Spelling can be a problem when tracing your genealogy. The further you travel back in history to seek out your ancestors the more likely you are to encounter variations in the name you are seeking. Remember that in those days many people could not write, let alone spell accurately. So on the relatively few occasions a name was written, the scribe (probably an offical) wrote phonetically.

It is said that Shakespeare wrote his name in four different ways throughout his life. Not because he was dyslexic, rather it was because in those days it just didn't matter. Try altering the spelling of your name now when signing a cheque or completing an offical form and you will see how times have changed!

The researchers at Swyrich include variations in the names in family histories they produce. These aren't personal family histories, but the first traces of a name. They do contain some interesting facts and they can be useful in providing clues to the historic whereabouts of a family. At worst, they make a great picture for the wall - get the armorial which includes the coat of arms. Mine seems to draw people like a magnet when we have a party. Cheapest online source is All About Names.

You may come across the term 'Soundex'. This is a system which attempts to apply a code to the way a name sounds. For an explanation on how it works click here.Personally, I haven't found Soundex to be of much help.

To return to the Family History: Next Steps page, click here.