My Preferred Coloring Sheets

Right now, adult coloring is all of the rave.  Though I am intrigued by the coloring sheets and books that are flooding the market, I prefer sheets that are a bit older.

I’m in the middle of “processing” some recently printed documents related to the Swinger Family Line I’m tracing.  For some reason, this line has caught my eye and attention and is demanding my time so how am I to go against it.

So instead of working on my mother’s maternal line for the Genealogy Do-Over, I’m doing a new line and am trying to apply some of the strategies to this line as I go.

What does any of this have to do with coloring? Well, when I print off records like the Census, Obituaries, Tax Form, or even Georgia Convict records (I have a few of them too), I like to highlight (color) the section of the document that is relevant to the family line.  I use the tried and true yellow highlighter, preferably a Sharpie that doesn’t smear the ink.  I like the wide highlighters for the larger sections and the smaller highlighters for the smaller one.

So all that to say, color on and highlight the areas of those documents to make the information pop on the page!!

Happy Researching!

Resource: New Georgia Encyclopedia

NGEHi all. I’ve come across several resources recently that I want to make you aware of including the New Georgia Encyclopedia (NGE).

According to its about page, the NGE recently underwent a redesign and as a user who used it prior to the new look, I’m looking forward to exploring it.  Originally launched in 2004, the NGE now offers more than 2,000 articles and 6,000 images on Georgia History and Culture.

So why showcase it as a resource?  Well, if you’re researching Georgia, its another resource to check for information about the places where your Georgia ancestors may have lived, worked, and/or traveled.

Also, check out the Georgia Web Resources tab near the top.  It includes an interesting list of links of resources, some of which you may know and others that may be new to you like they are to me.  Definitely going back to check those out.

Need a quick refresher on your Georgia state stats?  Check out the Quick Facts tab that includes demographic information about our illustrious state as well as the state symbols, including the bird, flower, and song. Check out the picture of Ray Charles, ya’ll!!

The Topics area contains subject area links and of course, I choose History and Archaeology.  From there, a menu opens with various time periods in history.  Whatever time in Georgia history you’re interested in, there’s an entry in NGE.

Interested in an overview of Slavery in Antebellum Georgia?  There’s an article on that.  Want to learn more about Slave Women?  There’s an article on that.  Interested in learing about Black Leaders in the Civil Rights Movement?  There’s a Special Collection on that.  So as you can see, there’s much to see on NGE.

Need more convincing, well here’s a short case study.  In working on a friend’s genealogy, I checked the information about the county where many of her ancestors are from.  In reviewing the article, many of the locations that have shown up in the records for her ancestors were mentioned as were a few of the large landowners who also share the same surname.  Could they possible be the former slaveowner?  I’m not sure but I’m definitely going to add a copy of the article to her family’s research materials.  Who knows, the NGE may have helped me to identify the last slaveowner for once portion of her family tree.

So add NGE as another stone to turn in the search of your Georgia ancestors.

 

Happy Hunting!!!

Discovering Your Enslaved Ancestors – Some Links

The topic of discussion for the Wesley Chapel Genealogy Group’s May meeting is Finding the Slaveowner. In preparation of the meeting, I conducted a Google search using the terms “Slave Research” and came across several resources that looked promising.

However, after closer review, I found the Quick Guide to African American Records on the FamilySearch Wiki to be one that answered the question I’ve had for a very long time. Most resources jump from freedom to slavery but in my experience, the resources I consulted have not provided detailed suggestions on how to go about finding the owner of enslaved ancestors. The Quick Guide to African American Records entry in the Family Search Wiki does just that. It not only gives suggested steps, it also provides a list of resources to consult. Additionally, it includes a link to the online version of the Family History Library Bibliography of African American Sources. The Family History Library in Salt Lake, Utah is the largest genealogical repository in the world. That being the case, I’m sure that a bibliography of sources available in their collection as of 1994 related to African Americans is definitely something to look at.

