The optional theme this week was “How Do You Spell That?” There was no shortage of usual and hard-to-spell names!
Cheryl Biermann Hartley of My Search for the Past documented the numerous names assigned to her great-great-grandmother, all of which are hard to spell. Elizabeth Handler of From Maine to Kentucky raises a good point about variant spellings being a clue as to how the family pronounced the name.
I’ve long been a fan of Roberta Estes and her blog, DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy. Last week, Roberta wrote “Luremia Combs (c1740-c1820) and the Revolution on Her Doorstep (52 Ancestors #67).” I enjoyed reading not only about Luremia, but also Roberta’s research process. I think many of us will understand why Roberta said she was drawn like a moth to a flame to her ancestor’s land!
My 52 Ancestors post this week was about Laurestine U. Dinsmoor Debolt, sister-in-law to my 3rd-great-grandmother Matilda Debolt Skinner Crossen Brown McFillen. I’m guessing that Laurestine had to spell her name for people more than once in her life!
It’s Your Turn
Who did you write about last week? Leave a link to the post, along with the name and a little bit about the ancestor, in the comment below. While you’re here, take a look at the posts from Week 14. There are a lot of fun posts, including ones who followed the optional theme of “Favorite Photo.”
Upcoming Optional Themes:
- Week 16 (Apr 16 – 22) – Live Long
- Week 17 (Apr 23 – 29) – Prosper
- May themes
Remember, the optional weekly themes are just that — optional. Feel free to use them or not! The point of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks isn’t to follow the themes. The point is to write more about our ancestors. What you write about is up to you!
This week I wrote about William Wallace Pyles, my 2nd great-grandfather. He was a farmer and a family man, but he died a tragic death.
I wrote about the WINLO family from Northumberland and Durham – their name was spelt many different ways.
Murl Sanders LITAKER, Sr. (1896-1955) – My maternal great-grandfather whose given name was misspelled frequently, including for both he and his son of the same name in North Carolina’s birth records! (And, now that I think of it, his surname is often mispronounced, too! Litaker is pronounced correctly with a long i.) – http://shaketree.blogspot.com/2015/04/MurlSrHowDoYouSpellThat.html
Amy, thanks for the mention of my spelling dilemma (http://wp.me/p4ioO6-c9).
Let me take a moment to tell everyone about something that happened a few days ago. I had an unexpected comment to my third blog post of 2014: “Anna Maria KESSLER Lindner – A Terrible Way to Die.” (http://wp.me/p4ioO6-x ) A man in Sweden found this post and realized that I am related to his wife. She was a Kessler before marriage, and he had some astonishing information for me. I will write about this, if I can get his permission, in two weeks when our theme is “Prosper.” To connect with family that you don’t even know exists is a dream come true for most family historians. It was my turn this week. Thank you, Amy, for coming up with this idea that led me to blogging about my genealogical endeavors!
That’s wonderful, Cheryl! Can’t wait to read about it!
With a last name like mine, people are always asking how to spell it. I answer the questions about what nationality it is and what it means….(Ditch in Dutch!)
Wilder, Theophilus – My fourth great-grandfather is one of several Theophilus’ in my tree. So..what would the nickname be? Theo? Philus? Phil?
Meet my grandfather, James Pointkouski, the inventor of my surname and the reason even Poles ask “How do you spell that?” https://pastprologue.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/week-15-james-pointkouski-1910-1980/
Many of my Norwegian ancestors have names that seem unusual to North American eyes, but the fact that their alphabet has three additional letters just adds to the confusion about how these names are spelled (and pronounced). Here is one of them:
ELLIOTT, ELLIOT, ELIOTT, ELIOT…This week I didn’t focus on a particular ancestor but instead chose to focus on the spelling of my maiden name, also touching a tiny bit on Clan Elliot. My Pinterest board address here:
GREEN — “Mary Green, Early Pasadena Pianist” on Green Family Archives
I didn’t follow the theme this week but instead posted about an ancestor who shared my love of music. (Ironically, her name is easy to spell!)
I have a few surnames in my family tree that I could have used for this, but I chose an ancestor on my husband’s side of the family – Jacob Theisinger
I chose to write about my fifth great grandmother. She was the first person with an unusual name that I ever researched. It has taken me about a decade to uncover the handful of documents I have for her, and a couple of them I had just lucked into.
How Do You Spell That? FABER and LORENTZ are Luxembourgish surnames that don’t cause much of a problem however Johann Faber’s mother-in-law’s surname was spelled two ways (PREISEN and PREUSEN) and I wonder….
