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Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #1

  • trejder
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I'm using newest version of webtrees (1.7.9) and I have noticed that it always displays name before marriage, not the current one.

Is there any configuration switch or other way to force webtrees to display after marriage name, optionally flowed be before marriage name or by nothing, i.e.:
  • Jane Smith (Cussac),
  • Jane Smith pv. Cussac or
  • Jane Smith
instead of (currently):
  • Jane Cussac
for an example women born Cussac and married to a man born Smith.

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Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #2

  • bertkoor
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The short answer is no, not with a simple config switch.

You can construct such naming conventions by hand, but that will require a lot of your editing discipline.
If you'd like this to be done automatically by webtrees, that requires a substantial change to the core code.

I have seen other genealogical programs do this (I think it was MyHeritage or geni.com) but there are some (I think rather good) arguments against this practice.
stamboom.BertKoor.nl runs on webtrees v1.7.13

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Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #3

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Using "after marriage" name in geneology and in everyday life is a common practice in Poland and in many, many other countries that I have visited so far.

So I would be more than happy to hear that "rather good arguments against" as this is some kind of surprise for me. Over 70% of my family in webtrees is currently not easily recognizable due to being displayed with primo voto name rather than "after marriage" name.

Again, due to above (first line) argument, I'm kind of surprised that there isn't a configuration switch or some editable naming pattern to enable such feature already implemented in webtrees. I find changing source code as the last and the worst option, since this involves a lot of work and either: resigning from future updates or performing this change every time an update comes. Both options are very bad according to me.

I don't want to and I'm not indenting to change webtrees for some other software. But I find lack of such support as a huge disadvantage of it -- again, due to first sentence argument.

Is there any place where I can file a feature request or contact webtrees' authors to discuss possible change request that would introduce this feature?

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Last edit: by trejder.

Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #4

  • fisharebest
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> Is there any place where I can file a feature request or contact webtrees' authors

This is the place. (I am the author!).

If an individual has more than one name, webtrees uses 3 rules to decide which one to use.

1) Non-married names are preferred.
2) Names that are written in the same characters (arabic, greek, cyrillic, latin, etc.) as the current language are preferred.
3) Names that appear first in the GEDCOM record are preferred.

Rule (1) will not affect most webtrees users.

By default, webtrees uses the (non standard) "1 NAME / 2 _MARNM" structure to store married names.
The married names will always come after the birth name.

It would only affect someone who uses the structure

1 NAME xxx
2 TYPE married
1 NAME yyy
2 TYPE birth

I would consider removing this rule.

You could then choose which name is preferred, by storing it first in the GEDCOM record.
Greg Roach - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - fisharebest.webtrees.net

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Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #5

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trejder wrote: Using "after marriage" name in geneology and in everyday life is a common practice in Poland and in many, many other countries that I have visited so far.

Yes, no doubt it's a common convention. The GEDCOM standards (which webtrees and most other programs follow) offers the option to record as many names as you want for an individual. For each name you can note its type: birth, maiden, married, adopted, changed, immigration, etcetera. webtrees by default adds a tag _MARNM when adding a wife to a man with his surname prefilled. So recording it is not the problem. If you search for an individual, it can be found by either the married or maiden surname. On the details page of a person you can see all of them.

The crux however is which name to use in displaying the individual on diagrams and in lists. Only one can be used for that, since space is limited. More on that later...

trejder wrote: Is there any place where I can file a feature request or contact webtrees' authors to discuss possible change request that would introduce this feature?

Sure: www.webtrees.net/index.php/en/forum/9-request-for-new-feature
[edit] I see Greg has replied, so you have his attention already ;-)

trejder wrote: So I would be more than happy to hear that "rather good arguments against" as this is some kind of surprise for me.

One argument is to use the name of a person as used in official documents such as birth and death certificates. I don't know what's customary in Poland, but what I find is that the death certificate notes only the maiden name of a woman with "wife of ..." added. So while here in Holland it is common practice in everyday life to refer to Mrs. Smith or Mrs. Smith-Cussac and not Mrs. Cussac anymore, this is not what is used in her death certificate. So I like the principle that a person receives an official name at birth and sticks to that name for life, because it's unambiguous.

