Henry Kingery: The Spelling Lesson (52 Ancestors #39)

I have to admit that I just know the basics about Henry Kingery, my 3rd-great-grandfather. He was born in Virginia in 1806. (Some people list his birth as being in Franklin County, Virginia, but I haven’t been able to pinpoint the family there yet.) He married Nancy Dillon in 1832 in Lawrence County, Ohio. After their marriage, Henry and Nancy lived in Windsor Township until Henry’s death in 1872.

Henry Kingry and Nancy Dillon marriage record, Lawrence County, Ohio, downloaded from FamilySearch.org.

Henry Kingry and Nancy Dillon marriage record, Lawrence County, Ohio, downloaded from FamilySearch.org.

Pretty basic stuff.

Yet researching Henry and his family has taught me a lot about being flexible with spelling. Here are just some of the ways I’ve seen his surname spelled:

  • Kingery – 1840 census, 1860 census (population and agriculture), 1870 census
  • Kingry – his marriage record and tombstone
  • Kingers – 1850 census
  • Kingra – on his daughter Mary’s tombstone
  • Kingrey – on some of his children’s census records

“Kingers” on the 1850 census was just bad handwriting, in my opinion. The surprising one to me is Kingra. If you weren’t familiar with the family, you might see the name and sound it out with a short “a” (King-ruh). But knowing the family, you can “hear” how it would actually be pronounced with a long “a.”

Long story short: Don’t get hung up on spelling.

2 thoughts on “Henry Kingery: The Spelling Lesson (52 Ancestors #39)

  1. Jason Staker

    This is so true! Some spellings can make sense because people spell things phonetically, while others can be somewhat mind boggling. One of my surnames is Reinig, which shows up in U.S. Census records in different years as Reinig, Reinert, Reinich, Rennert and Reining.

    My own surname, Staker, suffers the same fate. It’s a German name pronounced Stacker. The original immigrant ancestor, Henry Staker, signed his 1883 naturalization papers with Stäker and on passenger lists as Stäcker.

    I later discovered through newspaper research that he returned to Germany in 1910 to “visit his sisters” in Germany. It was only through some careful sleuthing on Ancestry and some guesswork that I found his passport application from 1910. The Ancestry transcription had it as Henry Daker. I still don’t know anything about his family in Germany, including the names of his sisters. I only know his parents’ names thanks to the 1925 Iowa Census, where he listed his parents as Hans Staker and Margaret Siems.


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