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15 December 2011

Sounds the Same

Keep in mind that the spelling of last names was not standard for a long time. The main concern when trying to determine if a last name could be the same is whether the two spellings would likely be pronounced in the same way. It is worth remembering that concern about spelling consistency of names is a fairly recent one. Your ancestor, even if he was literate, might not have worried if the record spelled his last name with one "l" or two. He still knew he owned the land, his neighbors did as well, and the tax collector knew he had paid taxes on it for the past thirty years--that was what likely mattered.

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