Sunday, January 5, 2014

Birth Name or Commonly Used Name

My grandmother had two sisters who NEVER used their first names ... they hated them ... and they did not use them.  Up until now, I've always treated their full birth names as their "proper" names:  Carrie Vella Church and Hannah Elizabeth Church.

However, I'm about to change that approach having just looked back on an old blog post by Michael John Neill called Did They Ever Use Their "Real" Name?  He notes that,
"Your ancestor may never have used their "real" name. And if they never used their "real name" was that their real name?"
Interesting point.  So I will be changing my database to reflect the names they actually used:  Vella Church and Elizabeth Church.  I will leave their full birth names in the database, but treat them as alternative names with an explanatory note.

If they were still alive, it's a safe bet that my great-aunts would be much happier with me for putting more emphasis on the names they used rather than those they were given at birth.