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Tips: Surnames

Posted by Ancestry.com on January 23, 2008 in Family Tree Maker

I’ve chosen to write today’s Family Tree Maker blog entry on surname tips.

Multi-Word Surnames
As a general rule Family Tree Maker 2008 assumes the last word entered in the name field is the individual’s surname. However, it also recognizes many common surname prefixes. The development team has provided me with a list of those recognized prefixes. They include the following:

o’, d’, van, von, ver, st., saint, der, de, la, del, della, las, te, ten, ter, le, du, des, da, dos, da, le, detto, di, dit, du, in’t, lo, ‘t, te, tan, uit, den, uyt, vulgo

There are also instances where the prefix is not in Family Tree Maker’s recognized list. Additionally, an individual may have two surnames (Aguirre Chanquin). To ensure that muli-word surnames are not indexed incorrectly, users can insert a backward slash (\) before and after the surname.

“Maria Graciela \Aguirre Chanquin\”

The backslashes can also be used for individuals that do not have a surname.

“Running Bear\ \”

Please note that once entered, the backslashes do not appear. They are merely used to initially assign names appropriately as given names or surnames.

Hyphenated Surnames
A user may want to record legal name changes like hyphenated surnames. This can be done by following these steps:

  1. Click the PEOPLE button on the main toolbar.
  2. Click the PERSON tab for the individual for whom you want to add information.
  3. Click the FACTS button, if necessary.
  4. Right-click the Individual & Shared Facts workspace and choose ADD FACT. The Add Fact window opens.
  5. Click “Also Known As” in the FACTS list and click OK.
  6. In the right-hand editing panel, enter any dates associated with the name change in the DATE field (the default field); in the DESCRIPTION field, enter the alternate name. Users may also wan to add source information for the name change.

Surname Variations
The “Also Known As” field in the FACTS list is also an appropriate place to enter surname variations.

Surname Report
Users that want to create a report of all individuals with the same surname can follow these steps:

  1. Open the CUSTOM REPORT (located on the Publish workspace under Person Reports)
  2. Click the RESET button in the reports toolbar to clear any previous report settings.
  3. In INDIVIDUALS TO INCLUDE, click SELECTED INDIVIDUALS. The Filter Individuals window opens. No individuals should be included in the report at this point; if there are, click Exclude All to clear the report.
  4. Click FILTER IN. The Filter Individuals by Criteria window opens.
  5. Click VITAL FACTS, if necessary.
  6. Choose “Name” from the SEARCH WHERE drop-down list.
  7. Choose “Contains” from the next drop-down list.
  8. In the VALUE field, enter a surname
  9. Click OK. The Filter Individuals window now shows all the individuals who have that surname. You can filter the list further if necessary.
  10. Click OK on the Filter Individuals window. The report is generated.

18 comments

Comments
1 TerriJanuary 23, 2008 at 5:02 pm

thanks so much for these tips. the use of the backslash will be really helpful. So many times we know a mother’s given name before we ever find her surname so this will save entry time!

2 TylerJanuary 24, 2008 at 2:24 am

Ditto on Terri’s comments — this post provides most helpful multi/missing-surname handling info I had been wondering about (but had not yet learned).

Now wondering if the backslash conventions might also apply to Ancestry member trees?

3 JayJanuary 24, 2008 at 3:33 am

I’d prefer two separate fields, Forename and Surname?

4 TylerJanuary 24, 2008 at 7:08 am

Even though AMT (Ancestry Member Trees) have two separate fields for first/plus-middle-etc and last, I’ve noticed that the searches appear to get mixed up when searching for married women when they append the two names which, with multi-word surnames, produces more than two words.

That’s why I was curious to find out if such a backslash convention might improve that default AMT search.

5 Cheryle Hoover DavisJanuary 24, 2008 at 9:13 am

Wonderful article, very informative! I’ve posted the link to this article on my blog! Thank you!

6 Dennis DuffyJanuary 24, 2008 at 9:17 am

I can’t find how to contact Ancestry about a link problem so I hope you can redirect this note. In North Carolina Birth Index the link to Nash County (B_CO69_66006) goes to New Hanover County. I specifically wanted to see the orginal birth information for Muyi Kiewiane INGRAM born 5 Jan 1981 in Nash County. Thanks.

7 AthenaJanuary 24, 2008 at 3:44 pm

Two separate fields might work for some types of compound names but it’s wouldn’t accomodate many variations. The backward slashes are actually a GEDCOM convention and using them in FTM ensures you will always get the results you want with various add-ons products.

I use the slashes for “juniors” too because I can never remember when to use a comma or an abbreviation in FTM. When I surround the surname with backslashes, the individuals always sort properly. Also, by using two backslashes for an unknown maiden name, my charting software automatically inserts — for an unknown name.

8 RollieJanuary 26, 2008 at 11:57 am

I have tree maker 2008 but I have done all my work online at ancestry. When I get done can I take everything from ancestry.com and download to my computer (pictures, Sources, Gedcom, storys, everything) ????

9 Kaye OsborneJanuary 27, 2008 at 10:34 am

I am trying to place my Ancestry tree on my desktop. I have a My Heritage tree on the desk top. Everytime I try to put my Ancestry tree download on the desktop it referes my to open it with My Heritage. I would prefer to open my tree with someting that will show me a tree that contains the same info I have in My Ancestry personal tree. I have worked years to get the info .Can you help me?

