Re: Why Various Spellings of A Family Name #names

Harry Auerbach

I think we all would be well advised to abandon the notion of "right" and "wrong" spellings. For most of our ancestors, the records of their births, marriages, deaths and residences, were written in Russian (Cyrillic), or Hebrew or Yiddish (Hebrew script), or Polish (or Hungarian or Romanian, etc.), each with its own, oft-ignored, spelling and pronunciation conventions. Often this information was given to the recorders by third parties. Spelling even in those languages was not uniform. In any language, those recording the information tried to capture the spelling based on what they heard reported.
My grandfather emigrated to the United States in 1903. It took me twenty years to find the ship manifest, on which he is listed twice (because he was detained for a few days at Ellis Island), with different spellings of his surname. 
This is why we are taught to search different alternative spellings. Even though soundex will solve for many of them, it doesn't find them all.
Harry Auerbach
Portland, Oregon

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