And it was. The online version is about 422 pages and though I’ve only glanced at it, I’m definitely going to check out their listings for the states I’m researching. You should do so too.

**Side Note — If you find a title that you would like to look at, use worldcat.org to find the nearest repository that has a copy of the book. If there isn’t a library/archives nearby, search your local library’s, state archives, etc. catalog to double check because there are a number of research repositories who do not include their catalogs in worldcat.org. If the book really isn’t there, check with your local library to inquiry about getting the book through InterLibrary Loan. **

Now, jumping back on topic!!

As I continued preparing for the night’s discussion, in addition to the links below, I pulled out several genealogy books related to African American research to see what information they contained about the topic. I mentioned several of them in my previous post – Researching Slave Ancestry. Here are a few more.

African American SourcebookThe African American Genealogical Sourcebook by Paula Byers may be located in the Reference section of your local library. Contained within it is a great deal of information related to researching African American ancestors. Specifically on the topic of enslaved ancestors, this book has several sections that discusses researching them, including “Sources of Slaves” (pg. 5 – 6) which mentioned the percentages of the enslaved population that hailed from various locations on the African Continent. Additional topics such as “Slave Naming Practices” and an extensive section about Slave Oral History written by none other than Tony Burroughs. Also, included in the discussions of Census Records (pg. 19) and Court Records (pg. 25), are tips and suggestions about how to go about using those record types for researching enslaved people.

Finding A PlaceAnother book I totally slept on (and am not afraid to admit it) is Finding A Place Called Home: A Guide to African-American Genealogy and Historical Identity by Dee Parmer Woodtor. This book offers several chapters about research slave ancestors including ones entitled “A Long Way to Freedom: The Genealogy of Your Slave Ancestor” (Chap. 9) and “The Last Slave and The Last Slave Owner” (Chap. 10). Said to the bible of African American genealogy, if you have not taken a look at this book, make sure to do so by either visiting your local library or purchasing a copy of the book for your personal library.

I think is more than enough to help get you started on your search for your possibly enslaved ancestors or maybe some tips to help you make that connection. Below as promised are a few more links. I hope this blog has been helpful. Happy Hunting!!

**10 Great Databases for Slavery Research
http://genealogy.about.com/od/african_american/tp/10-databases-for-slave-genealogy.htm?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=shareurlbuttons

**Researching Slave Ancestry (Blog post)
https://gagenealogy.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/researching-slave-ancestry/

**RootsWeb’s Guide to Tracing Family Trees (Ethnic Groups)
http://rwguide.rootsweb.ancestry.com/lesson25.htm

**How Do I Trace My Slave Ancestors?
http://www.myslaveancestors.com/index.htm
(Site promotes professional genealogists services but the information provided can be useful)

**Lost Slave Ancestors Found
http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2013/11/tracing_black_last_names_advice_for_finding_slave_roots.1.html

**African American Family Research on Ancestry.com (2013)
http://c.mfcreative.com/offer/aa/2013/aa_guide.pdf

**How To: Finding Slave Recordshttp://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/ghl/resources/genealogy/slaverecords.html

**Slave Records Bibliography
http://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/ghl/resources/genealogy/slaverecordsbib.html

**Research Slavery (Ancestry.com Wiki)
http://www.ancestry.com/wiki/index.php?title=Researching_Slavery

**African American Records (Interactive page – Ancestry.com)
http://www.ancestry.com/africanamerican

Couldn’t talk about Slave Research without mentioning Slave Narratives.

**Voices from the Days of Slavery: Stories, Songs and Memories
http://www.loc.gov/podcasts/slavenarratives/

**Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 – 1938
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/snhtml/

** North American Slave Narratives
http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/texts.html

Freedmen’s Bureau Records

The Freedmen’s Bureau records are getting much attention today with partnerships forming to digitize and make the records available online. Also, others are working to create sites dedicated to mapping the offices of Bureau so people can see if there was an office near the home of their ancestors.