Also I find it personally a bit confusing to find for example John Doe has a bunch of daughters but barely none of them has Doe as the last name. What happened there? Well ofcourse they married! That's probably just what you're used to... Simulary I (again personally) find it confusing when John Smith has a wife called Jane Smith. My initial reaction would be to find out whether these are related: is this a couple of cousins that married? No again, it's just husband and wife. This all is only a matter of my personal taste, so that's not a big issue.

But things get really complicated when a woman is married more than once. Would you expect the surname of her last husband to be used on the diagram that shows her as the wife of her first husband? And what if multiple husbands are recorded but one of the marriage dates is not known? It's really difficult to come up with an algorithm that determines the correct name for every possible situation. It's far more simple to stick with just one main name, so you don't need all sorts of extra information to determine the name.
stamboom.BertKoor.nl runs on webtrees v1.7.13

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Last edit: by bertkoor.

Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #6

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fisharebest wrote: I would consider removing this rule.

You could then choose which name is preferred, by storing it first in the GEDCOM record.

Sounds good, but I think you'd then also need an easy way to reorder names.
stamboom.BertKoor.nl runs on webtrees v1.7.13

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Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #7

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Thanks both of you for long, detailed and enlightening answers and all the explanations.

While I'm still looking for a way to user decide (without changing source code) which name is displayed or list and diagrams (and idea of removing disputed rule does sound interesting) -- I must admit that I'm pretty convinced with given argumentation and I think I'll rather convince myself into using given names (current solution) for all persons, no matter if they were married and changed name due to this fact or not.

Thank you again for everything.

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Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #8

I'm one of Polish user of webtrees.
I prefer to use syntax:
1 NAME birth name
2 TYPE birth
1 NAME married name
2 TYPE married

Then if women married second time I add:
1 NAME second_married name
2 TYPE married

And sort it in that way:
1. birth name
2. first married name
3. second married name
4. and so on

All of names is displayed on the list in that order.

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Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #9

  • fisharebest
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you'd then also need an easy way to reorder names.


We'd also need a way to convert the "2 _MARNM" into "1 NAME/2 TYPE married".

We use _MARNM to be compatible with some old desktop software.
I don't think is needed any more.
Greg Roach - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - fisharebest.webtrees.net

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Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #10

  • kiwi
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trejder wrote: Using "after marriage" name in genealogy and in everyday life is a common practice in Poland and in many, many other countries that I have visited so far.


This is an issue that constantly crops up. It is fine to describe something as being "common practice", but that doesn't make it "good practice".

I totally agree that use of married names is normal in everyday life. That's simply because everyday life is about NOW. Genealogy is about history - an ever changing view of events at certain times over the course of a life. So I challenge you to produce evidence of it's use in serious / professional genealogy environments. Sure you might find it in places like Ancestry trees / My Heritage, etc, but they are well known for encouraging what has been established for many years as "not good practice". Read any authoritative genealogy education resource, or talk to a professional genealogist and you will receive the same advice - always stick to birth names for positive and reliable identification of individuals. Even if you don't know the birth name, don't use a married / changed name as an alternative. Record accurately that the birth name is unknown.

The use, as a primary display, of married names ONLY works effectively when in conjunction with specific DATED events, i.e. events that can be shown to have occurred AFTER a marriage event and BEFORE a related divorce event. Outside of that narrow time span the display will always be wrong or at the very least, unreliable.

It would be a mistake for any software purporting to represent good genealogical practice, to encourage or simplify the use of practices regarded as not best practice, so I 100% oppose your request for "improvement", even at the level of "user choice". Your role as the administrator of your web site is to educate your family / users in the dark art of "best practice" :-)

(NOTE: all the above also applies to ANYONE who changes their name at any time in their life, not just women on marriage. A male who changes their name during their life, for any reason, should still be recorded with their birth name is the PRIMARY name for recording and display purposes. . The only exception (in all cases) would be in a narrative (story, summary of a person's life, etc) where you should refer to a person's name as at the time of the event (s) being described.)

