When the Genealogist Comes Across an Unusual Nickname

Some people’s names are down right wacky. Fuzzy? Pip? Moo-Moo?
Nicknames like Tom, Jim, Bob or Chaz are nothing compared to some you might find when talking to relatives.
Unusual monikers are all around us. The genealogist just has to be listening carefully. Sometimes, it is a family secret
that isn’t on the documents–and only a few know.

Most every genealogist has to know already that Jim is a James and Tom is a Thomas. Babs is for Barbara and Cindy is for Cynthia.

These are traditional nicknames, of which there are a host of on line indexes that can help verify variations on a name or nicknaming trends. The genealogist may go a bit out of the box with a Ving for Irving or a Cookie for Carol.

Lately, this genealogy researcher has come across some doozies that would never make a regular genealogy research index!

Where did this genealogist find these freaky monikers? These recent sightings happened to have popped up in random obits. They were deep in the story of the person who had just passed away. The surviving family members, in their grief, provided wonderful documentation for the genealogist of the future.


Some nicknames are shortened versions, others are very funny. Photo Credit: Appellation Mountain

Some nicknames are shortened versions, others are very funny.
Photo Credit: Appellation Mountain

How many Jizzies do you know? She is the spouse of someone who died last week.

Fuzzy was famous. He had a headline article about his life in the New York Times. He was a football player.  The obit told future genealogist that he’d had his name since childhood. Duh. Wouldn’t have thunk an adult would have made that one up, would you? Fuzzy? Really?

Sports players have lots of good ones. You can actually find lists of Baseball players’ nicknames on line. That way you can get the real names of Goober and Bump and Witto. This genealogist thinks that adults make those ones up. Maybe. Could be more documentation that sports fans are in their own universe.

There happens to be a Tuffy in the family of this genealogist. Betcha no one in his professional or adult life will know him by that name. But his many brothers ONLY call him that.

Families have lots of funny nicknames that never appear in the traditional path of the genealogist or ancestry researcher. A Lammie isn’t likely to be on the birth certificate or marriage certificate of an accomplished doctor. Most likely won’t be in that person’s published professional papers or a property deed.

Little Wrecker is never going to be on the census for the genealogist to find. Might be mentioned in loads of family letters, though.

How does a genealogist search for and uncover these unusual names in a family tree?

Here are some additional ways for a genealogist to find funny nicknames:

  • In person Interviews
  • School Records
  • Newspaper articles
  • Letters
  • Medical records
  • Obituaries
  • On line memory book (comments section)
  • Sorority and Fraternity records
  • Military records
  • Sports team records
  • websites like AppelationMountain

These names will likely pique the interest of the genealogist who is talking with ancestors. Make note, dear genealogist. Listen carefully! Read a lot!

You never know when you might hear a Moo or a Boo.

A professional genealogist from RecordClick will find the names of your ancestors—whatever they may have been. When you hire a RecordClick genealogist, you get the skills that will get the answers and uncover new material.