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27 February 2015

Spelling Irregularities are a Necessary Evil

Variations in how your ancestor's name was spelled can be endlessly frustrating. However, it's worth remembering that a variation of how your ancestor's name appears in an index can arise from a variety of situations:

  • Your ancestor did not know how to spell his name
  • Your ancestor could not read
  • Your ancestor did not speak clearly
  • Your ancestor had an accent with which the writer of his name was unfamiliar
  • The clerk didn't care
  • The clerk had bad writing
  • The transcriber could not read the name
  • The transcriber did not care
  • The transcriber made a typographical error
  • The document has faded over time and is difficult to read
  • Or something else
Keep in mind that one of more of these could explain why James Rampley ends up indexed as Jarvis Pample.

1 comment:

  1. The enumerator didn't ask how you spell your name because it's almost lunch time, he's getting hungry, he still has more houses to visit, and besides, nobody will ever look at this again anyway :(