Thursday, January 12, 2012

Spelling Words

Sounds to symbols has been a task since the first scribe dotted those symbols in the hardened clay of the Tigris River. Now how do you spell ...? This must be a question asked repeatedly throughout generations. For the genealogist, it is often a source of trouble, finding the spelling of the same name (words) occurring in various forms, even in the same document. "Be prepared!" The old scout motto would say. Sounds to symbols, what trouble it can be.

The following is an example of such a phenomena found in English records. "Peuman's End" it was called at first. It would seem that when Governor Bennett, in January 1653, ordered all Dutch ships seized, one fellow failed to get away. Both Wingfield [History of Caroline County, Virginia, p. 36] and Campbell [Colonial Caroline, A History of Caroline County, Virginia, p.16] relate the story. According to legend, a Dutch pirate was raiding the waters of the Rappahannock River. He was chased into a creek and met his death. The creek was named after the place where Peuman met his end! The two words thereafter were combined to become "Penmansind Creek", or "Powmansend", or "Powmansend", or ... . The following is an outline of the various spellings which were recorded in Cavaliers and Pioneers, by Nugent. The spelling is given first, followed by the reference (volume) and page number. You can begin to see the spellings, and why it is important to view a broad range of words when checking an index for your name.

The first listing of this name appears in Cavaliers and Pioneers (CP), Vol. I, p. 440:

Puamunaremo (?) CP I, p. 440
Puamunvien CP I, p. 442
Powmansend CP I, p. 526, 528
Pewamamcsee CP II, p. 138
Pewmansend CP II, p. 371, 380, 397
Puesmonseen CP II, p. 73
Pwomansend CP II, p. 8, 18, 20, 382
Pewamanesee CP III, p. 87
Pewmondsend CP III, p. 12, 136, 148, 182, 217
Powomasend CP III, p. 12
Peumansend CP III, p. 350, 355 (swamp).

Wow, how would you spell Peuman's end?

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