Genealogical writing needs to focus on being clear. Sometimes that means being technical, sometimes it means being pedantically tedious, and sometimes it means using phrases that may seem cumbersome.

Occasionally it is all three at the same time.

I’ve decided to avoid the debate about Grand-Aunt, Great-grand-Aunt, Grand-Uncle, by being more specific.

My Mom’s Aunt Ruth Newman, my Granddad Ufkes’ sister Ruth, my Dad’s Uncle Ralph, etc. are more specific descriptions of the people to whom I am referring. In the case of Ruth, I have two grandparents who had siblings with that first name and one who also had a sister-in-law with that name–one has to be clear. To avoid the great/grand debate and cause less confusion, a little more verbiage is helpful.

What’s clearer: Grand/Great Uncle Herschel or Grandpa Neill’s brother Herschel? The second makes the relationship more clear and helps the person reading the phrase know more precisely to whom I am referring.



No responses yet

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Your email address will not be published.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