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General Geneology question. Did 1900 Catholic families have a tendency to swap their first and middle names??

General Geneology question. Did 1900 Catholic families have a tendency to swap their first and middle names??

Posted: 5 Jan 2013 8:26PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 5 Jan 2013 8:27PM GMT
I've been searching for my grandfather's side of the family. Being that our last name is Kennedy and there is a ridiculous amount of people named Kennedy, it's proved difficult.

I know my grandfather's name was Leo J Kennedy Jr. I know his birthday was November 7, 1926 in Massachusetts (probably Lynn, MA). I know he had 9 brothers and sisters. I know the names of some of those brothers and sisters. Pat, Donald, Gene, Winnie...

So I've been trying to find documents linked to his parents. I know his parents were Leo J Kennedy Sr. and Margaret/Margarite/Marguerite Kennedy (maiden name Hanlon). I know they were both born in Nova Scotia, Canada.

You'd think it would be easy to find this stuff... but apparently there were multiple Leo Kennedy's married to Margaret Kennedys who came from Canada to Massachusetts. People weren't very original back in the day, I guess.

I did find which I'm fairly sure is the 1940 census document that lists many of the kids. What's odd is instead of showing Leo J Kennedy Sr as the head of the household, he lists his name as John L Kennedy. But it has to be the right family, because the children and their births line up:
Winifred (winnie) as the oldest (est born 1922).
It shows Daniel as the oldest boy (est born 1923).
It shows my grandfather, Leo (est born 1927... which lines up with November 1926)
It shows Donald (1931)
Eugene (1933)
Dolores (1935)

Has to be the family...

So my next step was finding the 1930 census document...

I believe I found it. But once again Leo J Kennedy Sr lists his name as "John L Kennedy"...

Even stranger, on this document, many of the kids show their middle names too. Below is a comparison between the 1940 and 1930 census:

[Census 1940] = Winifred born 1922 / [Census 1930] Winifred C born 1922

[Census 1940] = Daniel born 1925 / [Census 1930] Robert D born 1922

[Census 1940] = Leo born 1927 / [Census 1930] John L born 1927

[CEnsus 1940] = Theresa born 1930 / [Census 1930] Arlene T born 1929

... Note that the middle initials match up to the names I know. Leo Jr (my grandfather) = John L. Daniel = Robert D. Theresa = Arlene T. Why would they be showing the middle names first?... or do you think maybe the names I believe to be the middle names are actually the original birth names?

Re: General Geneology question. Did 1900 Catholic families have a tendency to swap their first and middle names??

Posted: 5 Jan 2013 9:26PM GMT
Classification: Query

I’m not related to any member of this family.

1940 is the last available census at this time.



It was a very common practice to flip/flop btw census' using 1st names then middle names..

Check to see if the birthplaces remained the same from one census to the next.

Re: General Geneology question. Did 1900 Catholic families have a tendency to swap their first and middle names??

Posted: 6 Jan 2013 12:03PM GMT
Classification: Query
Census records are notoriously inaccurate - the process of obtaining the information and the purpose of the data collected allows for plenty of minor or major errors. Names in particular were frequently misrecorded because the intent of the census is for demographic purposes - the exact spellings or order of one's name was/is not of vital importance and therefore it is quite common to see misspelled or flip-flopped names. It does not necessarily mean the individual would flip-flop their names in practice, just that they were recorded backwards.

However, some people did go by their middle names. I have more than one "John Henry" in my tree who clearly went by "Henry" or "Harry" and their first name can't even be found on most censuses.
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