Re: Do you find the name Chaia/Chaja/Chaya instead of Chana, and vice versa, in English transliterated from Russian (cyrillic) hand written documents? #russia #names


The name Chaia/Chaya et al. in Cyrillic, written as Хая, only has three letters.

The name Chana in Cyrillic, written as Хана, has four letters, as does Chasya (Хася), also a not-uncommon given name in late 19th-century Russia.  There is the possibility that the letter н /n/ would be elided or made difficult to read in the case of sloppy, hurried or very idiosyncratic penmanship, but otherwise the length of the written name should be visually discernible right away.

I could see two possible sources for this error:  the first would be a reading error on the part of the person transliterating or transcribing;  the second would be where other sources show a name as Chaia and the source in question shows Chana, possibly due to the recording clerk's disinterest or unfamiliarity with the name.  I have an example in my own family, where my great-grandmother Chasya's name was listed in an 1875 Kyiv family list as Chaia, alongside other similar errors.  This was a document likely compiled by a Russian not familiar with Jewish names who wrote what he thought he heard.

J. Novis
Longmeadow, MA
Researching NOVITSKIY (Kyiv Gubernia), OLSZTAJN (Łódź area), GEYMAN/HYMAN (Ashmyany), POMERANTZ (Kapyl', Navahrudak), POTASNIK/LEVY (who knows?)

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