names in old country: #names, #lithuania #belarus #latvia


I am looking in Jewishgen for 3 Jacobsons who immigrated to USA in the early 20th century.  In the US they were Louis, Willie and Celia.  any suggestions for original names in these three parts of old Russia.
Michael Cohen,

Simon Zelman

There is no set rule for name "translations" from Yiddish to English, but in my research I've typically found that Louis is Leyb, William is Velvel (diminutive of Vulf), and Celia is Tsilya. But again, there's absolutely no guarantee that those are the names your Jacobsons went by. 

Simon Zelman,
San Francisco, CA

Corey Brand

The best thing to do is get pictures of their graves, and hope their religious/original name is written on them. You can usually expect them from the earlier generations. Now it is not so common, but it varies. 

Louis could be Leib, Lipa, Leizer
Willie could be Wolf, Velvel
Celia could be Tsirel, Sarah, Tsipa, Sala

Those are guesses. Keep in mind that many Jews have two names, and though they often stuck by one of them, there is a chance they are recorded as the other. And sometimes you’ll find wildcards, names that barely resemble the original name. 

Corey Brand
Fort Lauderdale, FL

Jill Whitehead

In my family Louis (or Lewis) was originally Elias or Lazarus, though I do have some Leib or Leybka too.

Similarly, in my family Celia/Cecilia, or its nickname Cissie, was originally Cyza. My great grand aunt was called Cissie Miriam Guttenberg (born Hull, England in 1870's) after her grandmother Cyza Malka Muskatenblit of Rajgrod, Lomza gubernia.

The names will vary by geographical area. Do you mean Russia itself or the Russian Pale of Settlement when the countries included Poland, Lithuania, Latvia etc.?

Jill Whitehead, Surrey, UK