The name Datlen is extremely difficult to spell. That is very obvious because of the number of times people misspell it. People who have easy to spell names like Kostrezewski, Llanfairpwlach, or Pfistchmanoff are very lucky. Stories about the Dalten name being misspelled abound in the history of our family.
Robert Terry Datlen, who compiled the first Datlen Family Tree in 1966, noted that the name was often misspelled. He writes in a letter to my father in 1967.
"George also like you tells story of visit to Dover to Tom the Baker on Military Hill (he spelt his name Datlin until about 1911) and then changed to Datlen, I used to see it on Bakers Van as a schoolboy",
Writes Shaun Griffiths in the chapter Johannes Dietlien Discovered!
"It is worth noting that during the course of my research in Maidstone the Datlen name was spelt differently in every case: Daitland; Datelan; Dedland; Dietland; Dedling; Datling. I suppose one reason for this is that the registrars who were recording the name found Adam's foreign accent difficult to understand and therefore would have guessed at it's spelling"
However, today, with the entire family's name standardized to Datlen, there is no excuse for misspellings any more. But for some odd reason, the spelling of this simple six letter name baffles most people.
I had an encounter over the phone recently with an airline reservation clerk that went something like this:
"Hi, my name is Andy Datlen. Could you please give me some options on fares to Heathrow?".
"Where from, Mr. Dackland?".
"The name is DATLEN, spelled D.A.T.L.EEEEEEEE.N".
"Ah, yes, I've got it Mr. Dalton, what City are you flying from?".
"Let me spell it again. It's D as in David, A as in Andy, T as in Tom, L as in Larry, E as in Evil, N as in Nancy".
"Oh, I am very sorry Mr. Er, er, Datlen, I think I have got it now."
A discussion then takes place about fares and I order my ticket, spelling the name several times more to make sure it is correct on the ticket. We bid goodbye.
Her closing line was "I am sorry I had such trouble with your name. It's such a simple name really, isn't it? Goodbye Mr. Dimpling". Or something like that.
One time I went to a professional conference, one that was very important to my career. I had pre-registered a month before, carefully filling out the form in block letters. When I arrived at the registration desk, I scanned down the list of registrants looking for Datlen. Would you believe they had me down there as Andy Dafpen?
That was not the end of it. They then gave me a beautifully embossed card to mount on my lapel looking like this:
When I asked to get a corrected one, they told me the machine had broken down. I was then forced to walk around the conference for three days, shaking hands and introducing myself as Mr. Dafpen. Even now, years later, somebody will come up to me at a conference and say "Andy, I remember you, Dafpen, isn't it?"
Computers have made it worse, have you noticed? Every time you fill out a warranty registration card and send it in, the name gets keyed into some database, spelled wrong, and then the database gets sold to others, is often re-keyed into a different computer with yet more spelling mistakes, and on it goes. Pretty soon you get solicitations in the mail addressed to Mr. Dipthong, Mr. Dolton, or Mr. Dateland.
The funniest ones are the so-called personalized letters. I had one once where the outside of the envelope was addressed to Mr. Len R. Datlandy. I opened it up, and there was a nice friendly letter urging me to buy life insurance to protect my family. "Dear Len:" it started off. Nice personal touch. Made me want to read on.
"I am sure you would like the Datlandy family to be protected in the event of your sudden death" went the opening sentence. "Len", it continued, "YOU MUST TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS GENEROUS OFFER TODAY!!!!!. There is no cost to you."
No cost to me? There never is, is there? I should have replied and told them to send the bill to Dan R. Tlynead.
After many years of getting misspelled envelopes I finally started saving them and mounting the best of them in a picture frame. In just two years I have accumulated more than fifty. And they are only the best ones. Hardly a week goes by without me getting another one.
Here is a sample for you to compare: Ardy Datler, Andy Duckland, Andy Detlin, Andy Batlen, Andy Delton, Andy Patlen, Andy Daklen, and the cream of the crop, Andy Dooplent!
Yes, I have a credit card in the name of Andy Dooplent!
But there's more! My Uncle, William Evan, was the pioneer in collecting misspellings of the Datlen Family name. For over fifty years he carefully cut then from envelopes and mounted them in a scrap book. I have a long way to go to beat his collection.
Here it is:
DATLENS ALL!! Misspelled Names - Originals in W E Datlen's Scrap Book
Batley Battlen Dabler Dackland Daclan Dadlen Daglan Dahl Daklen Daklin Dalfon Dallan Dallem Dallen Dallin Daltand Dalten Dalter Daltin Dantlen Daplin Darlen Dartlin Datchen Datelen Datham Datien Datkin Datlan Datland Datlane Datlech Datleen Datlem Datlens Datles Datlew Datley Datlin Datlon Datolen Dattend Dattle Dattlen Deadlin Decklen Decklin Deckly Dellor Detleen Detlen Dettaland Dothen Dotlen Dotlin Dottie Dublen Dublin Duckling Dudham Dudling Dufflan Duglin Duthie Dutland Dutlin Duttie Dutton Gatlen Madlen Nathan Oatlen Watlen Watlin
Shaun Griffiths October 2008
During my research I have come across the following common mis-spelling of the Datlen name.
Datten, Dattin, Dattan, Dallen, Dallin, Dallan, Dathen, Dathin, Dathan, Datling, Daterlen, Daterlin, Daterlan, Datelen, Datelin, Dietlan, Dietlern, Dietlirn, Dietlarn, Dietland
Names such as Datten and Dattin are often a result of the writer crossing the initial T but also carrying the line across the L making it look as though there are two T’s rather than one.
Dallen and Dallin on the other hand could be a result of a faded bar across the T.
Dathen and Dathin etc are normally a result of the writer elaborating the letter L making it look like an H.
Other spellings such as Daterlen and Dietlern are probably due to phonetics with the transcriber writing what they hear. These tend to be found on older records when people couldn’t write or spell their names themselves.