The “last names” Nmi, Nmn, Lnu

Some genealogists when they have an unknown name want to put something in that blank. That’s why in some databases you will see things such as:

  • Nmi–No Middle Initial
  • Nmn–No Middle Name
  • Lnu–Last Name Unknown
  • Unk–Unknown
  • Blank–Blank [be careful as Blank can be an actual surname]

My personal preference is to not use such terms. If you feel the need to put something in the spot, use actual blanks or dashes.



10 thoughts on “The “last names” Nmi, Nmn, Lnu

  1. H R Worthington

    I use 5 Underscores for both Given and/or Surname.

    Folks like to “fill in the blanks” if they read something like that, its a great reminder for me that I am missing something AND it does NOT mess up how I search.


  2. E A

    I use “MaleName” and “FemaleName” as first names for unknowns , and for a wife whose name is unknown, I use the format FirstNameMarriedSurname MaidenN. Of course, sometimes the MaidenN bit turns out to be the surname of a previous husband, just to add confusion!

    1. michaeljohnneill Post author

      My personal suggestion would be to use nothing or to use blanks. Any characters just has the chance to confuse people.

  3. Polly Blank

    Can’t help but reply. My last name is Blank and it was difficult to find info when I first started searching in the 1990s. As I remember there weren’t as many actual records online but lots of forum type boards. A lot of people used “help me fill in the blank” or I’ve hit a “blank” wall.

    I have to add that I found some Blanks buried in a churchyard in PA and wrote to the church. They weren’t my family but the lady asked if she could give my address to another Blank descendent. I told her sure. This was really a Random Act of Kindness as she lived in the Eastern US and had researched and documented our Blank/Blanck family from Europe to Eastern PA. She very graciously shared that part of the family tree while I updated her on the Blanks who rode the wagon train “out west”.

  4. Brenda Gamboa

    I have read on an ancestry hint page not to add Unknown, ULN, etc. as well as ” “, ( ), even a period after a middle initial, any symbols, etc. for names. Otherwise the browsers want to search for that information. It is hard to just put Mary Elizabeth Lizzie instead of Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” (Lizzie), etc. but it is less information for the data bases to have to search. I also read to use the maiden name if available, but not the married name if the maiden name is not available. To each his own of course, but less might be better. I go back to my trees all the time to try to connect women to their maiden names, through marriage records that were not there earlier. I have had some success! Good Luck everyone!

    1. Dori May

      Thanks! I’ve been putting nicknames in quotes for my information purposes but I will correct all those to facilitate searching!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.