Saturday, September 27, 2014

Assumptions: The Name of the Father

Third in a series of posts.

A discussion of assumptions one might be tempted to make. With examples taken from my own research.

Assumption: The name of a child indicates the name of the parent.


Question: You run across a person named John Robert Green II. What is his father's name?
Answer: You can not assume it is John Robert Green.

Sure, there is a strong likelihood. But there is no law, in the United States at least, that sets rules on how to name a child.

Sometimes a child can be named the II where an Uncle or other relative was the first.

Or you can have parents with a strange sense of humor.

You can have a John Robert Green II who is the son of David Alexander Green, with no John Robert in sight.

I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere in our country there exists a Leonard Part VI.

For privacy reasons I will not indicate the example from my own research.

[Sure. In your database enter "John Robert Green" for the father, and in the notes indicate that you are guessing that is his name from the name of the son. But always remember it is a guess, until you find confirming documentation.]


Anonymous said...

This is true. Sometimes even the surname is different between father and son due to an adoption or other circumstances.

Occasionally genealogy will software deal with suffixes incorrectly, so I remove them from my tree. Sometimes a program will think the suffix is the surname. Or other strangeness. Most software deals with it correctly, but sometimes not.

John said...

My current software of choice does get confused with suffixes, and will default to adding the suffixes on to the children's names, but you can override the defaults.

I think it's not completely uncommon for a child to have the surname of the mother. I know of a circumstance where both parents changed their surname at marriage to a different surname, and the children have that surname, which is different from both 'maiden' names.