Historically, when people lived in clans or small villages, everyone had just one name:  a “given” name.  One name was all they needed because everyone knew each other.  As population increased, it became necessary to distinguish between people with the same given name.

Over time there were a number of ways people with the same surname could be distinguished. by Occupation, by Location or by their Father’s Name.


Occupation – Kathleen the tailor became Kathleen Tailor.

Location – Mary of the woods became Mary Woods.

Father’s Name – John son of Robert became John Robert’s Son then later still to John Robertson.

As we know a patronym or patronymic surname is a component of a personal name based on the name of that person’s father, grandfather or earlier male ancestor.  (Also note some names are Matronymic which are based on the mother or female ancestor)

Some known Patronyms in different Languages:

English: -son

Danish: -sen or -s (for son or daughter) -datter or -sdatter (for daughter)

Swedish: -sson (for son) -dotter or -sdottir (for daughter)

Dutch: -sen or -son or -zoon (for son) -sdockter or -sdochter (for daughter)

Netherlands: -zoon or -sz (for son) -dochter or -dr (for daughter)

Russian: -in or -yn or -ev or -vich (for son) -vicha or -a or -ovna or -ina (for daughter)

Polish: -owicz (for son) -owna (for daughter)

Norman: Fitz- (for son)  (Note:Fitzroy means son of King, which was used by illegitimate royal children who were acknowledged as such by their fathers)

Irish (gaelic): O’ or Mc-

Scottish (gaelic) Mac- or Mc-

Welsh: ap (for son) ferch or verch (for daughter) and others later used  -s

Arabic: ibn or bin (for son) bint (for daughter)

France: de

Now that Patronyms and Patronymic Surnames are somewhat explained: how will the Enchanted Family use this?

As you know the Enchanted family uses  The Next Generation (TNG) Software. But when doing research we use many other programs like Ancestry.  So we first want the name to display correctly on the web, but we also want the name searchable through other programs and websites.

After much reading and export and import testing we have decided to put the Patronymic names into the given name and leave the surname blank.  If there name comes from a location like “of England” we plan to put this in the Surname Suffix. Names like King Henry I of England will be (Title) King (given) Henry I (surname) (suffix) of England.  Notice the surname will be empty unless they are know best for having a surname or House name like King Henry VII Tudor of England or (Title) King (given) Henry VII (surname) Tudor  (suffix) of England .

One note about the I or VII of royal names where they would normally in non royalty it would be placed at the end of the name like John Wilson, III in royalty they are placed after the first name like Henry I or Henry VII.  We originally had no problem with leaving them in the given name until the gedcom was exported to other genealogy programs like Family Tree Maker (FTM) for research.  During the import into the program it strips all Roman Numbers (but not a middle initial like V.) and puts it in the surname suffix.  (extra bug note for FTM if there was a  suffix already the roman number is dropped or lost in later versions of the program – ver. 2008 appended it. This bug was reported to FTM company, but who knows how long it will take to be fixed if ever.)

So with this problem to overcome as we would like the trees to sync it has been decided to either add a period after VII or add “VII” which ever looks the best and causes the least amount of problems with researching.

Also a note about missing maiden names, if a wife’s maiden name is unknown the Enchanted family will use the surname but add , Wife of in the given name.  so this way it is clear it is not the Maiden Name.

As there is still some testing going on this might be revised a bit in time.

Considerations for the changes are Display and searching of TNG and Export and Import Syncing between FTM and TNG and searching and research through FTM.

If you have any helpful ideas please share them in the comments.


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