What is the general convention around naming?

+5 votes
What is the general convention around names, both given and surnames?  I am working in the 1500-1700 part of my family tree back in Lincolnshire.

If I stick with the name in the MM at birth, say Birditt,  It may the only time it ends up being like that as later in their life it may be written more often as Burditt.  And nowadays the descendants are all using Burdett.

One of my ancestors is Arnall Truebloud in the parish register at birth,  Arnall Trueblood at his wedding and Arnold Trueblood at his death.

Personally I prefer to unilaterally keep the my surname as it is known today and leave the dozen Tudor and Stuart variations in the aka section.  But is that breaking a convention?

(and don't get me started on my French ancestors in Louisiana...)

Thanks, Stephen
in Genealogy Help by Stephen Trueblood G2G6 Mach 3 (39.6k points)

4 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer

Stuart, Steven makes the good point about the earliest documented name. However, there is one exception that I felt I had to make for my earliest Lawing ancestor, William. His first mention in any record is service during the French and Indian War as William Lewing. And this is how the name was spelled in England in his generation. For this immigrant ancestor, however, all subsequent records record his name as Lawing (land grant and census records) The Lewing spelling occasionally, but rarely, shows up three generations later, for example, in Confederate enlistment records, but not in census records, wills, or letters of the same time period. All of his male line descendants spelled the name Lawing, and I believe that to choose the earliest documented name would only create confusion. Therefore, on his profile William carries the Lawing spelling.

by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)
selected by Susan Laursen
+8 votes
The Last Name at Birth (LNAB) should be the earliest documented name.  Otherwise, you have the ability to add additional names.
by Stu Ward G2G6 Mach 3 (37.9k points)
But therein lies my problem.  What is my ancestor Arnall's name?  In the parsh register it says 'Arnall, ye sonne of John Truebloud blacksmith was baptised...'  John in previous mentions (his own baptism and earlier children) has generally been Trueblood.  So am I right to assume that the LNAB is Trueblood despite the register.  

It doesn't help that the transcription in the archives reads Truebloud as Trueblond, which is not even a homophone.
This is by no means an authoritative answer, but I think you have a good case for claiming that the parish register spelled the name wrong, since both the father's prior and his own later sources agree, while only the one record does not. I see no reason to enshrine an error, no one is going to look for him as Truebloud.
+9 votes
by Dennis Barton G2G6 Pilot (385k points)
Great and thank you. Basically I can stick to a consistent family name as long as I record the homophones/variations.  That simplifies things somewhat. It also helps clarify what to do when ancestors deliberately change their last names.  Debaute becoming de Bautte for instance.
+5 votes
As someone with Gawthrop ancestors spelt a million ways, I know it is irritating not to be able to call them all Gawthrops and have done, but I think recording the actual spelling people used is quite important too. Particularly if the preferred spelling changed over generations - at what point do you accept that they were Gauthorps then, not Gawthrops? a strict adherence to LNAB does make that decision easier.
by Deborah Pate G2G6 Mach 4 (43.5k points)
I do agree with you.  If my name had been Treweblod for several generations before morphing into its present form I think I would want to honour that.  But the Trueblood name seems to appear, fully formed, in the first parish registers in SW Lincolnshire in Tudor times. Spelling being what it is there are a multitude of misspellings but the majority are in the modern form.  I'm also sure some of the early priests were dyslexic...

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