Discovery Your Family History

Using Common Spelling Mistakes To Assist Your Research

Misspellings can make your LDS family search a bit of a challenge, but it can be done. Many years ago, your ancestors’ names were commonly misspelled, or record keepers came up with variations of the spelling of a person’s name. There are several reasons the names were misspelled. For instance, spelling may not have been as important back then as it is now, foreign accents were hard to understand, handwriting may have been sloppy, the indexer was in a hurry, or a number of other factors could have played a role in this spelling confusion. No matter the reason for the misspelling challenges, be prepared to search for your ancestors using different spelling variations of the person’s name. If your ancestors can’t be located in the records you are searching through, this is the best time to look for spelling variations. However, when the ancestor for whom you are looking has been found, it makes your LDS family search much easier. When you can’t locate what you are looking for, you must widen your search parameters, which can be discouraging for some, but a wonderful challenge for other genealogists. This is the point where you need to get creative in your search. For instance, if your family line has a strange last name, try looking for it under a different spelling, such as gastera, for Zastera, etc. You have to be the investigator and think outside the box, to find these misspellings in your LDS family search.

Do Your Research

Take the time to learn as much as you can about your favourite search engine on the Internet. One way to do this is by reading more about and using their advanced search feature to get the most out of your genealogical research. Also read the tips they offer on using spelling variables, such as quotes, dashes, or asterisks to help you find what you are looking for. By using these symbols and other spelling variations, you may be surprised to find many useful search results. However, if the search engine shows no results found, go back to the search page, and click on cashed. There you should find a few results that can help you advance your research. Depending on the amount of time you have to search, and how important the information may be for your LDS family search, you can take time to search for your ancestor’s name under several misspellings. You can try searching by dropping a letter in a name, or transposing the letters to find your ancestors. If you are having trouble finding any results, use the name thesaurus to find a list of spellings for a particular name.

Phonetic Pronunciations

If spelling variations don’t help you find the person for whom you are looking, use phonetic pronunciations of the ancestor’s name. When in doubt, sound it out. By this I mean spell the name the way it sounds, and use the different possible pronunciations to come up with results. Sometimes finding the way your ancestor’s name was spelled can be like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, by trying to fit each little piece to the last one, until you find the perfect fit. Doing this type of Genealogical research is not easy by any means; on the contrary, it can be the most difficult challenge to find information when a person’s or family’s name is misspelled. However, if you are dedicated to finding information for your family tree, the informational treasures are worth all your hard work. The researches you’ll remember the most are the ones that the hardest to do, took the longest, and were the most rewarding, when you found your great, great, great grandparents hidden under a misspelling or a spelling variation.

It is important to note, during your research, that foreign names may have been changed after the people landed in the United States, so this could be one reason you can’t find your ancestors. If none of these methods help you find what you are looking for at the time, try a new search tactic, and come back to this one later on along your Genealogical journey. You will be pleasantly surprised to find something that you may have missed, and you may even unexpectedly find some new information you didn’t even realize you were looking for. Also, keep an eye out for new resources, because more sources become available to genealogists each and every day. The thrill of new discoveries is what keeps family historians plugging away at building their own family trees.

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