Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Lithuanian Family with Eight Last Names. An Ode to Phonetics?

Not Really. But thanks to American record keeping of the late 1890's and early 1900's a simple Lithuanian family looking for a better life in the USA had their name spelled many different ways. The Gintautas family; John and Victoria arrived in the US about 1894, based on information from the 1900 US Census.

The family, settled in Somerville Massachusetts; on a short narrow street that splits the Somerville and Cambridge line near where the stockyards and slaughterhouses would have been in an area now known as the Boynton Yards.  

Between 1897 and 1905 John and Victoria had 6 children; Anthony in 1897 (who only lived one day), Joseph in 1899 (who only lived one day), John in 1900, Amelia in 1902, Paul in 1903 and Joseph in 1905.

On various documents their last name is listed (or transcribed) as Gientoft, Gintautas, Gintaut, Ginter, Gintot, Gintoff, Ginto and Tinton. 

Interesting to note is that the children born prior to 1900 are listed in birth records as Gintaut and the children born after 1900 are listed as Ginto and Gintoff.