How You Hear It In Your Head

Most genealogists “hear” the names of their ancestors in their head. Not in the sense of “hearing voices,” but by “hearing” that pronunciation in our head of a name that we may never have actually heard spoken aloud. My grandfather’s first name was Cecil and there was only one way it was ever said “See sull.”

It was years later before I learned that the name was often pronounced as “Seh Sill.”

From a research standpoint this can present problems, particularly with last names.

Especially ones like Taliaferro–because it is usually said in such a way that it rhymes with “Oliver.”

Try to discover how that “new name” was probably pronounced. Because how it was pronounced makes a difference in how it gets spelled.

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2 thoughts on “How You Hear It In Your Head

  1. Becky Leeman

    My mom’s family of German/PA Dutch origin pronounced Carrie like CAR-ee, Clarence like CLAR (rhymes with car) -ence, Harry like HAR-ee.

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