Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Dear Randy: Genealogy Software and Online Trees with Royal Name Suffixes

Reader Bill sent in a question in email:

"Are there any genealogy programs out there that lets you enter non-surname people such as George, Duke of York or Eberhard III, Duke of Lower Lorraine that comes out readable in a report? I have FTM 2014 and the names in reports I put out are difficult to make sense of. Example: Friedrich II, Graf von Altena ends up Graf von Altena Friedrich II. Also, Elizabeth II, Queen of England ends up Queen of England Elizabeth II."

My response was:

That's an interesting question.  I opened Family Tree Maker 2014 and noted that it doesn't have a Prefix, Suffix or Nickname field.  I experimented a bit.  If you enter:

*  "Elizabeth II Windsor, Queen of England" you get "Queen of England Elizabeth II Windsor" in the Name field and printouts, and it is indexed as "Windsor, Queen of England, Elizabeth II"

*  "Elizabeth II Windsor Queen of England" you get just that "Elizabeth II Windsor Queen of England" in the Name field and printouts, but it is indexed as "England, Elizabeth II Windsor Queen of."

*  "Elizabeth II Windsor; Queen of England" you get "Elizabeth II Windsor; Queen of England" in the Name field and printouts, and "England, Elizabeth II Windsor; Queen of" in the Index, with a note that says you shouldn't use the ";" character (among others, including "-" or ":").

This is a limitation of the software, I think.  But not using punctuation seems to work if you can live with the index issue.

What about an Ancestry Member Tree?  Interestingly, Ancestry.com provides three fields for a name, First/Middle, Maiden Name, and Suffix, so:

* An entry for "Elizabeth II" as first/middle, " Windsor" as Surname, and "Queen of England" as Suffix works, but comes out as "Elizabeth II Windsor Queen of England."

*  If you put "Elizabeth II" as first/middle name, and "Windsor, Queen of England" as the Surname, it displays as "Elizabeth II Windsor, Queen of England."

I tend to use the "House of" names like Windsor, Hanover, Stuart, Tudor, etc. as a surname in my database.  

In  RootsMagic, I put "Queen of England" or "Duke of Wherever" in the Suffix field (there's also a separate Prefix field and a Nickname field).   The result for Queen Elizabeth II was "Elizabeth II Windsor Queen of England" - no comma or other punctuation in reports or printouts, and indexed as "Windsor, Elizabeth II Queen of England."

I wondered how a royal name entered into Family Tree Maker 2014 shows up in Ancestry.  I made a GEDCOM file with some royals in RootsMagic, then imported it into FTM 2014.  

*  The entire name shows up without any commas (e.g., "Elizabeth II Windsor Queen of England)" in FTM 2014.  When I synced it to a new Ancestry tree, the name was included as that, with "Elizabeth II" in the first/middle name field, "Windsor" in the Surname field, and "Queen of England" in the Suffix field.  Interesting - somehow it figured out the Suffix was a suffix.  And there is no comma in the name.

*  I went back into FTM 2014 and added a "-" between Windsor and Queen in the name, and when I synced it to Ancestry, the first/middle name became "Elizabeth II Windsor - Queen of" and the surname became "England," with no suffix. So using a dash or even a colon is a possibility if you can live with the surname being the last word in the surname.

How does a royal name in RootsMagic using the Suffix show up in Ancestry?  I used the GEDCOM file with the royals, and imported it directly into an Ancestry Member Tree.  It kept the given/middle (e.g. Elizabeth II" and surname (e.g., "Windsor"), but did not include the Suffix information (where I have the "Queen of England" type information).  Strange, it didn't recognize the suffix for some reason (a GEDCOM quirk, perhaps?).

I wonder how Legacy Family Tree and other software programs deal with this issue.  What about the FamilySearch Family Tree?  I will let other geneabloggers have at those.

That's enough for now - I hope I answered Bill's question.  Thanks, Bill, for the opportunity to answer the question.

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Or contact me by email at randy.seaver@gmail.com.


Cousin Russ said...


What is her full name ? What would be on her Birth Certificate (or appropriate document) / church record ?

In FTM2014, you have two fields to use. Suffix and Title. I'll do a blog post if you have the information / question.

Thank you,


Karen said...

Legally Queen Elizabeth II has no last name. She belongs to the House of Windsor but that should never be listed as part of her name. In Family Tree Maker I would list her as first Name Elizabeth and use the suffix as II no middle name or last name. I would then use the title fact to list her formal title which is

Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

I would use the description fields to note the House of Windsor.

Her Birth name would have been listed as Her Royal Highness Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of York

Karen said...

oops..I left out Princess...her birth name would have been listed as

Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of York

Edward Black said...

Is she not Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor born 21 April 1926? The rest are titles and styles.

At her birth she was Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York. From 19 November 1947 until she became the monarch in 1952 her primary title was Duchess of Edinburgh. She became Queen of England, Duke of Normandy, Lord of Mann, Duke of Lancaster, Queen of multiple nations within the Commonwealth and many more titles.

You would change her titles at the various dates she assumed the titles.

I don't think any of the titles change her name.

Karen said...

No last name, she was just Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of York, No British monarch or royal prince/princess has an actual last name. When Princes William and Harry were in the military they used the last name Wales pulling that from their father's title as Prince of Wales. While the Queen belongs to the House of Windsor it would be improper to record that as a last name.

Edward Black said...

The current official last name of the family is Montbatten-Windsor.

My source is the official Royal website:


The official last name of the current monarch was Windsor at her birth. She changed it in 1960. I would record this as any other legal change of name while retaining her name as it was at her birth.

Edward Black said...

another source:


"Christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, she is the elder daughter of King George VI (then Duke of York) and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon."

Edward Black said...

While the Royals normally use their styles and titles, they do have a surname.

"There is no evidence that Philip ever wanted to be called Prince Consort-let alone King Consort or King-and I do not believe he was particularly concerned about the actual name 'Mountbatten'. It was not his father's name. It was not his mother's name. It was the anglicized version of his maternal grandfather's name. What concerned Philip was the principle that a father be allowed to pass on his surname to his children....

Brandreth, Gyles, Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage, New York, W. W. Norton, First American Edition 2005, paperback, page 221

Cathy P said...

Why mess around with Royals? unless you are a direct descendant?

Unknown said...

Not worth an entire blog post, but the fields you were looking for do exist in FTM 2014.

For title (prefix) and nickname (AKA), go the the individual's Person tab, where these are available as additional facts. For suffixes, click in the individual's name field, then on the pencil icon to the right (Edit Name), and you'll find the suffix field there.

Not intuitively obvious, unfortunately, but they are there.