Using given names to find populations of common descent #names

Robert Weinberg <weinberg@...>

Over the past 50+ years as I've pursued research on my Westphalian family I have noticed strikingly variable  patterns of first name usage in various regions within the province of Westphalia.  Since the practice of naming a newborn after a deceased relative was followed, it seems rigidly, these clusters seem to form large kindreds that are descended from common founding ancestors and may (in parallel with genetic/DNA studies) indicate relatively recent settlement and expansion of founding families 3 or 4 centuries ago.  As examples, among the men's names, the area of the Münsterland had many Leffmanns which were virtually absent in neighboring areas to the south and east, Cosmann localized in the area closer to the Rhine including the Ruhr area, Nachmann was virtually absent in most areas of Westphalia but common to the southeast, Sussmann was used almost exclusively in the northern parts of neighboring Hesse (and possibly further south)., Bendix was common in most areas of Westphalia but relatively uncommon further south, Feibes in eastern Westphalia incl. the Münsterland.  I could extend this list and have not studied women's given names because they often appear as diminutives.  I'm wondering whether any of us have ever undertaken such survey to complement the results of DNA sequencing analyses since his approach is able to associate common descent in populations of long-deceased member of these often-large kindreds.

Bob Weinberg, Brookline MA

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