Add Russian name as the Name or Alternate Name?

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Re: Add Russian name as the Name or Alternate Name?

Postby aebrown » Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:08 am

lchoqu wrote:
aebrown wrote:Regardless of which language you choose for the main name, you should enter the other language as an alternate name. If you choose to use Russian for the main name, then you would use an alternate name in English of type "Also Known As";

Would this be necessary if I enter the main name in both Cyrillic and Roman scripts, as I am prompted to do when I set the language for main name as Russian?

That depends on a couple of factors.

One question is how you enter the Roman script for the Russian primary name. Do you leave the default transliteration in place? Is the Roman form of the name there primarily to transliterate or to describe what the person was called? For example, Пётр is transliterated as Pyotr, but most Russians of that name who assimilate into an English-speaking culture come to be known as Peter. In that case, I would leave the Roman name form of the Russian name as "Pyotr" but would also enter an alternate name with the language set to English with the name of "Peter."

Another factor is known alternates that appeared on records. That can improve searchability; for example Иван would be transliterated as Ivan, but the person may have also been known as Ivanko or Evan or John, and any of those forms might have been on records. FamilySearch will attempt to do obvious name variants (e.g., if the name is Peter, FamilySearch will search for Pete even if you don't enter Pete as an alternate name), but to be sure and to document for other users how a person was actually known, it can be good to create alternate names.

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Re: Add Russian name as the Name or Alternate Name?

Postby lchoqu » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:00 pm

In the case of my own ancestors, they were all serfs of limited education who lived far from the major cities of the day, and were probably lucky to be able to write their names in Russian, let alone in another language. Therefore I think it would be inaccurate to enter e.g. "John" in the "Also Known As" box for Иван. Perhaps if there was a "Potential Variation" option I could use that. I agree that it would help with searchability, but I think that future researchers are going to have to learn to search for the most common transliterations like "Ivan" even if some document that they may have access to but I don't gives their ancestor's name as "John". After all, while we call Пётр Вели́кий Peter the Great, nobody calls Иван Грозный​ John the Terrible.

Of course I am entering all variations under "Also Known As" that actually appear in the sources I am reading, e.g. Дмитрий and Димитрий (Dmitri and Dimitri), even if I don't know whether the variation was introduced in the 19th century when the record was written or in the 21st century when it was transcribed for me by an archivist.

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