27 July 2011

So How Do You Spell It Anyway?

One of the things I learned early on in my genealogical journey was that "spelling don't count".   I hear people say things like "my grandmother always said it was spelled _____________".  You fill in the blank, I'm sure you've heard it as well.  And I think most people would agree that you really can't be too hung up on the spelling of the surnames in your genealogy! 

But that really isn't what this post is all about.  What I want to know is how do you handle all the variations in your files?  Take for instance my Gebhart lines. For the most part its spelled Gebhart. But then you go into court records and you find a handful of Gebharts that decided to use the spelling Gephart instead, and when you go out into the cemetery there it is bigger than life itself - the headstone using the same spelling! 

Do you enter in your data base with the spelling you found it as or do you "standardize" all the spellings into one spelling, perhaps entering the alternate spelling in your notes??

No, spelling don't count, but I am curious.  How do YOU handle the multiple spellings in YOUR files & data bases?  I'd love to hear from you with your thoughts on this dilema.

Happy Researching


Deb Ruth said...

My family line names are Gephardt & Gaphardt! Have seen an occasional Gebhardt in my travels. Mmmm maybe were are cousins!

Jim Gill said...

That's a question I have pondered for a long time. I have the same problem with my Rogers/Rodgers families. Not only do different families spell it different ways, but different records for the same family spell it differently. All my notes for these families are filed under Rogers and in the beginning I entered them all in my database under Rogers. But lately I've tried to enter families in the database under the spelling I find in a majority of official documents. Of course this creates a problem finding people when members of the same family are filed under multiple spellings. Really complicates things. Of course I always enter a note with each source when I find a name variation. Tiz a puzzlement!

Becky said...

I generally enter the spelling as it was found when I first found the person. However, I also create an "alternate name" entry for the more common spelling. This allows me to find the person easily in Legacy's name list - if I tell it to include alternate names!