What's New in Genealogy ... Today!
click to view original photo

Some Common Nicknames and Onomastic Abbreviations in the South

Knowing how to convert nicknames and abbreviated names to their original spellings is a fundamental aspect of genealogical research.

Share

Content Details

Type: Article
Resource: GenWeekly
Prepared by: Nathan Murphy
Word Count: 193 (approx.)
Short URL:

Add Comment

Knowing how to convert nicknames and abbreviated names to their original spellings is a fundamental aspect of genealogical research. Onomastics1 differed from place to place and from century to century. This article will focus specifically on some of the most common examples in the pre-1900 U.S. South.

Clerks often shortened names in order to speed up the quill-pen writing process. As genealogists confront new nicknames and abbreviations, they will need to determine the original names these words represent or records that refer to one person may be interpreted to apply to distinct individuals. The real names of many of the following examples are obvious; however, some are not so apparent.

Nicknames

  • Mary "Polly" "Molly"
  • Sarah "Sally"
  • Martha "Patsy"
  • John "Jack"
  • James "Jimmy"
  • Lydia "Liddy"
  • Samuel "Sam"
  • Rosa "Rosie"
  • Amanda "Mandy"
  • Elizabeth "Betsy"
  • Joseph "Joe"
  • Ann "Annie"
  • Nancy "Ann" "Nannie"
  • Frances "Fannie"
  • Matilda "Tildy"
  • Anna "Ann"
  • Susan "Susie"
  • David "Dave" "Davey"
  • Keziah "Kizzy"
  • Charles "Charlie"
  • Lucinda "Lucy"
  • Isaac "Ike"
  • Robert "Bob"
  • Margaret "Peggy"
  • Edward "Edmond"
  • Jane "Jennie"
  • Winnifred "Winny"
  • Susannah "Susan"
  • Francis "Frank"
  • Jeremiah "Jerry"
  • Harriet "Hattie"
  • Abraham "Abe"
  • Jacob "Jake"
  • Katherine "Katie"
  • Cordelia "Delia"
  • Gabriel "Gabe"
  • Zachariah "Zacheus"
  • Azariah "Asa"
  • Lawrence "Larry"

Abbreviated Names

  • Jno. - John or Jonathan
  • Wm. - William Thos. - Thomas
  • Nich. - Nicholas
  • Jas. - James
  • Geo. - George
  • Zach. - Zachariah
  • Margt. - Margaret
  • Chas. - Charles
  • Danl. - Daniel
  • Jos. - Joseph or Joshua or Josiah
  • Saml. - Samuel
  • Robt. - Robert
  • Edwd. - Edward
  • Gabl. - Gabriel
  • Richd. - Richard
  • Hy. - Henry
  • Nathl. - Nathaniel
  • Michl. - Michael
1Onomastics: the study of the origin and history of proper names.

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2004.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

*Effective May 2010, GenWeekly articles that are more than five years old no longer require a subscription for full access.

Recent Feedback:
  • No matches for this listing.
  • Was this article helpful?   Yes No
    Your E-Mail   >> (optional)
    Comments   >>
    Privacy Level N   >>

    << GenWeekly

    << Helpful Articles

     

    Suggested Next Steps (BETA)

  • Would you like to browse through our collection of GenWeekly articles written exclusively for Genealogy Today? Yes, take me there
  • Would you like to keep up-to-date with the latest releases from Genealogy Today, along with news from a variety of other sources by receiving The Genealogy News (a FREE service) by email? Yes, sign me up
  • Would you like to become a Genealogy Today member and be able to manage your research experience, post messages to forums, add comments to resources and much more? Yes, show me how
  • Would you like to tap into our community of over 85,000 members by posting a query and get assistance breaking down your most difficult brickwalls? Yes, show me how
  • Would you like to go shopping in a marketplace of over 700 items, including charts, scrapbooking materials, books and a variety of unique gifts and supplies? Yes, take me there