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23 October 2014

lidya Sargeant Not Lydia Sargent

[note: this post was also posted on Rootdig.com today as well]

Variant spellings are frustrating for many genealogists, including myself.

This image (with the black text) was originally used an illustration in a recent Genealogy Tip of the Day blog post. I incorrectly spelled the name in the citation. It should have been "lidya Sargeant"--not Lydia Sargent. Normally when writing about ancestors whose names are spelled a variety of ways, I standardize the names in any general discussion of them and in my conclusions about them.

But when transcribing documents and records I should transcribe the names as they are written or at least as close to that as possible.

I didn't in this case and thanks to a reader for very graciously pointing this out to me.


  1. I have at least two families whose names have been "changed". The first, and one that annoys me the most, is Myles Standish. Who and when it became Miles I don't know. His signature always appear, Myles, and that is the way I have kept it.
    The other is Spalding and that changed with my great grandmother to Spaulding.
    Here again, I don't know the why it was changed.

  2. Name variations are problematic, especially when descendants simplify or deviate to serve their own lives. I agree with transcription for accuracy and later review. Interpretation follows.You could be wrong. I have had to re-transcribe when I found I had misinterpreted the reference. If it is a wild variation I add a [bracket] note.