Where oh where have my little men gone……

Oh where oh where can they be?

My paternal grandad (the one who was gone before I arrived) had two brothers plus several half brothers  Deaths in Ireland in the mid 1800s were frequent so his father was married twice.

The habit of giving children family given names – 1st son usually got their paternal grandfather’s name (plus more sometimes) likewise for daughters being given grandmother’s names and so on – makes it so hard to pin point and attach the correct John, James,  or Archibald (who calls their child Archibald – my family obviously because it seems like there are hundreds of them out there) or even anyone else for that matter to the correct family.  John Smith could have 5 sons who each have a son, which means there you are, theres 5 more John Smiths often with only a few years between them 😊

When my gt grandad named the boys in his second family he obviously couldn’t carry on the way he was going – he’d used up all the male names from both his and his deceased wife’s extended families which meant the new sons ended up with slightly different ones that originated in the new wife’s family.

So when associated with an unusual surname you’d think they’d be easy to find in amongst all the online records available on various family history sites.  You’d think??  I’ve found the correct birth records for all three brothers plus 1901 Irish census and they’re filed away…… I’ve located a marriage certificate, 1911 Irish census record as well as a death cert. for my grandad (my dad’s dad) but nothing more for the other two.

The trouble is so many in their family or extended family from other counties all with the same surname (and lots with the same given names) decided life would be better elsewhere and hopped on ships to sail to other lands.  Paasenger records are interesting in that sometimes the name recorded could be a full set of given names plus family name or any one of abreviations/nicknames the person is called…..  Alexander James could be that or Alex or Alec Or James (if his father has the same name) or even Jimmy!

Then there’s the case of illiteracy…….lack of reading and writing skills……….or even bad hearing in a noisy environment…..where names spoken aren’t always transcribed with the same spelling.  My father was adamant one of his grandmothers was a Muldoon – yes that, plus McIldoon or McEldoon or M’Eldoon which I’ve found on legal docs.  Same with his other grandma – she’s recorded as being Mary M’Endoo or McAdoo or McAdor!  Northern Ireland accents could fool even the locals lol

That little saying up above is what my dad told me when I gave him his first grandchild.  Tell him about where the family came from but don’t stop him flying away to see what the rest of the world is like.

Now if anyone knows where my Thomas Henry ***** and his brother Joseph Arthur ***** are could you tell them their gt niece Catherine is looking for them 😊😎

20 thoughts on “Where oh where have my little men gone……

  1. It is confusing Cathy, but your family seem to be worse than mine were. For years I thought one of my ancestors was called Richard then when I was researching a child of his called Thomas I suddenly find that he was in fact Thomas Richard (my ancestor not the son). It is easy to throw in the towel and surrender. As I was only researching my direct ancestors and if anything or anyone came up then I looked on that as a bonus, but didn’t intentionally start looking for siblings. Very frustrating! Good luck!

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    1. Thanks Joan – it’s these little hiccups that give me the impetus to try again. Just taking a different route 😊


  2. My family had the same issues – all the first sons were labelled Ingleby Thomas ****** so my my older brother (now dec’d) got the same handle. Apparently grandma thought he looked like a Billy so that was his nickname until he was older and he dropped the “y” – everyone knew him as Bill…

    Most assumed that his real name was William – but of course it wasn’t….

    Anyway, he was at some local workshop thing (he was an addicted volunteer) and you had to tell the group something that no one new about oneself. The others all said “no need Bill we know everything…”

    He basically said “I don’t think so…” and then he blew them out of the water and said

    “my real name isn’t Bill”
    “oh, we know that, it’s William”
    “no it isn’t it’s Ingleby”

    and he produce some evidence an official letter from a gov’t department address to Mr I. T. ******

    Other: Bill didn’t want his son to be labelled with the I word so that got to be one of his second names, he was Roderick Ingleby ****** (also now dec’d, unfortunate early death when he was in his mid 50s)


    1. Lovely story Cathy and yes that’s exactly what I’ve come up against.
      Sorry to hear about the early death of your rellie. We never know what’s around the corner do we.


  3. My family is a bit of a mystery. My father made an oyster look garrulous and as a German Jew lots of his family (we believe) were wiped out. My mother’s relationship with the truth wasn’t an intimate one.


  4. It is a nice little saying. One of my grandmother’s maiden name has a couple of different spellings, probably caused by it being an Italian name, but because it is not a common name, it doesn’t matter so much when researching.


    1. Andrew, so many migrants changed their names to make it ‘easier’ for them to be accepted. Made it easier for the locals as well lol


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