Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Know Spelling Doesn't Count ... Revisited

I am still working on the Percival families who lived in "upstate" New York. Specifically, those Percivals who lived in Herkimer, Oneida, Madison and Livingston Counties. There are others in Cattaraugaus county, but I've worked on them and linked them to the Percivals who lived in Ionia County, Michigan. Sometimes it really is a small world.

Getting back to these Percivals and the spelling issue. Sometimes it isn't just a spelling issue, such as Percivil or Prcvel for Percival. This time I am taking issue with the first names.

One is John Whitmore Percival. Usually referred to as Whitmore, Whetmore, and Wetmore Percival. I can deal with those. It is the 1860 census that gives me pause when he is referred to as Whitmoremore Percival. Maybe the census taker went to sleep? And it isn't just him. In 1850 he is enumerated with his wife, Charity and daughter Mary I. That's fine. When I went looking for him in 1860, and saw the "Whitmoremore" and the age, I figured it was him, but who the heck were Gertrude and Isabella. Gertrude seemed familiar, but Isabella?

Flash back to the Seeking Michigan site and finding this death certificate for one Mary Lester whose father was Whitmore Percival and mother Gertrude Hess.  Ok. It sure looks like her.  Now for the 1870 census. What do we find here in Herkimer County?  Charity Percivill and daughter Bella.  Ok, Bella for Isabella, Charity, not Gertrude.  In 1880, we have Thomas and Mary Lester with Gertrude Percival living with them and she is Thomas' mother-in-law and they are all living in Michigan, all natives of New York. In the 1900 census, Thomas & Mary Lester have a servant AND Mary's mother, Charity Percival. Come on people! Give me a break. I cannot even begin to fathom why someone would rotate names every 10 years.

I probably would have dismissed this entire family because of the Charity/Gertrude thing, but Whitmore and yes, even Whitmoremore so intrigued me, I couldn't let it go.

My reaction of laughing at people who say, "The name has always been spelled blah-blah," is due to evidence such as the above.

Happy Hunting!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes


  1. Gertrude or Charity was testing you! You won!

  2. No. Charity/Gertrude died about 1909; probably in Alpena where they were living and I can't find a death cert for her.