My father, a lifelong railroad employee, told me about how railroads that had several men with the same name working for them would make each employee after the first change the spelling of his name in order to keep payroll records straight. Before computers, this was the method they used to keep each file separate.
Then, in order to deposit checks, the men would often just begin using the new spelling of the names used by the railroad. This was before social security, so changes in spelling were easy.
Other articles in the 16 October 2011 Weekly Discovery