Merck Family - Random Notes

Joseph John Merck, with his wife, Katherine Cecilia Eberle, brought his family from the Ukraine to the United States in 1912. This site will contain some random notes and comments about the family background, their experiences, the places they lived, and other subjects related to that topic. No particular organization of comments or articles should be expected.

My Photo
Location: Jacksonville, Arkansas, United States

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Spelling of Surnames

When doing research on family history, one quickly learns that the family name, or surname, is not always spelled the same throughout generations.  It was not until the last hundred years or so when the spelling of a surname became standardized.  Before the 19th century, when many people were illiterate, the names on records were written by clerks and priests the way they heard the name pronounced.  This lead to different spellings for the same name.  Spelling continued to change and evolve until the beginning of the 20th century.  But as siblings sometimes carried forward differently spelled versions of their surname, one finds family branches today with variations of the family name.  While Merck is the predominant spelling of our family name, variants include Merk, Murk, Mack, etc., all on the same family tree.