John Swanson Yarbrough Archives Genealogy Files
Last Updated on Monday, 18-Jul-2005 18:54:29 MDTTHE YARBROUGH NAME
Date: Mon, 31 May 1999 17:07:21 EDT From: <Mazock@aol.com>
To: YARBROUGH-L@rootsweb.com Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [YARBROUGH-L] Re: THE YARBROUGH NAME
I have had numerous questions about the various spellings of the Yarbrough name, as well as questions about why an anscestor known to be in an area can't be found on any indexes. I hope the information below will be of use (and I also hope the tabs hold!)
Tip of the day - do not rely totally on census indexes to find your families. My archive committee and I have found dozens of Yarbrough families on original census records — in every state — who are not listed on the index. Also, be aware of spelling variations, and errors made by transcribers who were doing the best they could to correctly read the old records and sometimes, because of practically illegible records, had to resort to their "best guess"
Below are two articles that appeared in the Yarbrough Family Quarterly. In addition to these tidbits, I also have a very thorough history of the Yarbrough name researched and written by the late Raymond Yarbrough. I will share it with anyone interested.
Other name variations not on the list below: The Catholic Church of Louisiana had at various times priest of Spanish, Portugese, French and English priests. The names are often inscribed in the records in the language of the priest of the period (including Latin). In the Diocese of Baton Rouge Records of the Catholic Church, the name is found spelled Yarberry, Yabre, Yabri, Jabary, Yarbury, Yarbri, Yarbourou and Uarbry (as well as Yarborough). Guillelmo Yabre and Diana Esmit of Virginia translate to William and Diana Smith Yarborough.
YARBROUGH SPELLING VARIATIONS
by Karen Mazock, C.G.
Published June 1994 in Yarbrough Family Quarterly
When searching indexes, especially printed indexes, keep the many spelling variations in mind. Transcribers have done their best to read the old script - but sometimes it is dim and illegible. Various clerks made the "Y" look like other letters look to us today. Occasionally you will see a "Y" with a short loop at the top, which makes the Y look more like our present day script "T". Other times, the lower loop of the "Y" is almost closed as has been misread as a "A". In a few cases, a very fancy "Y" has been read as "Sc". Additionally, clerks often spelled the name phonetically. I always check printed indexes for Tarbrough, Zarbrough, etc. Listed below are a few of the spelling variations where the original record showed the name as Yarb(o)rough or Yarbro. My advice is to always go to the original source — do not put all your trust in indexes.
Variation First Name Record Location
Yarba George Coahoma Co., MS
Yarbah Sarah Gadsden Co., FL
Yarbar Martha Ann Greene Co., TN
Yarbaro Mason Cumberland Co., NC
Yarbarough James F. Knox Co., TN
Yarbary Elizabeth Wilkinson Co., MS
Yarbath Nathan Franklin Co., GA
Yarbaw Sarah Gadsden Co., FL
Yarbe Peter Coshocton Co., OH
Yarbeory Jane Rutherford Co., NC
Yarber Caroline Scott, MO
Yarberoth Jeptha Franklin Co., GA
Yarberrey Robert Monroe Co., TN
Yarberry A.L. Monroe Co., TN
Yarbery Elisha Haywood Co., NC
Yarbey Celeste Hancock Co., MS
Yarbo Daniel Decatur Co., TN
Yarboarough Lewis S. Carolina
Yarbois Marie P. La Fourche Par. LA
Yarbon Patsey Rowan Co., NC
Yarbor Charles A. Tipton Co., TN
Yarborah J. W. Green Co., AL
Yarborary Thomas J. Harris Co., TX
Yarboraugh Benjamin Appling Co., GA
Yarborey William S.C.
Yarborg Nancy Gibson, TN
Yarboro Atlas Montgomery Co., NC
Yarborough Ambrose Giles Co., Tn
Yarborow Richard New Kent Co., Va
Yarborow Tilletha Haywood Co., NC
Yarborro Catherine Surry Co., NC
Yarborrough Addie Lee Co., MS
Yarborugh S.S. Jackson Co., FL
Yarbory Lydia Tishomingo, MS
Yarbough Benjamin F Cooke Co., TX
Yarbour Fanie Crockette Co., TX
Yarboura Maggie Warren Co., MS
Yarbourah Lavonia L. Lee Co., AL
Yarbourgh D.M. Atascosa Co., TX
Yarboury Henry Ascension Par., LA
Yarbouy Samuel J. New Madrid Co., MO
Yarbow Rufus M. Decatur Co., Tn
Yarbra Anna Pemiscot Co., MO
Yarbrah William Gibson Co., TN
Yarbraugh Alice Fayette Co., TN
Yarbraw Elily Ripley Co. MO
Yarbreay Elizabeth Ascension Par., LA
Yarbree Greenberry Walton Co., GA
Yarbrey Jemima DeKalb Co. GA
Yarbrigh John Tunica Co., MS
Yarbro Emmin Tipton Co., TN
Yarbrogh Nancy E. Tallapoosa Co., AL
Yarbroh Catherine Tipton Co., Tn
Yarbrough William Amelia Co., VA
Yarbrouy James Benton Co., AL
Yarbrow Robert Lake Co., TN
Yarbrugh Mary Cooke Co., TX
Yarbry Betsy Hardeman Co., TN
Yarburgh Richard Williamsburg, VA
Yarburough John A. Iberville Par., LA
Yarbury Harriett Pope Co., AR
Yargorough George Sumter Co., AL
Yarrbough Edward York Co., VA
Yartmigh Littleton St. Clair Co., AL
Yartrighe Mary St. Clair Co., AL
Zarbrough Charles Davidson Co., NC
ANCIENT VARIANT YARBOROUGH SPELLINGS
by Researched and written by Peter C. Yerburgh of Salisbury, Wilts, England
In the June 1994 issue of the Yarbrough Family Quarterly there is a fascinating list of the family name spelt in 65 different ways!! The article by Karen Mazock contains good advice to modern researchers.
