Tuesday, July 11, 2006


LOCATING HISPANIC ANCESTORS -- and any other foreign names - even welsh places

Spelling errors for Hispanic names occur for various reasons:

-- Unfamiliarity with Hispanic names and their spelling on the part of a census enumerator, tax collector, or other recorder.
-- Transcription errors on the part of an indexer/transcriber of handwritten records.
-- Use of abbreviations or phonetic substitutions on the part of the original recorder or the transcriber as a "shortcut."
-- Inadvertently reversing two letters when writing or transcribing information.

Spelling errors occur not only when transcribing handwritten names into typed lists but also when creating typed indexes (e.g., Texas Birth Index, Texas Death Index).

Use some the following tricks to locate Hispanic ancestors whose names may be misspelled in various types of records:

-- Reverse the "ua" with "au" (e.g., Gaudalupe for Guadalupe or Jaun for Juan).
-- Truncate online searches after the first syllable using a wildcard (e.g., Ben* retrieves Ben, Benito, Bengamin, Benjamin, Benancio, Bennie, Benny).
-- Replace ending vowels that indicate gender with single character wildcard (e.g., Fideli? retrieves Fidelio and Fidelia).
-- Try "anglicized" forms of the name (e.g., Richard or Richardo for Ricardo, Charlie or Charles for Carlos, Joe for Jose, Albert for Alberto, Mary or Marie for Maria, Rosie for Rosa, Louis for Luis, Pete or Peter for Pedro, William or Willie for Guillermo, Alfred or Fred for Alfredo, Nick or Nicholas for Nicolas, Alex or Alexander for Alejandro or Alexandro).
-- Replace single vowels with the single character wildcard (e.g., Guad?lupe retrieves Guadalupe and Guadelupe).
-- Try abbreviated forms of the name (e.g., Franca for Francisca, Franco for Francisco).
-- Try diminutive forms of the name (e.g., Lupita for Lupe or Guadalupe).
-- Replace diminutive endings with the wildcard symbol (e.g., Guadalup* retrieves Guadalupe, Guadalupita, Guadalupito).
-- Try nickname forms (e.g., Lupe for Guadalupe).
-- Try replacing consonants with other consonants that are phonetically similar (e.g., Birginia for Virginia, Venancio for Benancio, Dionisio for Dionicio, Felan for Phelan, Ozuna for Osuna,
Lopes for Lopez).
-- Try replacing vowels with other vowels (e.g., Erma for Irma, Deonicio for Dionicio, Ygnacia for Ignacia, Elaria for Ilaria, Dalfina for Delfina).
-- Replace "ll" with "y" and vice versa (e.g., Aguallo for Aguayo).
-- At the beginning of names, try substituting "G" or "L" for the letter "S" (e.g., Salinas may have been transcribed as Galinas or Lalinas because of unclear handwriting).
-- Be creative. Use phonetic spellings (e.g., "Monwell" or "Manwell" for "Manuel," Morralles for Morales).
-- Try "tion" at the end of names that normally end in "cion" or "sion" (e.g., Conception for Concepcion).

This list is not comprehensive but may get you thinking about alternate spellings (or misspellings) that appear in various types of records. Create a list of all the misspellings that you've found for future reference and routinely search using these misspelled forms of
the name.

Where possible, compare spellings provided by indexers/transcribers to original handwritten versions of records. You may immediately recognize a spelling error that was introduced by an indexer versus a spelling error on the part of the person who handwrote the record (e.g., the census enumerator or tax collector).

You can help yourself and others in the future by submitting corrections to Ancestry.com databases. As you find misspellings, use the Comments and Corrections feature where it is available to submit corrections or alternate spellings.

Irma (Salinas) Holtkamp

I would add - think about initial capital letters in copperplate - for example T for F or S

AWJ EDITOR'S NOTE: To learn more about the Comments and Corrections feature at Ancestry.com, see http://www.ancestry.com/s23557/t7765/rd.ashx


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