Barb Chandler Editor
THOSE CONFUSING NAMES!by Carol May
The inconsistent spelling of names can be a big stumbling block for genealogists. The name Chandler has been spelled Chandler, Chanler, Chandlor, Chandelor as well as other variations. Some records require the exact spelling (even if wrong!) used by the clerk or census taker for a search.
Unfortunately, some of those record keepers were “creative” spellers resulting in no consistency from record keeper to record keeper so one often has to search for many variations of a name. Zebedee Chandler, written as Zibida, Zibidee, Zebadee by various town clerks and census takers comes to mind. So if you are unable to find your ancestor in the censuses or in vital records, try as many spelling variations and combinations of the first and last name or initials that you can think of to find that elusive ancestor.
Folks sometimes used nicknames or initials in some of the censuses and not in others and they didn’t always use their first name. Amos Newton Chandler (a descendant of William and Annis Chandler, not Edmund) was called Newton or N.A. Chandler. Looking for an Amos Chandler would have been useless. Our member, Dick, helped someone whose fruitless search for her ancestor was chronicled through the years on the boards. He found that her ancestor was actually spelled Challender not Chandler. That discovery broke through her brick wall.
At the hands of one of those early town clerks, Olive Chandler became “Olief” and Austin or Anson Chandler looked like “Sisson” in Poland, Maine town records. So look out for bad penmanship as well as creative spelling.
I was stymied for several years trying to find the record of my g-g-grandmothers birth. She was Elvira D. Snow, daughter of Rebecca (Chandler) Snow. She was listed as “Elwin Snow”, a boy, in the Brunswick, Maine vital records transcribed for Familysearch. It didnt get straightened out until a kind soul looked up “Elwin”/Elvira in the original handwritten records in the Brunswick Town Clerks office. The name was a mangled mess, but it wasnt Elwin, a boy. Jairus Chandler seems to have been another one who had his name mangled. After much research, it turns out that Jairus was most likely listed as James in some early records.
We have many, maybe too many, as many of our researchers have found, Mercy Chandlers. In the 17th and 18th centuries the phonetic spelling of Mercy was Marcy. Spelling was not standardized in the 17th and 18th centuries, so phonetic spelling was not uncommon. Webster and his famous dictionary came along later which helped standardize the language.
These names were also spelled phonetically — with a Maine accent! Rebecca, also seen as Rebeckah and Rebekah, became Rebecker. Apphia became Affier. So if you know what the regional accent was from where your ancestor resided, factor that in.
The spelling of names has also evolved over time. So sometimes we think we are correcting the “bad” spelling of the name of an ancestor, but we are not. We are just substituting the modern spelling for the original, which can lead to its own set of problems. So make a note of the original spelling.
Names that contained the letter “i” now use “y.” That is why we find Silvanus Chandler spelled with an “i.” in old records. Lydia was often formerly spelled Lidia.
Bethiah Rickard (rhymes with Mariah) who married Capt. John Chandler, had an “h” in the end. Several names that had an “h” no longer do so, with the exception of Deborah, Sarah and Hannah. Bethiah is not a nickname for Elizabeth. Nicknames for Elizabeth, can be Betsey, Betty, and Lizzie, but can also be names in their own right.
Another spelling change is the use of two “Ls.” We have Thankfull Higgins, note the two “Ls,” who married Jacob Chandler of Danville, Maine. Lots of names ended with two “Ls” Daniell, Samuell. Now, while we have dropped the two “Ls” for first names we have added them to the ends of last names like Covell which was formerly spelled Covel.
As for nicknames, the ones that we see most often with the Chandler family are: Nabby (Abigail), Polly (Mary), Sally (Sarah). Sometimes, but not always, Nathan is the shortened version of Nathaniel.
We have found that the Chandlers seemed to have especially liked to honor and memorialize their family members. So sometimes you can make an educated guess which Chandler belonged to which family. Abel Chandler (John>Joseph>Benjamin>Edmund) of Duxbury and later of Minot, may have named his daughters after his wife each one of his sisters. Sarah (Sally), Rebecca, Candace, Elizabeth. Not proven yet but it fits and Sarah and Candace are buried in the same plot as one who has been proven to be his daughter, Lucia. Candace was a very rare name in Duxbury at that time, those two may have been the only ones named Candace. Those same names crop up again in the Poland/Minot area as the names of girls who were probably the granddaughters of Abel Chandler.
Meranda (spelled various ways), daughter of John and Mercy (Sprague) Chandler of Minot, Maine seemed to drop out of sight, then her sister and another relative later named their daughters, Miranda (spelled various ways), which makes one think that original Meranda probably died young.
For more interesting reading on names, nicknames, name order, spelling and more visit that site.
Do You Have Information About Thomas Chandler?
A group of us Maine museum curators have been working about 15 years on gathering information for a forthcoming book on Maine cabinetmakers from 1630 to 1950. One of the “golden periods” of Maine cabinetmaking is the so-called federal period of circa 1790 to 1820. I’ve known about this very talented federal period Maine cabinetmaker for about 10 years now and have tried, at various times, to identify him beyond the name. In my web research this morning I came across your web site and I’m in hopes maybe one of your members might know something about him.
