What are the craziest record transcriptions anyone has found

+22 votes
Just a fun question as I encountered one of my 18th century ancestors called Harry McCandlish, his name was transcribed as hairy candles.
in The Tree House by Roy Mathieson G2G2 (2.8k points)

15 Answers

+8 votes
I can't think of any offhand at the moment, but I've come across some weird ones and think, "That's not even a name!"  

I do try to check any images to read it myself because some transcriptions can be way off.  We broke through a brick wall on my husband's side by discovering John L. Hettrick/Hetrick had been transcribed as John Kutrick on a census.
by Lynnette Hettrick G2G6 Mach 2 (28.5k points)
+7 votes
My 2nd grandfather was born in Aaloborg, Denmark. He immigrated to the US and lived out his days as a farmer in Missouri. One census record transcribed him, his wife and young daughter as “Mulattos”….careless script for “M” vs “W”….silly mistake? Well some of his farmer neighbors and friends were…
by Janet Germany G2G Crew (680 points)
+11 votes

I was just working on the profile of Ann Unsted who, on her marriage record signed only an 'X'.

Therefore, on the transcription of the marriage record the transcriber listed her name as 'Ann Unsteads Mark' - the note written by the Priest next to her 'X'.

Of course, I'm ever so grateful for transcriptions of records or I would never have gotten done even a tenth of the genealogy I've done now. Still, the strange ol' errors can provide quite a laugh (even if Mr Hairy Candles may not think so!).

by David Smith G2G6 Mach 6 (69.4k points)
+13 votes

So far, my favorite of all time is this (a relative of my spouse, but I forget exactly how): [edited to add: spouse's great-grandmother's sister-in-law.]


Name    Aloysia Beatrix Elisabet Anna Manszbart
Sex    Female
Baptism Date    12 Apr 1867
Baptism Place    Tekovské Lužany, Levice, Slovakia
Father's Name    Aloysius Manszbart
Mother's Name    Cath Arendat

What it actually says (in Latin, 'cause it's Catholic):

15. 1867 Aprilis 12.
Aloysia Beatrix Elisabet Anna, foem., leg.
Gröberszberger Gustav, Manszbart Aloysia, arendat. Cath.

In other words, the indexer(s) ignored the father's name entirely, turned the mother into the father, and created a mother out of the father's religion and occupation (arendator: land-renter).

by J Palotay G2G6 Mach 6 (62.9k points)
edited by J Palotay
A new one, where the indexer(s) didn't even have the excuse of a foreign language: "Co. C. Lee's Batt." on a Civil War soldier's gravestone was turned into a wife named "Batt Leés". And then someone else went and created a profile on FamilySearch for Ms. Batt. (The associated image is freely accessible online and linked to the index, so the profile-creator also had No Excuse.)
+8 votes
The surname "Clements" transcribed as "Chimento".
by C Handy G2G6 Pilot (136k points)
+4 votes
Trying to find the exhusband of a second cousin this evening. Found a census record for him, age 10. There was no ʻHeadʻ listed, but all on census were ʻrelatedʻ to someone as ʻHeadʻ.

The man at the top of the list was shown as ʻHired handʻ, strange. Luckily the ʻoriginalʻ census was available. On the original the man was listed at ʻHeadʻ. Everything actually worked then.

The error was in the transcription, the individual above him was a ʻHired manʻ. Transcribing those census records is tedious and thankless work.

Thinking about that, I can imagine that the ʻHeadʻ in this family, who was a farmer and had 4 children, a wife and a mother to support probably felt like a ʻHired manʻ sometimes.

Hats off to the farmers who fed us in the 1940s and feed us still.
by Kristina Adams G2G6 Pilot (244k points)
+5 votes
I just came across this one today. Jane Moore, Ashton Andes Lyne's child. (can only be the place Ashton under Lyne)

by Gill Whitehouse G2G6 Mach 1 (17.2k points)

Oh dear,  lol (my emoji didn't work)

If you were searching for her this note is interesting.https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/information.pl?r=128073469:1495&d=bmd_1624925507

Thanks, I wasn't, I just came across her by chance :)
+3 votes
My Dad's surname is McAvaney, there has been many transcriptions of the the surname .It's Irish I know, but even today people can't even say it right.
by B Anonymous G2G3 (3.9k points)
+4 votes

My answer is always this biography on King Henry V I found once in a library. The genealogy chart had some error that made it seem that King Henry had married both Catherine of France and Owen Tudor!

by Jessica Key G2G6 Pilot (210k points)
+6 votes
The marriage record for my ggrandfather Albert Loock listed his mother Henriette Ziesemer as Fitzeyemer Henvebe, causing me to spend many useless hours searching for the non-existent Henvebe family.  I never guessed that Henvebe was supposed to be Henriette.
by Pat Miller G2G6 Mach 5 (54.6k points)
+4 votes

I was looking for something else, but rapidly found this record where all the children of Sven August Carlsson and Ida Julia Sjögren have been assigned the surname Barn - which is just the word for child in Swedish.

What I was looking for was the surname Barnsmorka, which I found in WikiTree back in 2016 and corrected. Barnsmorka is a mis-spelling of barnmorska which is the swedish for midwife.

by Eva Ekeblad G2G6 Pilot (442k points)
+4 votes
"amable te de anything"

Not "Am Able To Do Anything"!

It was actually UNABLE to do anything. :(
by Jasmine Holmes G2G3 (3.8k points)

Similar to the above has to be "Lonruay Orot London", and its companion "Lady May Or Of London".  (Although the latter may be easier to decipher.)  cheeky

+3 votes

I just located my parents marriage certificate on-line.

May father and his parents names were correct. (written in my father's unique style with a 4 hump M.)

My mother's name was correct, but the writing was faint so her mother's name (Rebecca Henderson Craig) was transcribed as Lucie Haroderson Craig. Her father's first name (James) was transcribed as Jeams.

by Bonnie Muir G2G Rookie (290 points)
+3 votes

I have a whole list...Here's one (from a city directory, I think):

Adams, Wm., box 80, Rural route no. 3, Centralia, Washington, 1946 - transcribed as Occupation:  Box

by Julie Kelts G2G6 Pilot (476k points)
+4 votes
My great grandfather's first name was Schuyler but it's been transcribed as Seagler, Schzler, Schurfler and even Johnna.
by Emm Churchman G2G6 (7.5k points)

Related questions

+6 votes
2 answers
162 views asked Sep 8, 2016 in The Tree House by Kathleen Hoglin G2G1 (1.0k points)
+5 votes
5 answers
154 views asked Mar 5, 2018 in The Tree House by J Palotay G2G6 Mach 6 (62.9k points)
+4 votes
1 answer
74 views asked May 1, 2020 in Policy and Style by Steve Bartlett G2G6 Mach 4 (43.0k points)
+8 votes
2 answers
+4 votes
3 answers
+1 vote
3 answers
+6 votes
2 answers

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright