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


jbonline1111@...
 

Lots of good suggestions here with wildcards and Soundex systems.  However, you may also want to check for transposition of letters.  My father's birth certificate, for example, says "Slominsky" rather than "Slonimsky."   
--
Barbara Sloan
Conway, SC


Dahn Cukier
 

Hello,

I looked at both Ancestry and Familysearch, but I really do not
recall which had unindexed scanned documents.

I think I heard about the documents here on the mailling
list. I only know that I downloaded the scanned
document on 30 May 2020, and I needed a good few weeks to
find it.

Dahn Cukier

When you start to read readin,
how do you know the fellow that
wrote the readin,
wrote the readin right?

Festus Hagen
Long Branch Saloon
Dodge City, Kansas
(Gunsmoke)


On Tuesday, September 29, 2020, 11:27:28 PM GMT+3, David Brostoff <davbro@...> wrote:


On Sep 28, 2020, at 9:58 PM, Dahn Cukier via groups.jewishgen.org <photograve99=yahoo.com@...> wrote:

Then I found on his daughter-in-law's naturalization papers that her
husband (my grandfather) was naturalized on (date) and the
number was xxxxx. After not finding anything indexed on
FamilySearch or Ancestry, I found that one of these have unindexed
records. I went courthouse to courthouse (via internet)
Where are these records accessible?

Thank you,

David Brostoff


David Brostoff
 

On Sep 28, 2020, at 9:58 PM, Dahn Cukier via groups.jewishgen.org <photograve99=yahoo.com@...> wrote:

Then I found on his daughter-in-law's naturalization papers that her
husband (my grandfather) was naturalized on (date) and the
number was xxxxx. After not finding anything indexed on
FamilySearch or Ancestry, I found that one of these have unindexed
records. I went courthouse to courthouse (via internet)
Where are these records accessible?

Thank you,

David Brostoff


Laurie Sosna
 

My favorite game of phonetic whack-a-mole. Here are some things I've used.

Anna and Belle KOBB immigration at Ellis Island. Could not find it using existing Ellis Island search engine in 2010.
Using stevemorse.org:
Searched with first initial of LAST NAME (K) plus town "sounds like" Wilkomir.
Found manifest: Henschel and Beile KABE (phonetic spelling) 1911
Sons:
Nussen KARP 1912
Judel KARP (penciled in correction from traveling companion Friedsohn) 1913
Pinkus & Abram KAP 1922

1930 Census record for Phil KOBB. Knew where he was living, could not find the record.
Ancestry.com: Used first names only and approximate birth year: Phillip (1902), Helen, son Leo. State: New York.
Found indexed as ROBB. "K" in the census taker's handwriting looked like an "R"

Immigration manifest for Herbert & Sylvia SOSNA 1914. Brought to the U.S. by their father Benjamin.
Did not know their old country names.
I think I used stevemorse.org, maybe ancestry.
Another case of a handwriting problem. I used asterisk instead of first initial of last name *osna
Immigration officer wrote cursive S that looks exactly like a cursive L. Indexed as "LOSNA."

I sometimes only put in a "sounds like" town name and a date range and sift through the results.

Time is another factor. Records are indexed at the whim of the site where they are located.
Morris Pell naturalization. Family arrived in January 1910 as Papelewskim home town Ivanifka.
Variations on different documents: Popelowsky, Popelousky, Papelewski.
I started locating records for him and his family (his wife is a Sosna) in 2014 using their adopted name and many, many, many variations of their original last name and home town.
His 1920 census says he was naturalized in 1919.
I doggedly kept checking back on ancestry and familysearch (they are my two favorite sites.)
Bupkis.
July 1, 2020 I tried again, on familysearch: Popelowsky and date range 1910-1919
There he was. Morris Popolowsky.
Declaration in 1914, petition in 1916, declined in 1917 (one of his witnesses didn't know him for the full 5 years) and granted in 1919.