I see this discussion has also introduced the other contentious issue of _MARNM vs TYPE. That is really irrelevant here, as the issue is similar regardless which convention you use. The principles remain the same, and as there really is no problem to solve, no changes are required. _MARNM is widely used in modern genealogy software (and permissible, as a non-standard GEDCOM tag, in the specification), so the current state of leaving it up to individual sites to use either as they choose is the most obvious way to keep things. No need to force everyone in one direction or the other.

[ADDENDUM}:
I have just found this web page (on an Ancestry.com owned site amusingly enough): www.genealogy.com/articles/twigs/rhonda010600.html

It's conclusion reads:

In Conclusion
While you may feel that you have valid reasons for using the naming scheme that you have devised, it is important to remember that other researchers cannot read your mind. You want them to be able to easily follow the research you leave behind. Females should always be listed in your database and on your forms by their maiden name.

Nigel

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Last edit: by kiwi.

Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #11

fisharebest wrote: We'd also need a way to convert the "2 _MARNM" into "1 NAME/2 TYPE married".

We use _MARNM to be compatible with some old desktop software.
I don't think is needed any more.


Some time ago I wrote Batch Update script to convert "2 _MARNM" into "1 NAME/2 TYPE married". I've used it once and forget about it. It is not compatible with the latest webtrees, but I can share it or try to update.

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Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #12

  • norwegian_sardines
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I would agree with Kiwi's statements 100%.

Many people want to (or like to) ignore or rewrite history, however THIS is the reason we are doing genealogy (capturing and reporting history). Genealogy is not really for people of the present but for people of the future. Constantly naming people with their birth names and knowing that every time a person is referenced by name is (and can be always be) looked up in the database by their birth name is very important. One of the things I hate the most in documents that I read is the inability of me (the reader) to follow the people in a document through-out the documents pages.

I would go further and say that we should always reference people with a quoted and consistent Reference number (NOT a XREF) when they pop up in a created document not directly related to them.

We must think like historians and archivists when we do this work.


Addendum:

Many of the people reading and using our documents will not necessarily be family members but outside historians looking for connections to their work.

The only variance from using birth name as the primary name is when the person is so well know in world historical and public circles by a different name that using the birth name would lend more confusion to historians and family outsiders rather than clarity.

Example that this most likely fall into is where a royal individual become a King and they change their name to fit into the history of their realm. Everyone knows that they are King ... IV but not that he was called by a different name before becoming King. This example should only come into play where name is so historically important that anything else would be confusing. Charlemagne rather than Charles I could be an example.
Ken

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Last edit: by norwegian_sardines.

Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #13

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Thank you, kiwi and norwegian_sardines for providing a great comments and a lot of interesting arguments to the discussion. However, I'm getting a really big feeling that you completely missed my point.

While I 100% sure agree (now; I was convinced to change my point of view) that from historic and genealogy perspective using given name is far better than using after marriage or any other changed name, but you still seems to be missing one thing.

webtrees are not used only by historians and professional genealogists. It is also used by small families or even single persons for own, not always so obvious reasons, that may be far from the scientific point of view, you have both used as a key argument. They may simply want to see individual's names the way I described, not the way you described and they may want this for particularly any reason.

In other words, I'm not proposing a permanent change, how webtrees displays names. I'm proposing to give the decision to end users, in form of some configuration switch, name displaying pattern etc. Maybe something, what is used in Wordpress to define URLs pattern <-- first example out of thousands that comes to my mind. You have provided a really great and really vast number of arguments aganist changing the way how webtrees display names, while I'm not proposing such change. I think, this is the key point you're missing in my question.

