WeRelate:Suggestions/Automate married names

This change may not be too hard?

Some people add Married Name to pages. This is presumably to help searching.

Clearly this is extra work to do. It also adds a maintenance headache in that any correction to married surname on the Family page (i.e., change to spelling, correction of husband, addition of marriage) may need to be updated on the Person page, but since the change to data is done on the Family page (and to data nominally belonging to the husband), the poster may not be aware that a parallel change is needed on the Person page for the wife to keep things in sync. The inconsistency of use (some pages have this feature, some do not) is not optimal.

I suggest generating Married Names to wives automatically when a page is saved, for each Family page representing a marriage, unless the married name is the same as their maiden name or a previous marriage (no harm in duplicates except clutter).

Since, in some cases, this might not be valid, perhaps something like the nomerge template, e.g., {{nomarriednames}} (on the page? on the Talk page?) could be the signal to skip this step. Not only would no Married Names be generated for that person, but all existing Married Names would be left unchanged, so that pages with this template would reflect only what is put there manually. --Jrich 21:56, 9 October 2020 (UTC)

So this appeals to me perhaps 95% of the time. However I have many pages of immigrant women and even men who took different given names and/or surnames after they immigrated. Often the first documented use of these names is when or after they married. So in many cases I show these as married names as I have no sources prior to the marriage. So I would suggest the following:
1) If the bride has no married name shown or there is a married name matching the prior surname, then update the married name as proposed. Otherwise do not modify the existing married name.
2) If the married name is created or updated then notify al watchers of the change.
--Jhamstra 22:12, 9 October 2020 (UTC)

I agree that married name is a maintenance headache and would like to see WeRelate strongly discourage its use when the family page exists. WeRelate already searches for the spouse's surname based on the family page (and has for years) so there is no need for married name unless the family page is not created in WeRelate (e.g., all you know is that someone is "the widow Smith").

If I am updating a page and note that the married name is no longer accurate (spouse's name was incorrect), I just remove it rather than fix it (faster) - it is entirely unneeded. Same if the married name is entered as the first name (probably an early GEDCOM upload bug, given how common it is). (I should note that I don't just remove names if the contributor is still active - I would communicate first, but generally I just leave it alone or correct it if I am correcting the husband's surname. If it is clearly additional information, I leave it alone as well.)

My background is in data, including database design, and one of the strongest rules is to avoid redundancy of data whenever possible - because it is very hard to keep it in sync.

If someone changed their name due to immigration (new culture), I use "immigrant name" instead. As far as I am aware, that's what it is there for.--DataAnalyst 22:23, 9 October 2020 (UTC)

If I have evidence that someone adopted a different name when they immigrated then I show it as immigrant name. But in some cases they did appear to change their name when they married. You might be surprised how many people used a different name when they married - for example their given middle name rather than their given first name, or a nickname - Rosie Schock has one given name on her birth record, another given name on her death record and yet another name on her tombstone that she used during her married life. In some cases they did not adopt their preferred name until they married probably in deference to their parents while they were single.
I agree with you regarding redundant data. That is why I do not enter married names unless they add information. So when you find a married name on a page I created or edited you should leave it alone.
--Jhamstra 22:40, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
This is useful discussion.
I agree with the data duplication issue, and the only way to support such redundancy is though automation. It has not been automated so I have not used this feature. Others do, including sometimes when that is the only change I see made to a page. So I had simply assumed there was some benefit to it.
Based on the above information, I find that WeRelate will successfully search using married names even if not entered in a Married Name record (e.g., "Sarah Allen" b. 1638: two are returned neither with maiden name Sarah Allen, one has the married name record, one does not.) However, having the target name in a Married Name record DOES appear to cause it to be ordered before those that don't use Married Name, but BOTH groups are after the ones for which it is a Primary Name. Of course, better specification of search parameters will narrow a search to where only a few items are returned and ordering is largely insignificant.
I was unaware of how little difference this made. I had assumed people had experienced more substantial benefit to justify the work of entering this. Unless there is more to this issue, I agree it should be discouraged. Perhaps even removed when encountered? --Jrich 23:48, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
There are so many edits that could be added to make WeRelate pages better - this could be one, to disallow the creation of a "married name" that matches a spouse's surname. When I get to the point where I start working on better edits, I'll try to remember to keep this one in mind. This should also go in Help, but I'm not going to put effort into Help pages for quite a while. I'd rather get enhancements done.--DataAnalyst 03:31, 10 October 2020 (UTC)

I would much prefer NOT to have a married named added automatically from the family page -- in quite a few countries/societies women retain their maiden name with marriage and it would create a real mess and/or a major bit of work if they all had to be deleted or prevented with the addition of a template. As for people who enter a married name that is already evident from the Family Page, I find that much less annoying than having every source on the page added as a source for the name at birth, but some people do seem to derive some comfort from doing so. --GayelKnott 04:34, 10 October 2020 (UTC)