# Show only surnames in citations with biblatex

I'm working on a thesis and decided to use biblatex for citation and reference. I use Jabref to organize the .bib file and implemented it into my document in the following way:

\usepackage[backend=biber,
style=authoryear,
citestyle=authoryear]{biblatex}


The problem is now that I want the citations only to show the author's last names, which doesn't always work. Examples:

 author    = {Johnson, Jesse C. and Souva, Mark and Smith, Dale L.}


is shown as

J. C. Johnson, Souva, and Smith (2013)

in the document and

 author    = {Linzer, Drew A. and Staton, Jeffrey K.}


as

Linzer and J. K. Staton (2015).

Where does this inconsistency come from and how do I avoid that? Most citations are correct (in the sense that first names are ignored).

Please have in mind that I'm not a programmer but just an ordinary user.

• biblatex will add initials to disambiguate between two authors with the same family name but different given names. If you cite J. C. Johnson and A. B. Johnson, biblatex adds the initials to make sure that your readers know that the two Johnsons are different. See tex.stackexchange.com/q/134535/35864 – moewe Jun 11 '19 at 17:42
• Note that style=authoryear, citestyle=authoryear, is equivalent to the shorter style=authoryear, – moewe Jun 11 '19 at 17:43
• Does uniquename do what you want? If so, a short heads-up would be appreciated; if not, you may want to edit your question with more details and explain how uniquename does not work for you. – moewe Jun 13 '19 at 6:10

Wellcome to TeX.SE! Because you gave no minimal working example with bibliography (MWEB) -- please add an MWE or MWEB in your next question, it helps us to help you! -- I have to guess a little bit.

Please see the following mwe (I added an fictional bib file with package filecontents only to get an compiling mwe, you use your own bib file):

\RequirePackage{filecontents}
\begin{filecontents*}{\jobname.bib}
@book{Johnson,
author    = {Johnson, Jesse C. and Souva, Mark and Smith, Dale L.},
Publisher = {Pearson},
Title     = {Physics for Scientists \& Engineers},
Year      = {2014},
Date-Modified = {2015-10-05 12:23:50 +0000},
}
@book{JohnsonE,
author    = {Johnson, David C. and Einstein, Albert},
Publisher = {Pearson},
Title     = {Physics for Scientists \& Engineers},
Year      = {2014},
Date-Modified = {2015-10-05 12:23:50 +0000},
}
@article{Linzer,
author    = {Linzer, Drew A. and Staton, Jeffrey K.},
Title     = {Physics for Scientists \& Engineers},
Year      = {2014},
}
\end{filecontents*}

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage[%
backend=biber,
style=authoryear,
]{biblatex}

\begin{document}

Some \cite{Johnson},
%\cite{JohnsonE} % <========================================= uncomment!
and \cite{Linzer}.

%\nocite{*}
\printbibliography

\end{document}


and its result:

%\cite{JohnsonE} % <========================================= uncomment!


to

\cite{JohnsonE} % <========================================= uncomment!


and compile again three times. Now the result is:

As you can see, now there are two bib entries with the familyname Johnson, but different firstnames. That is the reason why biber adds the initials of the firstnames to create different author names in the bibliography to give you entries you can sure identify ...

As @AlanMunn mentioned in his comment: It's important to note here that biblatex can't distinguish between authors who are in fact the same author if their names in the relevant .bib items are different. So e.g. if you have Johnson, David C. in one and Johnson, David in another they will still get initials. Also that you can turn off this behaviour by using the uniquename option with one of its various values ...

• It's important to note here that biblatex can't distinguish between authors who are in fact the same author if their names in the relevant .bib items are different. So e.g. if you have Johnson, David C. in one and Johnson, David in another they will still get initials. Also that you can turn off this behaviour by using the uniquename option with one of its various values. To turn it off completely use uniquename=false (which seems to be what the OP wants). – Alan Munn Jun 11 '19 at 18:33