52 Ancestors: #15 The FABER-LORENTZ Family (1813-1915)
by Cathy Meder-Dempsey at Opening Doors in Brick Walls
This comment is about me. Someday, probably, I will be one of those elusive, hidden ancestors if being sought by my married name, Steineckert (stone corner). Three syllables -no more, no less and with the accent on the “eck.” I have to spell it nearly every time a person asks for my name. The name is German and evidently not a common one. It’s pronunciation and spelling seem straight forward enough, easy to read, and to pronounce to me. However, to others there has always been a problem. I taught at a university for many years and received a lot of postal mail. The addressee line was always what I looked at first. It often was the mirth for my day. The envelope addressed to Della Tinyskirt was the most far out spelling and the one that tickled me the most. I’m sure the name will continue to be slaughtered even by my descendants once I’m gone.
Della Tinyskirt — that is one of the “best” misspellings I’ve seen! If it makes you feel any better, I’m regularly asked how to spell my last name. Yes, people ask me how to spell “Crow.” It’s even pronounced the like bird. Four letters. Common word. People still mess it up. :-/
Spelling – so variable, so interesting, so frustrating. From my maiden surname, GILLESPIE, I’ve come to expect variants in spelling any surname! Here are a few:
Robert Durie Athya Sr. – no. 31 (week 15): I didn’t specifically write about a name that is hard to spell, but I’m sure anyone with the last name Athya has had to spell it out many times, as well as pronounce it – Ath-he
Truman BUCKLEW was the focus of my story today. He was married to my father’s sister , and I always thought of him as my meek, mild uncle. Whoa! In researching him, I discovered he had been a barnstormer pilot in the 20s, worked for the circus, taught himself to make furniture and more.Full of surprises, that man.
This week is all about alliteration: PEAL, Parina Permelia — http://bit.ly/1DnYDP1
This person hangs off my family tree by her finger tips. She was the aunt of my by-marriage aunt.
A Farmer’s Wife
Alfaretta Pocahontis (BRADLEY) Ramey (1875-1931)
Her life was so much different than that of her niece who went with her missionary husband to British East Africa (now Kenya and Uganda) for nine years in the 1920s. Instead, Alfaretta moved from Virginia to Ohio early in her marriage and put down deep roots. Her ancestors live there today.
I love your description of your connection to Alfaretta. Interesting name for an interesting person.
Well, my birth name has aways been a hassle. Our spelling is derived from these variations on an Ostfriesen (northern Germany) spelling. Mennonite in origin. Cornelsen, Kornelsen, Kneis, Cornies, Cornelius, Cornelis, Cornellessen, Cornels, Knelsen, Knelson, Knalson, Korniesz.
My 4th great-grandmother, Judith FARRAR (or FARROW) had parents with the names David FARROW (or FARRAR) and Judith STODDER (or STODDARD). Makes me wonder about changing pronunciations of the names of my ancestors.
HAZARD / HASZARD – Thomas was my 5G Grandfather who started off his life as a HAZARD in Rhode Island and ended up a HASZARD and a Loyalist in Prince Edward Island.
I found more problems with my great great grandfather’s first name, Jozimas, than I had with most surnames. http://www.researchjournal.yourislandroutes.com/2015/04/52-ancestors-week-15-the-curious-spelling-of-jozimas/
Henry Weber Broski – My Great Great Grandfather
William Heaton, left money in 1650 to one son if he returned to England (wonder where he went?) and to pay for the apprenticeship of another, if any man would have him!
EITELBACH–Eitelbach So Many Ways to Sell it Wrong
Isabella “Tibbie” HALL (nee MILNE) – nanny at Grant Castle in Scotland before moving to Canada:
And her sister Louisa “Louie” GUNN (nee MILNE) with her son who played the bagpipes in WW2 and was killed at Dieppe:
THOMAS or DONALD or THOMAS McDONALD SARGENT (1888-19570
Exactly which is my grandfather’s name.
MAPPLEBECK – Week 15 “How Do You Spell That?”: James Mapplebeck
James Mapplebeck was my great-grandmother’s stepfather/adoptive father. The first part of the surname is pronounced “Maple.” I have found the surname spelled so many different ways in documents.
Erastus Sylvester SERFASS (1877-1942) from Carbon County, PA. Probably my favorite name out of anyone in my family tree.
I wrote about a “misspelling” of my great grandmother’s first name, Mabel Scott WHITTEMORE (1879-1962).
COMBS – Luremia Combs (c1740-c1820) and the Revolution on Her Doorstep
I came across 24 different spellings and my distant cousin added one more after I had published this post! This name drives me crazy.
