Check Out Our Genealogy Blog »


nicknamesYou have tried and still can’t seem to locate a specific ancestor. You have tried the various spellings for the surname and still no luck. It just might be that all documents, records, census papers, certificates, etc. the individual used one or more nicknames rather than their birth proper name. Or there is a combination of nicknames and proper names, making it even more confusing. My father always used ‘Harry’ for all documents and records rather than his proper name of Henry.

USGenWeb has a nice long list of male and female nicknames. To start look for the more proper or formal given names, such as Henry, Florence, Hubert or Letitia. Each of these can have several different nicknames that your ancestor used all the time rather than the proper given name.  nickname--name

Henry can also be Harry, Hal and Hank. For Florence there is Flora, Flo, or Flossy. For Hubert there is Bert or Herb and for Letitia can be Tish, Lettice, Lettie or Titia. Some of those nicknames you might not have figured out.

Many times a nickname was used all the time because the mother or father had the same name and it help denote who was who.

Keep in mind a person might use a nickname that doesn’t relate to any proper name. Still others used a nickname that tied to be the son of; such as Junior, Chip, Skip or Sonny.

nicknames-helloCheck out any nicknames, it just might help overcome that ‘brick wall’.

Photo: Hello, my name is —

Related genealogical blogs:

Abbreviation for Given Names

Extinct Surnames

Ancestor’s Given Names


< Return To Blog