Inputting unknowns in family trees


What do you do when you don’t know the name of an ancestor but you need to add them to your database? Well, previously I had been recording ‘unknown’ for both first names and surnames I didn’t know. But then I decided I didn’t want all these ‘unknowns’ crowding my family tree so I started to look around to find ways of cleaning up my database.

I’m currently using Legacy 7.0 as my genealogy software, as you all know. So, I’ve decided to go with the following rules (not set in stone, mind you!) :

First name unknown

If first name is unknown then add the relationship to the person you are linking them with e.g. if Azhar Yasin’s wife is unknown add her to the database as “Wife Yasin”

Surname unknown

If the surname is unknown then add “–?–” e.g. “Rukhsar –?–“

Or, you can go find out the name of the missing ancestor :p

That should keep those pesky ‘unknowns’ out of your hair for a while but then you’ll have to deal with the ‘husbands’, ‘wives’, ‘brothers’, ‘sisters’ etc. But for me, I think it’s a better solution to adding unknowns to your database.

How would you standardize the unknown people in your database? Give me your feedback by leaving me a comment.

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Filed under genealogy software, names

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