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Surname Variations.

By Jim Ackroyd

My wife, Carol, received an email from one of her many contacts, the other day. This email came as quite a revelation! We had known for some time that in the past, many people couldn't write and it was often left to the village scholar or the local vicar to record events.

We also knew that when writing names, they were often written as they sounded to the writer. This of course led to the many variations of surnames that are in use now.

My own name 'Ackroyd' for example has many variations, and we have actually found different spellings on a single family gravestone.

So getting back to the email. Carol had been researching my maternal great grandmothers name 'Holling'. In doing so she checked the usual variations, such as, Hollin; Hollings; Hilling and many more. Then she read an email that told her that new variations including: Hollingworth; Hollingsworth; Hollinsworth and several similar names should be checked.

Prior to this, Carol had hit a brick wall with her research on 'Holling'. But adding these new variations to her research literally had the wall demolished within days! She found many references to these new variations and lo and behold... she found several links to our own 'Holling'.

So, don't despair if you hit your own brick wall, just use the old grey matter to think of a few variations for names that you are researching.

You should find many books about 'Surnames'. Use our links to 'Amazon.co.uk' or if you are researching 'Yorkshire Surnames', Then you could try the excellent books by Dr. George Redmonds, you'll find them at the bottom of our 'Yorkshire Search Service' page.

Addendum: Carol has just found out that we have another 'John Smith' on a direct line - The mind boggles!! She's currently sifting through hundreds of them in the Penistone area.


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