prof esterson's message really doesn't change my view of hungarian naming, that there is often *no* discernable connection between the hebrew and hungarian name.
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the example that he gives of "adolf" to "avraham" is relatively trivial - the following pairs of names, >from just my immediate family, are not so simple:
lajos -> shlomo
geza -> moshe yaakov
eva -> sarah
erzsebet -> feigele
simon -> yehoshiyahu
as you can see, all the books of gittin cannot explain any one of them. (even the biblical names, "eva" and "simon" do not "correspond".) i would be most surprised if someone could find "geza hamechune moshe yaakov" for example.
particularly hungarian names such as aladar, attila, arpad, bela, geza, gyula, or zoltan, as opposed to hungarian versions of names >from german or hebrew, really have no equivalents outside of hungary. why jews gave their children these names is an interesting study in and of itself, but for the purposes of genealogy, it's enough that they did.
....... tom klein, toronto
"Prof. G. L. Esterson" <jerry@...> wrote:
Jacob Michel of Israel posted as follows:
"Usually there is an equivalency of names but in the case of
Hungarian Jewry very often there is none."
This statement perhaps deserves a bit of clarification.
The concept of "equivalency" usually refers to names in different
languages "corresponding" to one another in common usage. Thus, the
Hungarian secular given name SAROLTA is "equivalent" to the German
secular given name CHARLOTTE. For Jews who lived in Hungary, this
means that some used the German name CHARLOTTE (German names were
very popular in most European countries during the 19th century),
some preferred to use the Hungarian name SAROLTA, and yet others used
both names at one time or another.
In the case of the Hungarian secular name LAJOS, the "equivalent"
German secular name recognized by the rabbis of the time was LUDWIG.
By "recognized by the rabbis" I mean, that the rabbis who wrote the
Jewish divorce laws (Hilchot Gitin) for Hungary found in their
research that (statistically) some Hungarian Jews used the German
name LUDWIG, others substituted for it the Hungarian name LAJOS, and
even others were found to use both of these names in various venues.
More importantly, as Jews we are interested in how our Hungarian
ancestors used Jewish and secular names in combination in various
venues. Statistically, the rabbis found for example that German names
like ADOLF, ALFONS, ALFRED, and ARNOLD were preferentially linked to
the Hebrew name AVRAHAM to such an extent, that the rabbis ended up
defining these German secular names as secular kinuim for the name
AVRAHAM. This meant that a man's name would be written in a Get
(Jewish divorce contract) as Avraham haMechune Adolf, for example --
his legal name. (haMechune means "alias".) This is in every respect
parallel to the use of Yiddish kinuim in double names like Yehuda
For the most part, it is true that throughout Europe, except for a
few special cases like Avraham and the German secular names mentioned
above, Jews felt quite free to choose any combination of Hebrew and
secular names that they wished, whether they seemed to "correspond"
to one another, whether they both began with the same consonant, or
whatever. Thus, one might expect to see the same person using LAJOS
in one civil venue, LOUIS, in another, and Mordechay within the
You can see many of these "equivalents" in the Hungary Given Names
Data Base on the JewishGen web site:
< http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/GivenNames/ >
by searching for a few sample names like Lajos, Charlotte, Jeno,
Agathe, Alois, Bertalan, Rosanna, Balint, Amalia, Andras, Antal,
Desiderius, Edward, Gabor, and a number of other secular names from
Hungary and other European countries.
Professor G. L. Esterson, Ra'anana, Israel jerry@...