Depending on the record, the transcriber, translator, age or place of origin, they vary wildly.
Wild card searches won't work, the spellings are just too variable. "Sounds like" is the only option.
FRIEDSON/KOBB from Wilkomir:
I maintain a list of the ways the name FRIEDSON has been spelled, current count is 24, including regional variations.
In Lithuanian records, for example, I found FREDZONAIT and FREDZONAS.
KOBB has a Lithuanian variations: KAPAS, KAPIENE.

Wanna guess how many ways you can spell Judelevitz? Luckily, they shortened it to Levitz, before two of them changed it to Levitt. (Thanks guys).
Or the Sosna who changed it to Susner during naturalization and used that spelling on her father's death certificate which confused me for 5 years, but his headstone says Sosna? Nice.

Laurie Sosna
San Francisco, CA

SOSNA, HOCHMAN, LEVIN, GOLDBLOOM, KOBB, FRIEDSON, LEVITZ
Ivonifka, Ukraine; Rashkov, Ukraine; Mogilev-Podolsky, Ukraine, Vilna, Lithuania; Wilkomir (Ukmerge) Lithainia, Dnipropetrovsk (Yekaternislav), Ukraine; Ostrowiec, Poland
New Jersey, New York, Massachussetts, Connecticut, London, Los Angeles, Montreal, Cleveland.


Sarah L Meyer
 

Sometimes - especially if you are using US records, search for a child with his/her parents and siblings in the appropriate location with no surname at all.  If you know for example that a child was Fred, his mother Tillie and his father Herman and that they lived in Detroit, put those names into the search.  If you have a birth year for Fred say 1915, then give him at least a two year range around that year - maybe even 5 years.  And if he had a sister Dora, you can also usually add another sibling.  Once you find the right family, then you can edit the surname.  Now that you have at least one Census, you may be able to go on from there.
--
Sarah L Meyer
Georgetown TX
ANK(I)ER, BIGOS, KARMELEK, PERLSTADT, STOKFISZ, SZPIL(T)BAUM, Poland
BIRGARDOVSKY, EDELBERG, HITE (CHAIT), PERCHIK Russia (southern Ukraine) and some Latvia or Lithuania
https://www.sarahsgenies.com


Dahn Cukier
 

There is no one way or are any of the ones I have used
easy. Here are 3 examples.

Samuel:
Father's father's father (great grandfather). I knew he had arrived in
the US after 1905, his youngest daughter was born in 1906 in Poland.
I never found much about him, I did find a WWII draft card, but
no census or other records.

Then I found on his daughter-in-law's naturalization papers that her
husband (my grandfather)  was naturalized on (date) and the
number was xxxxx.  After not finding anything indexed on
FamilySearch or Ancestry, I found that one of these have unindexed
records. I went courthouse to courthouse (via internet) and
searched page by page (at 5mega download) and finally found 
his record. I then found how he spelled his name at time of
immigration, completely different from the name used by the
family.

Isidore:
My mother's father. I found his records from 1920, and that date
was well known in the family. On the census of 1930, he has
immigration as 1914. I searched EllisIsland,  at that time (about 2012),
I was able to automate download of records. I found his name spelled
a little differently, both given and family. but the way it was
spelt by the family in Romania. I later found a branch of
the family in Israel. Years later,I found his naturalization
papers that supplied the name also.

Bella and Saul:
My father's parents in 1930 census. Their names were not indexed
correctly,my father, who was mislabeled as belonging to another family,
was spelled correctly. I assume he, age 3, was being watched by the
girls at the family where recorded. I found the address via Googleearth
and found it was a cross street with one I recognized from family
stories. I did not know the address, but searched one by
one until I found the indexer recorded "u" as "a".

Bottom Line: Each was different, and each required imagination
and two required a long time of searching. I am located in Israel
and the records in the US.

Dahn Cukier

When you start to read readin,
how do you know the fellow that
wrote the readin,
wrote the readin right?

