Re: Father and son sharing a name #general

Ann Rabinowitz <annrab@...>

The following is my experience with name sharing.

Sometimes what you find on a tombstone does not actually reflect what the
person's name was originally. Remember, the tombstone and death certificate
are the responsibility of children or other relatives or even non-relatives
who may not know the correct information at the time of death or enough
genealogical information to understand the why's of certain names or who the
person was named for.

An example is my father whose name was William Samuel or Shmuel Velvel and
my grandfather who was Samuel or Shmuel. At the time of death, the rabbi
questioned how my father could have the same name as his father. My mother
certainly did not know and neither did I at the time.

My interest was piqued and I began to search for a reason. Interviewing
relatives and searching through numerous American and Lithuanian civil and
other records, I finally came to know how this came about.

1. My grandmother's maternal grandfather was named Shmuel and my father was
named after him and not his father Samuel/Shmuel. In fact, my father's
middle name Velvel was his paternal grandfather's name and my father was
known by the anglicized version of that name, William or Bill. This avoided
both he and his father being called Shmuel.

2. Further, my grandfather was known as Samuel/Shmuel in America, but was
actually known as Shloime in Lithuania which turned out to be the same name
as my grandmother's father Shloime Dovid who was still alive at the time my
father was born. My great grandfather was known as Dovid and my grandfather
was known as Shmuel thereby avoiding a conflict in being called by the same

3. There are no Lithuanian records which show what my grandfather's full
name was. For all I know, Shmuel/Shloime was his middle name. For record
purposes, all the men in my family put their middle name as the name they
were known by which was a common practice.

Ann Rabinowitz

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