JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen What's a "Jewish" name and what isn't and why "Jewish" genealogy #general


In a message dated 2/6/2003 8:35:22 AM Eastern Standard Time, responded to my posting:

<< > When we discuss Jewish names, we should limit ourselves to names that
> have a predominantly Jewish origin, >from the Hebrew Bible, >from the
> Hebrew language, >from the Talmud (but even here there are many non-
> Jewish nonce names), or direct translations there>from (e.g. Belinfante
> and Bonfils >from BenTov and ElemTov, Wolff or Hirsch >from Binyamin or
> Naftali, Bondi or Guttentag >from YomTov), or specifically Jewish
> Yiddish names.

Why should we?

During Russian rule, and many of the Genners ancestors that have
originated >from the Pale territory (this include Poland, Ukraine and
Baltics) have been specifically _forbidden_ to use Biblical names and an
artificial name like Movsha or Ovsey have been created by the Tsar
administration. How can we trace those names to The Bible or Talmud? >>

==I'm sorry, I obviously did not make myself clear. Jewish children were
given all sorts of names: Vladislaw and Ernestine, Constantinos and
I even know of one Salvatore Menuchin. And I would hardly say that the
name under which my name was registered, Manfred, was a Jewish name, nor
even that of my father, named Julius---who certainly was not an

Those who are familiar with my interests--and my postings here and
elsewhere--must know that I am not in any way suggesting we should not
discuss the various civil names that Jews may have been given or may use.
What I am saying is that we should use the label "Jewish" for names that
have strong links to Hebrew, the Jewish scriptures and the Talmud or their
kinnuyim, or their Yiddish adaptations, and not confuse this specific
meaning with the non-"Jewish" names that many/most of us (also) have.

The rules relating to "Jewish" names are quite different >from those of
names in other languages and we can't simply lump them all together if we
are studying Jewish names specifically.

Perhaps we should change the name of this forum to generalgenealogy
[gengen?]. After all, most of our records were issued by non-Jews and have
nothing to do with being Jewish

Michael Bernet,
New York

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