Re: Given Names Ephraim and Friedrich #germany


Prof. G. L. Esterson <jerry@...>
 

Geoff Kaiser of Australia posted as follows:

"I have recently obtained information that suggestes that an ancestor
of mine with the name of Ephraim or Fritz, according to the anecdotal
family information, was more officially know as Friedrich.

He was born in Ostrowo in 1899 and went to Palestine in 1936. It is the
Palestinian documents that I have recently received that have him as
Friedrich. I am very sure it is the same person for a number of reasons.

What are the thoughts of members on these names. What is the linkage
between Ephraim and Friedrich. I would think that Fritz is just an
anglicised version of one or both names."


Links used informally by European Jews between various given names varied
from country to country. For example, in Germany, there was a definite
tendency for men who had the Hebrew name Efrayim to adopt the German
secular name Fritz. However, this tendency was much lighter in Poland, to
the point that it would need to be classified as rare.

When one discusses the possibility of the same man using the Hebrew name
Efrayim, and also the two German secular names Fritz and
Friederich/Friedrich (or one of its variations), similar comments can be
made. The link here, in this particular case, in the minds of 19th century
European Jews, was apparently the consonantal sound of the letter "F",
particularly when combined into the two-letter sound "FR".

Note that the two names Fritz and Friederich have equal weights in
countries where German was spoken, that is, they were both full German
secular names that could be used as *stand-alone* names. BUT, it was also
the case that European Jews did use the German secular name Fritz as a
*nickname* for the German secular name Friederich, and this usage did
sometimes find its way into archival documents. The latter usage has been
well documented statistically by Divorce Rabbis in 19th century Europe.

So, what one can conclude is that if one finds in archives, persons with
one or the other (or two of these names in combination), then it gives you
a "hunting license" -- that is, it is a suggestion of a line of further
research that should be done to verify that a connection exists by
corroborating other data factors common to the several persons (e.g., dates
of birth or death, spouse's or children's names).

Professor G. L. Esterson, Ra'anana, Israel

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