The branch of my mother's family that hailed >from the part of the world that
presently is the modern country of Slovakia, but which had been Hungary when
they left for the USA, c. 1885, had several women named "Gisella" as members.
It has been well-settled on the "Hungarian Special Interest Group" ("H-Sig")
that "Gisella" was a fairly popular name for Hungarian-Jewish woman, and
that its nickname often was "Katie."
My mother, now in her 80's, clearly remembers one of her mother's cousins
with the name.
This woman had stopped in New York after leaving Hungary, staying with my
mother's family for a period during the 1920's. Then, she moved on to
Cleveland and my mother never saw her again. (Again, the participants of the H-Sig
have made it clear that there was a disproportionately large settlement of
immigrant Hungarian Jews in the Cleveland area.)
Here is my question. It seems to me that this name should be pronounced
GIZZ-el-ah or GIZ-zel-lah (or GHIZZ-el-ah or GHIZ-zel-lah) but my mother
pronounces it "GIH-hel-la." No "Z" or "S" sound at all.
Is this a known pronunciation of the name or is it that, 80 years later, my
mother still is parroting her own baby talk?
And, if anyone knows of a "Gihhella" or her descendants in the Cleveland
area, please contact me privately!
New York City USA