Hi, Larry! If you haven't seen it, you might be interested in a short write-up I did about the etymology of the Threlkeld surname. You can find it at this link: https://casestone.com/threlkeld/threlkeld/etymology-origins There are myriad possible variations on the surname. In the Threlkeld One-Name Study we've separated them into four categories with multiple spellings under each; the category designations show only the three most common spellings in each: Threlkeld/Thrailkill/Threlkel Threlfall/Threlfell/Threfall Thirkell/Thirkettle/Thirkill Threadgill/Threadgold/Treadgold The most closely related etymologically is Threlfall. The latter two categories are often associated with "Threlkeld," but are etymologically distinct and arose in different parts of Britain. Threadgill, in particular, doesn't even share the origins in Old Norse that the first three do. Thrailkill is almost certainly a spelling directly derived from Threlkeld. But your friend in Alaska isn't quite correct about the spelling separation. For example, you'll find over 200 enumerations in the 1850 U.S. Census with the spelling "Thrailkill"; about 30 in 1840; over 20 in 1830; and even one, a William Thrailkill in Wake, North Carolina, in 1790. But in the 1841 census of England, not one appears. There's one in the 1851 census, in Charsfield, Suffolk, but again zero in the 1911 census. It seems most likely that "Thrailkill" arose simply due to a phonetic spelling of "Threlkeld." One thing that might help us determine the association of the two names would be Y-chromosome DNA testing. Unfortunately--while we have a number of folks who have taken the popular autosomal DNA test (like AncestryDNA and 23andMe)--there have been very few male Threlkelds to take the Y-chromosome tests...and only one Thrailkill, and he opted to keep his information private so we've never been able to compare him even with the scarcity of Threlkelds we have. We need more patrilineal Threlkeld DNA testers! The amazing number of variant spellings of "Threlkeld" don't surprise me, though. We have to remember that written literacy wasn't exactly predominant in Britain or the US until the mid- to late-19th century. Immigrants and responders to censuses would typically have given their answers orally, and a transcriber would write down the information to the best of his or her ability. I just returned last June from a brief visit, my second, to the village of Threlkeld, Cumbria, and other stops in the surrounding, and lovely, Lake District. They thought my accent was extremely odd. Even though almost everyplace is more cosmopolitan than ever before, there's still enough idiom and accent to set areas of Cumbria apart. And there are still even some instances where we can hear what the Cumbrian accent of our forefathers probably sounded like. I ran into no one on my recent visit, though, as distinct as this marvelous, one-minute YouTube video from eight years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqpBwi594Ug A quick listen to that, even though the recording quality isn't very good, and it's easy to understand how a Cumbrian native telling a census taker--or a tax collector or a priest marrying him and his wife or a solicitor writing his will--that his surname was "Threlkeld" gave rise to literally scores of variant spellings. Just as easy to understand how those variant spellings "stick": a son in the family learns to read and write and, there it is, his grandfather's will, with his name plainly written right there: "Moses Heraelkeld" (BTW, that's a real enumeration: 1840, Scott County, Kentucky, Roll 123, Page 64). And it also explains why it's sometimes so difficult for us to locate indexed records for some of our ancestors. :-/ --Ed -----Original Message----- From: Larry Malloy <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Monday, August 12, 2019 4:41 PM To: Threlkeld surname mailing list, including all variant spellings like Thrailkill, Threlkel, and Thurlkill <email@example.com> Cc: Len Schwarz <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: [THRELKELD] Re: hannah threlkeld 1844-1916 In 1820 George W. THRELKELD, my Gr. Gr. Grandfather, was born in at Steelville, Illinois. He was the son of farmer William THRELKELD who had migrated to southern Illinois from Mercer County, Kentucky, and who was married to Polly Short, daughter of Eli Short, War of 1812 veteran!! . . . In my Alaskan town there lives a lady who’s maiden name was THRAILKILL. She claims the family’s spelling deviations of that surname occurred during the Civil War era, maybe while the descendent families were split, living in both in Kentucky and Illinois?? She further claims her family’s oral history identified that those choosing the Confederacy spelled their name THRAILKILL and those choosing the Union spelled their name THRELKEL; to include identified diverse spellings of both variant names per family preferences!!