Lesson 6: "Now how did ya spell that?"
It has been a while since I have been on here posting on my blog. I have so missed you! Hope you missed me too!
Today I want to talk to you about names and spellings. Some names have been changed down through history. For one, not everyone could read and write, and those who did, were not always that well educated. They may have been schooled enough to learn to read and write, but not enough to know the correct grammar and spelling. Those from other countries had foreign accents and their pronunciation of a word was much different than the person registering the name. As a result of this, name changes would occur. Such is the case of where words had letters that were pronounced silently. The person recording the name would make a spelling error due what they were hearing instead of how it was correctly spelled. Here are some examples of name changes.
My mother's two brothers died before we were born. We wanted to find their death certificates and was having a difficult time. Gloria ended up finding Uncle Lavern's death certificate and I found Uncle Delmar's death certificate. I found Uncle Delmar's by a sheer hunch. I knew that there were a lot of "Hedricks" as well as "Headricks" in this area. Our family name was Hedrick. So I decided to spell it with the "a" and then look it up. That is where I found it. The death certificate showed that my grandfather, Noah Hedrick gave the information. Though he was an intelligent man, he had never learned to read or write. Therefore, he would sign his signature with an "X." Thus, he could not make sure the spelling was correct.
My mother's lineage also showed a name change in one of her fore fathers. His name was Christian Arney. Down the line, somehow, it was changed to Earney. I don't know the reason, but there was one causing a change in spelling. This could have been from pronunciation, or spelling error.
Then there was my father's side of the family, the Smiths. We have traced them back to where the spelling was changed from Schmidt to Smith. The data is all consistent with them being one in the same, so we believe that this is the proper spelling or our family name when our fore fathers came from France.
My father's maternal side of the family were Duclos. They pronounced it "DeClue." Thus the spelling was changed with pronunciation down through the years. I am sure it too was from spelling error. What they heard, is what was written.
Our ninth grandfather back was an Indian chief who was Mamenthoüensa, Chief of the Illiniwek. He took the Christian name Francois Xavier Rouensa . He went by Rouensa. There were many variations to his name in different writings but I will not go into all them. I just wanted you to see the example of the drastic change, giving another example of name change.
In closing today, I want to stress the importance of not stopping research in a name without cross referencing information if it is spelled wrong. if you come across a name that is spelled differently, but all the information indicates it is the same, you may have hit on a spelling change in a name and you are still on the right track. Be sure and cross reference, cross reference, cross reference, just to be sure.
So take care until next time!