* Given Name Used

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AdrianBruce
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Given Name Used

Post by AdrianBruce » 08 Jun 2022 20:01

This isn't a question - more an amused commentary on the vagaries of the concept of Given Name Used.

In some cases it's quite clear - a friend of mine is universally known by his middle name, primarily because it was going to be his first name until his parents realised that they were about to saddle him with the initials MAD... :o A quick reversal fixed that.

In other cases, it's not so clear. A great-uncle was registered with given names of "Charles Edward". He was universally known as Ted - but does that mean his Given Name Used was Edward? Or was Ted his Nickname? How could you ever tell?

Then quite recently I was in touch with a distant relative whose grandfather had the registered first names of William Ernest. Slightly warily I wrote something along the lines of "Uncle Ern (as my mother knew him)" - and yes, his granddaughter was astonished that anyone called him that - even his wife called him Bill, she said!

And what triggered this was my discovery in a funeral report of a reference to the above Uncle Ted sending a wreath from "Ted and Vicky". The reason my jaw dropped was that Uncle Ted's wife was always known to us as Auntie Gertie - I had to double check in the database to confirm that her middle name was indeed Victoria. I suspect there was a reason for this - both Ted and his brother Stan married wives named Gertrude, so we always followed the rubric of naming them as "Uncle Ted's Auntie Gertie" or "Uncle Stan's...". I'm guessing that among Ted's siblings, his wife opted for "Vicky" to save confusion... But I'll never know ;)
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Re: Given Name Used

Post by LornaCraig » 08 Jun 2022 20:40

Yes, I could fill several pages with similar examples!

Another thing which bothers me is that it's not clear whether (in FH terms) a diminutive name, such as Ted or Vicky, should be recorded as a nickname. It's really just a variant of a given name, whereas a nickname is often quite unrelated to the actual name and may be based on physical appearance, personality, occupation, a game in the school playground or any number of other circumstances. A nickname might be used by only a small circle of close friends or family, while a diminutive is often used more widely. I often wish FH made a distinction between the two.
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AdrianBruce
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Re: Given Name Used

Post by AdrianBruce » 08 Jun 2022 21:21

LornaCraig wrote:
08 Jun 2022 20:40
... A nickname might be used by only a small circle of close friends or family, while a diminutive is often used more widely. I often wish FH made a distinction between the two.
An interesting thought... The GEDCOM specification simply says that a Nickname is
A descriptive or familiar that is used instead of, or in addition to, one's proper name.
Not sure that really says any more than what people already understand by the concept of Nickname.

As a digression, I got stuck when I started family history on what the concept of an Alias Name might be. I was thinking in terms of "The Sundance Kid", instead of it simply being an alternative name. The former seems a concept to describe a much more radical alternative name. Or maybe I've watched too many Westerns...
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Re: Given Name Used

Post by davidf » 08 Jun 2022 23:02

Or Non-Given Names Used. My Great Aunt Evelyn ("Eve") was also for some reason known as "Joan" - definitely not a "given name". Eve is a straight-forward diminutive - does that make it the "Given Name Used" - in which case "Joan" would be a "nickname" - even though it does not feel like a "nickname" in the sense I expect.

I thought a nickname was a sort of descriptive tag?

My father was known by his second given ("registered") name, "Dick" - after an uncle called "Richard"; some people being formal would write to him using R as his initial - which meant my brother opened the letter. "Richard" is a sort of reverse-diminutive!

I've always thought of aliases as being alternative pseudonyms like nom-de-plumes (or I suppose "twitter labels")
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Re: Given Name Used

Post by KFN » 09 Jun 2022 01:18

The GEDCOM Standard semantics of NICK vs AKA is unclear in 5.5.1, which means they are used in multiple ways in extant GEDCOM files.

Currently the GEDCOM steering committee feels that “nick” is the
familiar form of a single name
(as in Dick for Richard, Jenny for Jennifer).

While AKA is the
completely separate pseudonym
(as in a name change because of marriage or other legal or aliases.

I don’t take this perspective from a database standpoint, we’re nicknames (as some understand them) are not simple familiar forms but more complex names that form a grey area not covered by the above definition such as “Red”, “Junior”, gang names, or names that reference some kind of individual attribute “Shorty”, “Big John”, etc.

I take the stance that use the first NAME entry as the individual’s birth name and then add additional NAME entries as AKA to indicate other ways a person is called or referred to in documentation and community context.

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Re: Given Name Used

Post by tatewise » 09 Jun 2022 09:35

As with many other GEDCOM field definitions, there are more real-world uses of names than can be accommodated by a literal interpretation of the name field labels, or even the GEDCOM specifications.
Bear in mind that 'Given Named Used' is not a standard GEDCOM field but an FH extension that rarely has an equivalent in other products.

So it is a matter of judgement which field is best to use.
If the name is directly related to a forename then 'Given Named Used' seems most appropriate.
Any other 'popular' name is probably best recorded as a 'Nickname'.

