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Community Forums › They Came in Boats › Where do I begin? › surname spelling change

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surname spelling change
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qnana
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Joined: Aug 21, 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:21 pm    Post subject: surname spelling change Reply with quote

I have my grandfather's naturalization certificate (1920) with the last name spelled as it came from Italy - Iacobellis. At some point the name became Jacobellis. I know that probably occurred b/c people read the Italian I as a J but I would like to pinpoint when the change took place and where.

Has anyone had any success in tracing a similar spelling variance and would you mind sharing how you found out the information?

Thanks for any help you can give me.
qnana Smile
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BillieDeKid
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:01 pm    Post subject: Re: surname spelling change Reply with quote

Hi qnana,

What year did your grandfather die? Do you have a copy of the death certificate, if so how is the name spelled on the death certificate? Do you have birth certificates of the children born to your grandparents? If so what years were they born and how is the surname spelled on the childrens birth certificates?

This might help to narrow the year(s) the name change took place. Let us know and we'll try and give you a hand.

Elizabeth

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Italysearcher
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:49 am    Post subject: Re: surname spelling change Reply with quote

The Italian 'I' looks very much like a 'J'. I have seen many surnames that begin with 'I' in Italian change to 'J' when they arrived in USA. It probably happened the first time they presented documents that had to be written out by an American. When they got their first job, rent book, SIN number etc.

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qnana
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Joined: Aug 21, 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:42 pm    Post subject: Re: surname spelling change Reply with quote

Thank you both for replying so quickly.

My grandfather died in Stamford, Conn but the naturalization took place in the Bronx. I don't have his death certificate or my father's birth certificate yet. In the 1916 and 1917 City Directory the name is spelled with a J. My grandfather's 1911 WWI Draft Registration is with a J. The 1920 Census, done just before he naturalized is with a J.

I will get my father's birth certificate to see what that says. I know the name was always spelled with a J by him.

And the hunt continues....Thanks again for your help.
qnana
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uantiti
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Joined: Nov 28, 2008
Posts: 356
Location: Biella (Piedmont) and Venezia/Venice, Italy

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:05 am    Post subject: Re: surname spelling change Reply with quote

In Italian letter "I" and "J" have the same sound. Sometimes letter J replaces letter I when it's between, in front or after wovels. Too long and complicated to explain why, it involves phonetic, orthography, plurals and Latin. This habit was followed in the past but nearly disappeared now. Anyway you can still find that people like to write names, surnames and town names using J instead of I, e.g.:

JACOPO instead of IACOPO
JAGO instead of IAGO
JULA instead of IULA
and
JACOBELLI instead of IACOBELLI
AJMONE instead of AIMONE
AJELLO instead of AIELLO
JOVINE instead of IOVINE
JANNUZZI instead of IANNUZZI
JULIANO instead of IULIANO
and
JESOLO instead of IESOLO
JESI instead of IESI
JUGOSLAVIA instead of IUGOSLAVIA
etc., etc.

Ada

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lilbees
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:32 am    Post subject: Re: surname spelling change Reply with quote

I have an Iuliano in my family. So what you may be saying is I shouldn't rule out the Juliano spelling? That is a variation I did not know of.

Thanks
lilbees

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qnana
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Joined: Aug 21, 2008
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:35 am    Post subject: Re: surname spelling change Reply with quote

For the surname Jacobellis I have found 14 variations, including the original Iacobellis.

I guess I'm really wondering if my family has been living with an "illegal" name - one that has no justification except an inability on someone's part to read the cursive Italian I correctly. My grandfather was illiterate so he didn't spell things for people or write anything. He signed with an X and my father handled things for him. I can only assume my great grandparents, were illiterate also.

When I started my search a year ago I didn't even know Iacobellis existed, so I never asked anyone while they were alive where it came from and why. My great grandfather is listed on Ancestry as "Comman Igcobello" (instead of Tommaso Iacobellis) because of transcription error from his manifest. The handwriting is clear enough - I think the person worked too quickly.

I'm going after my father's birth certificate as that will help narrow the time frame.

