Re: Question about a matzeva: is Samuel mis-spelled or is a Yiddish alternative used? #names


David S STERN
 

Thanks to all who noted that the name on the stone is not Shmuel at all but Shimon.  

I have done a good deal of family history research in both US and old country sources, so I am very accustomed to confusion about names.  But in this case Shmuel was a Hebrew name that should have been well known and not infrequently used in the family.  It was a stable family, and Sam was present, almost assuredly, for both of his sons' bar mitzvahs (and of course for all six children's births and other life cycle events).

I’ve checked with my father and my uncle and both say unhesitatingly that their Hebrew names are “… ben Shmuel,” and my uncle’s oldest son is named Shmuel ben Eliezer, after his grandfather Sam.  The understanding that Sam’s Hebrew name was Shmuel was not handed down by family members who didn’t know better. It must have come from Sam himself.

Because of the stability, all of the life cycle events occurred under the auspices of the same shul in Shreveport, LA.  I am now looking to see if there are records that confirm Shimon was Sam's Hebrew name or if the understanding of his whole family that his Hebrew name was Shmuel is born out.  Let's hope we are able to find something.  There is a possibility that the matzeva is mistaken since it is not original.  The original one fell and broke decades ago and was replaced by the one in the photograph about 2000.

Or, as one of my cousins put it, maybe this poor family got the stone at a steep discount ...

 

David Stern

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