Surname craziness

June 25, 2007 at 7:13 pm (Uncategorized)

One of the family names I am researching is Brigance. Here is a list of names that I, and others, have found that our ancestors have been found by:

1. Brigham
2. Brigam
3. Briggants
4. Briggance
5. Bryant
6. Brigom

Do you see why researching your family tree takes so long? My uncle recently found our ancestor, my gg grandfather Brigance, in the 1850 census for Arkansas under Bryant. WTH? We could never find him in the 1850 census, in the county we thought he lived in, but we knew he was around. My uncle found him in another county that I would not have thought about but his three brothers were also in the same county and one of his brothers was living in the same household so I know it’s him. Both of his other brothers had different variations of the last name so I would not have found them in the 1850 census, either.

Sometimes if you can’t find somebody and you know they are in the vicinity, look for the variation of the surname, you might get lucky.



  1. Sheila said,

    I’ve been working on my family line too. It drives me crazy that it seems like if the census takers don’t know how to spell the last name, then they try to make up something completely left field! (All situational, of course)

  2. "that girl" said,

    i have found some names on eric’s side that are way weird also and i couldn’t figure them out … then i realized it was a pronunciation thing …. ravelet was origninally laviollette … it’s french and i’m sure someone couldn’t pronounce it and the only reason it clicked with me was because i took french in high school … otherwise i never would have put those two togethe

  3. Just Dave said,

    Sorry, screwed up the first time. My surname has a Mc in it. I didn’t realze how many varieties of “Mcs” there are in the world.

  4. cheer34 said,

    Variations are the bane of genealogy. I get confused when the first names are used generation after generation. How many Thomas Holcomb’s can there be in one area for 1 decade? Well apparently 4 so far. And when they marry women with the same first name too, it drives me crazy. Or how about marrying a Mary, she dies, and then he marries a second Mary. I am glad I like detective work.

  5. Teri said,

    Sheila – I’ve also heard that if the family wasn’t home during the time the census was taken, the taker would ask a neighbor. Definitely a WTF moment. This baffles my mind.

    Dave – I’ve also found an Mc surname for my last name and they ended up have the same DNA as my surname which does not have the Mc in front of it. Weird.

    Cheer – I agree. Do you know how many William’s, John’s David’s, etc. we have in this line? and how hard it is to track them. Insane.

  6. Teri said,

    Dave – sorry, that didn’t make sense.

    So if my last name were Smith but a McSmith took the DNA testing and was a 100% match to my Smith. This is what I mean. Very strange.

  7. Lynda said,


    My mom has a book that was printed for each child that has the relatives in it. My aunt does family tree stuff. It’s interesting.

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