Find your ac­tor an­ces­tor’s stage name

Your an­ces­tor might be elu­sive be­cause he used a dif­fer­ent name pro­fes­sion­ally. How do you find out what it was?

Your Family History - - Tracing Your Theatrical Ancestors -


1You may strike lucky when you find a press men­tion of your an­ces­tor – es­pe­cially if he or she ap­peared in court. In this case, from the Aberdeen Press and Jour­nal of 1903, a re­port is made about ac­tor John W Web­ster’s bank­ruptcy case – and it records his stage name of Ge­orge Shel­don.


2Ac­tors may have been known by a stage name, but their chil­dren would have taken their birth name. Some ac­tors chose to record their pro­fes­sional iden­tity in their chil­dren’s first or mid­dle names – such as Eva Lyt­ton Grey Mor­gan, named af­ter her fa­ther’s full stage name (see Step-by-Step box­out on page 23).

DIVORCES3If your an­ces­tors got di­vorced, you may find ref­er­ence to their pro­fes­sional names ei­ther in the di­vorce pa­pers them­selves, or in press cov­er­age of such. It wasn’t only fa­mous ac­tors who saw their re­la­tion­ship break­downs make the news, and the pa­pers fre­quently de­tailed stage names.

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