10 yolanda Enich HallJanuary 29, 2008 at 1:50 pm

im not really commenting im trying to fine people with the last name Enich my grandfather’s name is Albert Enich and my grandmother’s name is Essie mae Enich they had 8 children together albert freedy james ricky and four girls charlie, deborah, jaqueline and sheila whom recently passed away leaving behind 5 boys

11 Dorothy NagyFebruary 5, 2008 at 10:54 pm

I’m fairly new to FTm2008. Today iit quit working several times & I am not sure why. It automatically shuts down even when I click on “find a solution on-line and solve the problem” (or words to that effect). I also cannot figure out how to produce and export an rtf or how to cut and paste data into notes from other sources (eg: email or other onlline sites..not Ancestry,com)
Can anyone help?

12 Bill ShafferFebruary 19, 2008 at 1:24 pm

widows Vista and Family tree still arent on the same page. WHY

13 PamelaFebruary 22, 2008 at 1:02 pm

I have noticed that the countries you have listed do not include the Caribbean. My grandfather came from 1 Caribbean country as well as my Grandmother and married in another Caribbean country. All I have had is his name. I found some person in the US but those I know are a living spouse of my Uncle. He was born before 1928 and his name was Randolph Lumpress. Why can I not find the origin of that name.

14 NigelMarch 15, 2008 at 6:20 am

I’ve just started to use FTM 2008 and i’m having some problems with listing maiden names. How is this done? Do I list this under ‘AKA’?

Also personal (fact) details like height; there are date and time fields, how does this apply? How can I change them to cm/ft?

Thanks for any help / ideas.

15 LindaMarch 19, 2008 at 7:25 am

I tried your tip about the back slashes in my FTM 2008. With spaces or without spaces, the backslashes show on the screen and in the Descendant Report that I ran. I like the idea that it might put a “–” (long dash) after the first name, but that doesn’t happen. Also, I notice in the same report that dates that show in entry fields as “Aft”, “Abt”, “Bet”, or “Bef” appear in the report as hard and fast dates (i.e. “Aft. 1880″ appears as “1880″). That is really misleading to anyone reading the report. Can this be changed?

16 ChristopherJuly 8, 2008 at 5:22 am

when importing an old file from ftm 2006 to 2008 all names are sorted wrongly,
for example Richard\Locket of Withington is now :
Withington, Richard\Lockett of

A catastrophy! I used FTM since first version and have separated the christian names from the surnames by only one backslash. What can I do to add a second backslash at the end of the name to 14.000 people??

17 Eddie J. WeeksJuly 17, 2008 at 4:46 pm

What do you about children born out of wedlock? My Grandfather’s mother and his father were never married nor ever lived together. Married doesn’t work or partner or anything else. He took his mother’s maiden name of Weeks but the father was Bowman. So under the relationship calulator I don’t show as related. How do I solve this problem? And no I don’t want to show them as married and then add someting in notes.

18 Sue BaldwinJuly 21, 2008 at 7:41 pm

Re: Error on my FTM 16 Program: Family tree executable has stopped working
msbaldwin (View posts)
Posted: 19 Jul 2008 10:20AM
Classification: Query
I have been having the same problem. It has been a week now that I have been fighting this. I sent an email from the help page and got 7 emails back asking if I lost my password! I faxed a letter to headquarters and got no response. The patch is installed using administrator. I have uninstalled FTM and the patch five times and reinstalled it. I had the Amyuni Document Converter where the printers are installed. when that was in the box, I got the message ” Family Tree Maker is unable to use the default printer” I called headquarters and spoke with technician. He had me uninstall and install twice. He sent me an email to to a clean boot. I found no record of conflicts. With last install, the printer didn’t install. I tried again to view Descendant outline. It did appear but when I tried to convert to PDF, I got the “Family tree executable has stopped” again the original message. I was on the phone an hour, 40 minutes on hold. I am ready to give up on FTM and go to a Genealogy program that works with Vista.
• Reply
• Report Abuse
• Print
Re: Error on my FTM 16 Program: Family tree executable has stopped working
msbaldwin (View posts)
Posted: 19 Jul 2008 3:11PM
Classification: Query
Surnames: Baldwin, Queen
I downloaded and installed the suggested pdf printer 995. However, I still get the executable error when I try to export the view to Acrobat. I am giving up on FTM and going to another program. This is frustrating, irritating and downright stressful. I want to get on with using my computer and not fight to run programs.
Re: Error on my FTM 16 Program: Family tree executable has stopped working
msbaldwin (View posts)
Posted: 19 Jul 2008 10:20AM
Classification: Query
I have been having the same problem. It has been a week now that I have been fighting this. I sent an email from the help page and got 7 emails back asking if I lost my password! I faxed a letter to headquarters and got no response. The patch is installed using administrator. I have uninstalled FTM and the patch five times and reinstalled it. I had the Amyuni Document Converter where the printers are installed. when that was in the box, I got the message ” Family Tree Maker is unable to use the default printer” I called headquarters and spoke with technician. He had me uninstall and install twice. He sent me an email to to a clean boot. I found no record of conflicts. With last install, the printer didn’t install. I tried again to view Descendant outline. It did appear but when I tried to convert to PDF, I got the “Family tree executable has stopped” again the original message. I was on the phone an hour, 40 minutes on hold. I am ready to give up on FTM and go to a Genealogy program that works with Vista.
• Reply
• Report Abuse
• Print
Re: Error on my FTM 16 Program: Family tree executable has stopped working
msbaldwin (View posts)
Posted: 19 Jul 2008 3:11PM
Classification: Query
Surnames: Baldwin, Queen
I downloaded and installed the suggested pdf printer 995. However, I still get the executable error when I try to export the view to Acrobat. I am giving up on FTM and going to another program. This is frustrating, irritating and downright stressful. I want to get on with using my computer and not fight to run programs.

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