Throughout my research I have seen my grandfather’s name in three variations. Every family member that has spoken about him has referred to him as Uncle Lish, or just Lish. However, on documents such as census records, and city directories he is recorded as either Elijah, Elisha, or Lish. I’d assumed that this was simply another documentation error on behalf of the enumerators, but then I’d learned something. Neighborhoods in the city directories were actually canvassed, meaning someone went door-to-door to obtain information about each residence on their assigned route. That means someone in the residence, acting as the primary informant, reported his name as such. So which is it?
I asked my father about my grandfather’s name being Elisha or Lish. “He hated that name.” my father said. From that response, I deduced that my grandfather made the choice to go by Lish.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to verify what my grandfather’s actual birth name was. The state of Georgia did not officially begin keeping birth records until 1919. Twelve years after the birth of my grandfather. Select counties in the state of Georgia did have their own vital records documentation, but Clayton County was not one of them.