One of my first cousins is writing a book about one of our mutual great grandfathers. I am of the opinion that our Great great grandfather would be a good place to start but it is not my book. Our Great Great Grandfather was a congregational minister who emigrated to Australia with his whole congregation and set up a settlement about 50 miles from Adelaide, but my cousin prefers the son and it is his book, after all.
I am a genealogist with an extensive Family Tree, am a member of Ancestry.com and a regular visitor to Trove.gov.au, the National Archives where old newspapers are being scanned and posted on line. Some (most) of the scanning is full of gaps, weird words and strange typos and people are permitted to go into the site and correct the entries which is fun to do and one gets one’s login name credited with the corrections.
Anyway, our mutual grandfather has, as a middle name, the maiden name of his paternal great grandmother. Her family in England spelled the name with two ‘m’s but our grandfather’s middle name is spelt with one ‘m’. England was a long way away at the turn of the last century and there was no-one to ask how the name was spelled. My cousin was all for adding the extra ‘m’ to our grandfather’s name despite the fact that his birth records, death certificate of his wife and his own death certificate all show the single ‘m’ so it is legal and I think that I have persuaded him that he needs to stay within the law.
Not so easy is the name of our mutual great great grandfather. In England it is spelled with an ‘e’ but here in Australia the ‘e’ is left out. I blame our great grandfather who misnamed his son (our grandfather) and since he wrote his memoirs and spelled his father’s name without the ‘e’ and younger members of the family who also have that name have dropped the ‘e’ and it has been set, literally in stone, on the wall at the entrance to the church built in our great great grandfather’s memory.
I know that England was a long way away with no internet and no Ancestry.com but I am beginning to suspect that my great grandfather couldn’t spell to save himself and the only reason that the spelling in his books was correct was that he had a good editor who wouldn’t have known how his father’s name was spelt and therefore didn’t correct that particular error.
I have pretty well convinced my cousin that his name should have the ‘e’ since Ancestry.com has a scanned copy of his father’s ( my 3 x great grandfather’s) application for a marriage license and it is quite clear how his name is spelled as it has his actual signature which quite clearly shows the ‘e’.
Probably all or most variations of names were due to spelling errors but I am a pedant and find it difficult to see it happening in front of my eyes.