When you have a surname that can be spelled many different ways combined with a first and a middle name that are in a foreign language, it can be easy to get caught up in spelling and transcription. Don’t get me wrong, spelling and transcription matter. But instead of focusing on whether the name is written John Michael Trautvetter of Jahn Michael Troutvetter, the important thing to as is: is this the same person? Do the other aspects of the record suggest that John/Jahn Michael Trautvetter/Troutvetter is the person I have located in other records and the one that I believe is my ancestor or relative? Those other aspects of the record could include:
- ethnic origin or place of birth,
- approximate age,
- consistent relatives,
While I do want to transcribe the record correctly and certain spelling variants may suggest ethnic origins, those other details are usually more important.