David Ouimette has good reason to explore name variations. He can find his ancestors under the spelling Ouimette and Wemet. That’s not a variation that a soundex search could fix. We would expect, therefore, that name variations would plague his research.

What I learned in listening to David’s lecture on “Overcoming Spelling Problems and Unlocking the Power of Names” was that he has made lemonade from these lemons.

  • He developed comprehensive search strategies, targeting each method to the query tool he is using, whether Google or Ancestry or FamilySearch.
  • He focuses on communities where those names occur, creating his own one-name databases, or investigating clusters of pairs of names, in order to find the most likely localities to research.
  • He sees many naming traditions in different ethnic communities as hints for research strategies.

I enjoyed hearing David’s positive thinking in the face of transcription errors, intercultural spelling alterations, and other challenges. The lecture left me energized to target the difficult-to-research people once again.

This session has been recorded. During the conference you can buy it from the JAMB-INC booth in the main conference hall. After the conference, it will be available online at http://www.jamb-inc.com/category/genealogy. This is session T241 under the heading 2013 NGS Conference/Las Vegas, NV.