A person’s name can be the key to generations of family history.
For me, it is my great grandfather, Harry C. Schofield. His name I discovered was bound to many layers of family history.
Name binding is a term I use to describe when I find an ancestor or descendent’s name is key to finding out more of the family history clues to confirm relationships.
The official definition of ‘name binding’ according to wordIQ.com is from computer sciences programming language and is the association of objects with identifiers. An identifier bound to an object is said to reference that object.
With my engineering background, I find myself retrofitting such technical terms to my own use. I have learned a lot about using known family names to confirm further family tree information. I want to pass this on to you so you can leverage it as well.
I will use the example of my g-grandfather Harry C. to help explain.
I knew my g-grandfather went by the name Harry Charles Schofield. But when I confirmed his birth date (2/22/1880) to a birth certificate in the Illinois county he was born, I found his name was listed as Charles William Schofield with his father’s name listed as Clarence Hiram Schofield and an older sibling, Myrtle.
The name Charles William was somewhat the same as Harry Charles, but not similar enough to truly confirm they were the same person.
I had a known list of g-grandfather’s children and dates they were born. He had 15 children, so perhaps some of those names could give me some clues.
All were born in South Dakota and their names in order of birth were:
- Charles William (b:1905)
- Clarence Henry (b: 1907) – this is my grandfather
- Florence Mae (b:1907) – twin to my grandfather
- Richard McAllister (b:1909)
- Robert Allen (b:1911)
- Alfred Louis (b: 1914)
- Albert Eugene (b:1914) – twin to Alfred
- Edward Hiram (b: 1916)
- Joseph Harrison (b:1918)
- Matthew Victor (b: 1919)
- Martin Luther (b: 1921)
- Forrest Andrew (b:1923)
- Myrtle Grace (b:1925)
- Harry Homer (b: 1927)
- Everett Neil (b:1929)
Thank heavens for large families. I highlighted above all the clues I found. My g-grandparents had named their children by using five repeating names:
- The proof was right there in the name of his first child, Charles William he had named his first born son after his own birth name.
- He had named my own grandfather, Clarence, his second born son; after his father.
- He had given his first child born after 1914 the middle name of his father, Hiram. (His father passed away in 1914 in South Dakota after reconciling with his son. That is another genealogy fishing story for later.)
- He had given his second daughter the first name of his sister, Myrtle.
There was no doubt now that Harry Charles Schofield and Charles William Schofield were the same person.
Name binding….watch for the clues in your own family history hunt.