Thursday, November 04, 2004

Creative Spelling for Genealogists by the maker of the Wilke Family Home Page

Welcome to our Wilke Family Home Page
from my email:-The RootsWeb Review a free publication of, Inc.,
360 West 4800 North, Provo, UT, 84604

By Lori McLeod Wilke

Who would have thought that Smald K. McLEOD was actually my grandfather,
Donald Ross McLEOD? But that is exactly how he was listed in the 1920
Census index. If I hadn't known better I would have gotten a persecution
complex while browsing that particular index because my granduncle was
also listed incorrectly as "Worteleam" McLEOD! What was his real name?
William Norman McLEOD.

Those are examples of extreme issues encountered while browsing census
indexes. While the experience was frustrating, it was also educational.
I learned to not give in when I know that I know that my relative was in
a particular area at a particular time. I eventually found Smald K. and
Worteleam, I mean, Donald Ross and William Norman by going image by
image through the area where I knew they would have lived in 1920.

Another example involved searching an index of wills in Sumter County,
South Carolina. Three generations of researchers had looked for the
estate file (probate) of our Daniel McLEOD who died in 1852 in that
county. None had been able to find it. Out of curiosity I looked at the
estate file of another Daniel McLEOD who died a few years later than
ours and was surprised to find the appraisal of the estate of MY Daniel
mistakenly filed in with the other Daniel.

I went back to the index and read that there was a file for a David
McLEOD with a death year the same year my Daniel died and with a widow
administering the estate with the same name as my Daniel's widow.
Pulling the records revealed that the indexer had mistakenly headed that
particular file as that of a David and not a Daniel McLEOD. Mystery

It pays to look at everything more than once and to spend time going
through the files that you just know don't connect to your family. The
persons doing the indexing and the filing do not know the family lines
the way we researchers do, and therefore mistakes are easily made, even
if not so easily found!

[Editor's note: The calligraphic look-alikes -- Daniel and David -- are
a common problem for researchers as are phonetic equivalents, such as
Sincere for St. Cyr and other spelling irregularities, such as Cowper
(pronounced as Cooper).
See "Why U Can't Find Your Ancestors: Misspeld
Knames -- A Commun Probblem for Reeserchors

and "Do You Ear what I Ear?" by Michael John Neill
* * *
Have you encountered or solved a pesky research problem? Share it with
the RootsWeb Review readers


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4:12 PM  

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