Fairly early in the game, I noticed that in some feminine names, I’s that are now pronounced IH or EE were once pronounced EYE. For example, Cousin Nina Aldridge Hardy was NYE-na. Cousin Tilithia Brewington Godbold was Ta-LYE-thi-a. Cousin Beathina Henderson Hargrove was Be-THY-na. I also noticed — or so I thought — that sometimes the names Eliza and Louisa were interchanged in records and assumed that this was because “Louisa” was once pronounced “Lou-EYE-za,” which, maybe, could have been misheard as “Eliza.” Example: Louisa/Eliza Hagans Seaberry.
But then: today while looking at Louisa Seaberry’s entry in the 1850 census of Wayne County way enlarged, I noticed that … there was no loop in the first vowel. I looked up and down the page. The censustaker’s other O’s all featured a distinct loop. This, now that I was really looking at it, seemed to be an E. And the U rather like V. So, not Louisa, but LEVISA? But what about definite references in the 1870 census and deeds to “Eliza”? A mispronunciation? A middle name? In 1865, her daughter Frances Seaberry Artis named her twin daughters Louvicey … and Eliza. Were they both named after their grandmother? Frances’ daughter Georgianna Artis Reid also named a daughter Levicy. I’m onto something….