Re: Need suggestions for how to search for misspelled family names #records

Dick Plotz <Dick@...>

Not all spelling differences are really "misspellings". Sometimes they
are; Robert Hanna's "Fellie" for Tillie is probably an erroneous
transcription. But in many if not most cases the explanation is

For one thing, if a name was originally rendered in Yiddish or
Russian, using the Hebrew or Cyrillic alphabet, there is no
universally recognized transliteration system even now, and 100-150
years ago there was no system at all. Names were transliterated
however the person doing the transliteration heard them and chose to
try to spell them. And the next person would do it differently.

For another, the very notion that a surname even *had* a "correct"
spelling was foreign to all but the upper classes until very recently.
It started to happen in some European cities in the late 19th century,
but in the USA well into the 20th century the spelling of names,
especially surnames, was highly variable. My most extensive experience
with original records is with German records from the Rheinland before
1875. I have seen records from the 1860s in which the same person's
name was spelled three different ways in the same record, and this was
not rare.

Dick Plotz
Providence RI USA

On Mon, Sep 28, 2020 at 9:58 AM Kathrynbkj via
<> wrote:

Use wildcard symbols (typically asterisks) in your searches. My grandfather’s surname, Sader, was misspelled in every census! I then tried S*d*r and other combinations. You may get a lot of erroneous results, but you should also capture the right ones. - Kathryn Kanarek James, Annandale, VA

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