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Genealogy Research Tip

Jun - 15 - 2009
Nicole C. Engard

I have been doing genealogy research for my family for about a year now and I often get frustrated because it’s hard to figure out what name my Italian ancestors used before coming to America. Today I got a great tip from Ancestry.com:

My grandmother whose first name was Bertha was enumerated in 1910 as Brony, which was short for Bronislawa, the Polish version of her name. Ironically, she was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and her father, who had been born in Poland gave the English version of his name–John. When Elizabeth Szucs arrived in the Port of New York in 1906, her name is listed on the manifest as Erszebet Szucs.

Fortunately determining the ethnic equivalent of your ancestor’s name typically isn’t too difficult. BehindtheName.com is a great resource. Type your ancestor’s name in the search box and then from the box on the right, select “Related Names” and you’ll be rewarded with a list of related names from various ethnic backgrounds. The site lists well over a hundred variations of Elizabeth alone from countries around the world.

This is a great tip to share with the reference librarians at your library – so that they can help community members find their ancestors with a bit more ease than I’ve had to far :)

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