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Showing posts with label nicknames. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nicknames. Show all posts

Monday, March 24, 2008

Rip Wasn't Ready to Rest in Peace

Wim Hasman found a World War II mess tin in Germany's Huertgen Forest with the name "Emmit S. Collins" carved into it.

“Under the name — the letters RIP — I thought he was dead,” Hasman said of the information his efforts revealed.

Later, though, a very confused Hasman found mention online of Collins’ death not in 1940s Germany, but in 1999, a world away in Arkansas.

Pearl [Collins], who began communicating with Hasman early last week, was able to explain the engraving.

“That was his nickname when he was in the Army,” she told to a Courier editor when contacted by telephone last Monday. [Link]

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Boy Not Named Sue

This correction appeared in Thursday's Los Angeles Times:

The obituary of Doolittle Raider Nolan A. Herndon in Monday's California section gave his nickname as Sue. In fact, he was known only as Nolan Anderson Herndon. In addition, his sons were listed as Nolan A. "Sue" Herndon Jr. and James M. "Debbie" Herndon. Neither son goes by those nicknames; Sue and Debbie are the names of their wives. [Link, via LA Observed]

Friday, March 30, 2007

This Little Piggy Went to Court

Footballer Bastian Schweinsteiger successfully sued a Bavarian company for selling bratwurst under the name "Schweini." It means "piggy," and is the athlete's nickname.

Bastian's surname means "pig climber". How the 22-year-old's ancestors came by this moniker I am not sure. Perhaps scaling pigs is a job in Germany. Maybe it was once a popular hobby. Or perhaps it was just an isolated incident culminating in the punch line, "But you clamber on one pig . . . " [Link]

Friday, December 29, 2006

Everything's Relative in Howardtown

The residents of Howardtown, Alabama, are all descended from the same couple: James Jackson and Elizabeth (Sweeney) Howard.

If you live in Howardtown, you are either a Howard, you married a Howard, or your mother or grandmother was a Howard.
If you grew up in Howardtown, you know how to speak Howard, and it is no big deal; but to those of us who did not, it is fascinating. "My man" or "governor" is a male greeting. "Where are you going?" Quo Vadis. "Where have you been?" Elsworth. A shotgun is a smokepole but a rifle is a stick. Purvis is tobacco and a Purvis blade is a pocketknife. A dallas is a nap.
What's most fascinating to me is the patronymic naming system that the family has adopted, which incorporates nicknames.
Albert Parnell has a son called Buddy; i.e. Buddy Albert. The formula really gets multi-layered though, when both father and son have nicknames as in the case of Lloyd Howard and his father. Adon Howard's nickname was Ajack, while Lloyd's is Whitey. Lloyd becomes Whitey Ajack. [Link]

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

All Thanks to a Weird Nickname

Fred Varn makes genealogy seem easy. He found a half-brother he'd never met by Googling "Snooks Varn" and clicking on the first result.

Their father was Herbert Woodrow Varn, known as "Snooks."

Fred Varn was researching family history when he entered "Snooks Varn" on Google, and Jerry's name showed up.

Before now, none of the brothers tried to find each other because they didn't know for sure if they existed - or where they'd be, Fred Varn said. [Link]

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Making the World Safe for Onomatology

World War II had a lasting impact on the Philippines—or at least on Filipino names and nicknames.

After World War II, the American presence was well-established in Philippine names. In the late ’40s-’50s, there was a boom in Mary Lous (though it still stood for Maria Lourdes or Maria Luisa), Mary Anns, Mary Janes, Mary Roses, Mary Joans, Mary Beths.
Other stateside names that crept in were Elizabeth, Juliet, Nancy, Sheila, Emilie, Judy, Jeannie, Doris, Betty, Betsy, Katy, Leilani. A few Shirleys appear in every other generation. The same old ’50s male names persisted such as Lorenzo, Joaquin, Cesar, Emmanuel, Jaime, Felipe, Daniel. Popular nicknames were Louie, Mike, Andy, Tony, Benny, Steve, Teddy, Jimmy, Jess (ho-hum). [Link]

Monday, May 15, 2006

Call Me Anytime, But Don't Call Me That

It turns out that the residents of Norfolk Island are not the only ones identified by their nicknames in the local phone book. The 600 inhabitants of Cedillo, Spain, published their own colloquial directory at the urging of their mayor, Antonio "Booties" Gonzalez.

It means that Johnny the Potato can be found under P for Patata while Luciana is under C for Chinita.

From Pedro "the Whistle" to "Balls" Francisca, the Cedillo phone book is designed to give people the quickest and easiest way of finding their neighbors' phone numbers and addresses.
Not everybody in Cedillo is happy with the new phone book, however.

A man known as "Baldy" and another called "Peg-leg" asked to be registered under their proper surnames. [Link]

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Christians Reproduce on Remote Island

Norfolk Island in the South Pacific is a sort of genealogical anomaly. About a third of its 1,900 residents can trace their ancestry to 194 descendants of Fletcher Christian and his Bounty mutineers who outgrew Pitcairn Island and settled on Norfolk on June 8, 1856.

The handful of surnames brought by the Pitcairners are shared by so many islanders that the local telephone directory lists people by nickname, including Cane Toad, Onion, Dar Bizziebee, Kik Kik, Mutty, Lettuce Leaf and Carrots. [Link]
Pitcairn Island is now so sparsely populated that the residents can be listed on one small webpage.

Friday, January 06, 2006

On the Origins of Sockhead and Placenta

From BBC News, posted Jan. 6, 2006:

Your best nicknames

Earlier this week, many of you shared your experiences of growing up with an embarrassing, or amusing, nickname. Here's another slice of the best.

[snip]

4. I became Sockhead in sixth form, because it sounds like my surname and I have a huge sock collection, and I rather like it. It did, however, become so widespread that when teachers mentioned 'Catherine', some of my friends would ask 'Who? You mean Sockhead?'
Catherine M. Salkeld, Consett, UK

[snip]

7. I got called Placenta for a while because I once said I was named "after birth".
Martin, London, UK

[snip]

[Read the whole story]

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Nothing's Short for "Aloysius"

Nicknames are sometimes a source of confusion for genealogists, but really they are quite easy to understand. Just remember that "Rick" is a nickname for "Richard," when it is not serving that purpose for "Frederick," of which "Fred" is the usual diminutive, and so also of "Alfred," which more often is shortened to "Al"—also a nickname for "Albert," though "Bert" is sometimes preferred, as it is for "Bertram."

"Elizabeth" is always shortened to "Lizzie"—except when "Eliza," "Liza (or Lisa)," "Liz (or Lis)," "Lizbeth (or Lisbeth)," "Libby," "Beth," "Bess," "Bessie," "Betsey," "Betty," "Ella," "Ellie," "Elsa," or "Elsie" is used.

One should also be aware of non-standard nicknames used in some regions. In my own neighborhood there lived men called Squeak, Pinky, Porky, Wimpy, and Booger—only one whom answered cordially to his nickname.

You can check for your own family's nicknames at Edgar's Name Pages.

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