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I've been going through the lists and merging duplicates. At the same time I've been looking for generational sets, and marking them Sr, Jr, and so on. And I've come upon a couple of cases where I have two sets of, say, Jacob Turner. So I have Jacob Turner Sr, and Jacob Turner Jr, and then another set of Jacob Turners. (In one case there was a generation that was skipped, in another they were cousins).

The only way I could think to handle this was to label one pair as Sr-1 and Jr-1, and the other as Sr-2 Jr-2, and then putting identical comments for all four of them. But I wondered if there was another way to handle this, and thought I'd ask here.

Any ideas, suggestions, comments?

Nancy
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Many families have certain common given names that are passed down from generation to generation and used again and again. Hence, the problem of which one is this is a common one.

Sr-1, Sr-2 is a common solution needed in some family tree software that keys entries by given name. Better are the ones that work by record number. Then the computer at least can keep them straight.

Software's many limitations are the reason I prefer to keep records in a word processor file. Much stuff must be done by hand rather than relying on software to create neat charts, but I can handle anything that comes up without limitation.

My solution to the repeated given name problem is to affix the birth year (or best estimate of birth year) for routine referrals. This works most of the time, but some overlap is still possible. Then add a, b, and c etc. So it becomes--

Jacob-1842, Jacob-1876, Jacob-1882 etc, or if necessary Jacob-1776a and Jacob-1776b
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The names I have from the twentieth century go
W called the Judge
W Jr
W Sr (used for thirty some years)
W Jr (my dad used the Jr until his Dad died, so WWII records have Jr, but nothing after 1955 does)

Besides the pedigree numbers from the published family histories (which count generations from some predecessor), the notes I received use the roman numerals
W (I) the Judge
W (II)
W (III)
W (IV) my dad, who did not name his son W

YeilBagheera
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A related problem is the tendency to drop the Jr or III designation once the previous one passes. Hence, John Smith, III records begin to appear as John Smith.

The added designation is used to distinguish the two (or more) in written records, but that becomes less urgent when the other one is no longer around.

Passing down a given name from generation to generation is a noble practice, but it does make for endless confusion, and requires some patience on the part of the players to keep it all straight. And that extends to genealogists too.
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Passing down a given name from generation to generation is a noble practice, but it does make for endless confusion, and requires some patience on the part of the players to keep it all straight. And that extends to genealogists too.

It's even more confusing when the name is passed down two or more times in a single generation. I have found a lot of cases where, if a child died, the parents would use the same name for the next child.

And then there's the II situation, where a brother of the child named Jr would use the same name for his child. I tried to keep track of that during the Morris Hobbs count. (I have, so far, eleven people named Morris Hobbs, including direct ancestors and collateral relatives).

Nancy
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I'm fortunate to have never run into that specific issue, though I do have a related one. Among Jews of European ancestry, it's generally considered improper to name children after living relatives. But it's common to name children in memory of deceased antecedents.

The problem is that Hebrew names take the form of A 'ben' B (where 'ben' is the Hebrew word for "son of").

My Hebrew name, for example, is Shabtai ben Moshe Tzvi. I'm named after my paternal grandfather, who died about six years before I was born.

My father was Moshe Tzvi ben Shabtai, and his father was, like me, also named Shabtai ben Moshe Tzvi. I don't know how far back this goes.

(But I know where it ends; my son's Hebrew name is Aharon. My father was still alive when my son was born.)
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though I do have a related one. Among Jews of European ancestry, it's generally considered improper to name children after living relatives. But it's common to name children in memory of deceased antecedents.

I have a lot of generational names, Samuel, Benjamin, Samuel, Benjamin, and so on through eight or ten generations. Those aren't as bad, because there's enough difference to figure out which is which.

And then there's the ancestor who married two women named Alice. Neither has a last name that anyone can find. So several dozen descendants have Alice-1 and Alice-2 listed in their charts. (Some people are lucky enough to have this combination once. I have one ancestor from Alice-1 and another from Alice-2.)

Ah, yes. Genealogy. The perfect excuse for tearing your hair out.

Nancy
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And then there's the ancestor who married two women named Alice…

I have a cousin who married Barbara #1, then divorced her and married Barbara #2. She died and he remarried Barbara #1, (but they subsequently divorced again).

I wish these relatives would be more considerate of amateur genealogists!
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I wish these relatives would be more considerate of amateur genealogists!

A high school chum of mine and her husband, rather than hyphenate or her taking his name, combined their two names into a brand new name that they each took at marriage.

I just thought it odd and unusual and kind of interesting.

My mom the genealogist, when hearing about it, had an reaction of absolutely shock and horror, "Oh, what they're doing to future genealogists!"

MOI
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My mom the genealogist, when hearing about it, had an reaction of absolutely shock and horror, "Oh, what they're doing to future genealogists!"

One of my nieces came up with a different solution. She retained her name, he retained his, and their little girl has a last name that consists of the first three letters of his name and the last three letters of her name.

Nancy
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One of my nieces came up with a different solution. She retained her name, he retained his, and their little girl has a last name that consists of the first three letters of his name and the last three letters of her name.

Different but similar. Just happened in a different generation to different people.
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Different but similar. Just happened in a different generation to different people.

You should see their return address label. With all the names on it.

Nancy
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