Etwyv ?

Over this Memorial Day weekend many genealogy websites are offering free access to military records. On MyHeritage there is this special webpage for military records. I wanted to find a record for a brother of one of my ancestors named Benjamin Franklin Lason. Seeing as the Lason surname is rather obscure, I only put the surname in the search box. I did find a record for Benjamin, who died at Andersonvile Prison during the Civil War. There was another record in the search results that caught my eye. It was from World War II enlistment records. The name of the soldier is Etwyv D Lason. The record on MyHeritage didn’t say where that record came from so I searched for the same name on FamilySearch. They had the same enlistment record with that unusual first name but the indicated that the original record came from “Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938-1946.” That means that when the Army created their computer records someone couldn’t read the proper spelling of the first name and it ended up as Etwyv. Now it has been passed on to other genealogy websites.

I tried to figure out the proper spelling of this soldier’s name. My best guess was that his first name was probably Elwyn but I couldn’t find anyone with that name or anything similar by searching census records.


One Comment

  1. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t a case of not being able to read the handwriting. My father’s WWII enlistment entry is gibberish, but I can tell from the pattern of the letters that it was a bad case of OCR. The online index was probably created by OCRing the original index on microfiche. If you know that, it’s easier to guess from the error what the correct name should be (e.g., vv =w).

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