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Old Name-New Name

Change of Name!

Using the Family History Library Catalog!

Another good reason to go to your Local Family History Center!

Recently I was working my shift at our local Family History Center doing a look up for someone on our Genealogy Just Ask main page. (For those of you not familiar with our sites you may want to check them out! .

Due to contract agreements between FamilySearch and the owner of the collection the collection we needed had to be viewed in a Family History Center. It was a simple record to find as the film number and image number were listed on the index. Just took a few minutes to locate the record. Honey do list done!

The most amazing thing happened as I was just looking to see what else was available in that same area. Quite often on a film there are more then one collection per roll of film. Sometimes they do not even pertain to each other. But this collection really caught my attention.

People say all the time, “My family just disappears”. “My family must have changed their names when they came to America”. “Why can’t I find my family”.

This collection is called “CHANGE OF NAME”. This collection happens to be in Black Hawk County Iowa. The film number is OO7595074. It is the 2nd item collection on the film.

This collection has a built-in index. It however has NOT been indexed by the great indexing community. This is just a taste of what it looks like. It’s an Index that says at the top of the page: Old Name-New Name. It also gives the book and page number. Remember when you are using this type of collection the page number is not the image number.

Take a minute and check out a few of these surnames for the letter “E”. Einfelt, John William will now be known as John William Ackerman. Eldridge, Ronald Lee will now be known as Ronald Lee Potter. Eckler, Donald Gene will now be known as John Byran Garfield. Erlendson, David Francis will now be known as David George Hokery. Is it any wonder why we just can’t find them!

This type of name change made sense to me:

Morris Jukoff wants to change his name to Morris Jacobs. Here is why:

Check out all that genealogical information! Birth place, parents, etc. There is a lot of genealogicald information given on each record. If they owned property in the old name it had to be listed so they could change the name on the titles as well. Yes, this name change I understood.

Then we have this little gem!

This record tells us at the age of three months his mother died and he was raised by a different family. You will notice his father is still living on this document.

This name change was so fascinating to me. He wanted to change his name because of the war. Notice it was 1918. His name was German, he took the maiden name of his wife.

The interesting thing here is in the 1910 United States Federal Census he would be under the name of Schwartz, he would have registered for the WWI Draft under Schwartz. But in the 1920 United States Federal Census he would be located under his new name of Russell. He was born in 1897. He could have had children born under his old name and then children born under his new name!

You see a lot of this reason, but check out the extreme name change:

Here is why:

Many of the name changes listed were wanting to Americanize their name. Many were raised by someone other than their biological family or at least a step dad or mom. Many women after a failed marriage and divorce wanted to take back their maiden names.

Let’s view a few of the old to the new just to understand how different they could be.

Seriously? Try locating your grandfather Lawrence Tareyton (whom you knew and loved) with his father! You would be searching for Lawrence in the family of Tareyton. When in reality his father would be a Cornwell.

We could have found Kazimir Szwelna on the records! But another Charles Smith are you kidding!

Good luck if this is your family!

If I located the first name on a census and ten years later the second name. That family would have two separate daughters who were really one!

If I found one of my female ancestors married to Joseph Edward and later her husband was Lindley, in my database she would have two husbands! Yet it was the same man with a different name.

On of my personal favorites I can not relocate. It was a female and she states: I never liked the name, it is spelled odd, sounds odd and I don’t like it!

This collection was such a great teaching tool for me. It taught me why we may not be able to locate someone. It taught me how important it is to keep learning what records and collections are available. To keep on digging, to get out of the “box” meaning the records we are comfortable with such as the birth, marriage and deaths. It taught me when I run into a spelling to be open minded as to yes it could be mine instead of thinking “my family NEVER spelled it like that”.

Learn to use the Family History Library Catalog! It is the best kept secret. A gem of buried treasures that are not all on the FamilySearch Record Collection site! Learn to go to your Family History Center and use the collections that due to contract agreements are not available online.

Break down brick walls with new knowledge and research skills!

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