German SIG #Germany Re: Hebrew/Yiddish for Henrietta #germany


Gerhard Buck <buckidstein@...>
 

In every Jewish pedigree in Germany we find at least one person with the
female given name Jette and its numerous confusing variations. The
explanation for all these forms is quite simple, when we look at their
origins.

At the beginning, there were two given names: 1. Judith and its pet
forms Juedle (South Germany) and Juedchen (North Germany). 2. Guetle and
Guetchen, derived >from the adjective gut = good. Due to German dialects,
mistakes by the writers and the exchange of -ue- for -i-, the spelling
in the 18th and 19th centuries no longer reflected the etymology.

Since these names were typically Jewish and since they had a pejorative
connotation (" small Jew "), girls and women exchanged all these forms
for the fashionable German given name Jettchen, the pet form of Jette.

This was the short form of several French or partly French names:
Henriette, Jeannette, Johannette. These names were also written in a
Latin looking way with an -a instead of the -e at the end. In many
handwritten documents it is impossible to distinguish these two letters.

This change >from a traditional Jewish given name to a modern everyday
name is a common feature in all German Jewish families in the 1800s.

Gerhard Buck, Idstein, Germanybuckidstein@...

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