You say: "We must think like historians and archivists when we do this work". I say: "No, we mustn't". Why? Because you don't know how am I, my neighbor or my uncle are using webtrees. Your arguments maybe are 100% correct on historic grounds but no one is going to assure you, me or webtrees author that webtrees are used for historic grounds only. I think that you can find thousands of webtrees users that -- similarly to me -- agree with your arguments and still want to have a control over one of the most important elements of this piece of software -- i.e. how does it display names.

I would propose changing this from permanent, hard-coded solution into configurable option for virtually any element, functionality or behavior of webtrees. The way how it displays names is actually just an example. I'm myself a developer and I'm always strongly voting for making virtually anything configurable. I think "A", you think "B", he thinks "C" and there are many other people out there that thinks "D", "E", "F" and "G". Let THEM -- end users -- to decide. Lets not hard-code anything. That's my actually suggestion here.

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Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #14

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trejder wrote: However, I'm getting a really big feeling that you completely missed my point.


Sorry, but I'm afraid I did not miss your point at all. On the contrary, I've heard the same argument many many times, and I still 100% disagree. A bad habit is a bad habit. Don't do it, and don't facilitate it.

I might also add that I 100% disagree with your proposal to allow everything to be a user-decision. That is not good design, it's bad planning and incredibly inefficient. Also, you will learn that most if not all users will ignore those options ("too complicated") and accept the default settings. So don't waste effort providing them. Stick to the KISS principle. Keep it simple.

But the world is a big place, and we don't have to agree with each other :-) Good luck with your suggestion.
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Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #15

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> i.e. how does it display names.

Names are complicated. Very, very complicated.

Names can have one surname, two surnames, or no surname.
Surnames can come first or last.
Surnames can have different forms for male and female.
Names can be written in different scripts.
etc.

IMHO, it is not possible to automatically/reliably combine names to create the format "Jane Smith pv. Cussac".

We can only choose which name to display. Using "birth names" is standard in genealogy.

(There are exceptions. We list royals using their last title. For example "Queen Elizabeth II", instead of "Princess Elizabeth".)

What *exactly* is the problem that you are trying to solve?
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Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #16

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@kiwi: Well, since we have a different points of view, then webtrees' author (fisharebest) shall decide whether to change anything / introduce some new things or not.

BTW: wasn't KISS a development practice? To keep source code as simple as possible. You're the first person who tells me that it is used for design as well. I always thought that users of your software, not you, are the one to choose what they want, need or not. Most users -- as you suggest -- don't want to complicated solutions, but in the same time there are many that want to control everything. But -- as you say -- we just have different points of view for this matter and I think it is a little bit pointless to continue this discussion on how software is / should be designed on genealogy site! :>

@fisharebest: That's why I proposed pattern-like configuration field as the only solution. Since GEDOM uses certain tokens for precisely describe first / second / last / name / surname then consider reusing these tokens in pattern field which would tell how to display names everywhere they're now displayed according to hard-coded algorithm / pattern. Again, take a look in Wordpress.org how user can define URL pattern according to which Wordpress generates "pretty" URLs. There are also many tokens that might be use in Wordpress.org's URL and yet member has full flexibility and control over it using just a single field (plus a bunch of predefined patterns to pick).

What exactly I'm trying to solve? Well I want to have full control on how webtrees display name of each individual in every place where it is now hard-coded.

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Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #17

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"IMHO, it is not possible to automatically/reliably combine names to create the format "Jane Smith pv. Cussac"."

Well, it seems that it is not only possible, but you have already implemented this! :>

Lukasz / WOOC, who has also taken voice in this discussion has a website (webtrees-powered, as I assume) in his footer -- www.rodzina.sunschool.edu.pl-- opening it reveals (even on main page) woman's names written like "Jane Smith (nee Cussac)". I don't know how Lukasz did configure webtrees to display names in this format (Lukasz, can you share the little secret?), but that is all I need here.

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Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #18

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> then webtrees' author (fisharebest) shall decide whether to change anything / introduce some new things or not.

Yes, the final decision is always mine. But I listen to the webtrees community.
This is why we have this forum.

