Name changes can make it very difficult to continue your genealogy project. It can cause you to be unsure whether you are researching the correct individual or not. Though name changes can certainly set back your genealogy project, you shouldn’t allow them to completely halt the process. Here are a few tips that can help you handle name changes in your genealogy.
You should look for equivalents of names when you run into a name change. Ethnic equivalents are a good place to start, because many people changed their name to sound more “American” when they originally migrated to America. Additionally, you will want to take literal translations into account. A surname of “White” may have previously been the French “LeBlanc” or many other possibilities. Try lengthening and shortening names to see how the name may have evolved over time. Search for maiden names, as well. Don’t take spelling changes too seriously. Far fewer people were well-educated in the past and thus the importance of spelling was far less, as well.
You should exhaust all of your resources when you encounter a name change. You will want to follow your ancestry backwards. Despite the name change, they may have stayed at the same address after changing their name. Check military records, marriage records, and census records. Ensure that you examine immigration records and passports carefully, because they may denote the name change. When all else fails, you can search by criteria with all of the information you do know about the ancestor.
Hire a Professional
A professional genealogist will have a significant amount of experience, especially regarding the more difficult aspects of genealogy work. Here at Heritage Consulting, we are passionate about helping you overcome roadblocks with your genealogy project. We have the resources and skills necessary to help you handle name changes with your ancestry. To learn more about our professional genealogy services, contact our experts today!