Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for Zirkleh

Johann Ludwig Zirkle was born on October 9, 1705 in Ittlengen, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. He immigrated to America in 1725. He died around January 1746 in Telford, Philadelphia (now Montgomery) County, Pennsylvania. He was married  to Maria Eva Bear.
His father also came to Pennsylvania. The family moved into Virginia and eventually settled in Shenandoah County. There are still Zirkles living in the area. 

Over time I have found the name spelled Zirkle, Zirkel, Zerckel, Zerkel, Sirkle, Sirckle, Serckle, Serckel, Zerckle and some even Anglicized it to Circ
Makes research rather challenging. 

In my early days in genealogical research there was a very popular speaker, Desmond Walls Allen from Arkansas. I went to a conference in San Diego where she was a speaker. I can still picture her in front of this huge lecture hall jumping up and down to stress that in genealogy "SPELLING DOESN'T COUNT!"

Johann Zirkle was a German in an English area. What did that clerk hear when they said their name? How was it spelled in Germany? Did it change here? Zirkle is actually a fairly easy one. Sometimes when records are transcribed letters are misread. For Zirkle that means you need to research in different parts of the index. 

It is well worth the time to sit down and jot down all the various spellings you can think of and keep it at hand when doing your research. 

I used my maiden name Wilburn in an example for a class. It was eye-opening. I've seen "W" as in Wilson transcribed as "N" as in Nelson. It took a long time to find that marriage record. 

Here's a few more examples to consider:

B that looks like R or P
All the vowels are often interchanged
Double letters can be single or triple
M and N and W can all be interchanged
V and R are hard to tell apart in many records Covey vs Corey

As I always told my genealogy students: Be Creative.