[For those wondering why I'm still working in FTM 16, it's a long story. Mainly it is because I am real comfortable with it and can work fairly quickly in it, and then I can import the native FTW file to FTM 2009 and RootsMagic.]
I would really like to create a genealogy database that I can be proud of, with standardized naming conventions and the like.
When I looked in my index list for the names, I found that I have been very inconsistent with my naming conventions, including:
* (unknown) - I have some persons named (unknown) because I don't know either their first or last birth names. This is different from persons with no names at all who are listed as
* known first name and unknown last name. I could use underscores or LNU.
* unknown first name and known last name. I could use underscores or FNU.
* Persons found with more than one first name in the records. Or a diminutive like Harry for Henry, Bob for Robert, Bert for Albert or Herbert, Molly for Mary, Abbie for Abigail, Peggy for Margaret, Sally for Sarah, etc. I've been putting these in as "Henry/Harry" (without the quotes) and getting a notice from FTM that there's an unrecognized character.
* Persons found with a first name in one record and an obvious nickname in another. I've been doing the same thing as the diminutive, e.g. "Henry/Skip." These are usually nicknames and I've seen them input as Henry "Skip" with the nickname in quotes.
* Widows (and divorcees too) that marry again. I have a lot of "Mary Jones (widow Smith)" in my database because Tom Brown married Mary Smith in the records and she was the widow of Mr. Smith. Even worse, I have many of these loose widows without a known maiden name. I shouldn't be inputting her as "Mary Smith" because I don't know her maiden surname. Should I be inputting "Mary _____ Smith" or "Mary MNU Smith?' Or just "Mary _____," "Mary MNU" or "Mary LNU" and connect her to an unknown "FNU Smith."
* I've also seen the string "--?--" in genealogy periodicals and books for unknown names.
I note that the Rootsweb WorldConnect databases have:
* 60,920 entries for surname - LNU
* 11,052 entries for surname MNU
* 92,331 entries for surname - Unk
* 5,232,913 entries for surname Unknown
* 181,428 entries for surname (Unknown)
* 20,305 entries for surname --?--
* 124,687 entries for surname _____
* 1,166,278 entries for surname ?
* 8,117 for surname ?????
* 78 entries for surname Whoknows
* 64 entries for surname Dontknow
* 37 entries with surname Mystery
* 1,493 entries for surname Who
* 35 entries for surname Who?
Are there any standards for inputting these names into a genealogy database? Who has the authority to deal with this? Have there been extended discussions about these issues that I've missed in books, articles, blogs, message boards or mailing lists?
What do you do in your genealogy software database?