Re: Need Help to figure out where my grandfather came from - SCHEWACH #general

A. E. Jordan

In a message dated 2/16/2012 8:40:05 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
schaefferfamilytree@... writes:
1. How can I find when they chaged there last name and why?
2. Every document has a differnt place where they came from.How can I
figure out which is right so that I can start going back ?
Were it so simple to answer questions like that .....

Generally I go with a rule of thumb that the earlier the document the more
likely it is to be correct. Memories fade.

Second rule of thumb is the more official the document the more likely they
told the "truth." So generally I look at things like naturalization records
in hopes of getting birth places. Assuming it is the long form used at
1906 in the USA

As to the name change the best option is follow the paper trail. If you
have them arriving with one name go through the various documents >from the
next census (state and Federal) as well as other vital records. That's
likely the best route to finding the history of a name. Can try city
directories too.

A lot of people changed their names at the time of naturalization but they
could do a name change when ever the mood struck them. Few of our
ancestors 100 years ago went to the time and expense of an official name change
registered in the courts. They sort of woke up one morning and said today I
think I will become ......

By the 1930s or 1940s it became more common to go to court and register
name changes. I have done a few of these searches and they are hard unless
you have some clue of the timing and the to and >from names. I did one a few
months ago for someone and she only had the new names and a guess on the
original name and the time frame. The index at the court was done with the
old name to the new name. We got lucky that the people kept the same
letter as the first letter of the name and we had both the wife and husband's
names which made it possible to find them. But it required a scan of page
after page of name changes hoping it would jump off the page at me.

Allan Jordan

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