18 July 2011

Get Creative With Name Spellings -- Kimberly Powell, About.com

This article was originally published 7 July 2011 by Kimberly Powell, About.com Guide.  We are sharing an excerpt here of her article with a link to the full article since names and their spelling is so important to anyone’s genealogy research!

Our ancestors did it. The census takers did it. The transcribers did it. So we have to as well. It's a rare thing to find an ancestor whose name appears in historical records year after year spelled exactly the same way each time. Even a seemingly simple name such as Owens, will often appear as Owen, Owins, Owings or even Owns.

There are many creative ways to find alternate surname variations, but I also wanted to share an online tool that I find handy for this purpose. British Origins, one of the sites I use in my English research, employs a name search technology known as NameX. Created by Image Partners, NameX is based on a Last name thesaurus containing 75 million entries for 1.5 million distinct last names and a First name thesaurus containing over 3 million entries for 260,000 distinct first names. This generally results in fewer, more accurate name variants than Soundex…”

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