I've been preaching this for so long - the phrase probably sends chills up & down the spine of every English teacher on this planet. But in genealogy it can't be said enough, "spelling don't count".
I hear so many people who say they can't find their ancestors in census records - and then they are suprised to learn they were there all the time, just not spelled as they said it should be.
Well we all have issues like that, especially when you have a Swede talking to a German or Swiss or some other ethnic background. Even today there are times when I am in a conversation and someone of a different ethnic persuasion gives their name and I have trouble with it. Its nothing new.
This weekend we were researching the ANSLEY family in census records for Georgia. In the 1850's, 1860's and 1870's I can't say education was a priority for those living in the south. Also a large influx of persons moving in and out of the state from other area's, some just passing thru some come to make their homes and start new lives, certainly did not make it easy for those census takers.
Researching ANSLEY in Georgia is like Smith anywhere else. So many and so many different spellings. The most popular mispelling is ENSLEY. My ancestor Rayford is found using ENSLEY probably more than any other spelling variation of the name. I still have people pronounce it Ensley with me (I use it as a middle name now) even though it clearly starts with an "A". Another mispelling that is very common is the AINSLEY.
This weekend while researching I found two totally new spellings I had never seen before.... ANDSLEY and ANZLEY. With first names like Aramantha, Amasa & Arasilla - we sure gave the census takers all sorts of ways to put their imaginations to work.
After all, spelling don't count....