There are two copies of the will of John (Y)Earwood in Rutherford Co TN. There is the loose will written in 1837 where all the names are Earwood. When the will was copied to the court book in 1847 after his death most of the names are changed to Yearwood. It is still indexed under E not Y and the signature is without the Y. (He actually signed with only an "X".)
I have always thought that the two spellings were used interchangeably until the family members learned to read and write and spell.
Remember, we can see what was written but we cannot hear what they said. There have been many evolutions in the language in the last 300 years, including times and places where it was fashionable to not pronounce the leading sound of certain family names.
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