When growing up, I was insistent that you spelled my German last name with an S-Z. Any other variation was wrong and I believed that anyone who spelled it differently would not be my relative. I was alone in thinking spellings for last names was fixed. I only correct people when they pronounce my first and middle name incorrectly.
There are a variety of reasons a name is “misspelled.” Those include phonetic inconsistencies between languages (such as Germanic to English), no equivalent symbols between languages, misunderstandings, and bad handwriting.
With these tips in mind, I created a list of variations for the Pueseckers, a family that migrated to Franklin County, Ohio along with my direct ancestors the Maecks.
Why Should You Keep a List of Name Spelling Variations?
Having a running list of how the names appear in different validated records makes finding your ancestors in subsequent research.
I entered the last name into the 1890 Veterans Schedules starting at the first variation and working my way down the list. I finally struck it rich when I used the #7
And this, new to me, record says that Charles (#11 on document) was in a Rebel Prison for 31 days! Ohhh…. that’s a juicy story.
I searched the U.S., Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918. in the same method and found an 1872 entry with the last name of C
Now, there is a map line going through the last name, so perhaps it is spelled Pusiker. Both of these are new variations but it was discovered searching for name variation #2 – Busacker.
Those are just some of the record collections and the discoveries I made for Pueseckers by having a running list of spelling variations. Truthfully, it took some time to discover the B and P connection. Once I had, it made finding more records so much easier.
What name variation lists do you have? What is the most surprising name variation you’ve uncovered?