I Made a Mistake

I Made a Mistake

I made a mistake and it’s one I should have thought about. When I collected the data from FamilySearch on the number of times the O’Connell name comes up (and all its variants), I did not search for OConnell. This is a huge mistake for anyone that has carried this name since birth. For those of you that have not carried it this long, to give you a bit of perspective I have to remember how each company inputs my information into their system; space, no space and apostrophe or no apostrophe.

Photo Credit: jarpur; FreeImages.com
Photo Credit: jarpur; FreeImages.com

With each of my searches on FamilySearch I was very specific to what I wanted. For example when I searched on O’CONNELL, I only wanted the results that showed up the exact same. No fluctuation in the spelling.

What I did not search for was OCONNELL without the apostrophe. Which is why my numbers are so low. I definitely should have spent some time thinking about why the number was insignificant instead of just accepting it.

I have recently searched on FamilySearch for  OCONNELL, exact to my spelling. Unfortunately, it brings up O’Connell, OConnell and O Connell. At this point, I have to figure out how I want to proceed with this specific search. Once I do that, I will update my spreadsheets with the correct numbers and then report the differences here.



10 thoughts on “I Made a Mistake”

      • I cannot find anything beyond his generation. He was born in Ireland in 1812, married in Co. Down in 1841, and emigrated to United States shortly thereafter. I feel like the O’Connell must have been a family name.

        • Yeah, that is pretty early information for Ireland. I would think there has to be a connection as well. I would suggest taking the autosomal DNA test (Ancestry has it for $99) to see if you match anyone with the O’Connell surname. Otherwise, be patient. More and more information comes online. Someday we may be able to find out.

  • Yeah, databases are fun… Typically the omission of the apostrophe is because the database won’t accept it. Most databases up until quite recently took in names as alpha-numeric or alpha-only… The apostrophe is considered a special character, with special meaning to a PC and the database software.

    You really have to do a lot more advanced coding to allow for names to include special characters… the apostrophe is extremely common in code, even database code… Most variables are defined within apostrophes.

    As time goes by you’ll have different people using different “work-arounds” to this issue, as it will simply prohibit the use in some systems… I’ve seen spaces, underscores ‘_’, I’ve also seen people use the backquote (`) character… I’ve even gotten robocalls for “Daniel O-backquote-Connell”… Yes, the robo voice actually pronounced the backquote character as “backquote”.

    Due to this my wife and I have different surnames in certain systems, and our kids have slightly different surnames on their social security cards… they have the apostrophe, my wife and I do not… Apparently Social Security got around to upgrading their database software.

    • The apostrophe drives me crazy in every day life. I continue to have to remember how each company has my name. One day I should write them all down so I have it and lol on the backquote.

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