Try using alternative spellings. If you are unable to locate a document by the full spelling of a last name, try using alternate spellings. Because some records were handwritten in cursive, the spelling of a name sometimes could be interpreted several ways. For example, an "A" may be an "O" or "U". An "L" could be an "F", "S" or "T,” the letters "PH" could be an "F,” etc.

The spelling of foreign names often presents a problem. In many cases, names were anglicized by either the court clerk or by the immigrant. Since court clerks often spelled names phonetically, misspellings are frequent. Researchers should be aware that individual names may be misspelled and they should check all possible variations.