Her Name Was Nancy
Q: Would you by any chance have a list of nicknames for people, like Bill is for William or Polly is for Martha? I have tried desperately to find my great-grandmother in the census of the county and state which she was supposed to be born. Her name in later census after marriage is Nancy J. What other name could she have gone by? -- Sam
A: Nicknames do sometimes cause a great deal of frustration in our seeking of ancestors. There are a couple of nicknames for Nancy, including Nan, Nana, and Nanny. However, an interesting twist is that the name Nancy is sometimes used as a nickname for Ann or Agnes.
It could be the middle initial that is throwing you off on the search. It is possible that Nancy is listed under this unknown other name in earlier census records. The most probable name being Jane. I have found Nancy Jane to be a common name. If it is Jane, then the possible nicknames include Gincey, Janie, Jean, Jennie, and Jessie.
An excellent resource when it comes to nicknames is Nicknames Past and Present By Christine Rose, now in its third edition. There are also some online nickname resources.
Born in Ireland
Q: My research takes me back to the mid 1700s, but at that point most of my ancestors, especially the two major branches of my family, were born overseas. How do I go about getting information on relatives born in Ireland? -- Mike
A: You are not alone in your quest. There are many who can trace their lineage back to the 1700s only to be stopped at the pond. This is especially true when it comes to Ireland.
Irish research requires that you know the parish where the individual was born. The Irish records at that time would be ecclesiastical records, thus the need to not only know the town but also the parish.
It is possible that someone has done the work for you. If you haven't done so already, you will want to look toward published family histories. There are many available online at Ancestry through their public member family trees. There are also many available on microfilm through the Family History Library.
You might also want to check the Library of Congress online catalog . If you can find a family history here, it might be possible to get the book through Interlibrary loan with your local public library.
Incompatible File Formats
Q: My cousin has sent me some fact files on our family as a download. He has the files in a Microsoft word processor. I am running Windows 98se and have Family Tree Maker software. My computer shows it downloaded but I am unable to find it. Could you please give me some advice. -- Peggy
A: It sounds like you received the files from your cousin through e-mail as an e-mail attachment. You will need to find out from your e-mail program where it stores the attachments. This is usually found in the Tools menu.
Another way to find the file is to use Windows Explorer. Open Windows Explorer, then use the Find option found under the Tools menu to search for the file in question. This will give you the full path to that file.
If you are trying to open the file using Family Tree Maker, that may explain why the file does not appear to be on the computer where you think it should be. Family Tree Maker cannot open a word processing file. It will look specifically for Family Tree Maker files, usually ending with the extension .FTW or a GEDCOM file that has the extension .GED. It can look for text files, but these must end in the extension .TXT. To use the text file, you will need to search Family Tree Maker's online help (that is the help file in the program) on importing text files. These are usually imported to a notes field of a person.
Rhonda R. McClure is a professional genealogist specializing in celebrity trees and computerized genealogy. She has been involved in online genealogy for fifteen years. She is an award-winning author of several genealogy how-to books, including The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy, The Genealogist's Computer Companion, and Finding Your Famous and Infamous Ancestors. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See more advice from Rhonda in her columns Expert Tips, Tigs and Trees, and Overheard in the Message Boards.