Doctrine of Idem Sonans and Record Notice

January 30, 2007

1. The names Seibert and Sibert are not only idem sonans–they not only sound the same in utterance–but they are, practically, the same name. Therefore, no matter which way it may be spelled by the party himself, or by the recording officer, it is notice. It is common knowledge that proper names are spelled in a variety of ways, and everybody is presumed to have such knowledge. Thus, “Reed,” “Reid,” and “Read,” are different ways of spelling one name. Manifestly, the record of a judgment against “Reed” is notice to a subsequent purchaser from the same man signing the deed as “Reid.” “Persons searching the judgment docket for liens ought to know the different forms in which the same name may be spelled, and to make their searches accordingly, unless, indeed, the spelling is so entirely unusual that a person cannot be expected to think of it.” [Citation]…

4. Some confusion has arisen in the authorities as to whether the rule as to idem sonans applies to records. It is said that the law of notice by record is addressed to the eye and not the ear, and that therefore the rule cannot apply to records. It is true that record notice is principally a matter of sight and not sound. Yet it is, above all, a matter for the consideration of the mind, and if the record of a name spelled in one way should directly suggest to the ordinary mind that it is also commonly spelled another way, the searcher should be charged with whatever the record showed in some other spelling under the same capital letter. It is not necessary to decide here whether this would be carried out to the extent of holding that the searcher for information in the record should look under some other capital for another mode of finding the same name, as, for instance, “Kane” and “Cain,” “Phelps” and “Felps,” etc. But that the rule of idem sonans has been applied to records has been too often accepted by the supreme court of this state for us to question it.

Green v. Meyers, 72 S.W. 128 (1903).

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One Response to “Doctrine of Idem Sonans and Record Notice”


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