Problem with transcribing surname “Motkovoda”
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Author:  Jaromir [ Sat Oct 08, 2016 12:55 am ]
Post subject:  Problem with transcribing surname “Motkovoda”

1911 / British Columbia / Kootenay / 12 Fernie / page 30

The transcription of the surname of family 165 (“Motkovoda”) on lines 2 to 8 is highly problematic and open to numerous interpretations because it is obscured by the letter "J" of "John" from line 1 above.

The Library and Archives Canada 1911 Census shows the name as “Matherson” 1911 Census shows the name as “Motkovak”

These are the problems with correctly transcribing this name:
1) This enumerator has frequently written the letter “a” as “o” and in many cases it is difficult to tell which is which. The beginning of this name could easily be interpreted as "Ma", which it is.
2) The end of the name is obscured by the letter “J” from line 1 above. The last 3 letters interpreted here as “oda” is probably a guess, it could just as well be “cik”, which it is.

So the actual/correct name is “Matkovcik”, which I believe is a plausible interpretation.
He is my great-grandfather. His first name was John not Joseph, but that is the error the enumerator made.

Author:  Mark Gallop [ Sat Oct 08, 2016 1:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Problem with transcribing surname “Motkovoda”

Hi Jaromir -

Thank you for so clearly laying out the problem and your interpretation with comparisons to other transcriptions. This greatly aided a review.

Based upon this information, I think the most accurate transcription of what was actually written by the enumerator is Motkovak, as FamilySearch has transcribed it. As you point out, there is only a small difference between this enumerator's 'a's and 'o's, but I think the second letter more closely matches other 'o's. The second-to-last letter also looks like an 'a' to me - even taking the 'J' from the line above into account, I cannot see it as an ''i'.

Another volunteer will evaluate this suggested correction in due course.

I have also added a surname note for Matkovcik, which will allow further searchers of the index to find the entry under this spelling.

Thanks for your input. Mark

Author:  Jaromir [ Sat Oct 08, 2016 4:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Problem with transcribing surname “Motkovoda”

Hi Mark, thank you for the quick reply!
You note that the second-to-last letter could be an "a". However, a "c" and "i" close together "ci", can look like an "a" !

Into the notes, can you also add that the correct given name should be John.
Joseph was the name of his father, and also his eldest son (not on this list).
John is mentioned with his full correct name in the death registration of his son Frank.
Anna was formally named Johanna.

By the way, would you know if Library and Archives Canada is actively doing corrections?
Some of their transcriptions are so obviously incorrect "Fkrank" instead of "Frank", "Heller" instead of "Hellen", just for this family.
I have submitted corrections to LAC twice over the past year with no action.
FamilySearch has not actioned any corrections either.
Ellis Island Foundation is very good at actioning corrections.

Author:  mcmichel [ Sat Oct 08, 2016 1:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Problem with transcribing surname “Motkovoda”


I have updated the surname as suggested and legible, that is Motkovak. Your footnote then refers to the appropriate and real surname.

I tried to establish a link with 1901 for that family. Unfortunately, I couldn't find them in 1901.

Yes, LAC is accepting requests for corrections but it might take months before the updatings, I've submitted so far many thousands requests for corrections for the 1852 census in the Quebec City area and the global progress of updating is at the 80% level. The requests submitted since last July are still pending.

Thanks for your input,

Michel Dubois, Quebec City.

Author:  Jaromir [ Sat Oct 08, 2016 3:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Problem with transcribing surname “Motkovoda”

Thanks again.
The family returned to Slovakia (Hungary at the time) in 1901, just before the Census, so they are not in 1901 Census.
Helen (Sep. 21, 1901) and Milly/Emily (May 26, 1906) were born in Slovakia.
John returned to Canada in 1908 and Johanna with 4 children returned in 1909 through Ellis Island.

However the family is in the 1921 Census in Coleman Town, MacLeod, Alberta. has the name as "Mathwick", but a better transcription would be "Matkovick", again it is an English biased interpretation. The "k" is interpreted as "h", and "ov" is interpreted as "w". I will submit a correction to Ancestry.

Do you link to external sources such as LAC, FamilySearch, Ancestry, Ellis Island, FindAGrave?
If so, I could supply several links.

Author:  mcmichel [ Sat Oct 08, 2016 8:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Problem with transcribing surname “Motkovoda”

Hello Jaromir,

Yes, it's possible to link our AG with LAC records. As an example, look at the bottom of the following page where I linked families with many LAC censuses:

If you're iinterested, I could explain you how to do that.

Michel Dubois, Quebec City.

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