What's in a name?

Spelling, for one ... and matching names in cutlines to faces in photographs
Then there is the matter of a space in the last name, particularly in this county that has a rich heritage of Dutch ancestry. Is the name Van Der Brink or Vander Brink or Vanderbrink or VanDerBrink or VanderBrink?

So what’s in a name?

Obviously a very specific spelling, for one thing.

One of the challenges for the Star Herald staff is to spell names correctly — not an easy task.

As early as possible at the beginning of each school year, we ask the area schools to email student class lists to us for reference when needing to verify spellings of names of students in our stories.

The variety of spellings always brings forth a one-person dialog (that would be me) as to why parents can’t all just agree on how a given first name should be spelled.

Or why they don’t just choose a name that’s already been accepted by society as a bonafide first name. — Apple? Winter? Champagne? Gage? Briggs? — 

I am overjoyed when I see some of the beautiful names of yore being used once again, such as Hazel or Emma or Henry or John. 

Do you know how many variations there are on spelling names that should be quite easy to spell? Take the name Carol as an example.

In Luverne and the surrounding area we know of several Carols, but we recently received a birthday celebration ad request for a Carrole, and a former Star Herald employee was Carole. Plus, my former teaching colleague was Mr. Carroll.

But even less common names show up with variations on the spelling, such as Caidence and Kadence or Wyett and Wyatt or Abigayl and Abigail. 

Another challenge is in the capitalization within names such as McKenzie ... or is it Mackenzie ... or MacKenzi ... or Mckenzi ... or ????

Then there is the matter of a space in the last name, particularly in this county that has a rich heritage of Dutch ancestry. Is the name Van Der Brink or Vander Brink or Vanderbrink or VanDerBrink or VanderBrink?

Is it Ver Steeg or Versteeg or VerSteeg? Van De Berg? DenHerder? 

Even large corporations can’t always settle on how they want their name spelled. Our Associated Press Stylebook confirms that Wal-Mart officially changed its correct spelling to Walmart in 2018.

Once in a while we also have our correctly spelled names attacked by AutoCorrect. The program used to “correct” the last name Thier to Their until we reprogrammed the computer not to do that. 

Recently AutoCorrect attacked the correctly spelled name Mathew to Matthew ... and so it goes.

So, getting the name spelled right is step one. The next challenge is to identify the people in a photograph with the correct names. 

We have stories. But that’s fodder for another column — another time.

 

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