Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wisdom Wednesday - Search Terms and Spelling

I would like to say "thank you" to the indexers at FamilySearch for giving me a much-needed chuckle while I was in the midst of a very frustrating search for my 2nd great grandfather's South Dakota state census record for 1905.

Let me explain.

I was doing some housekeeping on some of my files to make sure I had obtained a copy of every census available - both federal and state - for my direct line ancestors.  With names like Lanctot and Schneider, I expect there to be some weirdness in the spellings.  At least in the handwriting interpretation.

I ran across the following "misspellings" for Lanctot: Sanctot, Lancto, Lanetot, and Lancelot.  For Schneider, I got the expected Snyder and Snider, but also got Shmider and Schinder.

I also ran across the expected first name conundrums.  My ancestors have pretty standard names - Mary Alice, Louis, Thomas Patrick, Anna Christina, etc.  It can get confusing when an ancestor uses one name on one census, then their middle name on the next.  However, I never thought about the different ways that someone could misspell "Louis." 

I was using some pretty explicit language (directed mainly at my ancestors who appeared to have vanished into thin air between 1900 and 1905, then reappeared in 1910 right where I left them) to try to convince my computer to actually FIND something useful.  It didn't.  I finally decided to do a very VERY broad search for "Schneider" only in the 1905 South Dakota census.  I narrowed my search down to his birth year in the 1850s.  That's when I saw it.
Mine or not, I had to check it out.
Sure enough.  My eyes didn't deceive me.  My 2nd great grandfather was Louis Schneider, born in Iowa in 1851.  Both of his parents were from France.  He is first found in South Dakota on the 1880 federal census (1870 census shows him in Iowa).  All of this information appears to fit.

Here's the actual census card:
I guess I can see how someone could think that said "Lovins" ... but shouldn't common sense and logic overrule that theory?  In any case, I got a good chuckle out of it.  And apparently my 2nd great grandfather was WAY ahead of his time ... because THIS is the first thing that popped into my head when I saw it:
It just goes to show ... be prepared for ANY type of misspelling or misinterpretation when performing your searches.

This actually is going to help me quite a bit.  I have 2 Mary Alices (mother and daughter) who married two men named Louis (unrelated).  Now this Louis can be referred to as "McLovin" just so I don't get so darn confused.


Michelle Goodrum said...

Very cute story. Thanks for starting out my day with a smile!

Debi Austen said...

McLovin. Hahahahahaha!

Jenny Lanctot said...

Glad I'm not the only one who got a chuckle out of that, Michelle :)

Laura Aanenson said...

LOVE it - as always, you are a hoot!

Joan said...

Jenny "McLovin" Lanctot...that's what I should have named you! said...

Actually , we had to change BOTH mu daughter's and my son's driver licenses due to registration clerk errors recently .Sly genealogist mom caught it !

Great story , Jenny !

Jenny Lanctot said...

Thanks, Magda! See? Genealogists are good for something besides entertaining at parties! :)

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