The Spelling of Names
Throughout the process of researching the history of the Wicksall name in the United States I have seen our name misspelled over 15 different ways. It can be a case of sloppy handwriting, misspelling on the part of the census taker, bad Optical Character recognition (OCR), damaged documents or the fog of time. In the case of bad OCR you can often see the correct spelling if an image of the original document is available. Obvious misspellings include: Wexcel, Wicksaff, Vicksall, Necksall, Wicksale, Nicksall, Micksall, Wicksoll, Wicksail, Wickeall, Wickersall and Wichsall. My response to these errors is to generally not trust the spelling. Instead I look for other links like birth dates, birth place, the same family on consecutive censuses, and parents listed on the death certificates or marriage records of their children.
On most early records the spelling appears to be Wicksell or Wicksel. When I discuss the findings from these early records I will use the spelling found on the record. Once the family finally settles in Michigan the spelling seems to stabilize on Wicksall.
First names can also be a challenge. Selena for example shows up with multiple spellings.