Sunday, July 20, 2008

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet."

Well, I'll tell you what's in a name if you're researching genealogy .....EVERYTHING!! So I have this one family line - Samuel Kirby is as far back as it goes, and he lived in the 1800s in Waterloo, New York. Considering I have other family lines that literally go back to the 1200s, it really annoys me when there are people that close in time that are a brick wall to me. I figured maybe he went by other spellings, like Kirkby or Kerby, but nooooo, nothing.

Finally I went to the 1860 census for the town of Waterloo and manually looked at every single page (116 in total), and what do you know not a single Kirby, not even un-related ones...but then I got to page 113:

Kirway? That doesn't sound anything like Kirby! But on the next page were all the kids.

so two options here....maybe the family just decided one day to start using Kirby. This isn't that strange, people were pretty loose with spelling until dictionaries got real popular. I have another line where one day they started spelling Redke as Redcay. At least I know how to pronounce Redke, huh?

Or, it was a terrible census taker who wrote it down totally wrong, for shame.

I remember once for years and years I couldn't find some people with the last name of Kleylein in a census. It made no sense because I KNEW they were there. Eventually, I did another of these line by line checks and sure enough there they were, but when the transcriber had listed their names, they wrote it as Cleylein because that's how it's pronounced. But then, there was a dash through the line that made the "l" look like a "t".

Anyway, I'm really really happy to find this Kirway. Next step will be to figure out if it's just a mis-spelling or what....

Moral of the story?

Don't believe it when you get back "0" results for your search. What you're looking for is out there somewhere....

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