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The people of the 19th century did not seem to be as concerned with the spelling of their names, or indeed any other word, as we are today. They seemed to be more concerned with the pronunciation and would spell it any way that facilitated this. And they were sometimes willing to change the pronunciation of their name and it's spelling for political reasons. Many people of Irish descent would anglicize their names. For example, my father insisted that the proper spelling of Dugan was with one g. My grandfather insisted that the proper spelling was with two ggs. But I have found it almost impossible to determine which should be used. It is true that my grandfather began using the british spelling of gg to avoid being associated with the Irish refugees after the potato famine migrations. However his loyalist grandfather also used two ggs during the American Revolution, probably to avoid being associated with the rebellious colonists who used the one g spelling to avoid being associated with the British. And I can't determine whether the intervening generations returned to the one g spelling because of some historical precedent or whether it was because they wished to live in the US where the one g spelling is prevalent.-
I did not wish to offend anyone by misspelling their name but it's almost unavoidable. Wherever possible I used the spelling on the tombstones reasoning that the people who placed them there would surely know how to spell their name. But I find that this is not always reliable since tombstones are not always erected by family members.
Sometimes this is interesting as an indicator of the changing accent in the region, especially since the introduction of television. I left there before television was widely used with an accent which was much remarked on, mostly in abusive tones. I returned with a new accent which was much remarked on, mostly in abusive tones. I have been able to observe how the regional accent has disappeared since 1950 and I speculate that the process has been going on since the area was first populated in a major way in 1785. At one time the word "buoy" was a two syllable word which rhymed with "Hughie" and "Hughie" was a one syllable word which rhymed with "buoy".
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