Officially, Just What is DISAMBIGUATION?


My answer: Disambiguation (for genealogical application)

During my journey to correct the mass-proliferated errors of the mis-merged individuals, couples, and sets of children within our family tree, I kept coming across this term in Wikipedia, and though I believe I’d heard it in normal speech as well, it seemed quite a clever term. I adopted it, because it worked well with the concept of separating two individuals known by the same name, who did not exist as one entity but as an amalgamation of the two, which, therefore needed separation, clarification, & documentation.

This fictional character problem of the non-existent yet notorious ancestor, had grown to such mythical proportions—it was so enormous, so wide-spread, so convoluted, and such a genealogical brick wall—its solution needed a term not often used, but something with which researchers might have glancing familiarity, something equally attention-getting & memorable, SO I embraced, adopted & assimilated it for that purpose.

Not exactly “co-opting” the term “disambiguation” but, instead, honoring & saluting it, yet some meaning from “co-opt” has relevance to my intended usage: (paraphrased)
* to [utilize] something for your [appointed] purpose
* to cause … something … to become part of your movement
* [by] absorbing, assimilating, appropriating

In this sense, correction of erroneous data (inadvertent mis-identification & mis-representation of ancestral identity) is so crucial/essential/mandatory, it must become a “movement” in order to preserve truth & accuracy for future generations.

Here is 2016 data on the original use of the term “Disambiguation”:

YourDictionary: Disambiguation

The definition of a disambiguation is a removal of uncertainty or confusion.

An example of disambiguation is when a study explains the discrepancy between two different scientific studies that point to different results that create uncertainty.
FYI SOURCE CITATION: YourDictionary definition and usage example. Copyright © 2016 by LoveToKnow Corp.

Wikipedia: Disambiguation

Disambiguation in Wikipedia is the process of resolving the conflicts that arise when a potential article title is ambiguous, most often because it refers to more than one subject covered by Wikipedia, either as the main topic of an article, or a subtopic covered by an article in addition to the article’s main subject. For example, the word “Mercury” can refer to a chemical element, a planet, a Roman god, and many other things.

There are three important aspects to disambiguation:

Naming articles in such a way that each has a unique title. For example, three of the articles dealing with topics ordinarily called “Mercury” are titled Mercury (element), Mercury (planet) and Mercury (mythology).
Making the links for ambiguous terms point to the correct article title. For example, an editor of an astronomy article may have created a link to Mercury, and this should be corrected to point to Mercury (planet).
Ensuring that a reader who searches for a topic using a particular term can get to the information on that topic quickly and easily, whichever of the possible topics it might be. For example, the page Mercury is a disambiguation page—a non-article page which lists the various meanings of “Mercury” and links to the articles which cover them. (As discussed below, however, ambiguous terms do not always require a disambiguation page.)

So, back to my commentary again:
This wikipedia page for Disambiguation has been updated many times, 2002-2016, but, today in preparing this article, for the first time, I looked back at the wikipedia Disambiguation page’s history, and found there’s a significant irony in it’s creation on 2 Feb 2002, in the writer’s statement “This list was started to find a home for some of the Orphans.” Not sure exactly what he referred to, but the contributing editor Chuck Smith exulted “(deorphanized 5 articles! yay).” That warms my heart, because, we as genealogists have a mission to connect our “orphaned” ancestors with their true parents, preserving their true identities. In this sense, disambiguation was the best Providentially-inspired term that could be utilized for what we are seeking to accomplish in clearing the muddied waters of our true ancestry. So, my gratitude to wikipedia for it’s terminology, wherever it came from. For, although, the official definition is different than how I am using it for genealogical purposes, it really does fit in my goal to “remove uncertainty or confusion” about specific mis-merged ancestors.

I hope to help tear down our genealogical brick walls. I recommend the internet tutorials by Crista Cowan, the “Barefoot Genealogist” viewable at > follow us on YouTube > playlists > Desktop Education or Genealogical Proof Standard. She has over 300 videos with training sessions averaging 25-30 minutes. She is animated, articulate, a pleasure to listen to while watching her essential PowerPoints. It will train you to be an informed direct-entry genealogist! Here’s my first recommendations, to whet your appetite & get you started:

“Genealogy: Part History, Part Mystery”

“Five Reasons You Are Not Finding your Ancestor”

“Common Mistakes in Genealogy”

“Common Mistakes in Genealogy (Part 2)”

“Genealogy Brainstorming: I’m Stuck. Now What?”

For more recommended tutorials, see the next blog: “How To: Utilize the Skills of a Seasoned Genealogist to ASCERTAIN YOUR TRUE AUTHENTIC ANCESTRY rather than a mythical unproven fairytale legend (truth vs. error/fake/fraud)!”

Blessings in your research, and in joining this “movement” to correct the inadvertantly-created brick-wall errors in our family trees!!! We can do so, by diligently, conscientiously, documenting our searches & findings, writing succinct analyses, then sharing them online.

Rose Herndon Bonnell

By researcher, Rose H. Bonnell, 15 July 2016
Citation: This blog post is the Intellectual Property of Rose Herndon Bonnell, you may use it with my permission when properly cited.


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