Turning Over New Leaves

First Name Basis

by Judy Sander Cockrell

As an avid genealogy researcher, I have in many instances run up against what I call "The Name Game." Since this issue is specifically dealing with a persons given or first name, I must ask you... Have you ever run across an odd one or two?

I mentioned in a previous article, "The Commoner", how fortunate this can be at times, to be blessed with an uncommon first name and how much easier it can make some of our searchers. What I didn't realize, was how many odd ones are really out there. And just how in the heck do people come up with these names?

Seems to me they are just asking to be nicknames.... A genealogy horror in itself... And to top that off, how easy is it to misspell a name you can barely pronounce?

Don't get me started, I could go on for hours! Ha!!

I had the opportunity to chat via e-mail with the owner of this web site, Christine Biship Smith, and I can promise you with her warmth and compassion is not easily missed.

She recently sold her web site to GenealogyToday.com, but only because of the overwhelming responses to starting a non-profit organization for Survivors of Loved Ones' Suicides (SOLOS). Christine lost her son, Trevor, in 1997, and believed much of her endurance and strength comes from this loss.

I asked Christine, just what motivated her to begin a web site called "First Name Basis"? And wow... did she fill me in!

I was inspired to start First Name Basis for two reasons.

First, because so many of the women in my family trees were without maiden names. Second, I found making family connections based on a common (but unusual) first name was the simplest and most productive form of speculation.

I found out why my father's family loved the song "I'm My Own Grandpa" when the puzzle pieces fell into place and it was determined that my paternal grandmother's mother married my paternal grandfather's uncle.

A similar marriage took place on my husband's side when the children of double-first cousins married, thus making my husband his own 3rd and 4th cousin!

Finally, perhaps the most boggling discovery was that my husband and I are 8th cousins. While doing some last minute research before a family reunion, I discovered our 7th great-grandmothers were sisters!!!!

Small world.

Hey Christine, "Can I borrow your sledgehammer on my brick wall?"

Visit First Name Basis today!

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