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"My family has always spelled its name...."

Those researching their family history often insist, for example, that:
  • "My family always spelled its name "MABERRY" as can be seen in two different census records and one deed".
  • "Our family always spelled the name MAYBERRY, I'm sure that is the correct spelling."
  • "I have never seen the name spelled other than "MABRY".

Family researchers should always beware of such statements:
  • Such statements are usually based on a few records;
  • Additional research almost always turns up other records in which the name is spelled otherwise;
  • Most statements like this are based on two or three generations. A look at the records of earlier or later generations will usually find exceptions;
  • Records were not always written by immediate family members; others, including clergy, county clerks, judges, and even friends and neighbors may have supplied information, spelling the name the way it sounded to them!

As can be seen elsewhere we have found more than 100 different spellings of our family in all kinds of records and documents over more than 500 years! Yet these variant spellings can almost certainly be traced to the same family. The moral of the story is that when you are looking for information about your family, be sure to look for different spellings. If you limit your search to a single spelling you are likely to miss important records!





August 2014