Lithuania SIG #Lithuania Update: The Given-Names Project #lithuania

Prof. G. L. Esterson <jerry@...>

Hi LitvakSIGers,

David Curwin and I recently announced to you our project to prepare a
computer data base of given names for Jews born in Eastern Europe
(right now, for Lithuania and Latvia), some of whom may have emigrated
to other countries.

Our intent is to provide a research tool allowing one to learn about
our ancestors' given names, the names' origins, how different types of
given names & their variations were linked together (Hebrew, Yiddish,
Secular, & their nicknames), how these names translated into
foreign-language given names/nicknames when our ancestors left their
ancestral homes and immigrated to foreign countries like the U.S.,
South Africa, England, Palestine, Argentina, and so on. I think that
you can imagine how such a data base would be useful in your research!

The above data is now being inputted with a concentration on Lithuania
and Latvia, on the one hand, and the U.S. on the other. We want to
extend these data to other English-speaking countries (South Africa,
England, Canada, Australia/New Zealand), as well as to other countries
which received our ancestors in large numbers, countries where Spanish,
Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch, and other languages were spoken.

So far, we have a data base of about 650 records, each one including
the type of linked data described above. Of course, these data are not
complete for each record -- we still have much research to do for the
existing records -- and we need to add other name sets. The sources of
these data are quite varied. The Eastern Europe data cover the
earliest periods up to about 1910-20, and we are particularly
interested now in linked name sets for the period 1880 to 1910-20, when
massive emigration >from Lithuania and Latvia took place.

We realize that the linkage or equivalence between the Eastern European
data and the foreign country data will have to be statistical. That
is, we expect that a given name (say, Yehuda Leib) will translate into
a number of different English (or other language) names (say, Judah) in
a statistical way -- such as a certain fraction for this English name,
another fraction for that one, etc. And this linkage will be dependent
on the time period of emigration (and/or birth in the foreign country)
as well as the particular shtetlach or origin and the ultimate foreign
city of immigration. There were name fads on both sides of the ocean
and these fads changed >from time to time. That's life!

Dave and I are asking for your help. Please do look at your own
information, no matter how modest in scope, and submit it to us. The
kind of information we most want for each person or group of persons,
is as follows:

o the complete Hebrew/Yiddish/Secular given names/kinuim >from Europe
(ALL of them)
o the foreign-language given names & nicknames (ALL of them)
o Shtetl/country of origin, & approximate date of emigration
o Foreign city/country of immigration, & approx. date of entry

Even if your data are not as detailed as this list suggests, please DO
send it to us -- we can certainly use it.

It is our intent to publish this data base on the web so that it is
freely available to all. And we hope also to make it available to
users by download for personal viewing via a data base or spreadsheet
program, or a browser.

How about it?! Please help us -- you would be helping us all and
Jewish Genealogy!



Prof. G. L. Esterson, Ra'anana, Israel E-mail: jerry@...
KRETZMER, SWEETGALL Zhaimel/Birzai Lithuania
Riga/Bauske Latvia
Visit the ESRA web site: