Should I ignore a misspelled name?

+3 votes
124 views
My grandmother was Lillie Mae Groff and was born in Pittsylvania County in Virginia. I have not seen the actual birth certificate, but every source - birth records that I can find, census records - shows this as her last name.

However, her marriage records show her last name as Graff.  Strangely, the marriage record shows her father's and mother's last name spelled this way as well. I believe that whomever wrote out the marriage record just thought that is how the name was spelled and did not check to make sure he had it right.

So my question is, should I just ignore the spelling in the marriage record and just go with everything else? I have seen in trees where people will do something like Groff(Graff) but was not sure if I should do something like that based on one record.

Thanks for reading everyone!
in Genealogy Help by Jim Farthing G2G1 (1.4k points)

2 Answers

+7 votes

...every source - birth records that I can find, census records - shows this as her last name.

If you have 2+ sources that list the name as Groff, and only one that lists the name as Graff - I would lean towards Groff as the correct spelling.

Being a marriage certificate, I would suspect it was also written in cursive, and in some handwriting samples I have viewed on my own tree - the A, E, O letters can be very difficult to distinguish.

by Steve Harris G2G6 Pilot (467k points)
+6 votes
You should use her last name at birth when you create her profile. You could put Graff into the alternative names field. This will make it easier for anyone else who may be looking for her under that name. Then you can explain in the biography or research notes the reasoning that you have applied in deciding which name to use.
by Lynda Crackett G2G6 Pilot (630k points)

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