Posted by Jessica Latinović on March 31, 2015 in Website

Abc LetterIf you’ve spent a significant amount of time researching your family history, you’ve probably run into many of your ancestors referred to with a nickname in records, including censuses.

Being familiar with nicknames that your ancestor may have used could help you overcome that “brick wall.” It can also prevent the frustration of discovering that that “other” person is actually someone you’ve already identified in your tree.

Keep in mind that some nicknames may have been common in the region where your ancestor came from, and there are many nicknames not commonly-used today that were widely used by our ancestors.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be breaking down first names for men and women and offering some respective nicknames. Hopefully, this will be helpful to you as you come across variant names in your family history research,

Name Nickname
A – Female  
Abigail Nabby, Abby, Gail, Gubby
Adaline/Adeline Addy, Ada, Dell, Lena
Adelaide Adele, Addy, Della, Heidi
Adele Dell, Addy
Agatha Aggy
Agnes Aggy, Inez, Nessa
Aileen Allie, Lena
Alberta Allie, Bert, Bertie
Alexandra Alex, Alla, Sandy
Alfreda Alfy, Freda, Frieda, Freddy
Alice Allie, Elsie, Lisa
Amanda Manda, Mandy
Amelia Emily, Mel, Millie
Ann/Anne Annie, Nan, Nana, Nanny, Nancy
Antoinette/Antonia Nette, Tony, Netta, Ann
Arabella/Arabelle Ara, Arry, Belle, Bella
Arlene Arly, Lena
Armena Arry, Mena
Arminta Arry, Minta
Augusta/Augustina Aggy, Tina, Gatsy, Gussie, Tina
A – Male
Aaron Erin, Ron, Ronnie
Abel Ab, Abe, Ed, Ebbie
Abijah Bige
Abraham, Abram Abe
Abner Ab
Adam Ad, Ade
Adelbert Ad, Ade, Albert, Bert, Elbert
Adolph/Adolphus Ad, Olph, Dolph
Alan Al
Albert Al, Bert, Elbert
Aldrich Al, Rich, Richie
Alexander Al, Alex, Sandy
Alfred Al, Fred
Alonzo Al, Lon, Lonzo
Anderson Ander, Andy, Sonny
Andrew Andy, Drew
Anthony Tony
Archibald Archie
Arthur Art
August Auggie, Gus
B – Female
Barbara Bab, Babs, Barby, Barbie, Bobbie
Beatrice Bea, Trix, Trixie, Trisha
Belinda Belle, Linda
Bertha Birdie, Bert, Bertie
Bethany Beth, Theny
Bridget Biddie, Biddy, Bridie
B – Male
Barnabas Barney, Berney
Bartholomew Bart, Bartel, Bat, Mees
Benedict Ben, Bennie
Benjamin Ben, Benjy, Bennie
Bernard Barney, Berney
Bradford Brad, Brady, Ford
Broderick Brady, Brody, Ricky
Bronson Bron, Sonny
C – Female
Camille Cammie, Cammy, Millie
Candace Candy
Carol/Caroline/Carolyn Callie, Carol, Carrie, Cassie, Lynn, Caddie
Cassandra Cassie, Sandra, Sandy
Catherine/Cathleen Cassie, Cathy, Katie, Kay, Kit, Kittie, Kitty, Trina, Rina
Cecilia Celia, Cissy
Charlotte Char, Lotta, Lottie, Lotty
Christine/Christina Chris, Crissy, Christy, Tina
Clarissa Clara, Cissy
Clementine Clemmie
Cleophas Cleda
Constance Connie
Cordelia Cordy, Delia
Cornelia Corny, Nelle, Nelly
Cynthia Cindy
C – Male
Calvin Cal, Vin, Vinny
Cameron Cam, Ron, Ronny
Cedric Ced, Rick
Charles Carl, Charlie, Chick, Chuck
Chester Ches, Chess, Chet
Chauncey Chan
Christopher/Chris/Christian Chris, Kit
Clarence Clair, Clare
Clement Clem
Clifford Cliff, Ford
Clifton Cliff, Tony
Conrad Conny
Courtney Court, Curt
Cornelius Con, Conny, Neil
Curtis Curt
Cuthbert Bert
Cyrus Cy

What common or uncommon nicknames have you found in your family history research?

 

Jessica Latinović

Jessica serves as U.S. Social Media Manager for Ancestry.

17 Comments

  1. Jessica Murray

    @Walter
    The series will be published here over the next few months and the entire series will be turned into a guide which will be hosted on the Ancestry Learning Center which is publicly accessible.

  2. Roberta Douglas

    I was transcribing some old family letters that my mother had given me. The letters were written to “cousin Frank”. Unable to determine who Frank was, I asked my mother and she said “that’s my grandmother, Francis H Curtis. They always called her Frank.” I don’t think I would have been able to identify who that person was if my mother wasn’t alive to ask.

  3. pat gibson

    what a great idea and should be very helpful to a lot of researchers. thanks for putting this list together. I look forward to having access to the full list.

  4. Lisa Leavitt

    At least most of these make sense. I grew up calling my Great Aunt “Aunt Jennie”. My Dad called her that also. I could never find her and then found out through her birth record that her name was really “Janet”. How do you get “Jennie” out of Janet? Her brother was John and they called him Jack. I don’t think those two are close either. It does make genealogy difficult when nicknames are used in place of real names. This list will be great!

  5. debbi s.

    I run into quite often Mary being called Polly; apparently that was common for some reason. And Sarah as Sadie or Sally; those also cause problems when the census uses the nicknames.

  6. jdove222

    Mary was a very common name for my ancestors. Most were called by a nickname, such as Molly, Polly, and Mattie. It seems like all my ancestors named Sarah were called Sallie.

  7. judy calhoun bresch

    My brick wall for 20 years was broken down when I discovered that my Calhoun’s had a tradition of using their middle names as given names. Then they would bounce back and forth with real given names and middle names and sometimes using only initials for given names. So my LEVI C CALHOUN was sometimes KIRT, KURK, KURT, CURT or on his headstone K. He had so confused his children that long after his death each one put a different spin on his aka on the documents they filled out. His father was JAMES S. CALHOUN who was sometimes STEVE, STEPHEN & SOMETIMES JAMES. His mother was MILLY CAROLINE WHITE, aka MILLA, or CAROLINE. All of the siblings followed this same pattern and were also a bit loose with their birthdates and places of birth. I just kept telling myself, “They can run but they can not hide.”

  8. Maureen

    In our Irish family, the Bridgets who were born in Ireland were nicknamed Delia and the Bridgets born in the US were nicknamed Della.

  9. Jenifer

    In my family we have found Ella and Elle used for Arabella, Jennie used for Jane, and Mamie used for Mary…the last two on marriage documents and such, in addition to the census.

  10. jenni

    In my family Anita was “Neta” pronounced with a long E, and “Nita” pronounced with a long I. I don’t think the second one was common. I only know of one Aunt Nita!

  11. Robert Freeman

    My wife, mother, sister and aunt are all named Cecilia. My mother and aunt are both called Ceil. My wife is called Celia or Cece by the young ones and my sister is CheChe consistant with how the name is spoken in italian

  12. Alison

    I second the comment above that mentions the nickname Delia being used for Bridget in Irish families.

  13. Barbara

    My name is Barbara but I get called Barb (which wasn’t on your list) and Bobo (because I couldn’t say Barbara when I was a toddler). Bobo is usually used by family members only

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