unusual given names Verka, Baylah, Malaka & Elche, Mindal, Basha & Chirm #belarus

Herbert Lazerow

You need a copy of Alexander Beider's A Dictionary of
Ashkenazic Given Names (Avotaynu 2001).
I am not familiar with all these names, but Baylah (or as it
is usually written in Cyrillic, Beilya) is a relatively common name
(but not as common as the matriarchs) derived >from the French name
Belle or Bella; Malaka is a version of Malka, also common, >from the
Hebrew word for queen, and frequently doubled with Esther (Estra
Malka). Mindal is a diminuitive of Mina; Basha (written Basya in
Cyrillic, so you can see how easy that sound shift is to make) is a
version of Batsheva, wife of David, mother of Solomon. Elche is
probably a variant spelling of Elka, which in turn is a variation of
Ella, >from that name in German.
Which leaves Verka and Chirm. I am guessing that Verka
might be a variant on Berte, a name not common until the 19th
century, and probably derived >from the same German name. As to
Chirm, I have even less idea. The first question might be whether
the Ch is pronounced like an English CH as in church, or like a
Hebrew CH as in Chana, which the phonetically-inclined write as
Khana. Pronounced either way, it is hard to see a clear derivation
that would pick up both the r and the m.
The names are Verka, Baylah, Malaka & Elche VIGDOR/WIGDOR/WIGDORWITZ
(among other variations that I've come across). I am also interested
in the names Mindal, Basha & Chirm.
Herbert Lazerow
Professor and Director, Institute on Int'l and Comparative Law
University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego CA 92110-2492
Phone: (619)260-4597
Fax 619-260-2230
E-mail: lazer@sandiego.edu

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