Sunday, January 22, 2012

Name Studies

Often when researching individuals seem to forget that names have changed over time for a large variety of reasons. Sometimes this happens when coming to a new country and the family wants to assimilate as quickly as possible. So someone with the last name of "Blanche" became "White" or "Des Neiges" became "Snow" and so on.

Names were also shortened for convenience as in the case of surnames from Poland, Germany and other countries. Additionaly names could easily be misspelled as they were written down by another person because the original person was unable to write or even read.

Donna Pizecha wrote an excellent article on this subject on entitled "They Changed our Name at Ellis Island". In order to do a proper search one has to be open minded about an exact spelling of a last name. There are lots of studies on names and many websites offer meanins a names which can sometimes explain the origins of the name and help guide a research to look in place not thought of originally. I have had personal success in one of my family lines and was able to break through a very stubborn line following this method.

The Guild of One Name Studies is a good place to start as well as the large variety of message boards already suggested in an early post.

Take the time find out the meaning of your family name and see if there are any studies on that name, it could help and lead to finding just the right clues to aid in your ancestral research!

Comments and Suggestions are always welcomed!

Building Bridges for All Generations!

Claire (*)
Timeless Genealogies
We're Your Family is "No. 1"



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