When I posted some pictures of my McLeland ancestors to my website www.mcwieser.info one of my cousins wrote and asked where I had gotten the middle name of my great-great-great-great uncle. She was especially curious because in the only “official” record we have for him, he is listed with only a middle initial. It took me a bit to I realize I had mistakenly entered the middle name of my great grandfather James Riland McLeland in a spot where the name was actually that of his uncle James R. McLeland. The McLeland men in this line have a habit of repeating the initials J.R. My dad is a J.R. (My son is not but his middle names is James so…) But they all have different middle names – they just use the same initial or do they? My dad’s is Ray, His father wasn’t a J.R. and his grandfather used Riland. James Riland’s father was a T.A. but his brother was a James R. Thence the confusion. James R. died during the civil war, and I’ve always assumed that his brother honored him by naming his first born son after him. But what was James R.s middle name. Perhaps he was named after his grandmother’s maiden name. She was Jane Rulon. If you say them out loud they sound very similar. But I don’t think I’ll ever really know. Middle initials are a tantalizing glimpse of a name. T.A. McLeland was really Thomas Asher McLeland – named for his mother’s father. Simple and a wonderful clue. But only if you can get the entire middle name.