Years ago, on my Rootdig blog a list of things that relatives do that seem to make research more difficult. That list is reproduced here.

These are a little tongue-in-cheek. Well, at least some of them. It’s also not meant to be complete either and is based upon personal frustrations. Your frustrations may be different.

Genealogy would be easier if:

  • Brothers would not marry women who shared the same first and last name before marriage.
  • Expand previous rule to state that anyone cannot marry someone with the same first name as the spouse of a sibling.
  • Individuals marrying more than once could not have a second spouse with the same first name as their previous spouse.
  • All name changes were required to be recorded with a local court.
  • Women would not marry men whose last name was the same as their last name before marriage. This does not apply in locations where women keep their maiden name through their entire life as their name is not changing.
  • Census takers were paid based upon neatness.
  • Illegible handwriting was sufficient to defrock a member of the clergy.
  • Use of initials in place of first names was not allowed. Ever.
  • No one was allowed to have the same first name as their cousin if it was because their fathers were brothers.
  • First names of any two individual children of a couple were not allowed to start with the same two letters. This would prevent couples from naming separate children Lucinda and Lucena. This is confusing.
  • States that have towns with the same names as counties within that state must locate those towns within those counties.
  • The phrase “permission of parent” was banned from marriage records, licenses, etc. Parents must be named.
  • Random people were not allowed to witness documents.

Get ready for the release of the 1950 census with my webinar–special offer!



8 Responses

  1. any person witnessing a document must state full name and relation to the person(s) signing document, even if they are just random!
    this is an awesome list

  2. I totally agree. I have one line that the same male names were used for cousins born within the same year. Then they marry a Mary, Elizabeth or Anne…lol

  3. Spellings of last names must be verified prior to filing any documents at the court house, in a census or at the county clerks office.

  4. Parents who have another child after their eldest child is married are NOT allowed to name said child, born a year after their first grandson, the same first name! My sixth great-grandfather married at age 16. His first child, a boy, was born in 1763. They named him Joseph. His parents had their last child, also a boy, in 1764. They named him Joseph. Sorting out the records is a NIGHTMARE.

  5. Or, please don’t reuse the name of a deceased child for a succeeding child! The first George died…no need to reuse the name 3 years later! Same with Henry! and so on. It is sad the children died so young, but untangling it all is something else.

  6. My 6th great-grandparents, Ludwig Lehman and (Anna) Elisabeth Gross had 7 sons. All but one of them married women named Elisabeth. The one that didn’t, married a sister of one of the Elisabeths. Two of these Elisabeths were first cousins, with the same last name. Ludwig and his wife also had a daughter. Guess what her name was?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get the Genealogy Tip of the Day Book
Get the More Genealogy Tip of the Day Book
Recent Comments