Friday, January 22, 2010

Patronymics and Other Naming Patterns

It's always good to be reminded of the naming conventions practiced in various countries. For beginning  researchers, the information may be all new, and for experienced researchers, there might be something yet to learn. In her article, "Patronymics and Other Naming Patterns," Melissa Slate points out certain conventions and practices that might be new to some. For example, the simple addition of "s" or "es" to indicate the "son of." So rather than the son of Peter being given the surname Peterson or Petersen, as is familiar, the surname might be Peters, instead. So if you've ever wondered how the name Williams or Davis came about, this might be a clue. Naming patterns and practices, the consistencies and inconsistencies, are at once complex, challenging (to say the least), and fascinating. For even more perspective, you may wish to review some the archive links included in this week's newsletter. Other articles on the subject can be found by doing a keyword search at the top left of this page.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What is a dit name and why is it important to Family History?

Naming conventions are a fascinating study, and knowing more about a culture's naming conventions can contribute to family history. In her article, "What Is a Dit Name and Why Is It Important to Family History," AnnMarie Gilon-Dodson explains the French custom of distinguishing individuals one from another through the use of "dit" names, "the custom of attaching an additional surname to the original family name," separated by "dit," as in "Giles Michel dit Tailon." As the article shows, the practice of dit names can end up, from one generation to the next, creating what might appear to be surname contradictions. An awareness of the practice and how it works, can help researchers better interpret documents and understand contradictions.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

New insights for researching women's maiden names

In searching for female ancestors, the challenge is not only in determining a woman's maiden name, but also how the maiden name may have been used after marriage. A recent article in the Terre Haute Tribune Star, "Genealogy: To help your research, here are 10 things you may not know about women’s maiden names," provides some good information on how maiden names have been used in various countries and cultures. For example, it may help you to know that Quaker women often used their maiden name as a middle name after marriage or that in Europe, German and Polish Catholic women’s deaths were recorded using only their maiden names, not their married names. These and other very useful insights are presented in the article.

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