|Graphic Z courtesy of FCIT.|
With each new discovery I weigh how I record the name. Is it Szidor or Sidor? Perekszta or Pereksta? Kommiszar or Kommisar? Szmolyak or Smolyak? Given names are often recorded in the Hungarian version. Do I use Janos (the Hungarian) or Ivan (the Rusyn)? Helena or Olena? For that matter, were they born in Sztarina or Starina? Toss in a few Latin or cyrillic versions and I feel a migraine coming on.
It's easy enough to decide on those names recorded in my grandfather's family record - I use the spelling he used (no Zs). For the others I'm having to make an educated guess. I do note the spelling variations in the source references, but I find I'm reluctant to record state imposed variations under alternate names. And so I'm doing it - I'm opting for the Rusyn version and standardizing spelling. Call it a political/nationalist awakening (something I have studiously resisted over the years) or pure laziness - I just can't take any more Zs! And no matter how many documents record my great-grandfather's name as Janos, I know he was Ivan.
I was about to write that this was one reason I preferred to use United States records when I read one of Cynthia Shenette's What's In A Name? postings. It left me giggling and remembering that census and immigration records in this country can be even more challenging. Most of us with 19th & 20th century immigrant ancestors have come across wildly creative spellings.
At least the Hungariansz were conszisztent.