Infofiles Index


Issues in Genealogy Software

The variability in the format of names creates havoc when trying to enter data in your genealogy program. How do you retain consistency? I have tried to follow these rules:

1. All rabbinic entries are prefaced by the title R. or Rabbi as my recognition of their sacred role in the Jewish community.

2. Depending upon the data available, the entries could look like this:

Given Name Surname
Given Name of XXXX, where XXXX could be a town or Yeshiva.
Given Name ben XXXX, where XXXX is the name of the father.
Given Name the XXXX, where XXXX is some descriptor.

3. If the surname spelling varies, then one has a choice of standardizing on one format or one can adopt all of the formats. It is best to adopt one format and include the variation in spelling or form within parentheses as for example:

R. Saul (Wahl, Juditch) Katzenelenbogen.

4. If the family chain of rabbis begins with a patronymic form and later adopts a surname we have another entry issue. In order to retain alphabetic order when perusing the index of entries it is necessary to append the later surname to the earlier named individuals. One way of achieving this is to use some designator that shows the later connection as shown here:

R. Shmuel ben Yitzchak: Katzenelenbogen

This technique would be useful in further appending a family name to the forms shown in (2) above.

Werner L. Frank
Calabasas, California