JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Are the names the same? #general

Judith Singer

Dear Richard: Khiena and Chana, Henna and Hanna are all the same in
my family, which is >from Kavarskas and Vilkomir, not far >from Janova,
and since it was a name that occurred with confusing frequency in, I am quite sure of that. I doubt that Sora- Godes is the
same person as Sara Girsha, but Girsha is not a woman's name - was her
father's name Girsha? If so, the Girsha might have been an
identifying patronymic rather than her own name. Sora and Sara are
essentially identical. Adding an s to the end of a given name was not
unusual (Leyb, Leyb, and Leybas are all the same name) so Sora Godes
and Sara Goda are the same.

Some of the variants of Shmerel you cite are a problem. Shmerel
definittely = Shmerko, Shamreyah, and Shmerlo in Lithuania. Sherlo was
probably an error in recording - they forgot the m. However, Shimel
is an entirely different name.

That doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't the same person. An ordinary,
not particularly well-educated Jew in the shtetl was often not that
careful about even his own formal name. Occasionally a nickname was
used for so long and so often that the name >from which it stemmed was
forgotten (In my family, men known as Elie became Eliash in some cases
and Eliezer in others.). I think scholars tend to forget that our
forebears were not as knowledgeable as they. Also, some people's
names were changed slightly during the course of a severe illness in
order to confuse the angel of death / evil eye / etc. and thereby
avert death. (I believe this is how Kasriel in our family became
Karpel - two different names for what is unquestionably the same

So could Shimel have been used for Shmerel? Maybe - you would have to
look at whether other evidence surrounding the name, such as age and
family members, indicates that it is the same person, and in the
second possibility of a name being changed during illness, whether the
use of Shimel was consistent thereafter.

The Given Name DataBase on JewishGEN is helpful regarding these
questions, as is Boris Feldblyum's Russian-Jewish Given Names and Dr
Alexandre Beider's work.

good luck -

Judith Singer

MODERATOR NOTE: The JewishGen "Given Names Database" may be found at:

From: RICHARD FRIEDMAN <richfriedman@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Apr 2015 20:38:00 -0400 (EDT)

Dear Genners,
I have recently confirmed through two sources that my G Mother Paya
Beilia [Rebecca] KURLIANDCHIK was born in Janova, Lithuania on Feb.15,
1881. She was the daughter of Shmerel ben Shmerel of Seta. Her mother
was Sara-Godes. She married my GFather Israel Moishe POCK/POK of
Globokye in Jan.1904

I am trying to create a family tree and have reviewed the many lists and
databases on JewishGens KahellaLinks and the LitvakSIG lists.

In reviewing these lists, I find various 'names' that could be also be
my gg grandparents. ie Could Shmerel also be called Sherlo, Shmerk ,
Shumel Shimel, Shamreyah etc. in one place and another name in another
place? Is Sora- Godes the same person as Sara Girsha or Sara Goda? Could
Khiena be the same as Chana, Henna or Hanna ? BTW, I know that spelling
doesn`t count and that the names are transliterated >from Cyrrilic.

Any and all ideas would be helpful and are deeply appreciated.

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