Wednesday, January 29, 2014

John Murdoch or John Murdock?

St. Louis Riverfront, 1858
Within my research about John I have found his last name spelled two different ways: Murdoch and Murdock. The time has come to decide which way I am going to spell it from now on. It is a tough decision because some important documents such as the marriage record (which includes his signature) appear to spell it Murdock. The city directories go back and forth between the two spellings. And yet when John platted his property in 1869, he listed it as Murdoch Farm. All of the death notices and obituaries list it as Murdoch, but Calvary Cemetery records have the burial of John J Murdock. Never before have I come across a person whose name is spelled differently on legal documents.

The vast majority, I would say, are using Murdoch as the spelling. Murdoch Cutoff and Murdoch Ave. are widely recognized streets in the St. Louis area. That being the case, I believe I will use Murdoch as my choice. If John Murdoch wasn't picky about how he spelled his name, I guess I won't be either.

I have wrapped up my active research at this point, following trips to the St. Louis County Library and the Missouri History Museum Library and Research Center. I may do a little more newspaper research down the road, depending on how the writing comes together. And I need to followup with a source that was listed in another book I found online, but I am ready to formulate the outline for the paper/book. My working title is John Murdoch: the Man Behind the Myth.

1 comment:

Mrs. Wryly said...

I would go with "doch," too. No question it is the most familiar version. The tale of the two spellings will add some additional spice to your book! Opportunity! I admire you for taking on this project!