Use the advanced search function of the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) to search that database for your unusual first names. Here's the URL: http://www.ancestry.com/ssdi/advanced.htm
Naming Conventions courtesy of The Gene Pool.
What does your name mean? Thanks to C. Thomas Wright III for this URL!
compiled the following information. Please send him additions to include in his list.
What's in a name? The following name variations have been compiled from information
supplied by participants on the GENIRE-L. Many other nicknames were submitted,
however I was interested mainly in name substitutes that became a 'traditional'
alternative to the baptismal name. In other words, family nicknames or simple
name-shortening have not made it to this list. Also, substitutes that are still
common today are not included (eg. Bill, Bob, etc). Some likely derivations have also been
included, however this author can not warrant the accuracy of the information. Items
marked '*' may be family nicknames as only one source has submitted them.
>Thadeus Timothy, Teague*
>Jeremiah Dermot because Diarmuid in Irish sounds more like Jairmud.
>Patrick Peter (interchangeable)*
>Patrick Patsy or Packy*
>Mary Ann Polly
>Honora Nora, Onnie
>Owen Eugene 'Eoghan' Gaelic, 'Eugenius' Latin, hence Eugene.
>Ann Nancy (still common)
>Margaret Peg or Peggy Margaret means 'Pearl' and in Gaelic'Peigi' means 'Pearl'.
> However another alternative proposes that the Greek word for 'Pearl' was borrowed by the Latin 'Margarita' which was subsequently borrowed by the Gaelic.
>Margaret Madge (still fairly common)
>If you have other substitutes that were common in the past in Ireland, but cause nightmares for Genealogists today, I will be pleased to add them to the list.
>Thanks to all who participated. Terry Egan firstname.lastname@example.org
NAMING PATTERNS common in Ireland in the mid-1800's
If you test it against the names of your ancestors AND they followed it...the probability that the prior generation might have is enough for me to look for that first name I would expect the prior generations would have-when I have no other leads to follow.
The 1st son was usually named after the fathers father
The 1st daughter was usually named after the mothers mother
the 2nd son was usually named after the mothers father
the 2nd daughter was usually named after the fathers mother
the 3rd son was usually named after the father
the 3rd daughter was usually named after the mother
the 4th son was usually named after the fathers eldest brother
the 4th daughter was usually named after the mothers eldest sister
the 5th son was usually named after the mothers eldest brother
the 5th daughter was usually named after the fathers eldest sister.
Naturally this pattern could not be followed exactly, but most families would try and keep to it.
http://www.usgenweb.org/researchers/names.html#patternsNaming Patterns in England, 1700-1875
Younger children would be named after earlier ancestors, but the pattern in their case was more varied.
One variation from the above was for the eldest son to be named after the mother's father and the eldest daughter after the father's mother. In this case the second son would be named after the father's father and the second daughter after the mother's mother. Occasionally the second son and daughter would be named after the father and mother instead of the third son and daughter. Another variation was to name the third daughter after one of the great-grandmothers instead of after the mother. In such a case, the fourth daughter would usually be named after the mother.
18th Century PA German Naming Customs very interesting and some info would apply to other nationalities
The general naming pattern in Scotland was to name:
One variation of above was for the eldest son to be named after the mother's father and the eldest daughter after the father's mother.
Since given names change over the years someone doing research on their line would need to know the approximate time period when their ancestor was born and in what country.
Source: "In Search of Scottish Ancestry"
I found this on another list. Since many people on this list ask about
origin of names, this may be useful.
>Subject: : OCCUPATIONS CHART for Reference
>Almoner Giver of charity to the needy
>Amanuensis Secretary or stenographer
>Artificer A soldier mechanic who does repairs
>Bluestocking Female writer
>Boniface Keeper of an inn
>Brazier One who works with brass
>Brewster Beer manufacturer
>Brightsmith Metal Worker
>Caulker One who filled up cracks (in ships or windows) or seems to
>make them watertight by using tar or oakum-hemp fiber
> produced by taking old ropes apart
>Chaisemaker Carriage maker
>Chandler Dealer or trader; one who makes or sells candles;
> retailer of groceries
>Chiffonnier Wig maker
>Clerk Clergyman, cleric
>Clicker The servant of a salesman who stood at the door to
> invite customers; one who received the matter in the
> galley from the compositors and arranged it in due form
> ready for printing; one who makes eyelet holes in boots
> using a machine which clicked.
>Collier Coal miner
>Colporteur Peddler of books
>Cooper One who makes or repairs vessels made of staves & hoops,
>such as casks, barrels, tubs, etc.
