Belarus SIG #Belarus Fwd: dual patronymics #belarus


From: Leonid Zeliger <>
Date: Jul 22, 2010 8:32 AM
Subject: Re: [belarus] dual patronymics

Two remarks might make the things a little bit clearer.
1.There're no double names and, as a result, no double patronymics in
Russian language,culture and tradition. 2.On the other hand there
were double name but no patronymics in Jewish-Yiddish tradition.
When Russian bureaucracy made effort to integrate the Jews in
Russian society they needed to construct a sort of combined form of
Russian patronymic made of (double) Jewish name. Since this
phenomenon did not exist in Russian language, and there were no
grammatical rules for it any clerk could invent any form that seemed
proper to him.
One rule is firm : grandfather's name could never be a part of
patronymics, so "Naumovitch-Girshovitsh" indicated to double father's
name Nahum-Hirsh.
Since a double name was and is foreign and exotic for Russian speaker,
the Jews themselves eventually stopped to use them in everyday life
after they entered in large amounts into Russian society, while the
double name stayed be registered in official documents.
I have in my family archive documents >from 1880-s, in which my GF is
called in 3 different ways : Dov-Ber,Ber and Boris, very significant
illustration of the process.

Leonid Zeliger

On 7/21/10, Jonathan Adams <> wrote:


I have found some of my grandfather's grammar school forms >from Grodno in
the late 1890s. On three different forms his name is listed as "Joseph
Naumovitch-Girshovitch Adunsky." This is the only place we have seen the
hyphenated patronymic. His father was Nahum; so was Girsh (Hirsh) his grandfather
Was this a common naming convention at the time? Thanks for any insights.

Jonathan Adams
Rockville, Md.

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