John P. O’Connor, the genealogist and family historian who works at the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum Genealogy Library at the Quadrangle in Springfield, MA (not to be confused with the myriad of John O’Connors living in the surrounding areas), has written a good article on genealogy and common (or uncommon as it were) names for The Republican. He points out that even uncommon names could be just common enough to cause confusion and can allow inaccuracy to creep into your genealogy research.
No matter how uncommon your ancestor’s name may be, always check and double-check your information.
Just think how many John O’Connors came through the port of Boston or how many John O’Connors lived in Springfield in the 1960s.
One summer day in 1966 one of my prep school students was driving from New York state to Cape Cod and his car broke down in West Springfield. He knew that I lived in Springfield and can you imagine his reaction when he opened the Springfield telephone book and saw the number of John O’Connors.