I've been away too long, and wonderful things have been happening! Glad I could finally make it back. But I'm trying to catch up. The variant names project sounds marvelous. This always has been a special interest of mine. But I need to make sure I understand what's happening in reviewing and editing here. In doing some browsing, there were additions to surnames that made absolutely no sense to me. One example: For the surname 'Mominie', I did not find Mominee, or Montmeny (the name it came from), but I did see that Monaghan and Minyan had been added, names that were of totally different cultural sources. I added the variants I knew, but I was leery of deleting the others. Were these name changes known by the person listing them? I thought I should ask some questions before I just dove in. If I'm repeating questions discussed elsewhere, please let me know, and just point me there, please. Like I said, I'm coming in late....
I'm figuring that we should be adding name variants and spelling variants that: A. We have seen as variants among people we have researched. B. We have seen as misspellings on censuses and official records, especially those that were likely phonetic or cultural and so are likely to have been repeated. and (possibly?) C. We have seen as plain old name changes, such as Stachowicz becoming Stack.
I'm figuring we should be removing name variants and spelling variants that we know, especially from previous Soundex and Metaphone searches, are *not* related surnames. For instance, 'Schreiber' has a soundex match with Sherbrooke, and 'Robinson' matches out with 'Rappahanock'.... Those should be deleted. Others are iffier. I have seen lots of variants of Hoover, but I have always found Hoppers and Huffs completely unrelated. Doesn't mean that others have the same experience. Ditto Goss and Gossett. And how are 'Pc' and 'Pk' variants of Peck?
I am more comfortable adding things I know of, and less comfortable deleting, I guess. Any guidelines? If some of this stuff is not deleted, we will have almost as massive and senseless output as Soundex...
Thanks, --LindaS 19:28, 30 January 2012 (EST)
Thank you for getting involved!!
I'd recommend being comfortable deleting. Most (90%+) names were added using a computer algorithm. It's better than Soundex, but it's still a computer. Also, I erred on the side of including extra variants because I figured it was easier for people to take variants away than to add them.
On the watercooler we're talking about possibly adding back a source for each variant, and the ability to watch specific names to be notified of changes.
On the names to add, I'd definitely add your A and B names (variants and misspellings). Regarding C, I'd say add only if you think multiple people would have changed their name this way. For example, I have an ancestor that changed their name from Husser to Halverson, but I wouldn't add Husser as a variant of Halverson because I believe changing from Husser to Halverson was done only by this one person.
Thanks again!--Dallan 10:44, 31 January 2012 (EST)
Thanks for the response, Dallan.
The 'add' parameters are what I would expect, and make a lot of sense. The 'delete' function is now a lot more comfortable, knowing how many of those added names got there. I'll stop by the watercooler and read through what's been happening, too.
--LindaS 18:50, 31 January 2012 (EST)
Unknown as a given name in searches [8 February 2012]
The system doesn't allow to search given name 'Unknown' so I thought I'd mention this: I hope that when someone searches for Unknown Smith, the results also return Son Smith, Daughter Smith, Mr. Smith, Miss Smith, Unnamed Smith and Stillborn Smith. These are all names I've seen in various charts entered in the given name space. Yes, these given names should be changed to Unknown during the upload process, but sometimes they don't get changed. --Janiejac 16:32, 7 February 2012 (EST)
Why two checkboxes? [3 July 2014]
On the variant names search page, in the computer variants column, why are there two checkboxes beside each variant? Is one for Confirm and one for Remove? If so, which is which? --LulaBelle 00:03, 21 November 2012 (EST)
I made a mistake and Checked the wrong boxes for the Surname Gallahue. The names: galka,galle,gallee,gallice gallie, and gallou do not belong there, can you please remove them.
Thanks--Gallchú138 09:35, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
Evidence for surname relatedness versus similarity [27 June 2015]
I think this is a great resource for similarity between text strings. Do we have a resource or best practice for recording relatedness through known name changes and origins. A particular surname today might have descended from two or more origin names and just converged over time. For hard core geneaology, building a resource which could accommodate evidence-based relatedness would be good. --ceyockey 17:32, 26 June 2015 (UTC)