How often have you found a letter or reference to a family member with a name you don’t recognize?
We often call loved ones with variants of their names, commonly known as “nicknames’.” There are certain names usually shortened (James – Jim, Sally – Sal) but often, especially within families and groups of friends, nicknames are terms of endearment (hopefully!).
Have you come across a nickname in your family history research? What should you do and how should you record it?
The first step is to recognize that names change across cultures and countries. For example, Peter in Spanish could be Pedro or Pere in Catalan. There are also variants, like Pete.
Try and perform a bit of detective work and see if other information in the document matches (addresses, dates of birth, context).
Use your family network – ask living relatives to help confirm or deny the name of that person.
Some nicknames are based on physical features and you might have old photos that could help.
The essential thing is not to let it deter you. Nicknames are a part of social life. Most people have one or know someone that has one. Recording nicknames in your family tree is a good way of preserving it for your family. On the MyHeritage family site you can add nicknames to all family members on their profile page.
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