>Cordwainer Shoemaker, originally any leather worker using leather from
> Cordova/Cordoba in Spain
>Costermonger Peddler of fruits and vegetables
>Currier One who dresses the coat of a horse with a curry comb;
> one who tanned leather by incorporating oil or grease
>Docker Stevedore, dock worker who loads and unloads cargo
>Dowser One who finds water using a rod or witching stick
>Draper A dealer in dry goods
>Drayman One who drives a long strong cart without fixed sides for
> carrying heavy loads
>Dresser A surgeon's assistant in a hospital
>Drover One who drives cattle, sheep, etc. to market;
> a dealer in cattle
>Factor Agent, commission merchant;
> one who acts or transacts business for another;
> Scottish steward or bailiff of an estate
>Farrier A blacksmith, one who shoes horses
>Fell monger One who removes hair or wool from hides in preparation for
> leather making
>Fletcher One who made bows and arrows
>Fuller One who fulls cloth;one who shrinks and thickens woolen
> cloth by moistening, heating, and pressing;
> one who cleans and finishes cloth
>Gaoler A keeper of the goal, a jailer
>Glazier Window glassman
>Hacker Maker of hoes
>Hatcheler One who combed out or carded flax
>Haymonger Dealer in hay
>Hayward Keeper of fences
>Higgler Itinerant peddler
>Hillier Roof tiler
>Hind A farm laborer
>Holster A groom who took care of horses, often at an inn
>Hooper One who made hoops for casks and barrels
>Huckster Sells small wares
>Husbandman A farmer who cultivated the land
>Jagger Fish peddler
>Journeyman One who had served his apprenticeship and mastered his
> craft, not bound to serve a master, but hired by the day
>Joyner / Joiner A skilled carpenter
>Kempster Wool comber
>Lardner Keeper of the cupboard
>Lavender Washer woman
>Lederer Leather maker
>Lormer Maker of horse gear
>Manciple A steward
>Mintmaster One who issued local currency
>Monger Seller of goods (ale, fish)
>Neatherder Herds cows
>Ordinary Keeper Innkeeper with fixed prices
>Pattern Maker A maker of a clog shod with an iron ring. A clog
> was a wooden pole with a pattern cut into the end
>Peregrinator Itinerant wanderer
>Peruker A wig maker
>Pettifogger A shyster lawyer
>Pigman Crockery dealer
>Plumber One who applied sheet lead for roofing and set lead
> frames for plain or stained glass windows.
>Porter Door keeper
>Puddler Wrought iron worker
>Quarrier Quarry worker
>Rigger Hoist tackle worker
>Ripper Seller of fish
>Roper Maker of rope or nets
>Saddler One who makes, repairs or sells saddles or other
> furnishings for horses
>Sawyer One who saws; carpenter
>Scribler A minor or worthless author
>Scrivener Professional or public copyist or writer; notary public
>Scrutiner Election judge
>Slopseller Seller of ready-made clothes in a slop shop
>Snobscat / Snob One who repaired shoes
>Spinster A woman who spins or an unmarried woman
>Spurrer Maker of spurs
>Squire Country gentleman; farm owner; justice of peace
>Stuff gown Junior barrister
>Stuff gownsman Junior barrister
>Supercargo Officer on merchant ship who is in charge of cargo and the
> commercial concerns of the ship
>Tanner One who tans (cures) animal hides into leather
>Tapley One who puts the tap in an ale cask
>Teamster One who drives a team for hauling
>Tide waiter Customs inspector
>Tinker Am itinerant tin pot and pan seller and repairman
>Travers Toll bridge collection
>Tucker Cleaner of cloth goods
>Turner A person who turns wood on a lathe into spindles
>Victualer A tavern keeper, or one who provides an army, navy,
> or ship with food supplies
>Wagoner Teamster not for hire
>Wainwright Wagon maker
>Waiter Customs officer or tide waiter; one who waited on the tide
> to collect duty on goods brought in
>Waterman Boatman who plies for hire
>Webster Operator of looms
>Wharfinger Owner of a wharf
>Wheelwright One who made or repaired wheels; wheeled carriages, etc.
>Whitesmith Tinsmith; worker of iron who finishes or polishes the work
>Whitewing Street sweeper
>Whitster Bleacher of cloth
>Wright Workman, especially a construction worker
>Yeoman Farmer who owns his own land
Whenever a newborn was to be christened, the invitations went out to all the relations, brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, in-laws and outlaws, to gather together and choose a name. Pipes were passed, whiskey was drunk, and eventually a name was settled on. This custom was called the Naming Convention and the idea was later picked up by politicians who used the same method to name a candidate for elective office.