Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Are You Sure It's Spelled Like That?

Hello All -

One of the things that I am always concerned with when doing my research for clients is the spelling of surnames. So, this is what I thought I would discuss this time around - the spelling of names when doing research.

When I work with the indexes in the Scottish GRO I notice that surnames are not always spelled as they are now. For example, take the surname McNeil - I have seen this name spelled as McNeal, McNiel, McNeel, McNeill, etc. I have even seen when the "mc" has been taken off. These spelling variants can all be within the same family - it all depended on the registrar or census enumerator, etc. who was writting the name down. It should be said that not everyone knew how to spell their name as they couldn't read or right so the person would say their name and the registrar would right it down how it sounded to them.

When doing family history research, always check the various spelling of a surname. This can sometimes be the problem if a name doesn't come up on an index - the person is there, but the surname was spelled differently then what is expected. I have located a great website that discusses this in better detail - http://www.genealogy.com/62_donna.html and this one too

Until Next Time -

Carolyn of MGS