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How do you handle name variations?

Discussion in 'Advanced techniques for experienced users' started by Liberty, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. emjay

    emjay LostCousins Member

    Far out Margery ;)
  2. Susan48

    Susan48 LostCousins Superstar

    But well worth the effort of getting there.:)
  3. chrissy1

    chrissy1 LostCousins Star

    As compulsory elementary education was only introduced by the 1870/1880 Education Acts, most people were blissfully unaware of the spelling of their names prior to this date, though marriage registers often show whether a bride or groom was able to sign their own name and the fluency of their handwriting suggests their degree of literacy. Surname spellings for the same family often change in Parish Records with the arrival of a new vicar, who may not be familiar with local surnames and accents, so if I am unable to trace a particular person in a census or PR, I try every conceivable variation of spelling and misinterpretation of handwriting. However, I record the preferred spelling first, followed by variations located in census/PR etc eg Mintoft/Mentoft or Mintoft/Mintoff but tend to merely make a note of obvious mistranscriptions such as Wintoft or Minloft.
  4. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    One of my favourite subjects is the variation spelling of surnames (and yes have posted before on the subject). Chrissy gives good account of how surnames get (mis) recorded (and most importantly mis-transcribed at some future point) and Alexander has mentioned elsewhere that no great importance was given to spellings in the early and mid 1800's anyway and little better until the turn of the 20th Century. Here are a few family surname variations from my own scrapbook:

    My Tree has the surname Twamley (and yes you need your teeth in to say it in the first place:)) and its variations Twamlow, Twamlon, Twembly, Twonby and best of all Sumaton - and the latter came about over a mis-transcription of atrocious handwriting. I also had to feel sorry for the family when a Twamley married a Twycross (yes truly) and how long it would take to find two other surnames beginning TW marrying one another) (A twerribly long time methinks:rolleyes:)

    Cunnington was recorded 'every which -way' beginning Cann or Conn; Carr or Corr and then morphing to become Cunningham, and of course Can(ningham) & Con(ningham). I always forgave just the one 'n' providing Cunington!

    But the star of the show is another mouthful - Fennellow. Boy did that give the Parish Clerks and young Curates a problem and I can understand why. I found it shown as Fenelow, Fendelow, Finnelow, Finnelon, Finetone, Fineltone, Findlow and Fennely.

    At least it taught me the use of Wild Card searching and I unearthed a good many ancestors that way; although it was a pure fluke how I found Sumaton. Mind you in the end I was tolerant and forgiving over the mis-spelling of my surname Spiers which is variably recorded as Spires, Speers, or Spears and pretty much small league.
  5. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

  6. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Yes spot on and somewhat sadly neither Alfred Twamley nor Minnie Twycross were long lived. Alfred died aged 32 (as a side product of working with arsenic as an Electro Plate Burnisher)with Minnie surviving only to age 42. By contrast 2 of their 3 daughters would reach old age. The eldest Ada Twamley went on to marry my father's brother and reached 71, and her sister Ivy 83. However the middle daughter (another) Minnie Twamley died giving birth aged 26, and the baby died too. Her husband remarried and they had 3 boys.

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