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Misspelled Names

PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:50 am
by Ian B
One of the challenges facing amateur genealogists in Australia, and probably in other parts of the world, is the misspelling of family names by those responsible for the official records.

One need only look at, for example, ships Muster Rolls and Convict Muster Rolls to find one persons name spelled in a variety of ways, especially those of Celtic ancestry, I quote one example, the Irish family name MacShane. This can be found recorded as McShane, McSheen, McShean, Sheen, Shane and so on.

Making it more difficult, is the fact that many, if not most, Celtic family names were forcibly anglicised in pursuance of the Penal Laws of 1698 which outlawed native Celtic/Gaelic names.

The result of the misspelled names is that genealogists must even more carefully pursue records to see if names are in fact linked to each other, far more difficult than simply joining a Family Name project or forum.

Re: Misspelled Names

PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:48 am
by spruithean
Ian B wrote:One of the challenges facing amateur genealogists in Australia, and probably in other parts of the world, is the misspelling of family names by those responsible for the official records.

One need only look at, for example, ships Muster Rolls and Convict Muster Rolls to find one persons name spelled in a variety of ways, especially those of Celtic ancestry, I quote one example, the Irish family name MacShane. This can be found recorded as McShane, McSheen, McShean, Sheen, Shane and so on.

Making it more difficult, is the fact that many, if not most, Celtic family names were forcibly anglicised in pursuance of the Penal Laws of 1698 which outlawed native Celtic/Gaelic names.

The result of the misspelled names is that genealogists must even more carefully pursue records to see if names are in fact linked to each other, far more difficult than simply joining a Family Name project or forum.


This is a problem that is faced by those in other areas where the British held land.

Most genealogists should be looking for ALL the variations of the name in question.

The names MacShane, McShane, McSheen, etc. could all be of a similar root but not necessarily the sons of the same Seán.

In some instances Mac and O' are dropped for various reasons, religious, political, etc.