Regarding Italian names-can they begin with a "J"?
I am looking at batch MS5Z-KW4 from Catanzaro, Italy in the early 1800s. Italian doesn't usually employ a "J" (at least nowadays).
I have seen spelling of surname two different ways in the genealogy and family trees. Unfortunately, I think , that the name Iacono and Jacono are the same family in this example. The problem is that a search for Jacono or Iacono does NOT bring up the other members of this family I believe.
So, was a "J" used in the early 1800s? Also, is there a way during research that the site can bring up both "Iacono" and "Jacono" if either surname are entered?
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
A question mark can be used as a wild card for a single letter: ?acono will return both spellings.1
In many handwriting styles, there's no difference between capital i and capital j.
Modern Italian uses i for both [i] (/ee/ as in "meek") and [j] (/y/ as in "yellow"), but older rules specified j in some contexts (such as in diphthongs and vowel groups), and older rules are often fossilized in names. It can therefore be basically impossible to tell whether a handwritten record says Jacono or Iacono.
(You could say that the answer to the "or" question is actually "yes": modern Italian has gone back a millennium or two to when i and j were slightly different ways to form the same letter, just like how nowadays, some people put a crossbar at the top of the capital J, and some people don't.)
As Áine said, for searches you can use the question mark as a wildcard standing for any single letter. For indexing, you'll just have to make a decision on how to interpret the writing. Likewise, if you're working on a family with this name, you'll need to decide how to interpret each record and which one to give priority. I figure that you can use the modern spelling rules as a tiebreaker.2
thank you both. Your responses clarified the issue.
Too bad we can’t add a note to other people who are doing their own family ancestry searches that they should (1) post a question mark in their inquiries or (2) to use both a J or an I in the search.
I have seen both spellings when I’ve looked at Calabrian trees.
When indexing and reviewing batches of records, our purpose is to transcribe what is written on the record, in other words, type what we see.0
Yes, but the point is, "type what you see" is a judgement call: if the first letter could be an I or J, which one do you type? Do you go by modern rules and type an I, or do you take old rules into account that say it could be a J?1
In the project instructions I think it covers this situation. It says to use the 'J" and not use the modern "I". I haven't run into any last names that have started with a J/I, yet, most have been in the middle like Majello/Maiello. So then by that rule everyone would be indexing it the same and I guess they just have to be aware of Italian long J transitioned into I somewhere along the time line. I would think, hopefully, FamilySearch will use this information and enter it into the algorithm when searching Italian records. So that it pulls up records/people no matter if they typed J or I.0
Thanks to everyone and hopefully the algorithm catches this interchange.
For those of you interested in some “archeology”, so in researching a little more, I’ve seen several examples in which a letter we would identify as a J or j, is actually an i.
I base this observation on Italian words such as “Febbrajo” and “calzolajo” . Both are common Italian words for February (febbraio) and calzolaio (cobbler, shoemaker).
So, I would venture that the “j”that we recognize is actually an “i”. The J sound is made by “gi” in Italian. There is no need for a j therefore.
this whole matter seems to be an orthography point. I’ve seen a letter that looks like an “h” in records but is actually an “n” in records even if not part of a name. I guess there’s a lot of challenges in reading old records!0