Where we are at present
I see that Forum:Noble/Royal Titles, which didn't really reach a consensus, discussed the issue of the surname field for people who do not have a surname, since their families were entitled before surnames came into use.
As I see it, the principle of the issue we are debating are as follows: there is no "correct" answer to the question, since these people do not possess a surname in the same way as ordinary present-day people of the English-speaking developed world do. So the discussion is actually about our contributors' personal taste about how this should be resolved.
Up to the present we have been following the original suggestion of Richard Tol, so that the House of Capet use the surname "Capet", the House of Welf use the surname "Welf", the House of Wittelsbach use the surname "Wittelsbach", the House of Wettin use the surname "Wettin", the House of Oldenburg use the surname "Oldenburg", the House of Habsburg use the surname "Habsburg", the House of Rurik use the surname "Rurik", the House of Romanov use the surname "Romanov", and so on. The present version is not totally consistent, and a lot of minor titles do not have assigned dynasty names.
Note that we do not change surnames for cadet branches, so the Capetian "House of Bourbon" and its sub-branches still use the surname "Capet".
A look at Familypedia:Surname statistics will give an estimate of how many pages will have to be changed if we change these rules.
- I have written an article on the surnames and titles of the Spanish royal family which presents how this issue is solved by genealogists and legal scholars in Spain. Surnames and titles of the Spanish royal family. The article itself does not make any reference to familypedia and simply presents the way Spanish legislation is applied to the names of members of the royal family. If anybody had the patience of reading it, he/she will easily find out that the way this issue is handled in Familypedia is totally inconsistent with the names actually used in Spain, some being incorrect, others even being illegal and assigning non-existent names to some persons. I suggest that, if we are referring to members of the Spanish royal family who were or are citizens of Spain and are abiding to the legislation of Spain, we use the surnames which are their official legal name, and not invent others. Afil (talk) 01:55, March 7, 2021 (UTC)
Importance of correct names
- The problem is not if pages will have to be changed, but if what we are doing is correct or not. The rule is strangely applied. Thurstan claims that the cadet branches do not change surnames. That is incorrect. Take the Royal family of the United Kingdom. King George VI is presented a having the surname Wettin. If you look at any history book, you will find out that the family was House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and not Wettin. If we look at queen Elizabeth II she has the surname Windsor. This is correct, as the surname of the royal family has officially been changed to Windsor. However the change occurred in 1917 and beside Elizabeth II, three other monarchs have officially used the surname Windsor: George V, Edward VIII and George VI.
- People, even monarchs, change their surnames and we should be using the surnames which used by these persons and not some farfetched names. George V Wettin king of the United Kingdom is not only absurd but incorrect.
- The use of the Capet name is particularly disturbing. Neither the Valois not the Bourbons ever used the name Capet. It was reinvented during the French revolution, during the imprisonment of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, as a denigrative slur, to show that they were commoners and not entitled to a royal title. After the king's execution, Marie-Antoinette was called the widow Capet, just to belittle her. It is very offensive to use slurs as surnames, or in any other context in Familypedia. We should not use racial slurs such as the N word or other offensive words to call african-americans, Jews, Native Americans or any other nationality, religion or other group and this should also be applied for the Capet surname. This issue has not been discussed before. However, if any other slur had been used in 500 articles, would you also object to its removal?
- I therefore consider it necessary to use the surnames of families and cadet branches the way in which they are registered in official records of royalty and aristocracy, such as the Gotha Almanac, who keeps such records since over a century. And accept that cadet branches could have a different surname than the older branches, just as any commoner has the right to legally change the surname and not use the one of his parents. Afil (talk) 03:04, March 6, 2021 (UTC)
One good way of avoiding the sort of duplication I illustrated in that earlier forum (and copied to Thurstan's talk page), while using names that are considered correct by many people, is to use the English-language Wikipedia name, stripped of prefixes such as "Sir" and in some cases shortened a bit (plus our standard YOB-YOD, of course). --- Robin Patterson (Talk) 10:06, March 6, 2021 (UTC)
- We have a policy [link anyone?] of using native names rather than English versions, so I try to use German, French and Italian Wikipedias for page names. However this is independant of the question of the surname field. Thurstan (talk) 19:16, March 6, 2021 (UTC)
- In particular, we should not be doubling up on "surname" and "territorial designation" in the page name. So Ferdinando II di Borbone delle Due Sicilie (1810-1859) should be Ferdinando II delle Due Sicilie (1810-1859), following Ferdinando II delle Due Sicilie on the Italian Wikipedia. Thurstan (talk) 19:58, March 6, 2021 (UTC)
- I was not doubling surname and territorial designation. I suggested that instead of using artificial surnames such as Capet, we use the official surname of the family, such as it is presented in the official website of the royal house and by the official records of royal and aristocratic families such as the Gotha Almanac. I see no reason why Familypedia should not use the name the family uses and which is accepted by genealogists. It is not a question of personal oppinion, but of accepting the surnames which are in use. The relevant documentation can be found on  (which presents the data registered by the Società Genealogica Italiana (SGI) and on  the Gotha Almanach Almanach de Gotha Afil (talk) 02:07, March 7, 2021 (UTC)
Since we seem to have no agreement here, I have a different suggestion. Perhaps we should go for "honesty in labelling" and admit that many people that we have pages for never had nor used a surname (examples include Anna Jans (1645-1705), Elizabeth II, Charlemagne), rather than argue about what fake surname we should give them. If we include a "no surname" flag in their properties, we can put them all in a "People without surname" category.
- I consider that Thurstan's proposal is correct. I agree that a surname for Charlemagne is rather farfetched. As far as Elizabeth II is concerned I have my doubts; in this case the surname should be Windsor. Afil (talk)