many individuals were illiterate and could not read or write. registars were educated people as well as enumerators for census's. the officials usually got no help from the person standing in front of them as they did not know. for example in Tranent east lothian scotland the registrar for an 18 month period spelling dickson what we term the english way Dixon. when the normal registrar either side of this period every Dickson is spelt Dickson. given the variations of the spelling of Dickson. from dicsoun to around 20 different others ways, its not surprising diffences within documents arise.