During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.
Where in a married woman’s name should her maiden name be placed?
Currently, a woman’s legal married name will be as she decides, i.e.: Jane Maiden Married or Jane Married (nee Maiden). But if you mean in an article of book about a family, either Jane Middle Maiden Married or Jane Middle (Maiden) Married would be best, just as long as there is consistency.
Census record search for Blunt returned "Blunk." If German heritage, should I keep looking for Blunt in Germany and Blunk in the U.S.?
German names can be misrecorded in many ways, especially when there was a language barrier between the respondent and the census taker. I would never use a single census record to conclude how a name was spelled, since there are so many ways that it could be spelled wrong. First, I would do Soundex searches for other censuses using both Blunt and Blunk. You should also attempt to locate other records for the family in the locality where they lived: vital records, church records, newspaper obituaries, cemeteries, city directories, etc. and note how the name is spelled in those sources. Comparison from multiple sources is one of your greatest tools. That said, many Germans did change the spellings of their names in America, and you may find it consistently one way in America and something different in Germany. Search the passenger lists carefully and note how the name is spelled there. If you know the specific town in Germany, you can order civil and parish records from the Family History Library (if available), and search for records in those sources. Use all the variant spellings you can find. Names can vary even in German sources.
In other countries, will the ancestors be in our spelling or the original spelling? Example: (Welsh) Gryffyths or (USA) Griffiths.
When researching in the country your ancestors lived before coming to the U.S., I would look for the original spelling, but be prepared for various spellings of the surname due to the type of language the records were written. For example, early Catholic Church records were written in Latin. Surnames changed because the clerk or the person wrote down what they heard. Other times, the surnames could have been changed when the ancestor wanted to Anglicize the name in order to get a job and/or fit into a community.