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March 01, 2010

Many times while researching family history, we find that names found in county records are quite different from those for whom we have been searching. This is questioned by the researcher as to the validity of the name. Names were often written by the clerk or census taker as it sounded to them, thus a different spelling from the correct name and spelling gave another name entirely. When used in correspondence or legal documents, researchers sometimes are truly baffled by the names they encounter.

Take for instance, a woman by the given name of Iowa could not be found in the census records. The patron knew that she was not dead in that census year, so why couldn’t he find her. Her name was spelled Owey and she had been called Aunt Owey with further research. Going back to the census, Aunt Owey was there all the time. There are many given names that were not used, and nicknames or pet names were used instead of the given name. For example, Martha was called Patsy; Mary was usually Molly or Polly. Trying to find Martha and Mary in a particular family in a census record would wind up sometimes being Patsy and Polly in the records. I am going to now give a list of nicknames that may help you find your family member in court or census records.


Abigail – Abby, Gail or Nabby
Deborah – Deb, Debby
Abner – Abe
Dorothy – Doll, Dolly, Dot, Dotty
Abraham – Abe
Edith – Edie
Adela – Della
Edward – Ed, Eddie, Ned
Albert – Al or Bert
Eleanor – Ella, Ellie, Nellie, Nell, Nora
Alexander – Alex or Sandy
Elizabeth – Bess, Beth, Betty, Betsy, Libby,
Amanda – Mandy
Lizzie, Lib, Bet, Liz, Becky, Bessie
Amelia – Milly, Millie
Emeline or Emily – Em, Emmie
Andrew – Andy, Drew
Esther – Essie, Hetty
Ann, Anne – Annie, Anna, Nancy, Nan, Nanny, Nina
Estelle - Stella
Arabella – Bell, Bella, Belle
Ezekiel - Zeke
Augusta – Gussie
Faith – Fay, Faye
Benjamin – Ben, Benny, Benjie
Frances – Fannie, Fanny, Franky
Bertha – Bertie, Berty
Gertrude – Gertie, Gerty, Trudy
Bridgett – Biddy
Harold - Hal
Caleb – Cal
Harriet – Hatt, Hatty, Hetty
Cassandra – Cass, Cassie
Helen – Nell, Nellie, Nelly
Catherine – Cathy, Kathy, Kit, Kitty
Henrietta – Etta, Hetty, Nettie, Retta
Charlotte – Lottie, Lotta
Christopher – Chris, Kit
Cleopatra – Cleo
Columbus – Lum
Cornelius – Neil, Neal
Cyrus – Cy
Henry – Harry, Hank
Isabelle – Bell, Belle








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