BTW: Adrian mentioned 'Alias Name'. If that was intended to be 'AKA Name' then an 'Alternate Name' should be used.
Do not confuse that with the GEDCOM 'ALIAS' field, which is a link to another Individual record, although some products misuse it as a textual alias name field.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Given Name Used

Post by AdrianBruce » 09 Jun 2022 10:36

tatewise wrote:
09 Jun 2022 09:35
... BTW: Adrian mentioned 'Alias Name'. If that was intended to be 'AKA Name' then an 'Alternate Name' should be used.
Do not confuse that with the GEDCOM 'ALIAS' field, which is a link to another Individual record, although some products misuse it as a textual alias name field.
Yes, GEDCOM "ALIAS" is a whole 'nother thing that I really can't get on with. If the two link Individual records refer to the same person, why are they two separate records? I'd merge them so there'd be no need for the GEDCOM ALIAS. What I do have is some examples where I have Person-A1 and Person-A2 linked by an Associated Person link that has a description somewhere on it of "Possibly same person" or some such. Note the "Possibly".

Re 'Alias Name' - yes, that was the term that sticks in my mind from the manual for whichever program I was using at the time (PAF?), that's the only reason I used it. As I say, I originally got stuck behind the more dramatic interpretations of "alias" but the name and concept of "Alternate Name", as Mike recommends, are much more sensible, especially given the weird concept of the GEDCOM "ALIAS".
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Re: Given Name Used

Post by AdrianBruce » 09 Jun 2022 10:43

davidf wrote:
08 Jun 2022 23:02
... My father was known by his second given ("registered") name, "Dick" - after an uncle called "Richard"; some people being formal would write to him using R as his initial ... "Richard" is a sort of reverse-diminutive! ...
Yes, one branch of my ancestry started a fashion for registering children with what was then usually considered to be a nickname. Grandpa was registered as "Jack" (after his uncle, who was officially "John") - a typical error is to find officialdom "correcting" his name to be "John". I wouldn't record "John" against Grandpa other than as a background note.

Slightly different though, was someone registered as "Lizzie" (say) who actually eventually settled on using the "Sunday form" of her name and became "Elizabeth". In that instance, I've entered a Name-Change event and "Elizabeth" as an Alternate Name.

All sorts of subtleties here - thanks folks!
Adrian

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Re: Given Name Used

Post by LornaCraig » 09 Jun 2022 11:28

One of my favourite name muddles comes from a relative known as Roy. Roy was actually short for Pomeroy, which was his third given name. His first given name was Lord. Honestly.

His full name was Lord George Pomeroy Colley. It was said that he was named after General Sir (not Lord) George Pomeroy Colley (1835-1881) who had a distinguished military career and was killed in the battle of Majuba Hill during the first Boer War. According to family folklore the insertion of the first name 'Lord' was due to his father being under the influence of drink when he registered the birth. Whatever the explanation, it was said that his mother insisted on registering her next son's birth herself, with just one simple name: “Jack”.

For most of his life Roy used just his 2nd and 3rd initials: G P Colley. However in official documents he was 'Lord G P Colley', which meant that when he showed his ID during WW2 sentries would stiffen and salute because they thought they were in the presence of aristocracy! It also meant that it looks as if my grandparents had a Lord as a witness at their marriage.

Sadly officialdom tried to “correct” his name when he died and his death is indexed as “Louis”. He was never known as Louis so I have not recorded it as an alternate name, but good luck to anyone trying to find the death of “Roy” if they don’t know the back story.
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Re: Given Name Used

Post by Martin Tolley » 09 Jun 2022 11:52

My dad was Lionel Arthur. He was universally known as Jim. Where that came from we don't know, and neither did he, but his grandfather was James. My dad didn't know that his "real name" was Lionel until he went to school and heard the register called.

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Re: Given Name Used

Post by davidf » 09 Jun 2022 12:47

"Naming after" can set away hares!

My great great grandfather on my mother's adoptive line (her adoptive mother's paternal grandfather!) was named William Blizard Williamson, “a Plymouth Brother of obscure Irish antecedents, described by his grandson as ‘a Card’”. [ref: MJ Reader’s Book on Metal Box which credits G. E. Williamson as the author of the typescript ‘Some Williamsons‘ – which it was noted was “kindly lent by Mr. H. Williamson”]

With such obscurity the name "Blizard" (with or without the double z) assumes great interest and I have spent some time trying to see how it might help me. It is one of those names that is unusual but not rare enough that you can trace it with any certainty!
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Re: Given Name Used

Post by AdrianBruce » 09 Jun 2022 16:06

LornaCraig wrote:
09 Jun 2022 11:28
... His first given name was Lord. Honestly. ...
I see your Lord and I'll raise you a King... I've occasionally been working on the Irish relatives of an old friend and distant cousin of mine. Being of the Church of Ireland upper middle classes, they occasionally used given names derived from maternal ancestors' family names. Thus a lady named something Minchin married into the Jacksons and eventually one of her descendants is named Minchin Jackson. Well, there was one family named Willington, I think, and one Willington married a lady with the maiden name of King... And yes, you're probably ahead of me - in the fullness of time, one of her descendants is named King Willington. :) Modest, huh?
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Re: Given Name Used

Post by Gowermick » 10 Jun 2022 17:54

I found a ‘Sir Michael’ in my tree, who also had a son called ‘Sir Michael’.
My cousin Gladys was always referred to as Squib :D
My father-in-law was John William, but known as Jack, primarily because he had an elder brother called John Edward, they were sometimes known as big and little John!
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