LNAB Spelling Variations

+1 vote
Part of my family from Ireland came to Canada in the early 1800's.  Within this family, they spell their surname differently on different occasions.  Spelling can differ from one census to the next, even for the same person.

As the children became adults, they sort of chose a spelling, but did not always stick with it over time.   

My particular branch started using the name as a middle or a first name, so I am fairly confident of that group's spelling, but sibling branches are a mix.  

Do I register a person with their preferred spelling in LNAB, or with the spelling that I believe to be "correct" from Ireland?  

FYI:  The name in question is "Berrigan", but sometimes appears as "Bergin".  My branch is "Berrigan" which is the one used as a middle or first name.
in Policy and Style by Barry Fellner G2G2 (2.9k points)
Tip: You might attract people from the two country projects if you put the tags 'Ireland' and 'Canada' to your question via edit.
I do my best to figure out which spelling the person used most.  But I do often put the alternate spellings in the "Other Last Names" field so that if people search a different spelling, they'll be more likely to find it.

I hear ya, though.  On my husband's side, there is Tyrrell, Tirrell, Tirrill, Terrill, Tyrel, Therrill, and more!  The spelling can change generation to generation and census to census.  One man changed his name from Tirrell to Tyrrell to differentiate himself from all the Tirrells in his area.

1 Answer

+3 votes
Best answer
WT Style Guide recommeds that the Last Name at Birth be recorded as spelled on the record used to record their birth. Ideally you are using the first record available that recorded their surname.


Of course this is not always possible.   If you are the only one working on the profile, then you will have to choose what makes the most sense.  If you are collaborating with someone, then you will have to come to some sort of rational agreement.   

Remember, this is a Wiki so the surname can be changed when better documentation appears and additional spellings can be put in the Other Last Name field.  We just try not to change the surname too many times if possible.

It some cases, it may even be appropriate to document in the bio why you chose a particular spelling.

Make your best effort using the best source(s) you have.
by Michael Stills G2G6 Pilot (471k points)
selected by Stu Bloom

It is usually the formal name as it appears in official documents at the time of birth. However, it may not be exactly what appears in a birth record if:

  • There was a spelling mistake or error in the document, or if the family name was more commonly spelled in a different way at the time of the birth

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