Examples of surname variant spellings

This is the third in a series of post on variant spellings of surnames. Today, I will give some examples of variants I have encountered to illustrate how different they can be. These are all from projects where the evidence is clear that the variants do relate to the same family.

  • Goodrum or Gooderham
  • Gibson or Gipson
  • Oram or Horam or Whoram
  • Elstrop or Healstrop or Heelstrop
  • Doughty or Daughty or Dufty
  • Dew or Dow or Doe

Particularly troublesome amongst name variations are those where the initial letter changes (like Oram/Horam/Whoram). This is because some of the computer algorithms used to help search computer databases often aren’t clever enough to pick-up on this kind of variant, and this is why looking at original documents is useful—by looking page-by-page at a parish register, it encourages the researcher to consider if the name written down might be a variant. On many occasions in my work, I have been able to progress a family back further by looking at an image of a document itself, not relying on a computer database or index.