I was amazed that the name could be spelt in so many ways and yet it is understandable. After all, the letters on the page are only doing their best to represent sounds and the twenty-six letters of the alphabet are not enough. This is why the phonetic alphabet has over seventy symbols to represent English sounds and more for other languages! We manage fairly well with the twenty-six letters but this is only because we hear the sounds from our parents from the start of our life. We learn the sounds first and only later associate those sounds with certain combinations of letters.
When people see my name spelt YERBURGH they naturally pronounce the 'Yer" to rhyme with 'her' and the 'burgh' to rhyme with 'berg'. But in the old days the 'er' letters were pronounced 'ar'. In England I am a Clerk in Holy Orders but clerk is pronounced clark. Likewise, Derby, a city in England, is pronounced Darby. The important thing is to try and find out what the spelling of a name sounds like to the holder of the name. How to pronounce one's surname is something a young boy or girl learns from their parents before they go to school. I learnt that my name was pronounced Yarbra long before I could spell it Yerburgh!
Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Bill and Reba Rice. Reba's maiden name is Yarbrough so I asked her how she pronounced it. She said "Yarbro". It is easy to understand that the English 'Yer' sound should be pronounced and spelt logically as 'Yar" but I was, however, surprised that she pronounced the 'brough' with an 'o' sound - 'bro' to rhyme with 'fro'.
She told me that in America most Yarboroughs (of various spellings) pronounce the name with that 'o' sound at the end. I wondered why this should be. Could it be that the 17th century Yarborough emigrants retained a very ancient way of pronouncing the name?
There is some ancient evidence to support this theory. In 1495 the Inquisition Post Mortem of John Iwardby mentions Richard Yerborowe. The end part of this spelling suggests an 'o' sound rather than an 'a' sound.
While I was thinking about this, I came across a photocopy of a document dated around 1200. (Lincoln Muniment D ii 38.3.54). The document has a Gikel de Jerdburg making a gift of 20 acres of arable land to the Canons of Lincoln. The deed is witnessed by Robert de Jerdburgh. Over the 'burgh' part of both names is a dash. The dash means that some letters are omitted.* I remembered that in Latin 'de' (= from or of) as a preposition takes the ablative case. Thus Willel de Edinburgh (with dashes over the final 'l' and the final 'burgh' would represent Willelmus de Edinburgo. (i.e. William of Edinburgh.) On a similar basis Robt de Jerburgh (with a dash over the 't' and over the 'burgh' would be, in Latin, Robertus de Jerburgho. In time the 'de' would be dropped but the 'o' ending was retained.
This is my theory. The weakness of it lies in the fact that Latin, though the language of the learned, would have been little understood in the villages of Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. Has any Yarborough got a better reason for the 'o' sound?
For those interested, I add a lit of early Yarborough spelling variations found in documents. As I have not seen most of the original documents, I am unable to add the dashes etc. As there are many examples of the same spelling, I have given the earliest date, known to me, of each variant spelling.
1085 GEREBURGH (The village Yarburgh in Domesday Book)
1195 IERBORC (Pipe Rolls lst series Vol 17, p. 26-27)
1200 JERDBURG Robert de (See previous paragraph)
1200 JERDEBURCH Hamelin de (Kirkstead Chartulary)
1242 JERDEBURGH Richard de (Patent Rolls)
1345 YERDEBURGH Robert de (Patent Rolls)
1400 YERBERGH Sir Thomas de (Lincoln Assize Roll)
1401 ZERBURGH John Z de (John Z de Zerburgh. Feudal Aids III)
1431 YARBURGH Richard de (gentleman) (Feudal Aids III)
1447 YERBURGHT John (Court Rolls of Edlyngton)
1490 YERBURGHE William (Court Rolls of Edlyngton)
1495 YERBOROWE Richard (Inquisition P.M. See above)
1541 YARBRUGHE John (Will of) 1541 YERBURGHE Roger (Will of)
1545 YARBROUGH Richard (Will of)
1552 YERBURGH Thomas (Inventory of)
It may puzzle some readers why the earliest spellings have the initial letters as G, I, J and Z. The answer is that those letters in an initial position represented the same consonantal sound as was later (or at the same time) represented by Y. Hence Gereburgh in Domesday Book (1085) would be written Yereburgh in the 1300s but both would have sounded the same.
*The document I quoted has indeed got a dash over Jerdburg. On further study, I think it probably only indicates a missing letter 'h'. I see further on in the document is 'herb de Saltfletby' (Herbert of Saltfletby) but there is no indication of an ablative ending, so I think the 'de' must be just a Norman 'de' and not a Latin de with an ablative.
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