Start journaling your heart out today. Have your very own Journaling Kit™ shipped to your doorstep...FREE!

Home
Articles
Columns
E-books
ewritersplace.com Workshops
Free Course
Support Us
Founded April 2000. A Writer's Digest Magazine 101 best Web sites for writers (2001 & 2003)
Book
How to Write Killer Fiction by Carolyn Wheat
Product
Create Your Own Products with EasyeBookPro
Market
APPLESEEDS
HELP FOR WRITERS

Buy a novel by Lucille Bellucci at Amazon.com and receive these .pdf bonuses:

  • 17 Ways to Make Amazon Your River of Gold
  • Make Money with Radio
  • Success Bound
  • Book Promotion: NOT for Sissies
  • Harvey Mackay Rolodex
  • Top 20 Talk Radio Topics
  • Harrison Bonus
  • Million Dollar Rolodex

    E-mail Lucille at lucil95783 AT aol DOT com to claim your bonuses.
  • Write Any Book in 28 Days... Or Less!
    Write Any Book in 28 Days... Or Less! New course reveals fresh secrets. Click here to learn more.



    The Secret Behind Creativity REVEALED! It's all in the brainwaves. Find out here!

    EasyEbookPro

    ScatterMall.com Books

    Click here to advertise with us for 2 whole months for only $35!





    Home Columns

    Watching for Name Changes

    "Mary, watch for the name changes of your ancestors," a friend remarked when I discussed my research with her. I was frustrated over not finding some members of my family line.

    "Name changes?" I asked.

    "Yes, many of the immigrants' names were changed once they came to this country. There were many reasons for this, but this often makes it difficult for us to find our ancestors."

    So as I searched for ancestors and reached stonewalls, places where I couldn't trace them any further, I remembered what Margaret said and realized for various reasons we'll find changes in spelling and in pronunciation. Sometimes the name will be so changed we'll not recognize it without further help.


    Why Do Names Change?

    • Language barriers - Often the person(s) taking down the information about the immigrant arriving in this country didn't speak the same language. Or someone taking a census didn't understand.

    • Couldn't read and spell in English - Some languages might have different names and sounds for the letters so were written much differently in America. For instance my Heisterbach ancestors from Germany became Oysterbach, then Oysterbank when they landed in New York City in 1710. Over the years, this was shortened to O' Banks, then O. Banks, and finally simply Banks when it became my grandmother's surname. It took me some diligent searching to trace her lineage back to its German origins when we thought for years she was English.

    • Couldn't read or write - Some people couldn't read nor write so might not know how to make the letters to their name. These are people who simply signed legal papers with an X. Perhaps the person taking down the data wasn't well educated either. Phonetic spellings of names are very common.

    • No English translation - Some names had no English translation because the letters were made very differently in the immigrant's language. Then the translator simply converted the sounds as best they could to the English language.

    • Carelessness in record keeping - Some records may have been written in a hurry or by someone who didn't really care. So an "a" may have looked like an "o" or an "e" like an "l", etc.

    • Couldn't read handwriting - Some handwriting was illegible in initial records or when a person wrote their own name. So the names got copied as well as they could.

    • When looking for my Grandfather Reuben Place's family in a census record, I came across them listed as Plum. This was a record typed from an original census.

      I contacted the person who did the transcribing and, while he didn't remember the exact name, he said that sometimes the handwriting had been difficult to decipher. I've also seen Place written as Plas or Plass.

    • Desire to change - Some people desired to change their names, not necessarily because they were hiding from anyone or the law (and sometimes they were). But they simply wanted to use a name that was easier to pronounce or write in the new country.

      My grandfather Burton Coon changed his surname from Coons to the singular. "I'm one Coon, not many," he announced, according to my mom. So he dropped the "s."

    • Name changes evolve - Some changes seem to evolve with names after years of living in another country, especially where a different language is predominant. Originally my grandfather Coon's ancestors' name was Kuhns when they came from Germany to America. Over the years it had been Anglicized to Coons in some families.

      With the Place name, according to one reference (I haven't found personal connections yet), this name originally was LaPlace and the French family migrated to England after William the Conquerer took over that country. Over the years in England, the "La" was dropped.


    Looking for Changes

    So when you can't find your ancestors' names in various records, speculate on other spellings for that name. Some will be way off and it's only by continued research or genealogists' luck that you find them. But don't give up.

    • Discuss with other researchers
    • Send out queries on an Internet list and see if there are any other known spellings
    • Research different spellings for that name

    Have fun in the fascinating and sometimes frustrating search for your ancestors.

    Copyright © 2003 Mary Emma Allen

    Mary Emma Allen has been searching for her ancestors for many years. She sometimes reaches a dead end, but enjoys the journey and the many new "cousins" she meets. Visit her web site at http://homepage.fcgnetworks.net/jetent/mea.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ



    WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! Kick start your imagination, ignite your creativity, and begin your journey towards becoming an outstanding writer.

    Grab a copy of WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! from Amazon.com and receive 2 free e-books to encourage and nurture the writer in you. You'll also receive Write Memories, a journaling workbook available for free only to WEEKLY WRITES book owners. And finally, as a WEEKLY WRITES book owner, you'll have free access to e-mail courses such as JOYFUL WRITES: Celebrate Your Life through Writing

    For excerpts, reviews and what you need to do to receive the 2 free e-books, Write Memories and sign up for free e-mail courses, just head on to the Weekly Writes Book Official Site. (Clicking on the link will open a new window.)

    FOR JOURNALERS

    The Journaling Life: 21 Types of Journals You Can Create to Express Yourself and Record Pieces of Your Life

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between

    Journaling Kit - Four Journaling Books to help you put your life and memories on paper

    SEARCH
    Google

    The Web
    This Site

    COURSES FOR WRITERS
    JOYFUL WRITES
    Celebrate Your Life through Writing

    INNER JOURNEY
    Creative Nurturing of the Writer Within

    LIFEWRITES
    6 Approaches to Journaling

    CREATIVITY ALLEY
    21 Ways to Jumpstart Your Muse

    WORDS, SWALLOW ME
    Imagery in Writing

    WRITING CHANNELS

    Children's Writing
    Freelance Writing
    Poetry
    Science Fiction & Fantasy
    Technical Writing

    BOOKS FOR WRITERS

    The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publishers Won't by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

    WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! by Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ




    Home | Articles | Columns | Workshops | E-books | Free Course | Quotes | E-zines | Top Fives | Support Us
    © Copyright 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ & The e-Writer's Place.
    Materials appearing in this Web site are owned and copyrighted by their respective authors and/or writers. Please read our Privacy Policy and TOS. No part of this website may be reproduced without consent from its owner. Original site design by Shery Russ. Hosting & maintenance by Hosting4Writers.com.
    WriteSparks! Lite free software for writers
    Our sister sites: WriteSparks.com | WeeklyWrites.com | WritingBliss.com | JournalSparks.com | CreativeWritingPrompts.com | BooksAboutWriting.com | WritersOnThe.net | Hosting4Writers.com | Writers Web Designs | blog.forwriters.org | Aspiring Authors | ScatterMall.com Books | DailyWrites.com | EbookPizzazz.com | EmailWorkshopsHowTo.com | Writing-Portal.com | iMusePub.com | WritersMEMO.com