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What’s In A Name?

By Staff | May 16, 2017

When I give my office e-mail address, I pronounce it and spell it: jwhitmore@emmetsburgnews.com — initial j, whit, more at emmetsburg news (with an s) dot com — not whitemore and not Whittemore.

If the staff at the office has heard me say that once, they have heard me say it a gazillion times. Spell it incorrectly and I will not receive the e-mail.

So, you see, I know the importance of correct spelling. In my years at the newspaper, I have learned that people are very sensitive to having their names spelled correctly.

In the past month I have made more errors in names than I have in the last year.?Spelling errors I can deal with, but it can get even worse than that.

A couple of week ago, I gave two people new names! And even more bizarre, both are from the same business!

Paige Elbert was mysteriously named Jaime Elbert, and Kristi Wilson became Kristi White.

Trust me, it was not a conscious thought to re-name these nice ladies. It was more like, I know who they are so why should I look at my notes one more time.

An apology, accompanied with flowers, was due. And Paige and Kristi had a little fun with the errors, too. Now, let’s just not do that again.

There is a trend for unusual spelling of names. We see that a lot in the newspaper business. I can relate to that – on a personal level.

My mother’s name is Iantha. Her mother thought it was a beautiful name, but throughout my mother’s life no one could spell it and most people couldn’t pronounce it. Her brothers nicknamed her Hank, and it stuck. My son always called her Grandma Hank.

Perhaps as a result, although my mother never said as much, our names are Sue, Jane and Joe. Pretty basic, right?

In my junior high years, I decided to spell my name Jayne. It would be giving away my age to explain that spelling was because of movie star Jayne Mansfield.

And my maiden name Mikes was previously Mikesh, which had been shortened from Mikesova. At least I think that’s the correct spelling. The name was probably shortened when my grandfather and his brothers came to America from Czechoslovakia.

To you that I have re-named, I apologize. To you that I have misspelled your names, I apologize again. I sincerely wish it would never happen again, but I make no promises. We will certainly do our very best to get it right the first time.