Lindsay * Orthography
Various Accepted Spellings of the Lindsay Surname
Although it was not always adhered to, Scots (and others) often named their children by following a simple set of rules. There were often variations, for many good reasons.
The following list of 86 spellings of the Lindsay surname was taken from page 275 of the book entitled The Lindsays of America, by Margaret Isabella Lindsay, 1889. The names have been rearranged alphabetically which was not the case in the source document. During the alphabetizing exercise, it was found there were six duplications in the source document; Lyndessay, Lyndyssey, Lindessey, Lyndissai, Lyndsay, Lyndsa. Lindsai was listed three times in the source document. These duplications were eliminated in the list below.
It would appear that Margaret Isabella Lindsay basically borrowed her listing from the Appendix, page 413 of Lives of the Lindsays, Vol. 1, by Lord Lindsay, 1858.
* For the sake of simplicity, we have establish that the use of the Lindsay surname, throughout this web site, implies all
the accepted spellings of the surname found on this page of
* For the sake of simplicity, we have establish that the use of the Lindsay surname, throughout this web site, implies all the accepted spellings of the surname found on this page of Orthography.
The various spellings of the Lindsay (how ever spelled) surname found in the Orthography above was taken from the Appendix, page 413 of Lives of the Lindsays, Vol. 1, authored by Lord Lindsay in 1858. Since that time we all have witnessed additional modifications of our surname. A noted historian and Lindsay researcher, Philip M. Lindsey of Independence, Missouri, has assembled an Addendum to the original Lindsay Orthography sited above. Phil has spent many years combing through volumes of records and recording his findings. This following Foreword and Addendum contributed by Phil Lindsey was posted at the Lindsay International web site August 22, 2002, for the purpose of providing additional insight for Lindsay researchers in need of this knowledge. Our thanks to Phil Lindsey for his efforts and willingness to share the fruits of his genealogical research into the Lindsay surname.
Like most Linds*ys, I early found that there was more than one way to spell my surname. I first heard the question "are you an ey or an ay Linds*y?" from my Kindergarten teacher. Only when I took up genealogy did I realize it was more complex issue than I had supposed.
In 1999, I gained access to a database of the indexed names of all Missouri heads of household in the Federal Censuses of 1830 through 1870. Using the Soundex, I looked for all Linds*ys in Missouri during that period. After culling out all but true Linds*ys, obvious variants, and (possible) misspellings, I was left with a total of 590 names for the five federal censuses. Not 590 different people but 590 names, due to repetitions each ten years.
One of my own line was listed on four of the five censuses, and his name was spelled differently each time. It was then that it dawned on me that some of the "Brick Wall" ancestors I was looking for (and couldn't locate) might well be exactly where I thought they were, but I couldn't find them due to spelling variations. So I then decided to look at those spellings for any person that I knew (or suspected) to be a Linds*y and see how big a problem the "different" spellings could be. The 590 names yielded the following spellings:
The total was 481 between these most common spellings which represented only 81.5% of the 590 Linds*y names.
A real problem, it seemed, since 18.5% of the Missouri Linds*ys would escape the detection of researchers relying solely on spelling. And worse, assuming a beginning genealogist looked only for the Lindsey spelling, the likelihood of finding their ancestor, correctly spelled, dropped to 41%.
With that realization, I decided to start a list of all known (or suspected) spellings of Linds*y appearing in Missouri. Since then I have deleted some of the suspects when appropriate, as well as adding other Linds*y variants, both in Missouri and other states.
Of the original 590 from Missouri, I found 32 spellings which seemed to be Linds*ys. When the four most common were subtracted, that left 28 spellings shared by the 109 Linds*ys who didn't fit in with the "Big Four". Of these remaining 28 variants, at least 20 were most definitely variants of the name Linds*y.
Was it of any worth? My own line would prove the point. My GGGGrandmother, is buried in Boone County, Missouri. I had found her living with children on the 1850 and 1860 Federal Census records. But I could never find her on the 1840 Missouri Federal census lists. Until I took the 1840 census film itself and moved each direction on the film from her newly married son (1837). When I did that, there she was! Just where I should have expected her. Less than 15 residences away from her son, with her name recorded as "Elizabeth Linesy".
Since then, I have felt that we ignore spelling at our own peril when we look for ancestors. So I submit the following 40 variants as Linds*ys that I have found during my research. I have removed all those that are still in doubt from the Addendum list below or whose source is not available. But, if I am sure of any thing in the world, it is that the list below will always be incomplete. If, and when, other names (Lisnay, Lidsey, Lindezy, etc.) prove out, I will add them to my list.
I hope this Addendum will be of some help to the Lindsay readers.
Phil Lindsey, E-mail
of Independence, Missouri
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