What's in a Name?

Categories // Genealogy Research

Unusual Names are Fun and Informative and Clues

A friend told me her grandfather's grandfather's name was Rensselaer Holmes. I wanted to know more, how nice to research Rensselaer instead of George, William, John or Thomas. I also wondered if the name was Van Rensselaer. It brought up immediate connections with the Hudson River Valley, early Dutch settlers, the university, etc. Of course Rensselaer can be misspelled in so many ways. Her grandfather was from Nebraska, so I started pushing back East in my mind to upstate New York.

Another friend told me her grandmother's maiden name was Enyedi from the Austria-Hungarian Empire. Yes, they spoke German as did some of my ancestors, but mine were from Bavaria, the Palatinate and/or some of the minor city states. Again this surname, may have been convoluted with multiple spellings. The family spelling may have been very stable, but imagining other people's interpretations of that spelling, may be never ending adventure.

If you are lucky enough to have some level of unique in the names you search, embrace it. Those names may bring some great discoveries.

Comments (4)

  • Clarke Schneider

    Clarke Schneider

    19 January 2015 at 11:37 |
    Then again there is the surname Lnu, which can cause so much trouble because it stands for Last Name Unknown.
    • Barbara K. Henritze

      Barbara K. Henritze

      25 February 2015 at 09:06 |
      So true, so true!
    • Barbara K. Henritze

      Barbara K. Henritze

      25 February 2015 at 09:06 |
      So true, so true!

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Ida Sherwood Bettis is my paternal grand mother. Aunt Clara is my great aunt. I can remember every nooks and crany of that house and yard...

Eric Bettis Eric Bettis 25. July, 2017 |

I would be happy to forward your name, connection, and email if you wish.

Barbara K. Henritze Barbara K. Henritze 06. November, 2016 |

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