For the family that forms the core of my book, there are varying opinions about their name. It was eventually Americanized to Poe. Some researchers have decided that the original spelling was likely Pfau, but I am inclined to think that it was actually Pau or Paü. The use of the umlaut seems unlikely, as "Paü" is used today in Turkey, while "Pau" is a German word that is pronounced like Poe. "Pfau" was often Americanized to Faw, indicating a clear phonetic difference between the names.
I decided the best approach would be a search for any documents signed by members of the Poe family. The earliest I found were land deeds in the collection of the Maryland Archives. The family patriarch appears to have signed his name Georg Jacob Paü. I'm still not sure what to make of the apparent umlaut over the u.
|Georg Jacob Pau signatures on the official copy of the deed of sale for a portion of land he owned, dated 18 November 1761.|