Turning Butlers into Putters and Beyond

There are several steps a piece of information takes to go from your ancestor’s mouth to the record or index entry at which you are looking. Intentional errors, misinterpretations, and honest mistakes can work independently or together to make what looks like a “wrong” name. Keep this process is mind: It is what turns a Butler into a Putter. 

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5 thoughts on “Turning Butlers into Putters and Beyond

  1. Karen

    This can also happen when a robot translates a phone message. I got a call about a Dr. Motor. I didn’t know who this was. When I listened to the actual message, it was Dr. Winter. How did they hear Motor?

    I have also been trying to figure out a 1920 Census Record that is very confusing. I’m wondering if a neighbor gave the information. Names and ages for a couple of names are way off .

    Errors can happen to anyone.

  2. Dana Sutton

    It’s sometimes amazing to follow closed captioning when the transcriber
    has no or little knowledge of the era. In England, lots of syllables are lost
    when moving from the standard written language to the spoken language.
    Worchester sounds like Wooster, Leicester is correctly pronounced Lester, &
    Brougham sounds correctly as Broom. My rule has always been, “it’s their
    language; they can say it any way they want to.” Just like there are “cheat
    sheets for “born, married, & died” in multiple languages for those we don’t
    know, cheat sheets for what we may consider “incorrect” pronunciations
    would be handy. Maybe there are; I don’t remember seeing any.


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