I am guilty. This is a personal issue for me. My name is Kathryn, not Katherine. My last name was Adam, not Adams. I have a very basic name but it is always misspelled. As a result, I have always tried to spell other people’s names correctly.
My great-great-grandmother was born in 1836 in Boehem (Czech Republic). Her parents named her Adalbertha. I had never before or since heard of anyone with this name so I decided to find out more about it. Adalbertha is the feminine form of Adalbert. Adalbert or Adelbert is an old Germanic name that has been around for over a 1000 years. In fact, the first Adalbert of any importance was St. Adalbert of Prague. He is the patron saint of Bohemia, Poland, and Prussia. Adalbert, which means noble and bright, was from a wealthy family but decided to become a priest. He was very zealous about converting heathens to Christianity. In 977, he went on a missionary trip to Prussia. It seems he was cutting down some sacred oaks. They asked him to stop. He didn’t, so they stopped him.
When I first started gathering information about the Adam Family I went to the cemetery and started copying down the information from the tombstones. I thought all the information would be correct. On Adalbertha’s stone, her name is spelled Adelbertha Adams. (I should have clued in on the Adams.) I happily began spelling her name Adelbertha. I found other spellings, Adalberthe on her marriage certificate, Adebertha on the 1870 Kendall County Census, and Adallberthe on her death certificate and then in her own handwriting on her will in 1895 Adalbertha Adam. Adalbertha, Adelbertha, Kathryn, Katherine are all correct spellings, but how did she spell her name? Adalbertha Adam. I am sooo guilty…
“St. Adalbert.” Catholic Encyclopedia. Web. 29 August 2011. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01127c.htm.