Re: When did spelling of names become important? #germany


Sally Bruckheimer <sallybruc@...>
 

Germany was much better than the US about consistent spelling in the 19th and early
20th centuries. But names are not the same as other words, especially Jewish names.

My gg grandmother, in a tiny town in Nassau, had 20 kids whose births were
registered. On the registrations, her name is listed 20 different ways: Rachel,
Regina, Reis, .... The spelling is not the problem, but the fact is that the Jews
used different names and diminutives in everyday life. Today, if somebody spelled
my name Salley or Sallie, I would object, but back then I don't think that
mattered to people, so long as the name had the same sound, and that the name was
among those the person used. Certainly Elli and Elly are the same name, spelled
differently.

Even the daughter of Rachel, Regina, Reis, above, who was mostly known as Rachel,
was Regina on her marriage record. Go figure. When I searched by mail, decades
ago, at the NYC Municipal Archives, they couldn't find the marriage record; but
when I went to NYC, I found it right away. Her husband, Bernhard most of the time
in NYC, was Barnett on one page and Baruch on the other. But his last name was
very odd. His birth record in Amsterdam said Baruch, and his name in London was
Barnett.

People just didn't have the same attitude towards their names. In the US,
spelling was quite variable, but that was not the biggest problem for genealogists.

Sally Bruckheimer
Princeton, NJ

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