A fascinating development in intergenerational research is the use of names – first and surnames – to overcome data limitations. Name-based estimators are underlying innovative research on mobility across multiple generations, historical periods, or regions. However, it remains unclear how different methods relate to each other, and how reliable they are. This paper reviews name-based methods and validates them empirically, based on newly digitized data from Finland that contain names, name mutations, and direct family links. We show that the different name-based methods are closely related, but that their interpretation depends on sampling properties of the data that differ across studies. To demonstrate the reliability of name-based methods we compare the intergenerational mobility of the two combatant groups in the Finnish Civil War of 1918. Both conventional and name-based methods indicate substantially higher downward mobility among members of the socialist “Red Guard” as compared to the conservative “White Guard”.