Column: Surnames in Transition

Between today and Saturday, my genealogy column, Roots to the Past, is available in the following Atlantic Canada newspapers:

Tuesday: The Kings County Record (Sussex)

Wednesday: The Lunenburg County Progress Bulletin

Thursday: The Western Star (Corner Brook)

Saturday: The Citizen (Amherst)

Saturday: Times & Transcript (Moncton)

Title: Surnames in Transition

Snippet: Surnames are markers. They’re not perfect, but they aid genealogists in tracing family lines back through the centuries. Depending on the culture, the surname given to a child reflects either the mother’s or the father’s side of the family. With it, someone can easier discover the grandparents and great-grandparents.

The most common practice in Atlantic Canada is for the family to assume the male’s surname when a couple marry. The female relinquishes her family marker, which can make it difficult for her past friends to locate her and for future generations to trace her family line. The further one reaches into the past, the more difficult it can be to locate female birth surnames and their relatives.

In some cultures, the family takes the surname of the female, erasing the male surname from the equation. This creates the same issues as the first example.

. . . To read more, pick up one of the above noted newspapers.


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