"but have finally ended up just letting the name and all variations flow though merges from ancestry databases. I now have a complete running history of all names used by a person in a lifetime that way. I have found that comprehensive list is the best way to evaluate what name to use as preferred after you have found most records. You can right click - Merge facts to merge identical names. This is particularly handy for merging exact duplicates of married names of women"
This is essentially what I do, except I never merge the names even if they read exactly the same
I never merge them, because I have different sources for each of the same names. And if I don't merge them I know EXACTLY which source each same name came from and I end up with a list of all names and knowing exactly which source that name came from
I do this also for any and all facts, regardless of whether they are name or death dates/places, etc etc