Gerhard Buck <buckidstein@...>
Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer's letter causes me to ask for help in a
special case. Before family names were introduced, children got
patronymics as a second name. But what happened, when the father was
unknown, because the child was born out of wedlock? What happened, when
the father was known, yet not married to the mother? Is there any fixed
rule or tradition?
Reality seems to tell me: take whatever name you like. I have read
plenty of entries in the civil vital registers of the 19th^century, in
which we find all the inhabitants of all denominations in a place.
Concerning Jewish illegitimate children (with a known or unknown father)
all the Gentile writers were at a loss what to write as the second name.
There is a great variety of right or wrong possibilities. With the boys
I have the special problem of defining the given name.
One observation in my registers between 1817 and 1874 I would like to
mention in this context. If I find an illegitimate child in the early
years, more will follow through all the decades. The mothers belonged to
all the confessions “ they were Jews as well as all kinds of Christians.
If there are no unmarried mothers at the beginning, none will follow.
Gerhard Buck, Idstein, Germanybuckidstein@t-online.de