 

*~*~*~*~*Digital Collections and Transcriptions*~*~*~*~*

Familysearch.org is involved and some records have been digitized and are available on their site.  All of the collections may not be searchable (yet) but you can browse the images.

Here are the steps to get to the Freedmen Records on familysearch.org.

1. Goto familysearch.org

2. Click Search.

3. Under the blue search box, click Browse All Published Collections.

4.  In the Filter box, type in Freedmen to see a list of the collections.

At the posting of this blog post, there were 13 collections, including records from North and South Carolina, Virginia, Mississippi, Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, DC, Maryland, Delaware, and Texas.

There are other sites such as the Freedmen’s Bureau Website have transcriptions of some documents from this record set.

 

*~*~*~*~*Mapping the Freedmen’s Bureau*~*~*~*~*

If you want to see if there was an Freedmen’s Bureau office near the place where your ancestors lived, there are a few resources in development to help you with that. One website will launch later this year but here’s one that’s available now – https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=110416325353435229667.00045740b293fb14f6f59&dg=feature

 

*~*~*~*~*Other resources are listed below*~*~*~*~*

Ancestry.com – U.S., Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878
http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1105

Family Search Wiki – African American Freedmen’s Bureau Records – https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/African_American_Freedmen%27s_Bureau_Records

Freedmen’s Bank Records – HeritageQuest (through GALILEO)
**You will need a library card with a Georgia Public Library to access it.

The Freedmen’s Bureau Records – Research Your Southern Ancestors (Article)
http://www.archives.com/experts/richard-l-diane/the-freemens-bureau-records.html
**Contains information about the Freedmen’s Bureau.

The Freedmen’s Bureau Website http://freedmensbureau.com/

Index to Mississippi Freedmen’s Bureau Records (Mississippi Archives) http://opac2.mdah.state.ms.us/freedmanblurb.php

Freedmens Bureau brochure-thumbnail

National Archives Freedmen’s Bureau Websitehttp://www.archives.gov/research/african-americans/freedmens-bureau/
Site includes a link to the pdf version of a brouchure about the collection.

 

 

Hope this helps with your research efforts.  Happy hunting!!!

GGSQ Question Series

Previously, I posted a blog about the Georgia Genealogical Society and highlighted a few of the perks of membership.

One of those perks, the Georgia Genealogical Society Quarterly (GGSQ), is a publication with articles on various topics of Georgia history, tips on tracing your genealogy in Georgia, county and local history resources, as well as articles on genealogy technology and scannings of genealogical serials available at the Georgia Archives.

One of my favorite features of the publication is the Questions and Answers section. The questions are submitted by readers and are answered by longtime historian, researcher, and professor, Robert S. Davis, Jr. To learn more about Prof. Davis, click here.

Since I enjoy them so much, I thought I would share some of the questions that I thought were interesting.  I plan to highlight the questions only of as many issues of the quarterly as I can in the hopes that you will be encouraged to seek out the issues to see the answers.  Hope you find them as interesting as I did. To see them all, you can click on the GGSQ Questions Category to pull them up or scroll through the blog posts.

Happy Hunting!

Researching Slave Ancestry

For many African Americans, the brick wall beyond 1870 can be one that is insurmountable.  Once you reach and find your people on the 1870 census, the next step for those who may have enslaved ancestors is to try to connect their ancestors to a possible owner and then by researching the owner’s family, you will inadvertently learn more about your ancestor’s life and their life experiences.

Personally, I’ve hit that wall on several lines and have attempted with limited success, been about to learn more about my ancestors prior to 1870.  This lack of success has lead to me seek out resources that speak specifically to the problems facing researching interested in tracing African American lineage before 1870.   So far I’ve encountered 2 books that speak specifically to this topic that I would like to share.  I have not read the books cover to cover (yet) but I am currently reading Slave Genealogy. I hope these resources will help you if you are tackling tracking enslaved African American ancestors. Happy hunting!

The links for the books will link you to the books’ WorldCat.org record.

