A Rose By Any Other Name

Remember that your ancestor might have been known by several different first names. This can be especially confusing when a researcher is “fixed” on one name. My great-grandfather was actually Frederick, but sometimes he was Fred and sometimes he was Fritz (the latter more in his younger years).

Another ancestor was John Michael Trautvetter. He went by one of several different names:

  • John
  • Michael
  • Mike
  • Jahn (a German version of his first name)
  • J. M.

Some nicknames are not quite as obvious. Sally was a common nickname for Sarah. If you can’t find your ancestor, learn nicknames that were derived from the original name. The ancestor might simply be hiding under a nickname.


2 thoughts on “A Rose By Any Other Name

  1. Linda Murphy

    This tip is my experience. My 3 gr grandfather was Pliny Seymour. Pliny was his nickname used on all his civil war papers, census records, obituary. His real name was Cyprien Couture and Seymour was a “dit” name. His church records, marriages of children, death register etc. were under mostly Cyprien Couture but it was noted in the index that the Couture’s were also known as Seymour. His wife was Alphonsine, mostly called Alvina but sometimes Alva, Alphonsa and on a census record, Dponza. I won’t even get started on her last name as it was given as multiple different names although I’ve finally settled on Chaloup. Her death record said her given name was Malvina, which I knew to be incorrect. I’m fairly certain that Pliny’s death certificate gives incorrect parents as well. You really have to look at all the clues and evidences to get to the truth. It took me some head scratching to suss this all out but not giving up is the key. It’s the detective work of genealogy that gets results and what makes it so interesting and rewarding.


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