Birth recorded in two locations with different LNAB spellings

0 votes

I encountered two profiles that seem to be clear duplicates:

(I don't want to get into discussing the wives here, even though most authors list no surname for Mehitable and the father of the "Mehitable Luther" attached to the second profile had a daughter Mehitable who married Ebenezer Cole and was definitely not an Esterbrook)

John's birth was apparently recorded at Swansea and also at Rehoboth.

Rounds transcribed the Swansea records, aiming to make an exact transcription. From the few original Swansea pages I've compared, his transcription seems to be quite accurate. He gives "Eastabrooks" as the spelling. Here is a link to the American Ancestors page: 

Arnold shows John's birth also at Rehoboth. Unfortunately, Arnold did not try to give an exact transcription, so his spelling "Estabrook" cannot be trusted:


1) Should the profiles be merged with an arbitrary choice for the LNAB spelling and then a request be made to change to the Swansea spelling? Should no change be made until such time as the original town book is viewed? Rounds's transcription is an attempt to be true to the original and so may reasonably supposed to be correct until proven otherwise.
2) Suppose in this case, or in some other case, that viewing the two original records reveals two different spellings. How is the LNAB chosen in such a case?

WikiTree profile: John Eastabrooks
in Policy and Style by Barry Smith G2G6 Pilot (145k points)
retagged by Barry Smith

4 Answers

+1 vote
Barry - add the arborist tag to your question.  They are really good with these type of tangles.
by Karen Hoy G2G6 Mach 3 (35.9k points)
+2 votes
In the 1600s there was really no presumption that a name had only one correct spelling. Clerks and clerics wrote down what they heard and spelled it as hey saw fit. Finding different spellings in records for the same person does not indicate that there was an error. It is still the same person. There is nothing to correct. For modern records, we will adopt a most reasonable spelling for a name with many spellings, usually the spelling that evolved in the 1800s. It is a good idea to include research notes on the different spellings found in records. Don't treat them as errors; they are just different spellings.
by Walter Howe G2G6 Mach 1 (12.7k points)

This opinion is fine as a philosophical statement, but saying "there is nothing to correct" goes against written Wikitree policy:

Wikitree has a policy in place for the spelling of LNAB if for no other reason than to have a simple way to decide the spelling upon merging two profiles with different spellings. Why care so much about LNAB over other fields? Because it is the chosen identifier for profiles.

In the example in my post, neither profile uses the recorded Swansea spelling, and neither proves that it uses the spelling recorded in the Rehoboth book. So as far as they go, they are both in violation of the LNAB spelling policy.

+2 votes
Idea for sleuthing it out, not policy-making, although I think it's a very good point to resolve.

Idea:  Check on the descendants and see if they have resolved the spelling issue.  You can still use just one of the spellings you already have, maybe on the profile that was created first, and add a string of aka's to it.  I've seen that with the surname, which I find distracting, but certainly covered first thing in the Bio would be useful to future searchers.  

Just an idea.
by Sandi Strong G2G5 (5.9k points)
+1 vote

Following Wikitree style and merging guidelines. Eastabrooks (Rounds' likely correct transcription) should be used as the LNAB. Either change one of the profiles to this spelling or you could create a new one with the spelling Eastabrooks (same number of redirects occur). Then merge the other profile/s into Eastabrooks. Eastabrooks should probably be ppp before the merge to protect merge in correct direction.

by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
Ask me and I can ppp.

Agreed with Anne. Rounds' transcriptions were verbatim, according to the preface of the NEHGS's book, so I'd also go with his spelling as the most accurate. Alternative is to go look at the originals since they're not available online.

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