1.0 Database Updates and Changes
The backbone for this database of information is over 1,200 individuals and is expected to grow to about 1,500., made available via the Web using TNG software. I serve as the web master for this website.
2.0 Source Citations
When I first started building my database in early 2009, I had little appreciation for the importance of maintaining an accurate system to document the source for the form of name and for birth and deaths for individuals, as I continuously added names to my database. Instead, I simply added these pieces of information as I encountered them. When finding records contained in other publicly-accessible databases, I simply copied all or portions of this relevant primary source data into the Notes field, indicating the source of the record as part of the Notes statement. As I watched my database grow, I began to appreciate the importance of clearly documenting the source for every bit of information.
3.0 Standards for Names
I have developed two different standards for recording data, one for personal names and one for geographic names. This data base contains the following subfields for recording names: prefix title, last name, first and middle name, and suffix title. There is a free-text field for birth place, death place, burial place, and wedding place.
3.1 Naming Conventions for Individuals
I have adopted the following style sheet for names:
PREFIX: Any title that always appears in front of the name: Capt., St. Rev., Lieut., etc. Do not include Dr. or Esq. Do not include any titles for royalty. Use the form of the title in the original language.
FIRST NAME: First and middle name of the individual, when there is a first and last name; the name only, if there is only one name without a last name. Include numbering for royalty as part of the first name, e.g., Hugues II. Use original language for the first name given first. If desired, include the Anglicized spelling following any original language first name: e.g., "Guillaume or William."
LAST NAME: Actual last name. For early royalty and nobility, when only one name was used, leave "Last Name" blank and put name in "First Name" field. Consider as last name any patronymic, e.g. names preceded by AP, FERCH, or FITZ or followed by names ending with --SON, --SEN, --SSEN, SSON, or --DTR. Use patronymic abbreviation, e.g., "dtr" rather than "datter". If there is expected to be a last name but it is not known, use "?" in the Last Name field. Norwegian farm names, if needed for identification, are added in the last name field following the patronymic, e.g. "Petersen Sund" when "Sund" is the farm name.
SUFFIX: All royalty titles and any phrases denoting geographical location of person, e.g., "de Hereford" or "King of England." Use original language when known, e.g. "Comte." It is sometimes difficult to determine when a geographic suffix title begins to be used as the "official surname."
3.2 Challenges Associated with Naming Conventions
The formatting of personal names is especially problematic in three areas: a) names of royalty and nobility in medieval times, b) naming formats and the spelling of names in Norway before surnames were mandated by the Norwegian government in 1923.
Royalty and Nobility in Medieval Times
It is sometimes quite difficult to search for names from the medieval era. Some databases use versions of a name based on its spelling in the native geographic area. Information can then be missed, if one uses an Anglicized search term. This challenge is especially apparent when working with Norman family names after these families relocated to England. For example, when does "Guillaume" become "William"?
Many times, an individual's name was changed when that person was crowned as a member of the royal family. Sometimes, one individual might have two different names with differing number schemes, if more than one political entity is being governed by the same individual.
Sometimes, there are numerous versions of names for one individual given the variations found among primary sources. I have attempted to follow the naming conventions used by the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy when entering medieval names into my Reunion database.
Nowegian Naming Conventions
Until the early 1900s, Norwegians, especially those living in rural areas, did not use consistent surnames. Patronymics were usually employed, followed by the farm name where an individual lived and/or worked. Sometimes the farm name was used as the surname, without use of a patronymic. If Norwegians moved from one farm to another, their "last name" usually changed to reflect the new farm location. Given the naming conventions in place during the 1700-1900s, it was very common for a son to bear the first name of his father, which would then mean that the first name and patronymic were the same for more than one individual. After working with seven different "Ole Olesons" from one family line, one appreciates the availability of a farm name or relatively accurate birth and death data. To distinguish one Ole Oleson from another. If a farm name was needed to clearly identify a specific individual, I have included that farm name as part of the surname, listing it after the patronymic. In 1923, the Norwegian government mandated that each family should have a hereditary last name and only one last name.
3.3 Geographic Naming Conventions
a. For all U.S. place names, I have recorded geographic names in the following manner: Town, County, State, e.g., Strum, Trempealeau, Wisconsin. If a town name is unknown or does not exist, these geographic names are recorded as County (including the abbreviation "Cty"), and State, e.g., Trempealeau Cty, Wisconsin. If neither town or county is known, then the name of the state is used.
b. For place names in Norway: I have recorded geographic names as follows: Farm Name (when applicable), Town or Parish, County, Norway.
d. For place names in France: I will be usiing the following standard: Town, State, France.
I have tried to use the contemporary version and form of spelling for the names of all geographic entities, based on their current political alignment. I still have a significant amount of editing work to be done for geographic names outside the U.S.
4.0 Standards for Dates
When working with a family with numbers of descendants and a lack of much substantive information, the oral history of dates, e.g., birth dates, immigration dates, etc., often gets garbled and memories of dates associated with various individuals become contradictory. Sometimes, our individual memories of the date for a specific action become so imbedded that we simply refuse to accept the date that exists on a primary source document for this specific action. And, at other times, our ancestors simply didn't know or use a "correct" or "consistent" date.
In building my database, I have always placed a high degree of emphasis on including only those family connections that can be documented and proven per conventional genealogical standards. While I find it humorous to see family trees published showing lineages back to Adam and Eve or to Noah or to Moses, I have refrained from doing this. Instead, I have relied heavily on experts, especially those associated with the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, to determine how far back I can go and still feel comfortable that the information is valid and supported by historical documents. The inclusion of individuals within "christiansonfamily.info" reflects these authenticity guidelines.
a. This site is owned and operated by Bill Christianson. The domain "christiansonfamily.info" is owned by me. The database may not be downloaded and/or reloaded into any commercial or religious database.
b. It is expressly forbidden for anyone to charge for access to these pages or to sell the information contained in these pages to any entity.
c. This website is to be used solely for the personal use by the individuals listed in these files or for broader genealogical research.
d. Photographs of living individuals may be copied by family members (as defined above) for their personal use. Photographs of deceased individuals may be copied by anyone for their personal use. If photographs contained in "christiansonfamily.info" are to be used for any commercial purpose, permission must be granted by me in advance of such use.
e. Finally, this database has been developed for my personal enjoyment and for the enjoyment and education of others. I make no guarantees that data contained on this site is accurate. I have done my best to provide correct data but there will always be mistakes in any endeavor such as this. If you find errors, please send me an email and I will correct them immediately.
If you have questions on any of these guidelines, please feel free to contact me. Thank you.
20 October 2009