Sunday, August 21, 2011

I know how to spell my name!

Oh, you do?

Often times it is difficult finding the records you need using the spelllng you are familiar with.  This is usually due to a disconnect between the ears and hand of the person recording the birth registration, marriage registration, death registration, census or what have you.  Here are a few examples:

The name Schwedler is pronounced as “swadler” because of the way Germanic names are pronounced.  I have found it spelled as Schwadler, Schwedlr, Swadler and a few more.  My great grandmother Dorathea Garnatz has been found as Dora T. Gamutz, Dora T. Gamats, Dorathea Gemtz, Dora Garrietz and Doreth Swadler.

Many times the surname is seen as both the German and the English form:  Greenwald is the English equivalent of the German Grünewald and has been found as Grunewald and Grinewald.  Polzine has been found as Polzin and Polsine.  The German Müller has been found as Mueller or Miller (they actually mean the same).

Often the name is downright butchered as Aurora being found as Aarva and Alwine found as Alvin.  My great great grandmother Fredericke was found listed, not once, but twice as Fred.  I have Wienke relatives that were listed as Winkie.

You’ll many times find your person by their nickname rather than their given name:  Alwine was found as Winnie and I’ve also found Wilhelmina listed as Winnie as well as Minnie for the same person.

So, if you are having trouble locating an ancestor try getting “hooked on phonics”, or try looking for Bill or Wm instead of William, Edw for Edward or even Robt for Robert.  Your imagination can be used to look for Raymond as Ray, or David as Dave or Au or Aug for August. Interchange John and Johann or if Peter was called Junior then look for Junior.  You may try finding Carl Frank by looking for C.F.  Use wildcards and broaden your search by looking for the given (first) name if it is unusual or unique.  Try spelling the name as it would have been spelled in the native country.

Good hunting,


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