Slave Genealogy

Slave Genealogy: A Research Guide with Case Studies by David H. Streets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slave Ancestral

 

Slave Ancestral Research: It’s Something Else by Mary L. Jackson Fears

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional Resources

Slave Importation Affidavit Registers

Slave Importation Affidavit Registers for Nine Georgia Counties, 1818 – 1847 by Dawn Watson

If you have or are researching African American ancestors in Camden County, Columbia County, Elbert County, Franklin County, Jackson County, Jasper County, Morgan County, Pulaski County, and Wilkes County, you may want to take a look at this book.  It includes transcriptions of the Slave Importation Registers in the above mentioned counties.  There are also two indexes included in the book.

 

The Way It Was in the South

 

 

 

The Way It Was in the South:  The Black Experience in Georgia
by Donald L. Grant

 

 

Bad Boys and Girls of Genealogy

Recently, I went “shopping” in the genealogy section of the Decatur Library and came across the book, Finding you Famous {& Infamous} Ancestors by Rhonda R. McClure.  Being that to my knowledge I’m not related to any celebrities, the part that caused me to pick up the book was the mention of the Infamous.

When I began my journey to find information about my ancestors, the thought of them being trouble makers or bad boys (or girls) who may have had run ins with the law never crossed my mind.  Now after a few years, I’ve discovered some very interesting tidbits of information about my family that I’m not going to share here but I found that information using a database on the local African American newspaper.  Being a native of Atlanta, the Atlanta Daily World, one of the more recent African American newspapers for the city, is a valuable resource for my research journey.  I’m not sure of any other institutions who has it but the Auburn Avenue Research Library offers access to the collection of ProQuest Historical Black Newspapers from the AARL Online Databases page which includes Atlanta Daily World newspaper database covering 1932-2003.  I even found an article about me in there! (No, I wasn’t in trouble with the law!!)

But I digress.  You have to be at the library to use the database.  Just like any other database, simply enter the name of the person you’re researching in the search box in quotes and see what comes up.  I created a list of names of relatives who I knew lived in Atlanta at that time and was rewarded with quite a few articles, including a few that mentioned some infamous activities of my relatives.  So if you haven’t already, make sure to look at the archives of the local paper in the area where you are researching to see if your people show up.  Newspapers from many of the urban areas have been digitized and can be found through various means.  But don’t be dismayed if your people lived in a rural area or the suburbs.  You never know, the newspaper covering that area may have been digitized as well.  Check with your local repositories, Digital Public Library of America, newspapers included in the Digital Library of Georgia (because its all about GA!) or Google the name of the newspaper to see if it has been digitized.  Not sure of the name of a newspaper in your area?  Take a look at the U. S. Newspaper Directory at Chronicling America sponsored by the Library of Congress. There you can search for newspapers by state, county, and even ethnicity.  If you haven’t visited the site, click the link.  You won’t be disappointed.

Now, back to the bad boys and girls of genealogy.  When I saw the title of the book, it reminded me of a question one of our genealogy group members asked one night about prison records.  I did not have any experience with the records and have not had a reason in my research efforts to seek them out but when I saw the book, I knew I had to write a blog about it with the hopes that this may help him and others.  Another book that deals with the topic of infamous ancestors specific to Georgia is Robert S. Davis’s book, The Georgia Black Book: Morbid, Macabre & Sometimes Disgusting Records of Genealogical Value.  I haven’t really looked at this book but I will make a point of looking at it the next time I’m at the Decatur Library.

I figured why stop at the two books, so I did a Google search for prison records and received the links below.

And there are others but I think this is a good start.  Hopefully this was helpful and if you know of other resources, comment below.  Also, let me know what you think by dropping me a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Maps and Boundaries

Like most resources, maps were created for a different purpose but as genealogists, we utilize them to help put our people in their geographic context.

There are many resources on maps and how they interact with our ancestors.  Workshops on land resources and plotting maps can last for weeks and for some people, this is their genealogical niche.  But for the majority of us, we just need to know enough to find the places where our ancestors walked.  Since there is a great deal out there on these resources, I figure I would use the topic as a way to connecting you to a few of them.

