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field for middle name/initial

Forums: General Discussion
Created on: 01/14/11 10:45 PM Views: 1870 Replies: 12
Friday, January 14, 2011 at 10:45 PM

Is there a way to add a field on the contact page to accept middle or nick names or initials?
I imagine the basic member individual data can't be changed.
But we have people who would like to separate their middle names/initials and add a nick name in a separate filed.

Thanks

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Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 11:23 AM - Response #1

We had some classmates who changed their name completely. Like John is now Jay. For those we put John "Jay" for his first name. Works great!

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Monday, January 17, 2011 at 1:21 PM - Response #2

Ted - Ann's answer is the only real good option for now. Another option for this is on the future development ideas list, way behind other big improvements we are working on. So, for now, I think this is your best bet.


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Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 12:21 AM - Response #3

I would like to see a field for middle name also. We have several members who actually go by their middle name, but like to have their first name recognized, too. Also, some classes have more than one person with the same name who are only distinguished by a different middle name and/or initial. This should be a top priority because it seems like a big oversight to me. Thanks -- Carl

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Sunday, January 6, 2019 at 11:08 AM - Response #4

I agree that this field is essential. A successful reunion or web site starts with finding and remaining in contact with classmates.
In past years people were forced in school to go under their middle name as there was already a person in the class by the same name. Eg if there was already a Mary Smith in the class, the teachers forced one of the persons to go by their middle name. Eg Jane Smith Another example is where the classmate was named after say their mother Mary so to avoid confusion the child went by their middle name Jane. Later in life this poses a problem on passports, visa cards, voters lists etc so the person is now going by their actual first name Mary

Provide fields for recording full legal names e.g. Mary Jane Smith helps when searching for people Eg in obits, others lists, news papers, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.

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Sunday, January 6, 2019 at 11:58 AM - Response #5

Where this was the case in our class site, we simply added the name they went by at the time in quotes. For example Mary Jane Smith would be listed with a first name of Mary "Jane" and a maiden name of Smith. Same thing for those who went by a nickname back then.

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Sunday, January 6, 2019 at 6:01 PM - Response #6

I think adding in an additional field for the middle name or initial is unnecessary.

Right now, for the few instances where you have duplicate first and last names, you can add an initial, middle name, or nickname in the First Name field. Example:

First Name: Jane A.
Last/Maiden Name: Rogers
Married Last Name: Jones

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Edited 01/07/19 1:56 AM
Friday, February 19, 2021 at 3:44 PM - Response #7

I'm on the side of those who recommend adding a field for middle name.

I guess I can handle it by letting people know the suggestion above, but it seems kludgy.

Our example is someone known as Rob in College. When I uploaded the class list, I made his first name Robert. He registered and changed it to his actual first name, John. He does still go by "J. Robert" and while his last name is unique in the class, if it confused me for a bit, I do expect it will confuse other people.

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Thursday, September 28, 2023 at 6:42 PM - Response #8

This topic began on 01/14/11 10:45 PM. I've been a database developer for 40+ years and built databases for companies everyone knows. I would never create a contact table without separate fields for first, middle, and last names (and sometimes prefix and suffix for Mr., Ms., Jr., and Sr.). Adding a single field to an existing table of fields is trivial. Adding a new middle name field and a $middle_name$ variable allows us to create emails using salutations like "Dear $first_name$ $middle_name$. $last_name$". But if I enter "Ed S." in the first name field, for example, I have no way to send an email that starts as "Hi Ed!" because there is no way to strip out the " S." from the first name. Also, if we have a John A. Smith and a John B. Smith in the classmates list, and we do NOT put in a middle initial, then if we export the data to a file, we have no way to know which person goes with which email or physical address. What is even worse would be if one of the two people with the same name becomes deceased. Without a middle initial to differentiate them, someone could assume the wrong person died. I really hope the Class Creator powers that be will finally add a middle name field. There really is no good reason not to have this field. Thanks for creating an otherwise great website.

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Saturday, September 30, 2023 at 12:09 AM - Response #9

I just saw this topic and as an original beta tester from back in 2008, I have continually asked for this update to be made.

You will find many other threads discussing this topic. The standard reply from CC is always, "we will have to put it on our long list for later".

As Scott Mastenbrook said above in Response #2, back in 2011, it will have to go to our, "future development ideas list, way behind other big improvements we are working on."

It has been 15 years since I first suggested this, and have kept commenting on it over the years along with Mary Gill Smith who worked with me. We got frustrated and gave up! It's just not important enough to CC and they don't seem to think it is worth the effort even though there have been many requests over the years.

Other database programs and membership programs utilize a middle name/initial field and "known as" or nickname field all the time. It is standard practice and makes so much sense just as Ed Einhorn suggests in Response #8 above.

I finally just sent out an email to our list telling everyone that they could go in and update their own name fields and add a nickname or use just a first name if they'd like to make the change. I also modified our Welcome Email that everyone gets after they are approved to join. It states the same thing. LOTS of alumni make the change by removing an initial or removing a first name because they go by their middle name or vice versa.

We can't really use the CC website as a mailing database because of so many inconsistencies and issues with it not really being a good database to use for postal mailings. It is not reliable enough and doesn't have features that most other membership databases use. There are many other great features but this specific area for names is not one of them.

Come on CC... just add the extra fields... they are LONG overdue.

