JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Jews with same name in late 18C London #general

Judith Romney Wegner

Michael Bernet wrote:

My grandfather is my grandfather. If I found someone with
the same name, I would strongly consider he is my grandfather, unless I
discovered he couldn't be by reason of birth/death dates,
parentage, children,
residence, trade . . . .
One needs to be careful, though, particularly with those Anglo-Dutch
names that are repeated by the dozen in 19th century England -- and
even more so when, as with Jonah Jonas (the name under discussion
here), the first name is the same as the surname -- which happened
a great deal in that community.

Here's a good example: My maternal grandfather's name was Mark Marks
-- as was that of his own grandfather -- and as was also the name of
that one's grandfather back in 18th century Holland. Obviously in
those cases, the dates distinguish all three >from one another.
However, consider this true scenario:

I knew for certain that my gf had been born in Auckland NZ c. 1864,
so tried to get the precise date >from the old synagogue records
there. They sent me details of a Mark Marks born there in March
1864, the only one they had with that name. But, come to find out,
my gf was actually born there one month earlier, in February 1864,
with the same name -- only my ggf hadn't bothered to register the
birth at the Auckland synagogue.

It turned out that the "March Mark Marks" was my gf's first cousin
-- likewise named for their common grandfather! And that was very
appropriate, since the grandfather of both my February gf and the
"March Mark Marks" was none other than the "Mad Hatter " (i.e., my
gg gf Mark Marks was in fact a London Hatter -- and I have
absolutely no doubt that he sported a nose just like the one in
Tenniel's famous illustration of the Mad Hatter which we all recall
from the traditional edition of Alice in Wonderland!).
My point, though, is that even within the narrow confines of two
months in 1864 in the tiny Jewish community in Auckland, two Mark
Markses were born. The moral of the story is that Michael Bernet 's
advice doesn't always work: we can never assume that even a person
born with the right name in the right place at the right time was
definitely our grandfather!

Judith Romney Wegner

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