What Name Do You Use and Why?

Do you use your “real” name? Or do you use a diminutive based upon your first or middle name? Do you use a nickname?

In the notes section of your genealogy software indicate why you used the name you did. Future genealogists and relatives might like to know why you used it.

I have always used Michael, never “Mike.” This is largely because my family always called me Michael and mother always said “if I had wanted him called ‘Mike’ I would have named him ‘Mike.'”. And I always thought Mike Neill sounded too short to be an actual name–at least to my ears–probably the result of being half German where every name needs to be somewhat long and have a lot of consonant sounds.

I started using my middle name because when I started my job, there was another guy in town named “Mike Neal” who was always getting arrested for one various thing or another. That was a way of distinguishing myself.

I know my great-grandmother Neill never used her “real” name of Francis–she used Fannie on everything, Francis appears ONLY on her birth record.

But jot this sort of thing down in your genealogy notes. Someone in a hundred years may want to know and you won’t be around to tell them.


4 thoughts on “What Name Do You Use and Why?

  1. Bonnie Burkhardt says:

    Did your great-grandmother spell her name Francis? That is normally the male name whereas it is spelled Frances for a female. Just curious.

    • I’m going to have to take a look at her birth certificate again. That’s the only record where her birth name is used. It’s Fannie everywhere else.

  2. I went home from the hospital Mimi even though my given name is Marianna after my Aunt, half dozen grandma’s and a few cousins. No middle name!!!! Medicare has turned me in Marianna………. boo

  3. Speaking of Germans…the great majority (I am not kidding here) of male ancestors were baptised Johann “Whatever”. They generally (but no always) went by their middle name “Whatever” or a diminuitive of it. Except if they were named Johannes, then they never got a middle name? Johann and Johannes both = John so any clue why no middle name with Johannes?

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