Where did "Katya" come from? #ukraine #yiddish #russia #names


Gary
 

Going through the letters my mother had translated (plus the couple a few folks here helped with), I now have a mystery. I knew my mother's maternal grandmother's American name was Gussie Squire. The name on some of her immigration documents is Gitel Scvirsci.

However, while the envelopes they came in are addressed to Gussie, the letters themselves address her as "Katya". So now I'm wondering where that came from. Just a nickname? Or is Katya her actual given Russian name and Gitel her given Yiddish (or Hebrew) name, and she just decided to use the latter as her legal name?

That wouldn't necessarily surprise me given I know Gussie, her husband Nathan (Nissen) and my grandmother Tina (Tuva) were chased out of Zhivotov by a pogrom, fled to Kiev, then crossed to Romania and came to the US. So I could see she might want to leave her given Russian name behind. Is that something people commonly did?

Thanks,
Gary
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Gary Ehrlich
Rockville, MD
SCVIRSCI, Zhivotov, Ukraine; WASHLIKOVSKY/WASHALKOWSKY, SATER, Bialystock, Poland; LIFSHITS/LIFSHITZ, GOROVITZ, Ufa, Russia

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