Tuesday's Tips

Tuesday’s Tips: Spelling Doesn’t Count

This week’s tip is to not get hung up on spelling.  As you’ll see when you research census records, ship manifests, and even court documents, everyone had their own way of spelling names.

Take this week’s spotlight ancestor, Eve Weidner, for instance.  As I have done research on Eve, I have seen both her first and last name spelled many different ways.  For her first name I’ve seen Eve, Eva, and even Lucy (someone stated this was her “nickname”).  Her last name has many different variations including Whitener, Widner, Wydner, Whiter, and many more.

You may be wondering why all the different variations in names.  This occurs most often on census records when census takers either guessed at the spelling or just didn’t care if they spelled it right or not.  This is why it’s important to take some liberties in spelling when researching your ancestors.  In case you didn’t realize it, on ancestry.com you can choose “phonetic matches” and/or “names with similar meanings or spellings”.  This is a smart tool to utilize when you may be a roadblock in your research.

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