When I first started reading U.S. censuses and other vital records, I couldn’t believe some of the names the parents had called their children! Then, as time passed, these “strange” names became more and more familiar, even comforting. I mean, what’s not to love being named after a famous general or president or even your favorite adjective? [Yet, I still cannot help feel a bit sorry for my distant aunt named “Instant Lay”!]
What is an even greater shock to a genealogist just starting out, however, is that the names and nicknames one finds on the vital records, like the censuses, for example, change over time.
For years, I firmly believed a particular family had two girls, one named “Florence,” and one named “Flossie.” Then, one day, I realized Flossie was just a nickname for Florence!
Had I a list of old-fashioned nicknames, I would have saved hours of confusion and dead ends in my research.
Also, had I realized that just because on the 1900 US census a family listed their daughter as “Hattie” doesn’t mean another daughter was born by the 1910 census now called “Hannah.” Most likely, these two daughters were one and the same.
I wish I had learned it earlier, but having an old-fashioned nickname web site to refer to is yet another invaluable genealogical tool for one’s research. I still refer to this web site, and I’m sure I will continue to do so throughout my career.
-Jen (My nickname. Seriously.)
|Frances||Fan, Fanny, Fran (ie), France, Frankie, Franz, Sis
– (m) Francis
|Francis||Frank – (f) Frances|
|Frederick||Derick, Fred, Fredric, Freddie, Frish, Fritz
– (f)Frederica, Rick
|Frederica||– (m) Frederick|
|Gabriel||Gabe, Gabby – (f) Garbrielle|
|Gabrielle||Ella, Gabbie – (m) Gabriel|
|George||Jorge – (f) Georgiana|
|Georgia||Georgiana – (m)George|
|Gerald||Jerry – (f) Geraldine, (m) Gerry|
|Geraldine||Dina, Gerri(e), Jerry, Deannie
– (m) Gerald
|Gertrude||Gatty, Gertie, Trudy|
|Gilbert||Bert, Bertie, Gib, Gil, Wilber|
|Hannah||Anna, Hattie,Nan, Nanny, Susannah|
|Harriet||Hatty(ie) – (m) Harry|
|Henrietta||Etta, Hank, Hetty, Nettie, Retta
– (m) Henry
|Henry||Hal, Hank, Harry, Hen, Hence|
|Hester||Esther Hessy, Hetty|
|Hezekiah||Hez, Ki, Ky|
|Honora||Honey, Nora, Norah, Norry|