One Family Multiple Spellings

Gearin, Garen, Guerin, Gerarin, Garren

In researching Gearin history, I have found the spelling of this surname spelled  different ways on government documents.  The spelling Garen showed up on Michael and Margaret’s Marriage certificate, their son William and wife Mary on the 1939 census of Arlington Ma as Guerin, and Gearin most everywhere else.  I spent a while looking for Michael Gearin on the 1900 census.  No one in his family pulled up on the 1900 census.  After looking for a neighbor that I found on the 1910 census, I was able to pull this neighbor up on the 1900 census.  Next to his info was Michael Gearin and family spelled Gerarin.  For some reason this spelling was different enough for Soundex matches not to pull it up.  This is probably a regular occurance on official U.S documents.  I can only contribute this to the document preparer or writer assuming the spelling without verifying it with the family, or perhaps transcribing it off another form in error.  Either way it adds time to the search for mispelled, but offical valid documents.  So search all possible spelling of your surname to cover all possible variations.  Michael Gearin also could not read or write like most Irish immigrants in the mid 1800’s, but more importantly exact name spelling was not as important back in the day as it is now.  It’s very likely the census taker never asked how to spell Gearin, if Gearin is even the correct spelling, and just spelled it how he or she thought it was  spelled.

Shawn

Leave a Reply