The Guild of One Name Studies defines a variant as:
” … a name spelling which varies from the primary name spelling (or another variant spelling) used by that person’s ancestors and which is:
A name spelling that the person was known to have used, through signature evidence on wills, marriage bonds etc or other documents originating from the individual concerned, or
A name spelling used by officials on a consistent and persistent basis over a period of years”.
A reason for this may be that the name has several different varient spellings – our ancestors did not always know how to spell (if they could write!) their own names correctly.
Sometimes a person’s name would appear differently on the birth certificate, the marriage certificate and the death certificate and indeed, on a census record if the enumerator misheard the surname perhaps because of a dialect.
By using NAMEX technology 41 surnames matched with Windlow including:
Soundex Matches produced 611 surnames – code W543, (too many to list), while Metaphone matches produced 7 surnames Code: WNTLW – Wandlow, Wendelow, Wendlow, Wentlow, Windelow, Windlaw and Windleow.
I will concentrate my initial study to Windlow, and 5 variants:
Windlaw, Windley, Windlo, Winlow and Wyndlow using the available data.