initialsLast names are not the only thing that can get written in a way on a record that makes the person difficult to find. First names can be abbreviated or shortened to just initials. If those initials are hard to read, the “first name” may be really off from what you think it is. Sometimes it pays to search only based on last name if practical.


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One response

  1. I’ve been tripped a lot by the first name thing. The Abbreviations and the initials I understand, the the fun I have is the use of middle name as the 1st name or a nickname I didn’t expect. I’ve been doing research on the Clevenger /Clevinger families of Virginia and W. Virginia who came out to Washington state in late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The women are driving me a little batty. I have Mary Jane, Polly Jane, or Mary Polly Jane. One census they will go by Mary, then the next Poly, or any number of combos. Worse, I have this combo in every generation and sometimes same generation different families. Won’t even get into the names of the fellas. Really have to be careful and look closely to make sure you place them in the correct family.

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