Your Quick Tips

James Kelly tombstone, Calvary Cemetery, Brooklyn, New YorkExercise in the Cemetery
I’ve started walking my dog every day to get some exercise. One of our routes takes us past one of the largest cemeteries in the county. I’ve decided to start transcribing the cemetery and send it to the GENWEB coordinator for our county when I’m done. It gives me an extra incentive to take those walks and will hopefully someday help a few genealogists!!

Jolynn Winland

Crockford’s Clerical Dictionary
If you see “Crockford’s Clerical Directory” in a secondhand or antiquarian bookshop, buy it. It doesn’t matter which year it was issued.
In it you’ll find an alphabetical list, by country, of every parish in the Church of England whether in the UK or its colonies. It also tells you the county and the nearest post-town. I find it invaluable for locating obscure places, and it is a great help if the place you are looking for has been mis-transcribed.
Mine is dated 1929; it’s a very large book of 2000 pages and cost me 10 pence (about 20 cents).
Nick Russell

Locating Hispanic Ancestors-Getting Past Frequently Misspelled Names
Spelling errors for Hispanic names occur for various reasons:

  • Unfamiliarity with Hispanic names and their spelling on the part of a census enumerator, tax collector, or other recorder.
  • Transcription errors on the part of an indexer/transcriber of handwritten records.
  • Use of abbreviations or phonetic substitutions on the part of the original recorder or the transcriber as a “shortcut.”
  • Inadvertently reversing two letters when writing or transcribing information.

Spelling errors occur not only when transcribing handwritten names into typed lists but also when creating typed indexes (e.g., Texas Birth Index, Texas Death Index). Use some the following tricks to locate Hispanic ancestors whose names may be misspelled in various types of records:

  • Reverse the “ua” with “au” (e.g., Gaudalupe for Guadalupe or Jaun for Juan).
  • Truncate online searches after the first syllable using the wildcard symbol * for multiple letters. (e.g., Ben* retrieves Ben, Benito, Bengamin, Benjamin, Benancio, Bennie, Benny).
  • Replace ending vowels that indicate gender with single character truncation (e.g., Fideli? retrieves Fidelio and Fidelia).
  • Try “anglicized” forms of the name (e.g., Richard or Richardo for Ricardo, Charlie or Charles for Carlos, Joe for Jose, Albert for Alberto, Mary or Marie for Maria, Rosie for Rosa, Louis for Luis, Pete or Peter for Pedro, William or Willie for Guillermo, Alfred or Fred for Alfredo, Nick or Nicholas for Nicolas, Alex or Alexander for Alejandro or Alexandro).
  • Replace single vowels with the single character truncation (e.g., Guad?lupe retrieves Guadalupe and Guadelupe).
  • Try abbreviated forms of the name (e.g., Franca for Francisca, Franco for Francisco).
  • Try diminutive forms of the name (e.g., Lupita for Lupe or Guadalupe).
  • Replace diminutive endings with the truncation symbol (e.g., Guadalup* retrieves Guadalupe, Guadalupita, Guadalupito).
  • Try nickname forms (e.g., Lupe for Guadalupe).
  • Try replacing consonants with other consonants that are phonetically similar (e.g., Birginia for Virginia, Venancio for Benancio, Dionisio for Dionicio, Felan for Phelan, Ozuna for Osuna, Lopes for Lopez).
  • Try replacing vowels with other vowels (e.g., Erma for Irma, Deonicio for Dionicio, Ygnacia for Ignacia, Elaria for Ilaria, Dalfina for Delfina).
  • Replace “ll” with “y” and vice versa (e.g., Aguallo for Aguayo).
  • At the beginning of names, try substituting “G” or “L” for the letter “S” (e.g., Salinas may have been transcribed as Galinas or Lalinas because of unclear handwriting).
  • Be creative. Use phonetic spellings (e.g., “Monwell” or “Manwell” for “Manuel,” Morralles for Morales).
  • Try “tion” at the end of names that normally end in “cion” or “sion” (e.g., Conception for Concepcion).

This list is not comprehensive but may get you thinking about alternate spellings (or misspellings) that appear in various types of records. Create a list of all the misspellings that you’ve found for future reference and routinely search using these misspelled forms of the name.

Where possible, compare spellings provided by indexers/transcribers to original handwritten versions of records. You may immediately recognize a spelling error that was introduced by an indexer versus a spelling error on the part of the person who handwrote the record (e.g., the census enumerator or tax collector).

You can help yourself and others in the future by submitting corrections to databases. As you find misspellings, use the Comments and Corrections feature where it is available to submit corrections or alternate spellings.

Irma (Salinas) Holtkamp

AWJ Editor’s Note: Learn more about the Comments and Corrections feature at

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2 thoughts on “Your Quick Tips

  1. I appreciate these great tips for locating Hispanic Ancestors- Getting Past Frequently Misspelled Names.

  2. Variant spellings I’ve found for Guadalupe include: Gaudalupe, Gaudaloope, Guadaloope, Guadaulope, Guadelupe, Guadoulope, Guardalupe, Gudalupe, Lupe, Lupeh,Lupina, Lupita, Lupito, Wadarlarpe, Wadalope, Wadalupa, Wadalupe, Wadalupi.

    I always check the place of birth of the person and parents before assuming the name is Hispanic.

    Irma (Salinas) Holtkamp

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