Festus Hagen
Long Branch Saloon
Dodge City, Kansas
(Gunsmoke)


On Sunday, September 27, 2020, 4:33:50 PM GMT+3, N. Summers via groups.jewishgen.org <summ1=verizon.net@...> wrote:


I've had trouble finding records because names are mispelled or othewise mangled. What kinds of searches have you used to overcome this problem? I'm guessing every site has different tools...
thanks so much,
Nancy
--

Nancy Summers

Maryland, USA

 

FINKELSTEIN, BOOKSTEIN, KOENIG/SUKOENIG, LUSMAN, GOLDINER, SAGORODER/ZAGORODER (Radziwillow, Belarus/Ukraine; Ostrog, Poland/Belarus; Warsaw, Poland; Wolinsky, Russia/Ukraine)

LISS / ALPER  (Motol, Vileyka, Minsk, Russia/Belarus)

LEAF / LIFSCHITZ ( Rechitsa, Belarus)


Michele Lock
 

For a name like 'Turoff' or 'Turovsky', I'd just do a 'Starts with Tur' search, to take care of the 'F' versus 'V' issue, and also take care of the 'sky' ending, which I have seen spelled 'ski', "zky' and 'zki'. 

For a friend of mine, I found the naturalization papers for her great grandfather Abram Rappaport of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. When I sent the image to her, she wrote back "That can't be him. We only spell our last name like 'Rapaport'. That is someone else." She didn't quite believe me when I said that spelling back then was highly variable, and that Rappaport and Rapaport are considered the same name. I don't think I really convinced her. 

Perhaps this is an issue for us 21st century individuals, because it is drilled into us by our government officials that using different spellings of one's name is tantamount to fraud. I know someone whose security clearance for a US government job was held up for nine months because her middle name was spelled differently on some documents versus others, and even worse - some of the documents were missing her middle name !!!!! And she does not have a name like Anne Smith - both her first and last names were unusual; it is not like she would be readily mixed up with someone else. And our government spent those nine months investigating this serious serious national security matter.

Michele Lock.
Alexandria, VA


Dick Plotz
 

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
different.

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
dick@...

On Mon, Sep 28, 2020 at 9:58 AM Kathrynbkj via groups.jewishgen.org
<Kathrynbkj=aol.com@...> 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


sharon yampell
 

It is quite interesting that this topic came up just as I was sharing with a distant cousin what I thought was her downfall when trying o find family members…

 

She is always getting stuck on how the last name looks, rather than how it may sound… For example, we have family members with the last name of TUroff,,,,she would get caught up on only thinking of Turoff and possibly Turofsky…instead of thinking with a thick accent, the last name could also have been Turovsky with a V…Michele is correct, it is not always a misspelled last name but an alternative spelling…also be on the look out for permutations…I have one last name on my tree with at least a dozen or more permuations…

 

 

Sharon F. Yampell

Voorhees, NJ

GenealogicalGenie@...

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Michele Lock
Sent: Monday, September 28, 2020 4:37 PM
To: main@...
Subject: Re: [JewishGen.org] Need suggestions for how to search for misspelled family names #records

 

By misspelled family names, I assume you mean misspelled surnames. 
Myself, I've stopped thinking of them as misspelled, and instead as alternative spellings of the same or similar name. My own simple one-syllable surname, I have found in various US, German, and Lithuanian records as Lak, Lack, Lok, Lakas, Liak, Lyak, Locke, and Lock, all based on the Yiddish surname 'Lamed-Alelph-Koph' (from grandfather's US tombstone). I do consider a misspelling to be when a US census record has the surname as 'Lech', though perhaps the census taker mis-heard it. 
Looking for ship passenger lists was the most challenging, until I realized that a clerk in a shipping company in Hamburg or Bremen would write down the name with German spelling, which would be Lak or Lack. I searched for both these spellings then, and also tried my luck with Lok. Was a lot more fruitful. 
Using the SteveMorse.org option of 'Starts with' was also helpful, for both first names and surnames, along with the approximate birthyear (+/- 5 years minimum) and year of arrival (+/- 3 years minimum). I have had more luck doing broad searches rather than focused ones, especially with immigrants mis-remembering their year of arrival, and having only the broadest idea of what year they were born.

