Names Are So Confusing

“A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet”

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me”

William Shakespeare wrote the former; we dont know who wrote the latter, but of all the old sayings that have to do with names, I think Ben Franklin’s best applies to my situation.  Ben said, “What signifies knowing the names if you know not the nature of things?”  Well said, Ben.  What does it matter if you know what things are called, if that’s all you know about them?  Very true, unless you happen to be talking about genealogy.

There are a lot of examples in my search where I have been stymied, for longer or shorter times, by differences in names.  Whether they’ve been spelling differences (Lamont vs Lamonte), transcription errors in the records (Crowley vs Crowsley), or resulting from language barriers (Isaac vs Elzear) they’ve been issues to overcome.

The one that is most recent is whether Frank Hartwell Orcutt is really Francis Hartwell Orcutt.

Frank Hartwell Orcutt

I found a copy of the Birth Records for Abington, MA in 1884 in which his birth is recorded as “Frank.”  But, given that his father was Francis Colby Orcutt, could it be that the parents were calling him “Frank” instead of Francis to avoid confusion?  My new-found cousin, Sharon, is calling in some favors and trying to get a copy of the official birth certificate from the Town of Abington (being a published author and professional genealogist has its advantages!), so soon this mystery may be solved.

There are 4 or 5 others I already know about and just as many likely waiting to step up and cause problems!

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