Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What is a dit name and why is it important to Family History?

Naming conventions are a fascinating study, and knowing more about a culture's naming conventions can contribute to family history. In her article, "What Is a Dit Name and Why Is It Important to Family History," AnnMarie Gilon-Dodson explains the French custom of distinguishing individuals one from another through the use of "dit" names, "the custom of attaching an additional surname to the original family name," separated by "dit," as in "Giles Michel dit Tailon." As the article shows, the practice of dit names can end up, from one generation to the next, creating what might appear to be surname contradictions. An awareness of the practice and how it works, can help researchers better interpret documents and understand contradictions.

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