Spelling Irregularities are a Genealogy Fact of Life

Variations in how your ancestor’s name was spelled can be endlessly frustrating. However, it’s worth remembering that a variation of how your ancestor’s name appears in an index can arise from a variety of situations:

  • Your ancestor did not know how to spell his name
  • Your ancestor could not read
  • Your ancestor did not speak clearly
  • Your ancestor had an accent with which the writer of his name was unfamiliar
  • The clerk didn’t care
  • The clerk had bad writing
  • The transcriber could not read the name
  • The transcriber did not care
  • The transcriber made a typographical error
  • The document has faded over time and is difficult to read
  • Or something else

Keep in mind that one of more of these could explain why James Rampley ends up indexed as Jarvis Pample.