29 August 2012

What's In a Name?

     I once heard a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson:

"I won't trust a man who can't spell his name at least three different ways."

     I guess that kind of sums up most of the problems in genealogy and not being able to find our ancestors. I hear so many people claim that their family was "missed" on the census. I guess they never head this quote!

     In going through the Dawes Rolls Creek packets, I came across an interesting transcript. One of the "chiefs" of a village gave an explanation, under oath, of how names were dealt with. Children were given their father's name if they lived in the father's village and mother's name if in her village. To complicate things more, there were separate rules if the husband or wife was Cherokee living in the Creek nation or vice/versa.

     The most interesting statement I read was the "chief's" identification of a child's father. He gave the father's name he was known by. And then he also gave the dad's Creek name. AND he went on to identify the man's Warrior name. So each Creek male had a "White" name, a "Creek" name, and a "Warrior" name. A genealogist unaware of this naming system is doomed!

     Perhaps the Creeks took Thomas Jefferson's supposed quote too seriously :)

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