Your relative may have used their initials instead of their full name because they didn’t like their actual name, wanted to distinguish themselves from another relative of the same name, or possibly some other reason. This 1950-era picture of my Grandpa Neill’s pickup and my Dad indicate that Grandpa had “C. R. Neill” as his name on the truck. That could have been simply because it was cheaper to have painted or took less room.

I have seen a few other references to him by his initials, but there are also numerous references to him that include his first name of Cecil as well.



2 Responses

  1. Absolutely a great tip!!! I recently took advantage of a free search weekend you promoted. One of my ancestors with the first name of James seems to have been commonly known as using his initials J.N. This may have been due to the many relatives in the immediate area with the same first and last name. A light bulb went on when I stumbled upon an article referring to him as J.N. I then searched using that as his first name. Bingo!!! Also, following along the same lines, his wife was Mrs. J.N.

  2. It was also popular, during the late 19teens & early 1920’s to only give initials, not full names, at birth. My Dad used to tell how there were arguments, at recruiting stations, during WWII because the military wanted your Full Name & those with just initials had trouble because the recruiters thought they were lying.

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