On changing names - about as OT as you can get

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Tue Mar 11 17:51:29 EST 2003

On Tue, 11 Mar 2003 10:43:53 -0600, Margaret Ball wrote:

>> And on this topic, I'd like you all to consider the genealogists of the
>> future when you're planning a name change.

>Without intending insult to genealogists of the present (hey, any hobby 
>that amuses you) I care as much about genealogists of the future as I do 
>about book dealers of the future.

I'm not sure what the two have to do with each other, except that both are
going to deal with changing technology even as their essential purpose
remains the same.  As I said to Denise, it's not a matter of *not* changing
your name, just a question of the paper trail you leave behind.  If you've
seen copies of the U.S. immigration records from the 19th century, you may
have noticed that the people writing down names frequently didn't care even
a little bit about correctly spelling those odd immigrant names from Eastern
Europe or even from the British Isles.  A lot of people got their names
changed willy-nilly and had not the benefit of choosing whether they wanted
to be called Kaczmariz or Smith.  Those records weren't kept for the benefit
of future generations either, but it's a pity, because the tax rolls and
voting records they *were* generated for aren't useful any more...and yet
people of our generation do use them to identify their ancestors.  You don't
have to live for the genealogists of the future to recognize that you are
already a part of history, regardless of who you are or what you may have

And yes, I think the connection to writing with typewriters only exists in
your tangled mind.  :)  There is a tangible benefit to accurate record
keeping and genealogy; there is none to maintaining stacks of first draft
manuscripts, unless you intend to become famous and make loads of money
auctioning them on eBay.  With writing, the final product really is all that
counts, but historical records are frequently mined for data other than that
which they were originally intended.

Melissa Proffitt

English doesn't borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, hits them over the head and goes through their pockets for loose vocabulary.

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