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            January, 2005

      Carol Sanderson,
      Charles Hansen, Technical Advisor

          Newsletter Archives   |  E-mail                    

 What's In A Name?
- by Carol Sanderson

        What's In a Name? We all have names and just about everything I can think of has a name. Names are used to describe or define a being or thing. Centuries ago names of people were simple and were either a description of their work as in Tanner or Farmer, their dwelling place as in Field, a nickname (given to describe a characteristic as Brown or White, or a patronymic as in Johnson, etc..

        The first three are readily understandable. Patronymics (named after the father) can be very interesting and at times very confusing. We, as genealogists, have a much harder time with patronymics. Why is that? we ask. It can be because of the many and varied prefixes and suffixes that can signify a patronymic.

        Barbara Krasner-Khait in an article, How to Play the Name Game lists the following as examples of patronymics1

  • Armenian: -ian or yan as in Hovnanian
  • Danish, Norwegian: sen as in Sorensen
  • English, Scottish, and Swedish: -son as in Olafson; the Anglo-Saxon -ing as in Browning (son of Brun which means brown); or the Norman Fitz as in Fitzpatrick
  • English, Welsh: s as in Edwards
  • Greek: opoulos as in Theodoropoulos (son of Theodore)
  • Hebrew: Ben- as in Ben Yehuda
  • Irish: O'-as in O'Hara (grandson of Eaghra, which means bitter or sharp)
  • Italian: De- or Di -as in De Carlo
  • Polish: wicz as in Danielewicz
  • Portugese: -es or-az as in Gomes (son of Gomo)
  • Romanian -escu as in Tadescu
  • Russian: -ovich as in Paulovich
  • Scottish: Mc- or Mac- as in McCall (son of Cachal)
  • Spanish:-ez or es as in Alvarez
  • Turkish: -oglu as in Turnacioglu
  • Ukranian: -enko as in Kovalenko
  • Welsh: use of ap, ab, p- or b- as Upjohn (son of John) and Bowen (son of Owen)

        There are others. Some of the Scandinavian countries add -sen to the father's name as Eric Stevensen's son would become John Ericsen. So the name would change with every generation. That could become very confusing.

        Some people claim that any other spelling of their name has no relation to their name. That is a false idea as names in some families have changed spelling by family members in this country. There is more to be said about names but I think that it may wait for another newsletter.

     1How to Play the Name Game, by Barbara Kasner-Khait; September 2004, FAMILY TTREE MAGAZINE; published by F & W Publication, Inc., 4700 E. Galbraith Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236.

 Family Link Expo I
- by Charles Hansen

        In the middle of November I was sent an E-Mail from the Family Link Expo I about a new on-line genealogy training conference. I had written earlier about the eGen Conference. They have a new name, Family Link Expo, but it is similar to the previous eGen Conference. It has a free exhibit hall just like all of the national conferences I have been to, selling genealogical books, research aids, CDs, etc.

        The Keynote address was by J. Mark Lowe, professional genealogist and it welcomed me to the conference while gaving some hints on finding my ancestors. Originally the conference was to be on line from November 15-December 15th, but they later extended it to December 31.

        Presenters were Karen Clifford, Loretta Evans,Geoff Rasmussen, Jana Sloan Broglin, Alan Mann, Michael J. Hall and Svetlana Permiakova and she was doing a session on Russian Sources and Genealogy on the Internet. Karen Clifford did three sessions; Why Family History Research is so much fun, Repositories Where Your Sources are Stored and Understanding Family History Sources from a Geographical and Historical Perspective. Loretta Evans did Sharing is Productive, So What to Keep in Mind. Geoff Rasmussen did two sessions; Using Animated Maps to Plot your Ancestors Movements and Reading the Clues Properly. Jana Sloan Broglin did four sessions actually two double length ones; Unusual Courthouse Records Parts 1 and 2, and Hookers, Crooksand Kooks Or "Aunt Merle Didn't Run a Boarding House!" Part 1 and 2. Alan Mann did two sessions; British Genealogy Online and Creating Your Own Genealogy Web Site. Michael J. Hall did a double session also; United States History and How It Has Affected Genealogical Records Parts 1 and 2.

        The first session I went to was the Sharing is Productive session. Loretta Evans gave several reasons why we all benefit when you share yourresearch. She also pointed out that you should cite your sources, and copy documents to share. She then told different ways to share:

  1. on the Internet, submit your lineage to a linked database like World Connect on RootsWeb,
  2. create a family web pag,
  3. write a magazine or E-zine article,
  4. write a book,
  5. donate a copy of your Bible records
  6. donate your letters, diaries, and other historical papers.

        United States History and How It Has Affected Genealogical Records was a very good session on what history has done to generate records we can use. It is very important to know the historical events that shaped the lives ofyour ancestors. Knowledge of the various wars, laws, governmental policies, and religious trends may help you trace the migrations of your family. An examole of this is:

I know I have an ancestor who took his family to California in 1862 and then in 1865 the family caught a ship at Sacramento and went to Panama, across the isthmus, then back to New York by ship and finally back to Illinois where he left from three years earlier. Gold rush? No, too late for that and few men took their families to the gold rush. Civil War? Yes, he was of the right age to fight in the war and so leaving for California kept him and his family out of the Civil War.

        I also enjoyed the four sessions by Jana Sloan Broglin of some of the Unusual Ohio Courthouse Records and Hookers, Crooks and Kooks. Aunt Merle was an interesting ancestor to research. Jail and prison records are a wonderful source if your ancestor was either in jail or prison. One of the interesting records she found wasfor a person who was jailed by the county for two days for being insane. Does two days in jail cure insanity?

        While I still have five more sessions I have not listened to, by the time this appears, I will have listened to all of them. This is the second on-line conference I have attended. hey are great for people who cannot travel or cannot afford to travel to one of the large genealogical conferences. Also, I do not have to pick and choose which session I will go to as in a regular conference. It always seems as if two sessions I want to attend are scheduled at the same time. I can also pause the session to go get a snack or something. If I am busy, I can skip going to the conference until another night, which is not possible at any scheduled conference. All the sessions have a PDF file you can print out and so make your own syllabus.

        I think everyone should try to get as much education as they can on how to find their ancestors. The Family Link Network is a good way to learn, so I recommend seminars like this one.

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