? Smith
Unknown Smith
etc.

Thanks.

Re: Best method if you don't know surname/forename?

Posted: 28 Dec 2012 12:40AM GMT
Classification: Query
I use (____) (four underscores).

You definitely want to use something for the (unknown) maiden surname of married women so they will standout when you switch the index to "married names of females); ie to distinguish married persons who married the married name vs daughters bearing that name.

Re: Best method if you don't know surname/forename?

Posted: 28 Dec 2012 1:48AM GMT
Classification: Query
I think that the essential is to be consistent within your own research. Pick a way of indicating what is important to you and use it every time.

Re: Best method if you don't know surname/forename?

Posted: 28 Dec 2012 6:17PM GMT
Classification: Query
There is NO general best way. What works for YOU is the best way.

I use the names I have and "?" for the names that I do not have.

For those with unknowns I use some extra data:
Mary ? (Wife of John Smith)
? Taylor (Husband of Mary Jones)

I have even at times made entries stating the Mother or Father of such and such.

This will put all of the "Unknown" at the top of the "Index" and I go through the list from time to time and see if there are any "Hints" to the connected person that may give me a clue as to the unknown data. Yes, this makes the Charts and Reports a bit messy but it has helped in getting the unknown data from some readers of these report and charts.

Re: Best method if you don't know surname/forename?

Posted: 28 Dec 2012 7:05PM GMT
Classification: Query
Consistency is the most important point. I use FNU and LNU for First/Last Name Unknown. However, for a maiden name I put the married name in parentheses to identify the link to the husband and to provide a more useful sort sequence.
Sturdy2

Re: Best method if you don't know surname/forename?

Posted: 5 Jan 2013 10:25PM GMT
Classification: Query
I used to leave the surname blank when I didn't know the maiden name of the wife. Then I ended up with a couple 100 women with first names only and it was a challenge figuring out which person I was working with. Then I started using "married to Smith" in the surname field. Again all the women ended up at the top of my index and made it difficult to see them in relation to the family I was working with. It also caused all kinds of problems with the little green leaf for these individuals.

I finally found a solution that works for me. I enter the married surname in the surname field and in the suffix field I enter (married) in parenthesis. This allows the woman to show up in the index under her married name. The little green leaf is happy because it has a surname to search (Ancestry search engine does not use the given name in searches the last time I checked). Using the suffix field also exports well in gedcom. My reports and other items also include the suffix field so I can easily see that I have entered a married name for these individuals.

Once I find the maiden name of the woman, I change her surname and remove the suffix notation.

Re: Best method if you don't know surname/forename?

Posted: 8 Jan 2013 2:00AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 8 Jan 2013 2:10AM GMT
Agreed - just as some use capitalisation to make distinctions. One way to ensure no searches/hints are likely to throw up whole groups of irrelevant names is to use a short, simple indicator, eg Fnu (for first name unknown) and SNU (for surname unknown). This has the advantage of being easily printed.

Whatever you use, though, it's a good idea to check what a search is actually looking for (Edit Search), and amend the first or last name boxes if it is looking for something strange!

PS: sorry - I overlooked sturdy2's post, above!

Re: Best method if you don't know surname/forename?

Posted: 8 Jan 2013 3:43AM GMT
Classification: Query
"Quick question: if one does not know a surname or forename they are entering into their tree in FTM, what is the best method of entry? For example, if you know the last name is Smith but the forename is unknown, would it be:"

The method suggested to me by a long time genealogist is:
(?_____) - for unknown first names. That is a left paren, question mark and 5 underscores, followed by a right paren.
(_______) - for unknown last names. That is a left paren, 7 underscores, followed by a right paren.
(_______) Jones - for married woman Jones with unknown maiden name. That is a left paren, 7 underscores, followed by the woman's married name(s), followed by a right paren.

These all sort to the top of an alphabetical list, so easy to find and if they are consistent, easy to use for a search query. And, easy to tell if they are a missing first name or last name or maiden name.

Things like "LNU" or "Unknown" get carried into indexes, get mixed in with regular names and some people don't realize they are not real names, so carry them to other trees, further propagating the mess.

Barbara

Re: Best method if you don't know surname/forename?

Posted: 8 Jan 2013 4:53AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 8 Jan 2013 4:54AM GMT
In genealogy circles most people use N.N. for Nomen nescio meaning "I do not know the name"

So you would write:

N.N. Smith
-or-
Johan N.N.

Re: Best method if you don't know surname/forename?

Posted: 15 Jan 2013 8:21PM GMT
Classification: Query
I have FTM 2010 & use (--?--) for unknown names. But I have realized that when that is used as an unknown last name FTM 2010 turns it around and makes it the it the first name. Very disturbing.
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