< I have come across a tombstone where the name of the deceased is
"Menachem Mendal". The entry in the local histories calls the person
"Mendal". Question: Is this the same person? The dates match.>
Alexander Beider's A Dictionary of Ashkenazic Given Names
(Avotaynu 2001) reports that Menakhem was a king of Israel referenced
at 2 Kings 15:14. It means "comforter". It was often because of its
meaning given to males born in the month of Ab, a month in which
according to tradition all manner of bad things happened to the Jewish
people, including the destruction of the Temple.
Menakhem is often coupled in double names with the name Man and its
derivatives. In Yiddish, the addition of -l or -k to the end of a name
creates a fond diminuitive, so Mandel or Mendal is a derivative of
In eastern Europe, persons with double given names are sometimes
referred to in the records with both names, and sometimes only with
the first. Less frequently, they may be referred to by only the second
of the double names.
To my American ears, Menakhem sounds foreign, while Mendel sounds
plausibly American. It may be that this person used Mendel in order
to sound less foreign.
If the dates match, I think this is the same person, especially if
there are not others in the geographic vicinity with similar names.