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Woman's maiden vs married names - citations

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Re: Woman's maiden vs married names - citations

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 3:02 pm

When you say that databases use unique identifiers, this is typically true, but that's a far cry from the status of your birth name. Lots of people are born as John Smith, so it's hardly unique in the same sense as a database id. Birth name is indeed concrete / fixed, so has value, but I feel that it gets given a significance that it sometimes can't handle.

Problem 1 is those illegitimate children - it's only convention that says the surname is that of the mother - what if we're looking at someone who didn't follow convention? We shouldn't be seduced by convention into looking for something that doesn't exist.

Problem 2 is people who change name and the new name drives the old one out of view. Anyone compiling a genealogy of Hollywood movie stars will surely not refer to Archibald Leach being born in Bristol (or thereabouts) - but Cary Grant, however, makes sense. And does James Stewart refer to Jimmy Stewart (Air Force general no less) or Stewart Granger?

No, birth name is hugely important but there are circumstances where it's a pain to bend our reports into using it. That's when people writing reports by hand in a word processor have the advantage over those of us who just press the button in our software.

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