Monday, January 30, 2012

When an "L" is not an "L" but actually an "S"

I have this ancestor Lurannah . . .

Say What?

Yes, you read it right L-u-r-a-n-n-a-h! It's not the first - Leodicia - odd name - Huldah - I've come across while dancing with the ancestors, and I'm sure it's not the last odd name I'll come across in my research. But . . .

. . . while emailing back and forth with someone also researching the Masterson line in my family tree, she pointed out something I knew, but didn't take into account: more often than not, transcribers of records misinterpreted the letter "S" as an "L" which is why the name Lemuel is such a common occurrence. Lemuel is the misinterpretation of . . . Samuel.

You see, the cursive "S" and "L" were quite similar to each other . . .

. . . in fact, on one Census Record, my great-grandfather John L. Smith is listed as, you guessed it, John S. Smith. So, that finding alone should have clued me in. Well, it didn't.

So, dear ancestress Lurannah is, most likely, dear ancestress Susannah!

Ahhhhh! Did the light bulb go off in your head?

What does this mean? Well, what it means, at least in my warped little world, is that any instance where I've come across Lurannah or even Lewrannah, I'm going to go back and change my search parameters to search for Susannah and see what I come up with. The same thing goes for anytime I come across an ancestor named Lemuel . . . which is probably Samuel.

So, as you're dancing with the ancestors and looking at old records, remember that an "L" might be an "S" or an "S" might be an "L" and a simple change in those letters, or others, might turn up different search results!


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