First names, Schawelche, Julie #germany #names


My great grandfather's death certificate (Adolphus Gustavus MEYERSBURG, who died in 1922 in NY) listed his mother as Julia FRANK.
The family came from Bovenden, just outside Gottingen, in what was then Hanover.  Census records from Bovenden show Gerson MEYERSBURG, Adolphus's father,  with his wife Julie and later, children: Samuel, Jeanette, Emma, and Adolphus (according to a couple of booklets about the Jewish inhabitants of Bovenden).

Samuel MEIERSBURG's birth registration shows his mother as Schawelche FRANK.  (I do not have a birth registration for any of his later born siblings).  

When I tried to translate Schawelche using Google translate, it asked if I meant Schaweliche, which it translated as Shawls.

I have not seen this name before, but it sounds more like a nickname, than a real first name.  Does this make sense?

I find it difficult not to believe that her real first name was Julia.  I mean really, would Gerson have had a child with Schawelche and then married and had more children with Julia of the same surname?  One would hope not.

I realize I am asking for an opinion, but I am unfamiliar with naming customs in Germany during this time period.  

Thank you for your assistance.]

Laurel, MD

Rodney Eisfelder

You don't specify exactly when these children were born, but there are two scenarios, both of which were known to happen. One is that Gerson was widowed and then married his wife's sister. Who would be a safer step-mother than the child's aunt? The other scenario is that various names appeared on the children's birth and marriage records for the same mother.

My 3-greats-grandmother was Sophie Schiren, daughter of Simon Schiren (Schieren on other records), on her 1809 marriage record in the Rhineland. On her children's birth records, she was Heba Schirot (1810), Eve Simon (1812), Hebbeken Simon (1814), Eva Simons(1816), Heva Scherath(1819), Heva Schierath (1821), Eva Schierath (1823), Eva Schiratz(1826).

Her death record (1857) says Sophie, but her grave says העווה (an alternative spelling of Chava/Eve), and within a few years four grandchildren were named Eva. None of her grandchildren were called Sophie.

Generally, the same mother's name appeared on the child's birth and marriage record, but there was not much consistency between children - it was never exactly the same.

I have another example, from the Moselle region of France - my 5-greats-grandfather's 2nd marriage was to Sara Franck, the widow of Abraham Bondy. 5-greats-grandpa had five children with Sara, but on the birth record of the fourth, the mother is named as Schwartzle Bontay. Schwartzle has to be a nickname, and Bontay a reference to her first husband, but it confused the person who documented the town to the extent that he treated my 5-greats-grandpa as two people.

So, my suggestion would be to look for evidence of the death of a first wife, or marriage records to prove that there were two wives. If you find no such evidence, then it is reasonable to assume multiple names for the wife. In the ideal world, you will find the marriage record and death record of the wife which establish that it is the same wife from first child to last, despite any name variations.

I hope this helps,
Rodney Eisfelder
Melbourne, Australia

Ernst-Peter Winter


I have once again checked the entire book on Hebenshausen.
Both in the original under
image 14, as well as in the duplicate
image 13, the first name of the mother Schewelche, daughter
Caroliene, can be found (in the duplicate both better

Strange is the death entry of the daughter in image 71 in
the original and image 72 in the duplicate. In the original
the death is recorded for April 29, 1841 and for May 2 the
burial of
"Karoline Frank, Tochter der Schewelchen Frank, unehelich,
in einem Alter von 11 Monathen"
"Karoline Frank, daughter of Schewelchen Frank,
illegitimate/out of wedlock, at the age of 11 months",
In the duplicate was originally "Meyersburg", is deleted and
overwritten with "Frank". The crossed out words at age
cannot be deciphered because of the quality of the original.

Also the note under the date of death/burial is different.
"Nachgetragen auf Grund der Kreisamtsacten 2/53 C"
"Supplemented on the basis of the District Office acts 2/53 C"
"Nachgetragen auf der Grund(lage?) der Kreisamts-Verhandlung
2/53 C"
"Supplemented on the basis of the District Office hearing
2/53 C".

I think that the couple Meiersburg - Frank were not married
at that time. Since the surviving Samuel later carries the
family name of the father, a marriage should have taken
place later.

If there are no other original documents from Germany, but
only registrations from the United States, Schewelche Frank
and Julia Frank could be identical - she would then have
taken a more pronounceable name.

Ernst-Peter Winter, Münster, Hesse



Thank you very much for searching the register books and providing translations to the information listed therein.  I had not realized that there were 2 sets of books and that the books contain separate entries. I quite probably would have overlooked the entry for the death of Karline.  I had realized that she had died prior to the 1842 Census in Bovenden, as shown in Die judischen Einwohner Bovenden Tom 17. bis 19. Jahrhundret, a part of which I have typed in below.
Name               Vorname      geb.Mon./Jahr        1839    1842     1845

Meyersburg      Gerson             11.1815                   x           x           x
                         Ehefrau Julie      9.1816                                x           x
                         Samoel              5.1840                                 x           x
                         Chanette            5.1844                                             x

This census information shows that Julie was the name of Gerson's wife as of 1842.  Schewelchen is not mentioned.  Also that Samuel was acknowledged as a Meyersburg.

A paragraph from Geschichte der judischen Gemeide Bovenden lists Samuel Meyersburg by name at age 18, which further indicates that he was considered legitimate.

I have several more entries from that register which I will be putting into ViewMate for translating in the next weeks.

Again my sincere thanks,

Rich Meyersburg
Laurel, MD