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Spelling of names on headstones & memorials


Guest Tussles
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Guest Tussles

I have come across the following variations in spelling of the name of the same man (Regiment, Service Number & date of Death the same):

Sheppard - CWGC web site

Shepherd - Soldiers Who Died CD

Shephard - Battlefield Cross (St Michael and All Angels Church, Middlewich, Cheshire)

Assuming his Service Record is among those burnt in WW2 how can I find out the true spelling?

Many thanks to all who answer.

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Guest Tussles

To Racing Teapots,

Thanks. The info you want is:

752 Sergeant Arthur Cyril Sheppard DCM. 1st/8th Sherwood Foresters.

Date of death 22.11.15

CWGC headstone: St Vaast Post Military Cemetery

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Guest Pete Wood

Well I'm going to add a fourth spelling. According to the 1901 census the family name is spelled SHEPPERD.

Arthur Shepperd 11

Arthur Shepperd 48 (born Mansfield Woodham) Groom & Gardener Domestic

Fanny Shepperd 43 (born Lenton)

He was awarded a DCM, so you should be able to check THIS spelling in the London Gazette.

First check with the CWGC to see if the name was properly transcribed.

If not, the only way to get the CWGC to change the name is to produce a birth/death certificate for this soldier. But please confirm this with Terry Denham before you go to any expense (I frequently make mistakes! :( )

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Guest Tussles

To racing Teapots

Many thanks for cencus data and other suggestions.

I guess the medal role will say Sheperd, the death certificate Shepard, the marriage certificate Shepheard and so on!

Best wishes, Tussles

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I believe that for official purposes, the correct spelling of a soldier's name was deemed to be that recorded on his Attestation Paper. This seems to have created some bizarre complications if the clerk filling out the form in the first place had mis-transcribed what the recruit had told him. I have heard anecdotal stories of men who legally changed their names after the war to match that on their Attestation Papers (presumably to qualify for veterans' benefits or pensions).

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The name has been recorded by CWGC as SHEPPARD since the publication of the register for this cemetery in 1928 and the spelling was confirmed by the n-o-k on their Final Verification Form.

This is one of those names where there are numerous optional spellings - many of which could have been used by the family at various times. There possibly is no 'correct' spelling unless you take the one listed on his birth certificate as the true version.

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There possibly is no 'correct' spelling unless you take the one listed on his birth certificate as the true version.

The problem with taking what is on a birth certificate as being correct is that in the 19th century huge numbers of parents could neither read nor write and therefore would have no idea how the registrar had spelled the name.

In my view the best way to ascertain the correct spelling of the surname is to check an original signature (obviously, only if the respondant could write), best being the one on the marriage cert.

Andy

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