And it all begins with an address or location.  There are quite a few resources that will provide you with the address/location.  You are one of them.  I’m sure you could probably find an old address book and find addresses of some of your peeps.  You can also take a trip down memory lane and remember all of the addresses where you and your family lived.

Additionally, you can look at some of the documents we commonly use for our research including birth certificates, death certificates, applications, i.e. social security app, marriage license app, and military records.  Then there’s the census records and city directories.

City directories are great resources, especially if you wanted to find where a person lived and their neighbors. I’ve been successful in finding a number of relatives in the city directories but that’s only because my family lived in a big city.  Most rural areas didn’t have them but that’s doesn’t mean you don’t look for them. The Allen County Public Library has a room filled with city directories.  Its amazing to see.  City directories are online in a variety of places, including Ancestry.com (the paid subscription version for sure but I’m not sure about the Library Edition) and other places including the Internet Archive and Miriam Robbins‘ site.

Now that you have the address, now you can use resources like MapQuest and Google Maps to map it.  Google Maps is fabulous because it gives you a street level view of the address, meaning you get to see what’s at that address now or when Google’s car took the picture.  The searching feature in this resource is great. You can search by the name of something, look at businesses and landmarks nearby and you can even search by longitude and latitude (you will see why I mention this later)

But what about older addresses, you ask?  For those you may want to still look at Google Maps but maps that can be found at county history centers, historical societies, state archives and federal archives can be used.  Additionally, there are a few resources that will help those trying to find ancestors during the time with counties were being formed.  There are two books that address this.

Map Guide to Federal CensusThe Map to the U. S. Federal Censuses 1790 – 1930 provide a map of the states for each census year and their counties.

Another book, specific to Georgia is, Georgia Counties, Their Changing Boundaries. Copyrighted in 1983, changing boundaries include information on the county creations, an index to county line disputes and a list of the counties showing which have headright grants, land lottery grants or both.

Another Georgia resource is the Digital Library of Georgia.  This resource has several collections of maps in its Land and Resources category.  There is the County Maps, District Plats of Survey, and the Sanborn Fire Maps.

But what happens if the place you are looking for no longer exists?  Try GNIS.

The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), developed by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, contains information about physical and cultural geographic features in the United States and associated areas, both current and historical (not including roads and highways). The database holds the Federally recognized name of each feature and defines the location of the feature by state, county, USGS topographic map, and geographic coordinates.(source: http://nhd.usgs.gov/gnis.html)  

The link to search is somewhat hidden so here’s a direct link – http://geonames.usgs.gov/apex/f?p=gnispq. You can use the resource to find all of a specific institution or landmark, i.e. cemeteries, in a particular state and/or county.  Once you pull the record up, you can copy the longitude and latitude and pull that information into Google maps to pull up the map to see where it was/is located.

So that’s about it. I hope this post was helpful for those interested in using maps with their genealogy research.  I know you really can’t talk about maps and boundaries without talking about land resources so here’s a link to the Land Records section of the Source on the Ancestry.com wiki. Now I can say that I covered it.😉.

Thanks for reading and happy hunting!

Death Notices in AJC – Daily Statistics May 21, 23 – 31, 1906

Saturday was a Genealogy Saturday, the term I give to the days where I’m attending a genealogy related event.  The presentation was very good and I walked away with some tips on online searching that I plan to try out.  Afterward, being the library lover that I am, I left one library and headed to the one where my husband works so I can work on an indexing project.

Did I get to work on it?  Nope.  Instead, I spent the afternoon looking at microfilms trying to track down an obituary for a library patron who submitted the request via the Library’s Email A Librarian account that my hubby had the pleasure of being assigned to that day.  So being the genealogy nut that I am (on occasion), I figured I would try my hand at it.  The death date was 23 May 1906 and the person died in Decatur, GA. Armed with that information I headed to the Atlanta Constitution and when I didn’t find anything there, I turned to the Atlanta Journal.

