Friday, August 17, 2007

PS. to "Nicknames Can Hurt You" article

I was reading through my blogs and this article caught my attention. With the large number of people contacting my company and using our information, we are always picking up better ideas to help people just like you.

First I recommend you read the article "Nicknames Can Hurt You". At one point I commented against using nicknames. Well, I'm going to change my position a little. People who are posting family information, especially to family genealogy web sites, should be listing the formal name of the person they are looking for. But they may also want to add a side note and mention that they believe the person had a nickname. I have noticed on a few records that people back in the late 1800s and early 1900s did sometimes list their nickname. One name might read Jose "Nacho" Rodriguez.

Patricia Diane Godinez, a 30 year veteran of Hispanic family genealogy research at the Bonita Family History Center, commented that the first 100 years of research can be the hardest. She was referring to those who want to start their family genealogy but because of divorce or other reasons have lost contact with their relatives in Mexico. For these people, any one piece of information could hold the key to their making contact with their Mexican relatives or friends.

I really started thinking about this when my wife was talking about some friends the other day. I was half listening as a husband might do from time to time but then she mentioned this one person by their nickname. I'm not even sure what his formal name is. I only know him as "Nacho". And if you mention "Nacho" around town, given the crowd, everyone knows who "Nacho" is.

So even though I tell clients to list formal names when posting on family genealogy web sites, I also now encourage people to make a comment and list the nickname. It's always possible that someone may have a record referring to a relative with the same nickname. If you're doing family genealogy research, you will want to verify all of this information with documents. But use all that you have, and you may find that person sooner than you expected.

Richard Villasana
Mexico Family History Expert
Family & Friends Found

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