When searching the Early Auto Registrations, first keep in mind that the State Archives presents this as a historical collection. We have preserved the information as it appears in the original documents. That means any misspellings, misidentifications or other errors on the part of the original creators of the documents are preserved as well. Furthermore, in cases where the original handwriting was ambiguous, we have transcribed it as well as possible, but errors may still occur. If you are searching for a specific person or a place you know should exist in this collection, but for some reason it is not listed, consider broadening your search. A different spelling of the surname, an outdated name for a town, an abbreviated first name or a county boundary change between 1917 and today might be the culprit.
When looking for a specific individual, start by entering the person's name in the search box on the main page and selecting a county to narrow your results. If you do not find the individual you are looking for, consider leaving off the person's given name(s) and searching just for the surname. Often, the clerks recording the auto registrations used abbreviations or phonetic spellings of names, which can derail your search. Also try searching for surnames similar in pronunciation or spelling to the one you are searching for. The officials creating these documents recorded all of the information by hand; mistakes are common. A man named "Parsons" might easily be recorded as "Persons" or even "Pierson" or "Pearson.”
Also, if you are looking in a specific county, consider that an individual may have moved, so an ancestor who lived in Alachua County in 1920 may not have lived there at the time they registered their vehicle. Furthermore, county boundaries have moved numerous times over the years. Twenty-one of Florida's 67 counties were established during or after the period covered by these auto registrations. What is located in one Florida county today may have been part of a different county when these documents were created.
Common Abbreviations for Given Names
Note that clerks in the early 20th century were not as concerned as we are today about standardizing names. They often used abbreviations for given names, even on official documents. George could become Geo., John could become Jno. and so on. Here are a few examples:
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