Treatment of Name Changes

My approach to names is to initially provide the full name followed by birth/death years, such as Henry Orville (1883-1966); any subsequent mentions of this person in the same story uses a shortened version, such as Henry Hale.

However, one complication is how best to display the names that have either been changed or added to the birth name. Most married women identified on this website took the surname of her husband. That quickly gets cumbersome to always add what is typically a fourth name and to make clear that is the married name. This is also a complication when someone has married more than once, divorced, or for other reasons adopted a completely different name. (My husband has an indirect ancestor who did just this – changed both his first and last names, which was unusual in the 19th century for men – and I plan to write that up.)

My work around has been to make that clear within context of the story itself. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always work cleanly, especially when the person is secondary or tertiary to the story; this becomes tedious and extraneous information just to provide that particular context.

I’m probably overthinking this, but home to develop a more straightforward strategy soon after more research on how other bloggers are managing this.

Leave a Reply