Names Get Changed – sometimes for good reason…

Names get changed for a wide variety of reasons, the least of which is the oft-quoted “name was changed at Ellis Island.” I think you’ll find Matthew Hansen’s column on the subject interesting.

The following teaser is from a great column written by Mr. Hansen and posted in August 6, 2013 edition of

I lean against the bleachers at the alumni banquet, looking down at my name tag and wondering why I’m here.

“HANSEN” my name tag says in black magic marker.

I need a drink, I think.

Red Cloud, like many small Nebraska towns, holds an annual gathering for anyone who ever graduated from its lone high school.

I happened to be in town on alumni weekend this year, and a bit of subtle guilt from my parents got me to attend the cocktail reception.

So here we are. I see no other 1998 graduates — that’s when I donned a purple cap-and-gown — and for that matter I see no other graduates from 1997, 1996 or 1995, either. You know you are from a small town when you end up talking to your Grandpa Richard at your class reunion, which is exactly what I am doing when a white-haired stranger walks up and blows my mind.

She is tiny, so tiny I have to lean down to read her name tag. Hers is typed.

“Ardyce Rose Hanson,” it says. “Class of 1951.”

Read the full article.

Author: Leland Meitzler

Leland K. Meitzler founded Heritage Quest in 1985, and has worked as Managing Editor of both Heritage Quest Magazine and The Genealogical Helper. He currently operates Family Roots Publishing Company (, writes daily at, writes the weekly Genealogy Newsline, conducts the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour to the Family History Library, and speaks nationally, having given over 2000 lectures since 1983.

1 thought on “Names Get Changed – sometimes for good reason…”

  1. Leland,
    Thanks for republishing this story.
    It is an example of why people should be interested in genealogy and how those of us who are can do a better job of getting others interested. Those who are interested claim that it is nothing more than a collection of dates and places, such as appear on a tombstone, and too many of us who are interested are guilty of collecting and passing on PRECISELY THAT!

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