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Proper name entry

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    Proper name entry

    What is the proper way to enter a surname such as van Dyke or does it vary from family to family? I've been entering it as shown above, but wonder if it should more properly be shown as (1) vanDyke, (2) VanDyke, or (3) Van Dyke

    In my opinion, it just varies, and there is no 'correct' version to which one should reduce all those variants that are out there. I have found surnames (including my own) that vary even within a family. Each to his own.


      It would depend on how the person in question identified themselves, despite 'official' records such as censuses of birth or marriage records (not drawn up by the person in question). In the US, more than in Europe, there is a lot of variation in the spelling of surnames. If anything, what is on the person's gravestone may be most relevant as to how they are addressed in terms of surname.

      For my _own_ part: variations of my surname that I have encountered recently: 'van Beest', 'Van Beest', 'VanBeest', 'Vanbeest', 'Van', 'Beest', 'VBeest', and 'Vanbest'. In my native Holland, I am filed under 'B' for 'Beest' because 'van' is considered a 'tussenvoegsel' (like an interfix) and not part of the name, while only just across the border in Belgium I would be filed under 'V' for 'Van Beest'.

      Searchability would be improved within Reunion if it allowed for a field that, in addition to the regular name, would contain a searchable and sortable last name. The bizarre thing is: when you Match & Merge people, Reunion actually creates a Notes field with exactly this information and uses this to help sort a name in a different position. Except... when you do _anything_ to this Note, the functionality disappears...
      Eric Van Beest
      Spring, TX

      Researching: Van Beest, Feijen, Van Herk