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Saturday, September 30, 2023 at 1:44 PM - Response #10

Hi Bruce. Thanks for replying.

As a newbie to CC, I was wondering if anyone who works for CC actually monitors these boards. You might not work for CC, but you took the time to reply and I really appreciate that.

One of the most important things you said was, "We can't really use the CC website as a mailing database because of so many inconsistencies and issues with it not really being a good database to use for postal mailings." CC markets their product as allowing mass mailings, and I suppose that can be done (I haven't tried yet), but the issues make CC less than ideal.

Having thought about your comments, I'm thinking about putting the middle initial into the first name field (which I hate to do) and when I need to do a mailing, use the Download Class List (under Manage Classmates) to create a file that I can then upload into a REAL mass mailing program. If I download into Excel format, I can easily use some Excel functionality to separate the first name and middle initial into their own cells.

What do you think? Do you do anything like this for your mass mailings?

Thanks,
Ed

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Sunday, October 1, 2023 at 2:39 AM - Response #11

Hi Ed,

We are not really comparing apples to apples since you are a one-class website and we are an alumni association with classes listed from 1907 to the current year graduates.

We do two mailings a year in the fall and then in the spring. Tiger Tales Magazine goes out to about 1300-1500 alumni who are paid annual members. It is about a 100-page magazine. In the spring we mail out the Tiger News bulletin to every alumni we have valid mailing addresses for. That is usually about 10,000 or so as I recall.

Alumni who join the website don't really always keep their addresses up to date so we have an Excel master database that we mail from and it is what we send to a mailing processor who does the actual mailings for us. We get returned mail and bad address info from the postal service and update the database. We don't update the website... we leave that up to the alumni to do themselves. When they do we get the website admin notifications and then we use that to update the master database.

It would be ideal to have a program written to update the master from the ClassCreator website but nobody has come up with the time and effort to do that. We have a lot of records (22,929) of which 5847 have joined the website. We still mail out the Tiger News to all of the good addresses that have been validated by the Postal Service.

FOR YOUR CLASS: I think that you should be able to easily keep up on the addresses you have within the CC website and you can easily download the addresses to mail to. I've done it in the past with my Class of 1972 website and my wife's Class of 1969 website for mailings. It's just not logistically that easy with a large database for an entire school with many decades of students like ours.

The problem I have always had with CC is the fact that we really can not personalize emails that go out. The way I got around personalizing emails for a class website was by going through each classmate's profile and updating the name field to that person's used/familiar/ or nickname. I know most of the 350+ or so of them. Then when an email went out it wasn't going out to Charles Allen Daniels, it was going out to Chuck Daniels and the salutation was, "Hi Chuck".

When you initially set up profiles you have to use full legal names so that classmates will find themselves on Internet searches and also so you can differentiate those who have similar names. (John B. Smith vs. John Allen Smith). I suggest that in your Welcome Email that goes out automatically, you add something that tells them they can update their first name field to a first name, or name they go by (I go by my middle name) or a nickname. Let them do the work. You can also send an after-the-fact email out if you want for all those who have already joined.

Once they have joined your website, as long as you keep a master spreadsheet (download the database-easy to do) prior to any changes they might make or alterations you make to change to a nickname, there shouldn't be any problem allowing name changes with the way the system is now.

Ideally, maybe in the next decade, CC will add additional fields for a prefix, middle initial, and nickname after they get all their big and important features added, LOL. Hope springs eternal!

Does CC have someone who monitors these threads? Well, yes they seem to, but it is not the same as in the first several years when they were creating this program and they were more interested in feedback back then.

I am not sure how many CC have on staff and what the future of ClassCreator is. They have never seemed to be too open about what goes on in the background of CC. They are not really an open book and don't let anyone know what they are working on. I couldn't tell you anything about their staff, what the future holds, what direction they plan to go in, or anything about possible future features or if they are just done with improvements. I get the feeling it is just in maintenance mode at this point.

I have had good interactions with Jessica who has been very helpful over the years. So, kudos to Jessica.

I continue to use the program since I am the main administrator for the website but I don't worry anymore about what improvements can or should be made. It's taken too long and too much effort to try to get improvements and features.

Ed, sorry for the long reply. I hope some of what I said helps.

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Sunday, October 1, 2023 at 1:18 PM - Response #12

Hi Bruce,

First of all, you definitely don't need to apologize "for the long reply." If you are willing to spend the time to write everything you wrote to me, I am 100% going to give you the respect you deserve and read every single word. In fact, I've read your post twice already.

I agree about Jessica. When I send her questions or issues through Contact Us, she usually answers very fast. I had an issue on Friday where the DELETE link to delete profiles wasn't working. I had 12 profiles to delete that were duplicates. I put "ZZZZZ" in front of the last name to sort them together at the bottom of the class list, and to make obvious which 12 profiles needed to be deleted. Within about 2 hours she replied that she "reset some things" and deleted the profiles for me. Last night I was able to delete some others on my own, so I agree with you that kudos go to Jessica.

I did not realize you were the admin for 22,000+ records. My one class has about 360+. Huge difference. I spent over 12 hours Saturday just saving individual yearbook pictures from scans my classmate did from our yearbook pages (6 pictures per page x 59 pages) and then uploading them, one-by-one, to each profile. I couldn't imagine doing that for 22,000 pictures. But, showing the classmate list with pictures looks pretty impressive.

Thanks again for answering and being so helpful. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

Ed

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