Tuesday, 19 April 2016

A-Z Challenge 2016: P is for Phillis Emma Murch 1860-1863

You may have decided to read this post because you thought "That spelling is incorrect!  It should be 'Phyllis'!"  Welcome to the wonderful world of genealogy and family history, where spelling can get VERY creative, and you shouldn't dismiss a record because "it's not the way I spell it".

Phillis Emma Murch was born in the late spring or early summer of 1860 in the Colchester Registration District, Essex, England.  She died and was buried just before her third birthday, on 18 March 1863.  She may have lived a very short life, but she manages to teach us (as genealogists) something very important.  Many people in 1860 were illiterate, so the official who registered the name spelled it the way he thought it should be spelled, and maybe the parents didn't know that it was wrong.  How many times have you come across marriage certificates where both the bride and groom made an X instead of writing their name?

And it's not just way-back-when that it happened, either.  When my maternal grandfather went to register the birth of my mother, he had such a thick Devon accent that the registrar wrote him down as 'William Rupert Ball', when his name was actually 'William Hubert Ball' (and he wasn't illiterate).  One of my Haywood families was enumerated in the 1861 census as Howard.  I wonder if there were any thick accents in that crowd?  And one of the best is a lady who also features in the Murch Surname Study: Susaner Murch.  Yes, she is actually spelled 'Susaner'.  It happened in Devon - can't you just hear the accent?

Phillis/Phyllis features in the Murch Surname Study.

© 2016 Ros Haywood. All Rights Reserved

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