Allow option to append Nickname to Given name(s) in gedcom or prevent it from appending in RootsMagic

I love the ability to use the ‘casual’ name in sentences so don’t want to give that up. But if I use the nickname field then it is frustrating to have the nickname repeat on the name when the nickname is the middle name.

My grandfather for example shows up as James Harvey “Harvey” Wheeler.

I’ve tried entering him as James H. Wheeler with the nickname Harvey but then Harvey is is not reflected in Ancestry and some of his records are in that name.

If we could have an option to add the nickname field to the given name for gedcom files then we could have the nickname in Ancestry.

Alternately, if we could choose NOT to append the nickname in RootsMagic reports and displays - we could still enter it for use in sentences but prevent the redundancy.

For example, I could enter my Grandfather as James Harvey Wheeler with a nickname of Harvey.
I could enter my uncle as Carrol Victor “Shorty” Bedwell with a nickname of “Shorty”.

I’d love to hear any other thoughts on this topic!

I do the James Harvey “Harvey” Wheeler thing. I have so many middle name people in my family and I consider information about what a person was really called so important that I don’t see a good alternative. Nicknames are likely to be lost on transfer to software other than RM.

Some users address this issue with Alternate Name facts. For reasons I can’t fully explain (even to myself), I don’t much like that approach, either.

For people who have a complicated naming situation, I have a custom fact of my own design called Names. I use the note in this fact to explain the person’s naming situation. It also provides a place to attach evidence for a person’s name that is separate than the “person record” for the person. I also use RM’s built-in Namesake fact a great deal to document the person or persons for whom and individual was named.

As far as reports and repetitions of names in reports, I have set up my sentence templates to generate point form sentences. That way, the name appears in narrative reports only one time for each person and there is no repetition. For example, you might have something like the following.

John Andrew “Andy” Doe.
Birth: 12 Jan 1898, Bell County, Kentucky.
Death: 9 Sep 1973, Hazard County, Kentucky.

You can see an example of the full effect at

Sample RM Narrative Report with Point Form Sentences

By the way, I don’t actually use quotes. I use parentheses instead, viz. James Harvey (Harvey) Wheeler. It has always seemed to me that quotes should be reserved for true nicknames such as Red or Shorty. But I run afoul of the name standards police at some sites. For a real example, FamilySearch will accept William Harley “Harley” Bryan for my great grandfather who was always known as Harley Bryan, but it will not accept my preferred form of William Harley (Harley) Bryan.

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Thanks for the reply - a very nice description.

Do you use the nickname field at all in RM? When I enter the name of my grandfather the way I want it to show in Ancestry then add the nickname so I can use it in custom sentences it looks like this…

I entered given names as: James Harvey “Harvey” - so it will show in Ancestry that he went by his middle name
nickname as: Harvey
and surname as: Wheeler

Result in RM:
James Harvey “Harvey” “Harvey” Wheeler

(I like the quotes instead of the parentheses :slight_smile: )

The third display of Harvey is just over the top :(. I can’t figure a way to make it look right as the primary name in RM and as a casual name in RM and include the nickname in Ancestry.


(The forum requires that replies must contain twenty characters, and these are those extra characters.)

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I understand your problem as far as getting the reports to read right as my Dad reversed his names at abt age 30…

So it is a real headache as if I put Henry James " James Henry" Smith in the name field as all 4 show up but if I use a fact—it’s only mentioned once with the fact…

Have you tried just putting

given names as: James “Harvey”
nickname as: Harvey
and surname as: Wheeler

UNLESS the nickname is Shorty etc or the person was Wm Arthur Knight but went by Fred Knight
( actually had a few like this), in my opinion most people realize that his full name was James Harvey but that he went by Harvey…

I sometimes reverse it and put the name they went by and their full name in quotes-- every record I have found for my g-grandfather EXCEPT for his death info and obit were under Fritz Bohn–come to find out that the obit/ death info listed his name as John Fritz Bohn— nobody knew his 1st name was John so on my file I have him as Fritz " John Fritz" Bohn—so that anyone wishing to verify my family info can find all the info for him ( took me 10 years to find that death and obit)…
I have learned over the years that every good German has 3 or 4 given names that they can go by :rofl:
Ironically I found out that my 2nd g-grandfather’s first name was John and now suspect that all my Germany male ancestors had the 1st name of John…

Welcome to the group / forum TheJerryBryan always uses sound logic even if you may not 100 % AGREE.

I do use Alt Names but in Limited use. I would not use them for Nicknames. I have one cousin that formerly changed his name as his surname was not friendly (like some Hollywood stars have done — he was an Artist). I do try to include all known middle name in the Primary names) some times some records have contradiction. For example, one cousin I found with a note on his draft card mentioning ‘just “n” for middle name’. The bottom line is to be consistent as possible and avoid things that might cause issue with what decide with other software and Gedcom etc.

More likely Johann. :grinning:

That’s another problem with names. Many of them became Anglicized during a person’s lifetime if they were immigrants. And in the case of German names, many times siblings would have the same first name and a different middle name and they would all go by their middle name. So Johann Heinrich became known as Henry and his brother Johann Wilhelm became known as William or Bill.