What’s in a Name?

In my Ancestry.com hunt for Levi Thompson, I’ve rarely come across a record where he is indexed as Levi Thompson. In fact I’ve come across a lot of Thompsons that are not listed as “Thompson”. My own Thompsons are listed as Thompon and Thampson and Levi is often indexed as Lin. So if you’re looking for Levi Thompson you may not readily find the real record indexed as Lin Thompon.

Census takers did their best to spell names and handwriting is easily misinterpreted. A person with an accent my sound like they’re saying Thampson or Thampsen. Also it appears that Thampson and Thompon are both actual names.

So when I’m looking for Thompsons I have to also look for Thampsons, Thompons, Thomsens, Thompsens, Thomassons, Thomsons and Hampsons. Because a handwritten Th looks a lot like an H.

I should also note that it wasn’t me who caught the record for Thampson and Thompon and corrected it. It was some other nice person. One excellent thing about Ancestry.com is that they let you suggest alternates for names right there when you’re reading the census. Someone else found my Levi Thompson in the Lin Thompon and corrected it.

Now I try to do the same for others I find. There are so many ways one might spell Fenimore!

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