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29 April 2014

When is a Close Name Close Enough?

There is no hard and fast answer to when a name is "close enough" to be your ancestor. The variant spelling should sound like your actual ancestor's last name and differences in vowels usually are not as significant as one might think, depending upon how your ancestor pronounced his name.

Use other clues to determine if the "close enough" person is your ancestor. Is he:

  • in the right location?
  • acting in a way that is consistent with your ancestor?
  • of a close enough age to be your ancestor?
  • interacting with known associates of your ancestors?
Even answering all these questions with a "yes" is no guarantee, but it is a good start towards making certain that "close enough" name is really "close enough."

1 comment:

  1. I have searched since 1989 for my father's surname, Darbe (since 1853 - Germany). After carefully combing through thousands of microfilm images to find out why they just disapeared, I found a tiny small notation in a maggiage record " formerly Darm". Since then I have taken the Darm side back to late 1600. I am sure it was changed or shortened then also. Don't give up.