A rose by any other name . . .

When I began my journey into my family’s past I learnt one thing very quickly – don’t take transcriptions of records at face value. On the whole most are accurate and the transcribers do a very good job. However, sometimes things don’t go as planned and the odd mistake does crop up. It’s easy to see why, the transcribers have to wade through long lists of data, which may not have scanned all that well, plus many earlier records were hand written. Therefore, one does occasionally see a surname spelt incorrectly, for example one of my great, great grandfathers was listed as GILLY rather than GILBY. It is easy to figure out an error involving one letter, but there are some spelling mistakes that really do leave the researcher scratching their head.

I was searching through a census database for information about one of my great grandmothers and was rather surprised to discover she apparently had a sibling called Araisbida. No mention was made of the gender of this exotically named child, and searches of forename databases revealed no such name in existence. Had my great, great grandparents decided to invent this extravagent moniker? Or was it a transcription error? After much thought and deliberation (and a little more searching) I realised it was the latter – Araisbida was in fact my great, great uncle, Archibald.

The moral of this story is do make sure you verify any information you find, and if you seem to be drawing a blank in searching for an actual name, try a variation of it, an alternative spelling, or even a complete misspelling.

One thought on “A rose by any other name . . .

  1. I’m sorry but I don’t know Jonathan and I will have to delete your post because it falls outside the scope of this blog. This blog is for my personal genealogy, I don’t post about living people, not least because there are all sorts of legal issues which result from doing so.

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