Hruszczak becomes Ruczhak
John Lyming (Liming) b.1647 England, d. bef. 1697 Freehold, Monmouth, New Jersey.
I started a new blog to be in this project and wrote my first profile about my immigrant ancestor this week. I found this project through a person who writes for it and posted about the project on Linkedin. The very first week the project was started, I found a post from a person with the Leming surname who did not know she was related to John the immigrant. With that new connection made, I saw how powerful blogging about my work and projects could be.
Read about my immigrant ancestor http://limingtree.blogspot.com/2015/04/immigrant-john-liming-1647-1697.html
Our surname has about 10 different spelling variations through out the different branches of this man. We have about 8 y-DNA tests from different branches done and are part of the Lemon DNA project at Family Tree DNA, of which I am the administrator. We also have around 15 Autosomal tests done from women descendants including mine.
I am on a quest to find all the living descendants of the immigrant in order to start an official family society and build a master tree. If you have any of these surnames in your tree you are probably a descendant; Lyming, Liming, Limings, Limming, Limmings, Leming, Lemings, Lemming, Lemmings. If you these surnames you may be a descendant but only DNA testing will prove it; Lemmons, Lemons, Lemon, Lemen, Laman, Lyman.
Lemon DNA Project Admin
Emil Piraux is my ancestor this week. Once getting to America people had trouble spelling this French name, both his first and last names (including the fact that some of his kids even spell it different from him and each other).
WINSLOW – easy to spell but my ancestor is not Edward or Gilbert, but Kenelm – a more unusual name and an interesting guy. http://mymaineancestry.blogspot.com/2015/04/how-do-you-spell-that-52-ancestors-15.html
I ignored the theme because after I did last week’s theme I found out some new things about my 2nd Great Grandfather and his son Bartlett Hudson.
My Prussian great-great grandmother, Anna Dorothea BARTSH or BARTSCH?
I am named for a great-great-great-aunt Theresa. I have trouble researching her family any earlier, because of the variety of spellings of their surname.
EUSTAQUIA – Maria Eustaquia Gonzalez has a unique name in our family history.
Apparently my great-grandfather didn’t want anyone, including his family, to learn anything about his life. Was he running from something?
#52Ancestors: Week 15 – Grzesiak surname – “How do you spell that?”
Robert and Ralph GREENLEE wrote this biography (in 1908) about their grandparents: Michael (born 1759) & Bethiah (1768).
During his absence on one of these trips, which took several days, Mr. Greenlee’s wife was very much annoyed by wolves, bears and panthers, which came alarmingly near. She took lighted pine torches and threw them at the animals, which were afraid of fire, thus keeping them away. A blanket was used to cover the entrance to the little cabin and served in lieu of a door.
POFF, PAFF, PAUF, or PFAFF
I chose to write about this family line because not only are there many variations in the spelling of the surname but the continual use of the same given name has made it very difficult to sort out these ancestors.
My post for week 14 has to do with our grandfather’s farm. One of the questions I’ve wanted to answer was when and how Grandpa acquired the farm. The beginning of the answer was in the 1918 Dickinson (North Dakota) city directory which listed him as the owner of property by township, range, and section. I eventually obtained the property transfer records between the original homesteader and my grandfather and the transfer, nearly 50 years later, from Grandpa to his youngest daughter and her husband. Read more about it here:
Week 15’s entry is about the stepbrother of my grandfather. Others in my family provided hints about him, including a rumor that he and my grandfather were married on the same day and at the same church in November 1915. I have no way of knowing whether it was a double wedding or whether there were two ceremonies, but it was nice to verify that bit of family lore.
I’ve found so many spellings of the name Brawley. Elizabeth was my great grandfather’s sister.
Another Catch Up post!! Nathan Bass – more questions than answers ….
A post about the American Cousins of my mother of Cohoes, NY (I’m from Quebec) and a mystery photo from 1926!
I contacted you before on the children of Joseph Fontaine & M.Josephte Devis dit Bangle. As you know the Notary records have been indexed by ancestry. Good news. There is a John Bingle of Terrebonne who leaves a testament in 1814 under the Notary Henry Crebassa. Unfortunately the person who did the micro film only copied the first 2 pages. I have requested of BanQ to send me a copy of the original in paper. Also Joseph Fontaine & M. Josephte Devis dit Bangle have testaments but I could not bring them up on the ancestry index. I have a copy of those records. They both died in the early 1830’s.
Also I have quite a few notarial records I would liked type written from French to English. I would like to know the name and address of anyone I could hire to do this. I wouild like someone reliable and reasonable. Can you help?
8 grace Ave.
Plattsburgh NY 12901
518 563 7729