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I am looking for information on John Matter that lived from 1835-1872 that married Elizabeth Alles that lived from 1833-1904; married in New York, United States. John Matter immigrated to the United States from Switzerland, and Elizabeth Alles came from Guernsey, Channel Islands to the United States. The last name changed to Matters the next generation in my line, and I'm told it was Mater in Austria before Matter. I can't find parents or any ancestors for John Matter. I see he is listed as John Matters in one place, but his gravestone says Matter as does an encyclopedia of Champaign County, Illinois history. They are my 4th Great Grandparents. I can't stand that people would change a last name spelling to something that the person never used. Just because it sounds the same does not mean that's their last name. That clearly makes it look like a different person. I understand spelling errors. Some people don't even think when you come across a tree where the mother dies before the father is even born. I ran across that once. I still got back to the person I wanted to add on a different branch. Just saying, watch out for that. Go through multiple trees and make sure they match. No one agreed on that knight's mom's name. Thanks for any good information. Mater>Matter>Matters
No! Go to the original source (birth certificate, etc.). Do not trust trees. They are good leads in some cases, but even the best tree may contain errors. And if an error is duplicated across many trees, that does not make it truth.
As for spelling, remember that many of our ancestors could not write, so the person recording the event wrote down the name phonetically. In some cases, I have seen the same name spelled differently in different lines of the same act, in the signature, in the margin, in the annual table and in the decennial table. All that for the exact same event. So how do you determine which one is the "correct" spelling? And yes, I have seen spelling mistakes on gravestones too, even if those are "carved in stone".