FEHLER. A very simple 6-letter surname. Yet, with a flick of a pen, the educated few in this nations early years, have forever alienated families. They have separated brother from brother and children from parents because "they" knew how it should be spelled.

Stop and consider the events. Move yourself back in time, back to at least 1800 and then back to 1700 and further if possible. People have spoken and communicated by voice and sign language for centuries, but only the learned scholars could write. Education was not a forced public issue. Family knowledge was passed down generation to generation and classes were held in the kitchen. The transition started slowly. At first, one special member was sent off to school, another was apprenticed to a trade. Slowly but surely knowledge of the written word began to grow. Those that had this knowledge garnered specific jobs.

Office clerks, accountants, court clerks, judges, business men, politicians, ministers and teachers.

A name is a sound, all words are sounds. Someone speaks your name and you respond much the same as the family pet does when you call its name. You make a "mark", perhaps an X or an O or a + and someone signs your name. He would write it phonetically as it sounded and according to "how he had been taught"!

English and French were the universal languages on the new continent. The English controlled much of the East Coast and the 13 colonies. Few, if any, were bilingual beyond French and English and when the wave of "foreigners" began to arrive, they did the best they could. These learned English scholars listened to the Germanic sounds and wrote them down and with a stroke of the pen, it was done.

FEHLER John Adam Fehler and John George Fehler were brothers. They grew up as brothers and through their teen years, they were recorded as brothers. Their father died while they were in their teens and the Orphan Court of Pa. lists them as brothers. They grew older and married. They moved a few miles apart and in the Census of 1800, they are no longer brothers. One hundred and seventy-nine years later, considerable time, effort and money is being spent to reunite these two brothers.

WHY DID THIS HAPPEN? Take the first letter in the alphabet "A". Consider the variations when it is used in a word. Apparently, the EH in Fehler has an "A" sound. From this simple 6-letter word, we now have the following more common known variations.

Falor - Faylor - Failor - Faler - Fahler

Read the entire book here. The Author: H. M. Ball, 1979

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