Resources, records, documents, hours of research and in the end it all comes down to names and dates. No matter what any of us ever learn about out own ancestors, genealogists start and end with names and dates. Those names are critical to research. But, have you ever considered that two different documents may show different names but if fact are for the same individual? Nicknames in the past don’t always match modern usage of the same name. Some nickname today are used for different given names than in the past. Nicknames: Past and Present, 5th Edition Expanded, by Christine Rose, was written to help researchers avoid untold wasted hours searching for non-existent ancestors.
As a young researcher, Rose spent two years trying to track down a second marriage for an ancestor for whom two different court records showed two different names for wives, one for “Martha” and one for “Patsy.” How many people know that Patsy is a nickname for Martha? Admittedly, I did not. The author expresses her desire to help other avoid this type of wasted efforts.
Sometimes surnames play a part in nicknames. Some nicknames are common to location or region. The popularity of names, including nicknames, changes over time. The same name may commonly have multiple nicknames over time. Likewise, the same nickname may get used for many different given names. Of course, it is also possible for any apparent nickname to be a person’s actual given name. I have a friend who most people assume his given name is Tom or Thomas, but it’s not. His actual given name, on birth record, it Tommy.
Nicknames provides a listing of both male and female names. In addition, five appendices provide some foreign language English equivalents, truncated and superscripted names, as well as names used by both males and females. The appendix also includes a reprint of “Nicknames in New England,” by Donald Lines Jacobus.
Female Names Section One
Male Names Section Two
Appendix A: Dutch/Frisian and their Equivalents in English
Appendix B: English Names and their Equivalents in Dutch and Frisian Baptismal Names
Appendix C: Truncated and Superscripted Names
Appendix D: Male and Female Names
Appendix E: By Donald Lines Jacobus, reprint of “Nicknames in New England” from The American Genealogists
Appendix F: Italian given names with English equivalents, nicknames, and diminutives (new in this edition)
Nicknames: Past and Present, 5th Edition Expanded is available from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: CR0004, Price: $9.75.