The cabinetmaker’s name is Thomas Chandler, and he is known from two signed sideboards created in York, Maine in June and July of 1810.
Chandler sideboard, York, Maine, dated 10 June 1810
(Sotheby’s photograph); location unknown
Chandler Sideboard, York, Maine, dated 18 July 1810
Private Collection, Bethesda, MD.
As you can see, the guy was an extremely accomplished and talented cabinetmaker. He’s also somewhat of an enigma, because he doesn’t show up in the 1810 census (as one would expect) nor the 1800 or 1820 one, either (at least if he was in Maine at those dates). After a long process of elimination the most likely candidate seems to be a Thomas Chandler that was born 20 April 1786 in Saco, Maine and marries a Jane Patterson in Saco on 8 March 1815. Some suppositions on why this is so:
If he is trained and talented enough to make the sideboards by 1810, it would indicate someone who was recently trained in the new federal style, probably by apprenticeship in Portsmouth, N.H. (Based on his design vocabulary used in the sideboards, which is linkable to Portsmouth). If born in 1786, that would make him age 14 in 1800, just the right age to enter a training apprenticeship. Most training of this type lasted 7-9 years, so he would have been “out on his own” by 1807-1809, just at a time when New England was being hard hit by the Embargo of 1807 and the looming War of 1812.
We theorize that as a “Maine boy” he would have wanted to return to the state after his training, and perhaps chose York because of its proximity to Portsmouth itself and the fact that Saco at that time had a dominant cabinetmaking duo named Cumston and Buckminster. It would have been easier starting out without competition of that type, and York had the ship owners and merchant upper and upper middle class base to afford his work, although it was not as large as either Saco or Portsmouth.
Be all that as it may, the only other reason we know of him here is because in 1812 he was incarcerated – twice – for debt in the local prison, not unusual for craftsmen during this economically troubled period. He is listed in the prison records as a “cabinetmaker,” indicating his success as one of that training. He is either bailed out or pays his debt because by November of 1812 he is released.
Given the bad taste in his mouth he might have then had for York, we again theorize that he returned to Saco, where he eventually marries in 1815 (age 29). His record here in York ceases completely in 1812.
We desperately want to solidly identify Thomas Chandler for who he really is and give him his just due as one of New England’s most talented cabinetmakers of the federal period. Might any of your members have any information on him or (perhaps this is too hopeful) have any furniture in the family known to have been made by an ancestor? After this Thomas Chandler’s marriage in 1815 the trail again goes cold, and I can’t find a death date or any records on him and Jane. We’d also like to find some sort of period reference to this Thomas as a cabinetmaker. Interestingly the Patterson family in Saco and Biddeford, Maine produced at least two cabinetmakers working in the 1840s, the next generation. Might “Uncle Tom” have been their teacher?
Thank you for any help you might be able to provide.
Thomas B. Johnson, Curator
Museums of Old York
PO Box 312 207 York Street
York, ME 03909
P (207) 363-4974 / F (207) 363-4021 http://www.oldyork.org
CHARLES E. CAMPBELL age 89 of Valley View.
Beloved husband of the late Florence (Eiermann); dear father of Carol Glickhause, James, and Charles Jr. (deceased); dear grandfather of eight and great grandfather of six. Friends may call at VODRAZKA FUNERAL HOME OF INDEPENDENCE, 6505 BRECKSVILLE RD. (RT. 21 SO. OF ROCKSIDE), TUESDAY 2-4 AND 7-9 P.M. Funeral services at the funeral home Wednesday, February 7 at 10 a.m. Interment Hillcrest Memorial Park. www.cleveland.com/obits. Published in The Cleveland Plain Dealer on 2/5/2007.
Betty Westbrook sent this information about the Chandler Surname.
Betty is looking for the Wilhelm/Mccall family of Mary Chandler born about 1791 from Vermont. If you have any information please post to the ECFA mailing list.
“This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and is an occupational name for a maker or seller of candles. The derivation is from the Middle English “cha(u)ndeler”, ultimately from the Old French “chandelier”, Late Latin “candelarius”, a derivative of “candela” a candle, from “candere” to be bright, with the agent suffix “-er”, one who does or works with (something). The name may also, more rarely, have denoted someone who was responsible for the lighting arrangements in a large house, or else one who owed rent in the form of wax or candles. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century (see below), and can also be found as Chantler and Candler. On February 13th 1562, the marriage of William Chandler and Agnes Gibbs took place at the Church of Harrow on the Hill, London. One of the earliest settlers in the new World was Arthur Chandler, who was recorded as living in Virginia on February 16th 1623. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a silver shield with two black bendlets between five pellets in saltire, the Crest being a black bull’s head attired silver. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Matthew le Candeler, which was dated 1274, in the “Hundred Rolls of London”, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as “The Hammer of the Scots”, 1272-1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to “develop” often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.