Patronymic middle names in western Ukraine #ukraine

David Mason

I’m researching Kagans and Kogans in the town Zvenigorodka (Звенигородка).  This town belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until the Second Partition of 1793.  It then landed in Kiev Gubernia.  After the Bolshevik Revolution it was reassigned several times, finally to Cherkasy after this oblast was created in 1954.  There happen to be two other Zvenigorodkas plus two Zvenigorods elsewhere in Ukraine, but Zvenigorodka Cherkasy is by far the largest.  Incidentally, Zvenigorodka is the Russian transliteration.  From Ukrainian, the transliteration becomes Zvenyhorodka although the Cyrillic spelling stays the same.


The last common ancestor of the American and Russian branches of Kagans/Kogans we are reconnecting was Shevel’ Yankelevich Kogan/Kagan, most likely born about 1860.  Shevel’ (Шевель) is the Russian spelling; he was also called Shouel which I assume transliterates Hebrew or Yiddish.


Shevel’ Yankelevich and his apparent father Yankel’ are listed in “All Russia Duma Voter Lists 1906-1907” (  No patronymic middle name is shown for Yankel’.  Googling the subject of Polish names, it appears that they did not use patronymic middle names.  Does this explain why Yankel’  -- probably born in the 1820s to 1830s – still shows no patronymic middle name?  At what point in time did Ashkenazic Jews – those suddenly becoming “Russian” via 18th century partitions – start using patronymic middle names in conformance with Russian custom and laws?


-David Mason, Culver City, CA

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