Yes the first names are great as they help distinguish the individual in records and make identification easier–usually. One should not assume that there are no contemporaries with the exact same unusual name as often names of this type are passed down from one generation to the other and I’m sure every family has one or two. Or the same names that have been passed down generation after generation so to keep the spirit of that ancestor alive, not to mention the honor we all share and feel if given that ‘special’ name.
Then you have those first names that are so unusual you stop and think to yourself ‘Why would they name this child that?’ Well here’s a clue for you it may actually reference a maiden name of ancestors, surnames of ancestral associates, surnames of political or pop figures revered by the family, references to geographic locations, etc.
Unusual first names also get butchered by record clerks, census takers, and other officials. Genealogists should always be considerate of alternate spellings and remember that any name that falls within the reasonable realm of “sounds like the name I want” could actually be a reference to the name that you want.
‘Carruthers’ gets written as ‘Carothers’ and other references without one of the “r” or an ‘I’ replaces the ‘r’ all together. Those references are actually good clues as to how the name was likely pronounced.
The blog listed below is a quick and easy study on how to find that same name ancestor….