The Enumerator and Dyslexia

I’ve done many a census transcription in my times, and am amazed by this enumerators ability to mess things up. In the latest case, I find a hint of dyslexia in Deputy Marshall, John A. Reegan, enumerator of Lawrence County, MS.

In the 1850 Lawrence County, Mississippi census appears the name of Live Speights (Line 24, page 411.)

Now one would consider Live to be an unusual name, if one weren’t familiar with John Reegan’s dyslexia. When I came across this name, I initially felt it may have been a name given due to a troubled child-birth… perhaps the parents were overjoyed when the child was born live. There was NO doubt that this was how John enumerated it, regardless that Ancestry’s index shows the name as Line. But my normal curiosity for the name got the better of me, and I stopped my transcription to look more into this name.

A look of the 1860 census quickly dispelled my initial thoughts. In the census appearing in the house of John and Elisa Speights was a Levi Speights. So, once again, dyslexia got the better of John.

Copyright 2006 by Genealogy Research. All Rights Reserved.

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