Barry's Relatively Speaking: Name Spelled Backwards!

Posted on Sep 12, 2012

Barry's Relatively Speaking shares the personal experiences and stories of genealogists found in the Everton Genealogical Helper Magazine collection on MyGenShare.com. Beverly shares the following experience.

In searching for a DORFNER ancestor, I thought I was dealing with a good old German surname. Ever mindful of the admonition that a surname could be spelled many different ways, and maybe even shortened by an official at an immigration point, I diligently wrote down (or so I thought) "all" spellings of my husband's surname.

Using my surname list as a guide, I searched the Seattle city directories from about 1897 to about 1906. Thinking my father-in-law might be interested in my notes, I sent a copy of what I had found to him. Next time we visited him, out of the blue, he said, "you know why you lost track of my father George after about 1906? He changed his name (due to divorces) to RENFROD. (Dorfner spelled backwards!!)"

Even my husband had not heard that piece of family information before, and sure enough, this was the breakthrough which enabled us to locate another ancestor.

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