The writers of court records in Essex County didn’t follow many writing conventions during the early colonial period. So, we have a variety of spellings found for Richard, Mehitabel, and Joan Braybrooke and Alice Ellis.
Here are some of the variants I uncovered:
Mehitabel, Mehitabell, Mehitable
Joan, Joanne, Joanna
Alice Eliss, Ellis, Eyliss
Braybrooke, Braybrook, Brabrook, Brabrooke, Brabruck
I settled on Mehitabel for the correct spelling as that is how Mehitabel spelled it in a very important letter to the governor of Massachusetts she signed in 1692.
Writers agonize over writing conventions such as spelling and punctuation, but we come to a greater appreciation of them when we struggle with these old documents.