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Home: Surnames: Alligood Family Genealogy Forum

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Re: Why did Alligood change to Allegood?
Posted by: Thom Faircloth Date: February 25, 2001 at 19:59:48
In Reply to: Why did Alligood change to Allegood? by Erin Walsh of 163

Erin,
Many surnames changed spellings about every ten years during the 19th century. Thats the first clue.
The U.S. census bureau employed college students during this time to enumerate the country. The vast majority of rural Americans were illiterate until the early 20th century. Therefore a college student was employed because he could "supposedly" spell.
Names were pronounced by the householder, and the enumerator made his best guess at the proper spelling. Many times regional spellings known by the enumerator were used. If it was the householder's first census he might not know how to spell his name, so he took what ever spelling was given to him as the gospel, only to be disappointed ten years later when another "young whippersnapper" changed it in the next census.
My grandmother was listed with three surnames in three different census takings. Wallace was the correct spelling, but 10 years later it was Wallis, and 10 years after that it became Walis. Fortunately we knew the correct spelling.
A funny example of the enumerators attempt to spell exactly what he heard, despite the regional South Georgia accent. My great aunt Johnny Anna Eliza Faircloth was listed as "Johnnie Analyzer Faircloth" the old english practice of putting an r in place of an a at the end of the name was lost on this young man.
The point being Alligood could sound like Allegood to an enumerator and that then became the "correct spelling" of the name. Regardless, Allegood, Alligood are the same surname and same family.
Hope I haven't bent your ear off.
Thom Faircloth


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