> Well I want to have full control on how webtrees display name of each individual in every place where it is now hard-coded.

But why? Genealogists always use the birth name. Why do you want to be different?

All data in genealogy should have sources.
You are creating a name which was never used - and therefore has no sources.

Is there a problem with searching for individuals?
You can search for an individual using any surname.

Is there a problem with one specific individual?
You can mark the birth name as "private", and visitors will only see the married name.

> proposed pattern-like configuration field as the only solution

It is more complicated than this. There can be more than one married name. There can be more than one birth name. You cannot choose with pattern-matching.

You have requested a change which
1) is not standard genealogy.
2) is difficult (impossible?) to implement.
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Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #19

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trejder wrote: I don't know how Lukasz did configure webtrees to display names in this format (Lukasz, can you share the little secret?), but that is all I need here.


The only place I see "XXX nee YYY" is in an HTML block on the home page.

I guess these are hard-coded strings.
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Display name after marriage 5 years 8 months ago #20

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It seems that I have started a large discussion when I just wanted to ask about one single thing. It seems it is time to end it up.

No, I'm not a professional or just even semi-professional genealogists. I'm a simple, private person, who want to create his family tree, then manage it and update from time to time. I found webtrees a perfect piece of software for this task.

I don't know, I don't want to know and actually -- sorry to say this -- I don't care what professional genealogists or just genealogy itself says about this aspect, because I work has nothing to do with professional genealogy with only exception that this taks operates on individuals and their names. In my opinion this discussion started to remind me a circus-like situation where people are throwing a lot of important arguments that I cannot have car painted in pink because no professional car manufacturer produces their car in pink. But, I don't care about that. I want my car to be pink because this is my car and I want to be the only person who decides about its color. If I go to car paint shop and hear such argumentation then I simply change this car paint shop to another one, because such argumentation is ridiculous in my situation. I want MY car to be pink and I want my family tree to display names after mariage. Amen. With all the respect to professional genealogists and genealogy itself, we're talking about my private, own family tree. We're not talking about changing genealogy rules etc.

I'm still quite a young person, but by tree will be filled out by mostly older people. As I made a quick survey, none of these person is willing to contribute to my work, because they are simply too old to work on given names, they don't recognize persons by given names, because they're used to after mariage names. They don't even recognize certain people when they are using given names. And all these persons are too old to adapt or change their point of view only because "the great genealogy" is saying that they have to.

You, as a software author, must decide whether you're doing this for "the great genealogy" or for your users.

Making displayed name configurable and defaulting it to current hard-coded implementation won't change anything for current users, won't hurt pure genealogists (because they will even not notice this change), but can help a lot to home-made genealogists. Leaving it as it is won't hurt anyone, but make live of many users harder and may result in certain people resigning from this great software. The question is whether you care.

If someone says that webtrees by default must display given name, because this is standard in genealogy, then this is OK.

If someone says that this must be hard-coded and never, no one must be able to change this, because this is standard in genealogy, then such argumentation is very wrong.

I don't understand your arguments about data sources. All my data comes from "the old men memory" and has no source. Having data sourced or not has nothing to do (in my opinion) with how this data is or isn't displayed.

I think that this is the time to end this prolonged discussion. But, if you wish to continue it then drop all the "standard genealogy"-like arguments, because this question / thread does not have and never had anything with this. I don't want to change permanently how webtrees displays names I want this to be just a little more flexible, if this is possible and if you agree with me. I want my car to be pink, I don't want to change car industry to start producing pink only cars.

Why using pattern is too complicated? Why I cannot have a single field in which I'll be able to enter something like this:

'1 NAME/2 TYPE married' '1 NAME/2 TYPE married' (nee '1 NAME/2 TYPE birth')

or something similar. And webtrees will render this string, replacing any valid GEDOM pattern found with corresponding value and leaving any string which is not a valid GEDOM string as is. Exactly as PHP is parsing date-time where it parses a string and replaces valid patterns with corresponding values of current or given timestamp and leaving unrecognized patterns and string as they are?

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