I learned as a child that Uncle Jim was really my father's brother James. As a beginning family historian, I discovered that my g-g-grandfather often wrote the same name as Jas.
I could learn more of these the hard way (by treating one person in my tree as two) but I will never know how much I don't know. It seems that programs like Ancestry must have an automated way to match up different names that are really the same.
I want to look for a reference work that will list the possible names that one person might go by. But I am not even sure what to call it. Some will be simple contractions, others are almost abbreviations with extra letters added, and then there are ones that seem like individual nicknames until you find that several people with the same real name share them.
So is there a standard reference that genealogists would use for this? Or is there even a term for these modified or variant given names that a librarian would recognize when I ask for help?