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Replies: 14
Posted: 15 May 2009 7:27PM GMT
Classification: Query
No way to know. English is wildly variable in how various vowels and vowel combinations are pronounced. The "i" after the "z" could be pronounced "ih" or "ee" and somewhere in between. If more towards the latter, many immigrants tended to used phonetic spellings, i.e., spelling that corresponded to the sounds. The vowel combination "ie" can easily sound like "ee" as in "believe". The combination "ei" also can sound the same as in "receive". Likewise the letter "y" in English often is pronounced "ee" as in "fully".

So I could see the first part of the name ending up being spelled Ziel-, Zyl-, Zeil-, Zeel-, or just plain Zil-. My maternal grandfather's surname was Kuckailis, pronounced KOOTS-kai-lis (because the "c" has no birdie over it). In America, he changed it by dropping the ending and spelling the rest phonetically: KOOTS-kel. But wouldn't you know it, one of his children changed that to KOOT-sel, dropping second "k" sound altogether. So now I have relatives named both Kutskel and Kutsel. Can't explain how human beings deal with their names sometimes.

John Peters
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
Debra Leigh Zielis 6 Sep 1999 12:00PM GMT 
Klaus Mittmann 21 Aug 2003 9:27PM GMT 
lietuvagen 20 Dec 2007 5:17AM GMT 
camarti15 3 Feb 2007 6:23AM GMT 
debandblayne 13 May 2009 1:39AM GMT 
LithuanianGen... 13 May 2009 1:23PM GMT 
debandblayne 15 May 2009 11:29PM GMT 
LithuanianGen... 16 May 2009 1:27AM GMT 
wondermom5907 24 Feb 2010 2:33AM GMT 
wondermom5907 24 Feb 2010 2:35AM GMT 
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