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Genealogical Roll of the Kings of England and Dukes of Bourbon. c.1465. Newberr
Genealogical Roll of the Kings of England and Dukes of Bourbon. c.1465. Newberry Case MS 166.

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On the Shelf: The Name is the Game

Bockstruck, Lloyd DeWitt. The Name is the Game  Onomatology and the Genealogist. Baltimore, Md.  Published for Clearfield Co. by Genealogical Publishing Co., 2013.

Although it’s a thin volume at 85 pages, this book is chock-full of great tidbits and examples that will help you think through some of the name challenges that all genealogists run into from time to time.

The bulk of the book is divided into chapters on forenames and surnames. In the chapter on forenames, Bockstruck discusses ethnic, religious and geographic clues and diminutives (Hugh for Elihu, Sy for Josiah). He also discusses the repetition of forenames within a family, the renaming of living children and other naming patterns. His explanation of the use of “senior” and “junior” by unrelated parties might help solve more than a few family mysteries. For those with German ancestors, an understanding of the concept of “rufname” can be of critical importance.

In the chapter on surnames, the author points out the name variants that arise from the mis-interpretation of letters (Hunt or Hart), pronunciation and the “terminal G” (Harding becomes Harden). Explanations of the terms “nee”, “alias”, “genannt” and “dit” are also helpful. Ethnic examples are primarily English and German, but other ethnicities are mentioned and the underlying concepts will be useful for all genealogists.

The Name is the Game  Onomatology and the Genealogist is available at the Newberry on the open shelf in Local and Family History, call number: Local History Ref. CS2305 .B63 2013.

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