After looking at a few issues, I learned that in the issues of the Atlanta Constitution and the Journal that I perused, they didn’t have the table of contents that they had in later years.  And let me tell you, I was definitely missing it.  Amazing how you don’t realize how helpful something is until you don’t have it!  So I started reading through the paper and after a while, a pattern emerged and I noticed that there weren’t many death or funeral notices in the papers.  I’m sure more people were passing away so I’m guessing only the people with money was able to put a notice in the paper.  I also noticed that none of the death notices I saw were for African Americans.  I came to this conclusion based on the cemeteries where the people were interred because remember, this is 1906 Atlanta.

Determined to be thorough in my search, I did find something that I thought was interesting.  I found an area called Daily Statistics.  This section provided records of Property Transfers, Building Permits, Court Records and Deaths.  Yeap, Deaths.  So of course, I had to read through it and guess what, I found mention of colored deaths. Now I’m intrigued! And being that I’m interested in pulling out information about people of color, in addition to looking for the obituary of the man, I started looking for the Daily Statistics section and making copies of the Death sections.  My plan, though a possibly tedious one, is to find these sections and transcribe the listings for the people of color.  One reason is to extract the information but also, its a way of demonstrating that though the paper was segregated, people of color were still included on a small scale in the predominately white newspaper.  So the lesson from this post is even if its segregated, still take a look. You never know what you will find.

Information transcribed as listed.

Daily Statistics Atlanta Journal May 21, 1906 pg. 5

  • Promise Nesbit, colored, 60 years, heart failure, rear 237 Butler street. Interment Southview
  • Thomas Monigan, colored, 29 years, cerebrospinal meningitis, Grady hospital. Interment Southview
  • Fannie Brown, colored, 45 years, cancer, 276 Melton avenue. Interment Sunnyside, Ga.

 

Daily Statistics Atlanta Journal May 23, 1906 pg. 15

  • Mary Barfield, colored, 17 years, phthists, 322 Auburn avenue. Interment Cuthbert, Ga.
  • Willie Murphy, colored, 4 years, convulsions, 270 Bass street. Interment Southview.
  • Daisy Lewis, colored, 18 years, heart disease, 10 Boaz street. Interment Southview

 

Daily Statistics Atlanta Journal May 24, 1906 – None found 

 

Daily Statistics Atlanta Journal May 25, 1906 pg. 19

  • Della Moody, colored, 27 years, stomach trouble, Grady hospital. Interment Newnan, Ga.
  • John B. Carmichael, colored, 35 years, consumption, 125 Terry street. Interment Southview
  • Josephine Washington, colored, 32 years, pernicious anaemia, 59 Jeptha street. Interment Southview
  • James Tookes, colored, 28 years, pulmonary tuberculosis, Grady Hospital. Interment Southview

 

Daily Statistics Atlanta Journal May 26, 1906 pg. 13

  • Zelmer Watson, colored, 8 years, gastro-enteritis, 267 Mangum street. Interment Southview
  • Edward B. Rutledge, colored, 2 months, inanition, rear 123 North Butler street. Interment Southview
  • Clarence Singleton, colored, 24 years, gun shot in head, 316 Spring street. Interment Southview
  • L. J. Mayson, colored, 8 months, pneumonia, 23 Gregg street. Interment Southview
  • Jannie Phillips, colored, 65 years, chronic bronchitis, 21 Kennesaw alley. Interment Social Circle, Ga
  • Florence Herrington, colored, 24 years, 175 Houston street. Interment Southview

 

Daily Statistics Atlanta Journal May 28, 1906 pg. 3

  • Gus Cato, colored, 60 years, asthma; 64 North McDaniel street. Interment Southview.
  • Roy Gray, colored, 1 year, gastro-enteritis, 154 Piedmont avenue. Interment Southview.
  • Charley Stevens, colored, 23 years, tuberculosis, 286 Bass street. Interment Southview
  • Dora Travis, colored, 37 years, rear 169 Woodward avenue. Interment Southview
  • Jesse Stewart, colored, 11 months, 134 East Ellis street. Interment Southview

 

Daily Statistics Atlanta Journal May 29, 1906 – No people of color listed

 

Daily Statistics Atlanta Journal May 30, 1906 and May 31, 1906 – None found 

 

Here’s a picture of one of the Daily Statistics sections taken from the May 29, 1906 issue of the Atlanta Journal.

