Friday, February 19, 2010

The Compleat Genealogy Database: Compleat Names

Judy Rosella Edwards' last article on names emphasized the importance of documenting where and how name information was obtained, indicating most genealogy software databases have a place for recording this documentation. In this week's article, "The Compleat Genealogy Database: Compleat Names," the author suggests notating all names by which a person may have been known, including nicknames, aliases, and other names. The article points out the accuracy of a person's birth name is key and suggests avoiding the tendency to assign a spouse's surname when the person's birth name is unknown, which can be highly misleading to others. It stands to reason any extra information that can be provided can help to distinguish one person from another, even within families.

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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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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Will the Real Mr. Snider Please Stand Up:
Finding Your Ancestor's Misspelled Name

The misspelling and misinterpretation of surnames is a classic problem for genealogists, one that never ceases. No matter how seasoned the researcher, surnames continue to challenge. In her article, "Will the Real Mr. Snider Please Stand Up: Finding Your Ancestor's Misspelled Name," Gena Philibert-Ortega continues her discussion of the surname challenge, suggesting ways to circumvent an all too common problem.

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

While surname searches are important to genealogy, they are not the sole solution. In her article, "Getting Past Your Ancestor's Surname: The Need for a Comprehensive Research Plan," Gena Philibert-Ortega suggests a research strategy and offers multiple sources for moving beyond the surname. In may be that the one source you need is not indexed by surname, but by some other organizational category. As noted in the article, a well thought out plan will help a good researcher cover all the bases.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Partnership focuses on history of family names

According to a recent article in TechRockies, ", BookSurge Partner On Family History Books, " BookSurge, the on-demand publishing arm of online retailer, reports that it has collaborated to produce a series of family history books. BookSurge said the series, called "Our Name in History," comprises more than a quarter of a million volumes and will be sold on The series details the most common 279,000 surnames in the United States and is based on historical records dating from the 1600s. To research the books, studied more than 5 billion names from U.S. Census data, as well as immigration, birth, marriage, death, military and other historical records, BookSurge noted.

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