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Home: Surnames: Dohm Family Genealogy Forum

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Re: The Many Variations of Dom
Posted by: Bobbi Dome (ID *****0014) Date: May 07, 2002 at 17:10:00
In Reply to: Dohm vs Tome (Tomb) by Shannon Scott of 90

Hi Shannon;

Believe it or not, you are probably looking for Jacob DOM of which there are quite a few in the 1700’s, including immigrants.

I’d like to get into some helpful hints for you and for some of our infinitely distant ‘cousins’ searching for descendants of the group of Germans that chose “Dom” as their surname. I grew up thinking that I had a rare surname. What I didn’t realize was how many spelling variations there were. Dom is the German word for cathedral. Centuries ago when people began using surnames, some people in the Alsace-Lorraine area that worked in and near cathedrals chose Dom for their surname. Phonetically, in German, an o is always pronounced “oh” , there is no ‘soft’ or ‘short’ vowel sound. There is no silent ‘e’ at the end. If you’ve noticed, the name George (which we pronounce – jorj), the Germans spell Georg ( which they pronounce gee’ ohrg). When our German ancestors immigrated, even if they were capable of reading and writing German, spelling of their names was at the mercy of the people who were recording it for various reasons. A perfect example is one of my relatives, Conrad Dom (in German pronounced – Cohn’ rahd Dohm) was spelled ‘Coonrod Doam’ in an 1800 Tax List. So in the passenger lists and in American records, there are the phonetic spellings: Dome, Dohm, and Doom Along with the rarer: Doam, Doem, Dolm and Dhom. Of course, any of these can also have an extra ‘m’ or an ‘e’ at the end, or even an ‘er’ or ‘es’ on the end. Some of this caused by bad spelling, some by people that no longer wanted to be associated with their relatives, so changed their names. Which brings up another problem, the German for cathedrals is ‘Dome’ – it’s pronounced Doh’ mah in German and Doh may’ in French (both languages are used in Alsace-Lorraine). So we get a new set of bad spelling for these variations. I’ve got my line back to the mid 1700’s and I don’t think he was the original immigrant. If you’ve searched in the census records, I’m sure you noticed the way some of the census takers embellished their handwriting. Well, back in the 1600’s, 1700’s and early 1800’s, a lot of people used the ‘German Gothic’ style of handwriting, which used all kinds of extra curls and scrolls, etc. Unfortunately, even ‘experts’ at reading this writing will look at names and disagree on whether they start with D, Dh, T, or Th. So I have even more variations. Last but not least, is a similar problem, when people are typing an index, they have trouble reading what was written. The ‘m’ can be mistaken for ‘rn’, ‘nc’, ‘in’, ‘ni’ or ‘nn’. In addition to the problem with the ‘m’, the ‘o’ can be mistaken for an ‘a’ or ‘u’. I’ve tried to keep this as short as possible – as of right now I have a list of almost 50 variations when I check a new index.

So let me know if you find out more info on Jacob. If you give me some more information on your Jacob, like any dates or locations that you have for him and his children’s names, I’ll keep you on my list and let you know if I happen to run across anything else on your branch.

I’m hoping to do a One Name Study on Dom and all of its variations. As I mentioned earlier, when I was young, I thought I had a rare name. But I have found out that my GGGG-grandfather had seven children (five of them boys) and my GGG-grandfather had seven children (only three of them were boys, but those three boys had THIRTY-SIX children – 11, 11 & 14). I haven’t found all four girls, so I don’t know the total amount of grandchildren. I have a lot of relatives that I haven’t found yet.

Good luck,


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