Families are full of unique quirks and traditions — and sometimes those traditions can lead to some stunning discoveries.
Kamie Crawford (@kamiecrawford) — TV host, beauty pageant winner and content creator best known for her work alongside Nev Schulman in the MTV series “Catfish: The TV Show” — made such a discovery when she looked into her Jamaican family history on Ancestry.com.
Last year, just in time for Caribbean American Heritage Month, Crawford stitched a response to @bla3kmagi3‘s question, “What is something that is normal in your culture, but weird to everyone else?”
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In her video, which gained over 1.1 million views, Crawford explained that when she went to look up her relatives, none of their names popped up.
“I’m like, ‘Why Auntie Sunshine name not coming back? Why Auntie Rosie name not coming back? Why Junior name not coming back?'” she recalled.
As it turns out, it’s a Jamaican tradition to go by family nicknames, often referred to as home names, yard names or duppy names.
According to FamilySearch, these nicknames can be based on family ties, careers, physical appearance or personal preferences — hence why it can be so tricky to track down family members on genealogy websites.
In a follow-up video, @bla3kmagi3 explains that duppy (a word of African origin meaning “ghost” or “spirit”) names are used to protect individuals from negative energy, curses or bad blessings.
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Thousands of TikTokers shared their own families’ unique nicknames and traditions in Crawford’s comment section.
“I still struggle to know who is who!! 🇹🇹 🇬🇾,” one user wrote.
“I signed my grandfather’s name as Hisbee on my immigration form at the airport. I had to sleep there cos his name is Norris 🥲,” commented another.
“Like WHHHHHHHY?!?!? Sista Dottie for Cynthia. Wayne for Godfrey or Perry!!!!😵💫” another user wrote.
“I had an Aunt Winnie, Aunt Dearest, and Uncle Beb and when they died I found out their real name on the funeral program 😂,” commented one user.
“Same in Trinidad, I went my whole life thinking my dad’s name was Steve. Found a birth paper for Andre and I want to know who the hell is that 😂😂,” laughed another.
Crawford’s viral video proves just how rich and fascinating — and sometimes a little confusing — family histories can be.
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