Atl Jrnl May 29 1906 Daily Stats

What’s in a Name

Recently at my crochet group meeting, the ladies and I got on the conversation about names and how we got ours.  The discussion grew out of one where an expecting mother shared that she had not chosen a name for her new addition, who was due to arrive in three months.  The conversation continued with her sharing that she got her name because of a typo.

That conversation was the inspiration for this post and the discussion at the last genealogy group meeting.  How did we get the name we would carry for the rest of our lives?  Unless, of course you decide to change it or it was changed due to a change in your status, like marriage.

What was interesting about the expecting mother’s story was someone’s mistake has affected her whole life.  It seems so trivial now but that situation was commonplace, especially when most of the people in the country could not read, write or spell.  Isn’t funny how something that seems so trivial now, can affect a person’s life?  Here’s another example – In his pursuit of learning about his family’s history, my husband recalled hearing a story about a grandfather who’s name was just R. T. (yes. That’s not a typo🙂 )  The story goes that when he arrived to the mill to work, the foreman told him that they already had a R. T. and that he would be known as Robert Thomas.  Funny how a man can know another for all of five minutes and then give him a name.  Just so you know, the relative became known as Artie.  The rest of the tale is a story within itself to be shared later.

Back to names. We all have them (of course) and most of us have a story behind its origins. Some were named for ancestors, while others were named for relatives or friends. Some were charged with the task of carrying on the family’s name while another’s name was derived from the combination of their parent’s name.  The stories of how a person got their name is as varied as the names themselves.

One question for you:  Have you asked the question of where a person’s name came from?  The answer to this question may lead to the breaking down of brick walls…you never know so consider making note of the question and be sure to ask it during your next oral history interview.

So as the members of the Genealogy Group shared their stories about their name and one of relatives, its important to be aware that the name for an individual may have varied from document to document.  One reason could be the person’s use of a nickname, a middle name, or even only their initials (I really dislike this one. It makes researching a tad bit harder!)

So what’s in a name?  The name we have can define us.  It, at times, is all a person has to go on and people can and will judge you on your name.  Like Mercedes?  Or DeBron (think De Bron) Or Bomsheka or even Tamika for that matter.  Some of our names are the creativity of our parent’s or the person given the “honor” of naming us.  Like Demonique.

As genealogists, we know how important names are and how important the spelling of it is.  But do we understand the possible motive behind why a person was name was they were?  We may never know the real answer as to why uncle Leonard was nicknamed Boo-Boo but what we know is he has a nickname that we can make note of and keep in the back of our mind as we look for him in the pages of the past.

So, this post was just a way to ask you to consider a person’s name.  Sometimes, we can miss the tree because we’re focusing on getting through the forest, not realizing that this single tree may be the key to breaking down the wall on the other side of the forest.

All that said to say this:  Names are important and can be great clues to putting your family history puzzle together.  Case in point – I have a stronger case to the identity of my 2nd great grandfather due to my great grandfather naming is daughter after his older sister. Because of this, I was able to confirm the family connection when the names of the family were the same as those listed in the obituary of the namesake when she passed.

Hopefully, this post was encouraging and maybe made you consider something you hadn’t before.  And it wouldn’t be a post without some resources, right?

Here you go.

The Importance of Given Names by Donna Przecha (Genealogy.com)

Common Nicknames – USGenWeb (Thanks DW!)

As always, if you know of other resources, please feel free to share!

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