Michelle Lock

 


Michele Lock
 

By misspelled family names, I assume you mean misspelled surnames. 
Myself, I've stopped thinking of them as misspelled, and instead as alternative spellings of the same or similar name. My own simple one-syllable surname, I have found in various US, German, and Lithuanian records as Lak, Lack, Lok, Lakas, Liak, Lyak, Locke, and Lock, all based on the Yiddish surname 'Lamed-Alelph-Koph' (from grandfather's US tombstone). I do consider a misspelling to be when a US census record has the surname as 'Lech', though perhaps the census taker mis-heard it. 
Looking for ship passenger lists was the most challenging, until I realized that a clerk in a shipping company in Hamburg or Bremen would write down the name with German spelling, which would be Lak or Lack. I searched for both these spellings then, and also tried my luck with Lok. Was a lot more fruitful. 
Using the SteveMorse.org option of 'Starts with' was also helpful, for both first names and surnames, along with the approximate birthyear (+/- 5 years minimum) and year of arrival (+/- 3 years minimum). I have had more luck doing broad searches rather than focused ones, especially with immigrants mis-remembering their year of arrival, and having only the broadest idea of what year they were born.

Michelle Lock


Mashiach L. Bjorklund
 

Wildcard searching

It’s important to remember that names are often misspelled or mis-transcribed, so doing “fuzzy” searching on names can often help you find a good match, even though the name may look wrong. In the name and keyword fields, you can do extremely fuzzy searches by using wildcards. Wildcards are special symbols (the asterisk "*" and the question mark "?") that are used in searching to represent some number of unknown letters in a word. Wildcards can be effective search tools if you are searching for words or names with alternate spellings:

An asterisk "*" represents zero or more characters (e.g., a search for "john*" might return "john, johnson, johnsen, johnathon, johns", etc.).

  • Any use of the asterisk requires at least two non-wildcard characters (you cannot search for "S*", but could use "Sm*").
  • A single character is represented by question mark "?" (e.g., "Sm?th" equals both "Smith" and Smyth").

I clipped that from Ancestry.com. It's a good description of how to use wild card searching.

It also helps to understand soundex and how the database you are using applies it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soundex

If you have an Ancestry.com account try this link: https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/Searching-with-Soundex

Mash Bjorklund
Clearwater, FL


Sherri Bobish
 


Nancy,

Many databases allow a soundex (sounds like) search on surnames, some allow a soundex search on first names as well,

If the surname was totally mangled (either in the original document or the index) a search by first name with many parameters included can work in some instances, like FamilySearch or Ancestry. Of course, that assumes that the first name wasn't mangled as well.

For example, search first name only, and include range of possible birth year, country of birth, or state of birth, and also residence (state, if U.S.) at the time frame you are searching.  In FamilySearch & Ancestry you can put in first names (without surname) of husband / wife / children.

Check out Steve Morse's website for portals to many databases:  https://stevemorse.org/

Regards,

Sherri Bobish


Robert Hanna
 

Be prepared.  This can be a Herculean task.  I have gone so far as to check for just first names.  I have found the name "Karasik" spelled "Caress" and "Harasik."  I have found the name "Tillie" spelled "Fellie."  And many other variations of names.  Post the names you are looking for at the bottom of all your messages.  Someone may help you.  You have to use your imagination.  Keep searching and happy hunting.

Robert Hanna
NYC

Searching:  Chanan, Hanan, Hanna, Hanne, Heine, Hiney, Blumenblat, Karasik, Thomashow, Cohen, Rubinstein, Bunderoff, Pastilnik, Nemoyten, Diskin, and variations of all.


Kathrynbkj@...
 

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


N. Summers
 

I've had trouble finding records because names are mispelled or othewise mangled. What kinds of searches have you used to overcome this problem? I'm guessing every site has different tools...
thanks so much,
Nancy
--

Nancy Summers

Maryland, USA

 

FINKELSTEIN, BOOKSTEIN, KOENIG/SUKOENIG, LUSMAN, GOLDINER, SAGORODER/ZAGORODER (Radziwillow, Belarus/Ukraine; Ostrog, Poland/Belarus; Warsaw, Poland; Wolinsky, Russia/Ukraine)

LISS / ALPER  (Motol, Vileyka, Minsk, Russia/Belarus)

LEAF / LIFSCHITZ ( Rechitsa, Belarus)