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Relatively Speaking: What’s In a Name?

Relatively Speaking is a throwback to another time in the world of genealogy. These are anecdotal stories to inspire those who search for their ancestors. Although, many of these stories are from before the world of computers and certainly the age of the internet, I believe that all of us have benefited from serendipity in our research.

What?›ƒ?ªƒ?›s In a Name?

What?›ƒ?ªƒ?›s in a name? Any avid genealogist will tell you everything!

Before I discovered genealogy, however, I suffered untold persecution because of my name. As a child I went into tears whenever I had to write my full name in said space. Have you ever tried writing Marjorie Jane Featheringill on a 1?›ƒ?ª? line? I finally decided marriage was the only solution; so who do you think I married? A Smith, or Jones? No, a Waterfield! My ?›ƒ?ª?long-name-complex?›ƒ?ª? continued until I became interested in genealogy.

Suddenly, I became the envy of my common-name, ancestor-hunting friends. While they spent days pouring through thousands of Smiths or Millers, they watched with amazement as I calmly leafed through records for a single Featheringill or Waterfield. When I found one ?›ƒ?ªƒ?? ANY place ?›ƒ?ªƒ?? ANY year ?›ƒ?ªƒ?? I had found an ancestor!

I became so interested in my name, I hired a genealogist in England to trace the family lineage. Finally, the long-awaited reply arrived ?›ƒ?ª?? “I?›ƒ?ªƒ?›m sorry to inform you there is no such English name as Featheringill. It is possibly an American corruption of the name Featheringstonehaugh!”

What a relief. After thinking I had the longest and worst name possible, I was thankful some forgotten ancestor had seen fit to change it to a simple Featheringill. I could have been Marjorie Jane Featheringstonehaugh Waterfield!

leverton

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