As part of the research process, we look for name derivations, determining
the progression of our surnames or the misspellings and errors that took place,
but do we pay attention to variant family names that our ancestors used on a
daily basis? What about the legacy we are creating for our descendants? Will
they recognize our names?
Recently, my best friend of ten years had dinner with me and my father and
this name game was emphasized when my friend asked who we were discussing. I was
confused by her question since the topic of discussion was my niece, whom my
friend has met on numerous occasions. It finally dawned on me that I always
refer to my niece by her nickname which sounds nothing like her name, while my
father always calls my niece by her first name. I realized that both my nieces
are called by varying nicknames that other people may not recognize.
With my given name of Melissa, I have regularly been called Mel or Missy,
but should someone find a card, letter, picture, or postcard that I have sent to
my nieces, they would find a different signature. My nieces have always called
me Sessa or Issa and the next generation may question who this individual
The only way to insure that future generations keep up with our evolving
world is by telling our stories.