Thanks again for your input.
qnana
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Eleven
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:01 pm    Post subject: Re: surname spelling change Reply with quote

If you think that is bad, I index records for ancestry and the FHL. The FHL is doing trento baptisms. There is a common name in some of the towns...it is Iob. When I arbitrate these things..I see people typing..Job, Gob, Tob, Yob..and a few who realize it Iob. I change the ones that I get, that are incorrect.

Early this week on the italian genealogy forum, I came across a guy that had family from the trento area. He had a website with some names on it. There they were..so many of the names that I now feel related to..lol One of them was Iob. I told him, in the post, that when these records finally get out there..to search using various first letters. So many times, when I come across errors like this, and know, that I KNOW what the right spelling is, but some other arbitrator might not..I worry so much about people not finding their people. This is why, it is so important to try every variation you can think of and thensome. Most times, your record IS there.
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uantiti
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:28 am    Post subject: Re: surname spelling change Reply with quote

As a matter of fact I know a man from Trento area whose name is Job. I remember I'd asked him if his name was spelt with an "I" or with a "J" and he said it was just the same but he was using "J". Some would write with "I" some with a "J". He preferred "J". As I said in Italian the prononciation is just the same: they sound both like a long "ee". Actually the Italian alphabet would be 21 letters as (beside the fact that we know them) our language doesn't have J, K, W, Y and X. People use the"J" instead of "I" on names to give a sort of outlandish touch, just to be different from others.

Ada

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:32 am    Post subject: Re: surname spelling change Reply with quote

lilbees wrote:
I have an Iuliano in my family. So what you may be saying is I shouldn't rule out the Juliano spelling? That is a variation I did not know of.

Thanks
lilbees

I wouldn't rule out anything at this point! Besides, by looking, what have you really got to lose? You just may find something! Smile

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uantiti
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Location: Biella (Piedmont) and Venezia/Venice, Italy

PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:09 am    Post subject: Re: surname spelling change Reply with quote

Just an example: there is a member on IG who posted some of his ancestors acts as he needed help to understand what was written. The town name was Treia. On those act the town was spelt once Treia and once Treja and then again Treja and so on.
On what concerns IULIANO, it's a very common Southern name and you can still find it spelt with "I" or with "J" so you should take into consideration both of them.

Ada

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Researching: Agazzone, Beretta, Bertona, Carbonati, Castelletta, Ferrari, Gallo, Guglielmetti, Marchini, Mascagni, Nicolazzi, Nobile, Rossi, Sacco, Tosone - gone to USA from Bogogno, province of Novara, Piedmont, Italy.
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lilbees
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:51 am    Post subject: Re: surname spelling change Reply with quote

I have the same situation with the surname Talaja. Some of the documents I have the name is spelled Talaia or Talaja. So confusing. I chose to have the J in the name after finding her original birthplace through her marriage record, Acquaviva Platani, Caltanissetta. At this point I have not explored her family any further. On my to do list are many other avenues to explore first.

lilbees

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Carole
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:57 pm    Post subject: Re: surname spelling change Reply with quote

Hi lilbees,
Finally something here that I may be able to shed some light on...

I think I described the 'thing' with the 'i' in the Italain alphabet some time ago - but maybe it was on another site (my memory isn't worth a lot....) so just in case it wasn't here....

So -
As there is no 'J' in the alphabet, they write what they call an i lunga, and if you think about it, that's rather what a 'j' looks like - an 'i' with a tail Smile

The pronunciation alters too - an 'i' in Italian sounds like 'ee', so a 'j' ('i' lunga) sounds like 'eee'
Hence with your example of Talaia - if you see it written Talaja then it would sound like TALAEEEA when pronounced..

But it has generally been my experience that the 'j' is only used in handwritten situations. The printed word generally uses a standard 'i'! There are exceptions, but there are in most rules I'm afraid.

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lilbees
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:01 pm    Post subject: Re: surname spelling change Reply with quote

This is certainly a day of learning for me. Thanks, at least I know who to properly say it as well as spell it. I will make sure I use the Talaia as preferred.

lilbees

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