The Genealogy Journey

The newbie genealogist's resource for books, mags, databases, and -- of course -- any free research stuff to be found on the Internet.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Just Call Me “Mamie”

Thanks to someone on the Family Finder genealogy forum (a new Yahoo group), I found an interesting resource. The Genealogy Encyclopedia provides information “of terminology and descriptions of basic genealogy research.” One of its pages has a listing of 18th and 19th century American nicknames, with a cross-reference to the formal name. Like this:

Nickname: Jenny
Proper Name: Jane, Janet, Genevieve, Virginia

Nickname: Mamie
Proper Name: Mary

I’d imagine this could be a helpful resource if you’re looking through the American censuses. Just as you should keep a list of alternate spellings for the surnames you’re researching, start a list of possible nicknames your ancestor might have used.

Another neat reference at this site is the description of illnesses you come across in medical records, letters, and death certificates. When I was a teenager, I read historical romances and was always mystified by the term “consumption.” I learned long ago that it was really tuberculosis, but there’s hundreds more listed on the Terminology and Meanings of Various Illnesses and Diseases page.

A few more resources on this site include:

- Terminology and Meanings of Early Occupations
- Symbols on Gravestones and Their Interpretations
- Major Worldwide Epidemics

And if you’re thinking this whole post and the Web site it references is morbid … well, we are researching dead people!

~Mary Kaye