how will I get past the change of spelling of a last name? ie Biggs vs Bigge

+3 votes
I am as far back as Edward Biggs biggs-8.  Other entries show that the spelling was changed to Bigge which does not show me related. Help.
in Policy and Style by Alene Corbitt G2G1 (1.2k points)
edited by Alene Corbitt


This unusual surname recorded as Bigg, Bigge, Biggs, and Bigges, is of Olde English pre 7th century origins. It derives from the ancient word "bigga" meaning large, and as such was both an original baptismal name, and later in the medieval period, either a nickname surname, or possibly one from a location. Whatever the origin, it is one of the oldest on record, although whether the first named, as shown below, would have recognised his "surname" is conjecture. Like the famous "Little John" of Robin Hood fame, who was according to legend, the largest man in the band of "Merry men", the name may well have been a nickname, for a small person! Be that as it may the name is well recorded in several different parts of England. The surname as Biggs and Bigges is usually a patronymic, meaning the son of Bigg(e), although with Henry de Bigges of Cambridgeshire, in the year 1327, it has the meaning of "from Bigg". There is a small village called New Bigg in Lincolnshire, and it is possible that this man was from that place or a now "lost" medieval village. The village name means "new building". Early examples of the surname recording include Walter Bigg, in the 1177 Pipe Rolls of the county of Suffolk, and Henry Bigge in the 1195 Pipe rolls of Gloucestershire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Aelric Bigga, in the charters known as the Old Bynames register, and dated 1036 a.d. The king on the throne of England at the time was Harold 1st (1035 - 1040).

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Last name: Bigge

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Names can change over time. My last name is now Biggs, but I am genetically Scotch-irish The name came from the phonetic Baggs or Beggs or Boggs. The Anglicized shift happened about 1820. There was also a shift on one line to Briggs around 1860. I tend to open my searches to all variants when I go back before 1840.
Alene, what do you mean by "which does not show me related."? Please say more.
My last name is Biggs.I have followed my lineage back to Edward Biggs circa 1479. Other listings show the spelling as Bigge. Wikitree shows Edward Biggs to be my 14th back great grandfather. But when the spelling is changed to Bigge no relationship is shown. I needed to confirm that I was correct in believing that the different spelling doesn't change who I am. Thanks to all who answered.

1 Answer

+2 votes
Best answer
I have a family that in Scotland was spelling the name Penny and sometime after they emigrated to Canada the spelling changed to Pennie.  So in the surname at birth field I put Penny and then in the "other last names" field I put in Pennie.  If you link the person as a sibling, father, mother they will link to you just like any other profile regardless of spelling.
by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (688k points)
selected by Julie Ricketts
Alene --

Laura's exactly right. :-) It's not the spelling that connects you.

I have a family of Fulks in my lineage, and their name morphed from Volck over time.

The rule of thumb is that you should use the earliest spelling -- hopefully from their birth or Christening record -- as their Last Name at Birth. If they began using a different spelling in their lifetime, you just add it to the Other Last Names field. If they used more than one variation, you can separate them by commas.

Did any of this discussion answer your question??

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