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02 April 2009

Did Grandma Even Say it Right?

Years ago in an article, I referred to a "birder house." I was mentioning in passing the little shed where my Grandma Neill had kept her baby chickens. She always said it like "birder house." And it seemed like a logical name for a building that kept little birds. What she actually meant was "brooder house."

Referring to a brood of chickens, not a "bird."

Is there a name, a word, or a placename that you heard "wrong" from a relative? Is that the reason you cannot find it? Perhaps Grandma was pronouncing it in her own way. If no one else used that pronunciation, you may have difficulty in finding the correct location.

Grandma always said she was born in "Tiogee" but that's another story for another tip!


  1. Michael, I have a story that relates to your tip today. For years, my husband thought that his great-great grandfather was Arvil. We looked for Arvil in the records to no avail. Turns out, his name was Orville, but his grandsons pronounced it Arvil. I enjoy your genealogy tips!

  2. I have this a lot with my mom and her mother. I can never figure out what sort of plants and trees she had in her garden, because they never called them by their correct names - it's not an Alfia tree, it's and Althea tree - and that was an easy one to figure out! Also, some names she says funny: Wilson sounds more like Wiltson, for example.

  3. I grew up on a farm and it was years before I knew that what I always thought was "mullabulla" rose was actually "multaflora" rose. A weed to be certain, but at least now I can pronounce it correctly...