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My family named changed spellings over and over and over again all down the family tree. In one place, even people in the same immediate family spelled it differently from one another.

I have up to three or four different spellings of some last names. Sometimes two or three in the same document. Apparently standardized spellings weren't established until Social Security was introduced.

I knew someone whose family was Norwegian, and in Norway the last name was generally taken from the father's name, such as Olafsson being the son of Olaf. His grandfather wanted a different name, so he took the name of the village he came from.

And John Kerry, with a nice Irish type name, had a grandfather from Czechoslovakia who picked the last name Kerry in order to fit in with the Boston Irish.

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