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Medieval Names Management

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    Medieval Names Management

    SUBJECT: Medieval Names Management

    (NOTE: I have posted this message in both TNG and Reunion)

    I have thousands of names from medieval times in my TNG database. I use Reunion 13.0 as my database of record, and upload GEDCOMS on a regular basis to TNG (13.0.3). This message focuses on the display and alphabetization standards for medieval names in Reunion and subsequently in TNG.

    I use the four name fields in both Reunion and TNG: a) First and middle name, b) Last Name, c) Prefix Title, and d) Suffix Title. The choice of how these four fields are used dramatically affects the alphabetization that will occur within both systems. Given the complexity of some of these names, I continually encounter situations where I have created duplicate records, even when I try my best to avoid such.

    I am revising my guidelines that are presented on my home page. I would like to know if others have developed their own guidelines for utilization of these name fields. I’ve had a difficult time trying to find specific guidelines applicable to Reunion or TNG for the management of data contained in medieval names.

    Here is a simple example that illustrates the problem I am having:

    Roger II de Montgommery

    If I put “de Montgommery” in the Last Name field, this name will then alphabetize and appear under Montgommery with the prefix “de” displayed but ignored when alphabetized. If I put the “de Montgommery” phrase in the Suffix field, this name will be alphabetized and appear under Roger, intermingled with the other records where only a First and Middle Name field are used and the Last Name field is blank.

    Many of the problems that I continually encounter include choice of language to be used when listing individuals, numbering issues for royalty or nobility, and determining what should be included in Last Name and what should be included in the Suffix field. I have located numerous documents online that discuss the structure of medieval names. What is lacking in these discussions are the ramifications that occur when one decides to use one field over another in our various online genealogy systems.

    To see the issue and its complexities, go to my website: Click on Surnames on the homepage, then click on No Surname and scroll through the list of almost 3,000 names. Try to figure out what automated alphabetization standards are being followed.

    Has anyone developed standards for medieval names when using Reunion or TNG? Similar problems occur for me when managing Norwegian names before Norway required consistent use of surnames in 1923 and when farm names are added to an individual’s name, but I am not addressing these issues within this posting.

    Thanks in advance.


    Both Reunion and TNG have settings on how to sort last names…

    Between these to sets of settings can’t you find a mix that achieves what you want?

    Roger Moffat