Misspelled Name in Archives

Misspelled Name in Archives

You've got questions about discovering, preserving and celebrating your family history; our experts have the answers.

Q. Where can I get verifiable information about an ancestor arriving in the Port of New York, May 21, 1848, on the Barque Atlantis from Bremen? I have a lead from the National Archives, but my ancestor’s name is misspelled. I haven’t found any help in German sources.

A: You can look at microfilm of the actual records on National Archives film series M237, roll 72, which is the same as Family History Library microfilm number 0002318. It covers May 9-31, 1848. If the person listed has the correct age, occupation, origin, destination, etc., and the right given name, and if traveling with other family members, if those identifiers are also correct, then it very likely is your person.

Don’t be overly concerned with the way a name was spelled or misspelled by officials. If the surname you are looking for is Hendsch, be aware that Hentsch occurs 375 times in the online phone book for all of Germany, but Hendsch just once. Thus a clerk is very likely to have spelled the name Hentsch, which is spelled like the spelling of most standard German words, regardless of how you and your family spell it.

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