Glenda Rubin <glendarubin@...>
On November 6, 1999, Ernest Fine wrote:
One of the children was named "Mamie." Is that perhaps "Miriam"? Orsomething else? Any suggestions >would be welcome!
I'm assuming Mr. Fine wants to know, as many other subscribers have
similarly asked, what Mamie's Hebrew and/or Yiddish name might have been.
Yes, it might have been Miriam, but not necessarily. There's really no way
The assumption here is that Mamie had a "Jewish" (i.e., Hebrew or Yiddish
name) but, as many children of her generation, and even to this day, was
also given a name in the language of the country of residence, in this
The following have been observed many times in the discussion group (using
the English language as an example):
1. The child has one name, which might be Hebrew, Yiddish, or English.
2. The child is gien an English name that somehow relates to the
Yiddish/Hebrew name. Rivka may become Rebecca ("equivalents" of the same
name in two languages); Raizel may become Rose (the names mean the same
thing in the two languages).
3. An English name is chosen with the same first letter as the
Yiddish/Hebrew name, without any regard to connections between the two
except for that first letter. I knew a Patricia who was named after a
grandmother named P'nina (which means pearl in Hebrew).
As there is no Hebrew/Yiddish female name that I'm aware of that somehow
corresponds to Mamie, my guess is that #3 above applies and there's little
way of knowing what Mamie's Hebrew/Yiddish name was.
I've told the following story before, but maybe some newer subscribers
haven't seen it. My mother and four of her first cousins were all named
after their grandmother, Mechle. As my mother was the oldest of her
generation, her immigrant aunts and uncles turned to her to give their
daughters "American" names. That's how five cousins, all named after
Mechle, came to be Mae, Mildred, Mona, Muriel, and Manya.
As a footnote, here is another family story. My mother was also actually
called Mamie on her birth certificate, and sometime later changed it to Mae.
When my mother started first grade, my grandparents still didn't speak
English that well, and she was sent to school with a neighbor's child.
There were two clerks at the school, sisters, named Mamie and Mary. Mary
registered my mother, and since she didn't like her sister, Mamie, she put
down my mother's name as Mary, which is what my mother was called all
San Francisco Bay Area