FAQ Alternate SurnamesFor guidance on handling the married surname of a woman, please see FAQ_Indexing_Married_Women.
For guidance on handling evolutionary, stepwise, changes with surnames, please see FAQ_Family_Name_Variation.
The focus of this page is to reflecting within TRP the use of significant alternate surname by an individual such as Jones rather than their birth surname of Reeves. This type of name change may occur for one of two primary reasons
- A child or young person may adopt (formally or informally) the surname of their mother’s new husband. Thus young Henry Jones may become known as Henry Reeves or alternately young George Reeves may become known as George Williams. It is not unusual for some of these children, in later life, to revert to using their birth surname.
- A minority of adults also choose to become known by a new surname; for example John Reeves may subsequently have been known as John Evans. Such surname changes may have been to disguise their early life (and to frustrate subsequent generations of genealogist) or perhaps to conform to the terms of an inheritance. Other examples would include a nom de plume and a nom de guerre (perhaps to disguise under-age enlistment).
The primary person page within TRP should when ever possible reflect the birth name of the individual. The primary page should be named as "Surname_GivenName_RandomNumberSuffix" and created in the usual way with all the content pertaining to this individual. The alternate surname should be reflected in both the page title and the page description, for example as “Reeves, John (aka Evans, John)”
In some circumstances, only the later life of an individual may be known at the time a TRP Person Page is created. Subsequent research may then show that the later life surname was not the birth surname. This new information should be reflected in the narrative of the page, but in these circumstances the existing page, originally created in what is now known to be an alternate surname, would remain the primary page for the individual in TRP. This situation is most likely to occur when a widow marries into the Reeves family and her child Henry Jones, who may be of similar age to other full blooded Reeves offspring, becomes known by his step-father’s surname as Henry Reeves. A stub page should be created as noted above, with the stub page reflecting, in this case, what is now known to be the birth surname and redirecting to the primary page which is now known to be based on the alternate surname.