The spelling of surnames is a frequent problem for the family history researcher, for experienced hands as well as newbies. Usually this is put down to the poor literacy levels up to late 19th century, with those filling in the registers putting down how they think it out to be, based on what they hear.
Here’s a nice little story which came my way this week through a Norfolk connection on the Watts side of the family. I had already encountered uncertainty in the spelling of ‘Loyd’, a family from Bergh Apton, basically whether it should have a double LL like the Welsh version. But apparently the name started off as Lord, as related by my contact (marginally edited):
The story in Bergh Apton is that one of the vicars took exception to the name when a member of the Lord family presented for marriage. He claimed there was only one Lord and he was not born in Norfolk. Farm records in Bergh Apton show Levi’s name changing from Lord to Loyd. I was shown the book of quarterly returns of wages at Bussey Bridge Farm, Bergh Apton which had Levi as a Lord for years, suddenly one quarter he became a Loyd and Loyd he stayed. John Spratt Lord’s police entry record in the name Lord contains a margin entry to the effect that this man has been called Loyd in Bergh Apton.
Another Lord in a neighbouring village about to marry into a devout chapel family was faced with the same sort of reaction – my daughter is not becoming a Lord – again a Loyd / Lloyd line was born.
Not down to official interpretation of a broad Norfolk accent, then. And the Laud spelling also occurs.
Other Norfolk names have clearly evolved and diverged over time – as with Laddiman/Liddiman/Liddiment.
Another stumbling block has been the Osborne family name, sometimes acquiring a ‘u’ in the middle but also dropping the e or getting an h on the front. The latter stopped me from finding great grandmother Amelia’s birth registration for ages.
Thanks to Stephen Lord for the Bergh Apton story.