In a message dated 6/6/2003 12:09:18 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
<< In a recent posting I asked if it were possible that two brothers would
have the names Aron and Aron Leib. About 15 people wrote to tell me that
it was far more likely they were first cousins. One person said he new of
a case like this but it was very unusual. I have since found another
example of similar names in a family. So, my conclusion is that pairs of
names, like Moses and Moses Wolf, can occur but it is unusual. >>
Sometimes in cases like this we come up against an old pattern, before
family names were officially registered, when a man was known officially
by his personal name followed by his father's personal name (with no
intervening "ben"--son of). So, Moses Wolf would have been Moses, son of
Wolf; those not in the know might think he had the same name as his
father. Moses Wolf could have had a brother named Aron Wolf.
[A while back someone asked in a Jewishgen forum, with surprise and
indignation, how the prominent leader of Orthodox Judaism in 19th cent.
Germany, Samson Raphael Hirsch, could have had the same name as his
father, Rabbi Raphael Hirsch (whose family name had originally been
Frankfurter--but that's another story). It would have provoked no
surprise at the time because just about everyone followed his own personal
name with his father's.]
I am not familiar with all naming patterns everywhere and at all times,
but I would think it extremely rare for two brothers in the same family to
have the same personal names. When you think you have found such a case,
consider it as an occasion for careful speculation, doubt and enquiry:
why is this family so different >from other families?
Here are some possibilities:
1. The second child was named after an earlier sibling who had died
young. This was done in some communities but was frowned on in many.
2. The bearer of that name had a second personal name tagged on during a
medical crisis; this was a common practice and was believed to confuse
the angel of death and so preserve the sick person's life
3. The two names, and the third add-on, belonged to the same person. By
some the add-on name was used only rarely.
4. The person may have added on a second personal name because he didn't
like his original name, or preferred a different name, or to differentiate
him >from the many others in the village who were all named Moses.
5. Somebody, >from the Brit to the birth registration, to the tombstone,
to the LDS transcription, may have goofed.
Meir Manfred Michael Bernet [one and the same person], New York