First name of Zelik #names


On my father's family tree, on a Lithuanian Family List from the 1870's, I find a person's grandfather identified as "Zelik" (born late 1700's to early 1800's) and, on another list from around the same time, he is identified by the Yiddish name for "Solomon". Why two different names, if this is the same person? Is it possible that this was a naming pair - Zelik Solomon or Solomon Zelik? What is the significance of the name "Zelik" and does it have any association with "Solomon"?
Thank You,
George Mason

Kenneth Ryesky

"Zelik" is the Yiddish form of the German "Selig" (which means "Holy.")

The name can (but does not necessarily have to) be a Yiddish rendition of Solomon.

[An analogous situation pertains to my own name.  In English I am Kenneth, but my Hebrew name (by which I am called up to the Torah when shuls are operational) is Kalman, a name that derives from the Greek "Kalonymos."].

Ken Ryesky,  Petach Tikva, Israel     kenneth.ryesky@... 

GERTZIG, BRODSKY; Yelizavetgrad, Ukraine
IZRAELSON, ARSHENOV; Yevpatoriya, Ukraine (Crimea)

Israel P

Zelig is a Yiddish nickname that is formally associated with a number of different Hebrew given names, most commonly Asher and Yehoshua, but also a number of others as listed in Bet Shemuel, which is used for Jewish divorces.

Israel Pickholtz

My genealogy research is electric.
It follows the path of least resistance.

Judy Petersen

I'm currently transcribing records from Slovakia near the current Polish border.  I have seen a couple of different variants on the "Zelig" theme (meaning their secular name was Solomon and their religious name started with a "Z") for the name Solomon, including Zanvel and Zimel. 
Judy Petersen
Fort Collins, CO, USA


Wondering if my great-grandfather name, FELIK (Weiner/Veiner) is derived from Zelik as well. He’s from Maramaros Sighet.


Lisa Bernath
Ivins, Utah USA

Stephen Katz

First, a question (or two): is anyone familiar with the name Chilik, and is it a variant of Zelig?

Here's my story. My Jewish name is Zelig, and I've been trying to work out where it came from. None of my ancestors, going back several generations, on either my paternal or maternal side, was named Zelig. I've considered three possibilities:
1. My parents simply chose Zelig for no particular reason. But that's not likely. In naming both of my siblings, my parents followed Jewish tradition and named them after deceased family members.
2. My great grandfather's name was Simcha, which means joy in English. Zelig is a derivation of the German word Selig, which has several meanings. Although Selig is in some contexts translated as blessed, in common usage it means happy or joyous. So one possibility is that my parents named me after my great grandfather Simcha, but, for some reason, chose Zelig as a synonym. 
But why didn't they simply name me Simcha? Both of my siblings' Jewish names are the actual names of deceased family members.
3. Now I come to the name Chilik. My grandfather -- Simcha's son -- was Mordche (Motel) Katz. But when he immigrated from Ukraine to the US, in 1907 at age 14, he traveled under the name Chilik Schapiro. This is confirmed in his Certificate of Arrival and in his naturalization papers and it's how he's listed in the ship manifest. He traveled alone, with no other family members. My working assumption has been that, perhaps seeking to avoid his conscription into the Czar's army, his parents somehow obtained travel documents from someone named Chilik Schapiro. Is Chilik a variant of Zelig? If so, perhaps my parents named me after Chilik to recognize his role in enabling my grandfather emigrate to safety.
Thoughts on any of the above would be greatly appreciated!
Stephen Katz 

Irwin Keller


I don't know the name Zimel. But Zanvel, I believe, is a diminutive of Ze'ev. So for that person you would want your eyes open for someone names either Zev or Wulf (both meaning "wolf"). 

Not mentioned yet is the other than Shlomo, from which Solomon derives, the most common Yiddish reflex for Solomon is Zalman. 

As for Zelig, besides being an inexact counterpart to Solomon, have folks had experience seeing it as a Yiddish equivalent of something closer to the meaning "holy?" For instance there is someone in my tree who I think was a Zelig and also a Baruch. (I know "holy" and "blessed" are not quite the same; another Baruchs are also called Bendet, which I presume to be from Benedict, which is more exact in the "blessed" meaning.)

Just curious!

Irwin Keller
Penngrove, CA, USA

Marcel Apsel

Zelig is a phonetic variant from Selig, from the German and ‘Old English’ meaning ‘blessed, holy’.  A Yiddish first name common among Jews of the 18th and 19th century.


Marcel Apsel

Antwerpen, Belgium


Marcel Apsel

Chilik is a pet name for Yechiel.  Little Yechiel.

Marcel Apsel

Antwerpen, Belgium


Robert Hanna

My paternal grandfather Zelik was also known as Joseph.  There is no rhyme or reason.  I have not been able to find his birth record.

Robert Hanna

Henry Roche

Dear George,
I've encountered 2 or 3 whose English given name was Solomon but whose Hebrew name was Reuben (Reuben Zelig).(in 18th & 19th century).
Henry Roche 


Chilik would usually be a nickname for Yechiel. I don't think there is a direct connection to Zelig.
Binyamin Kerman
Baltimore MD


I would guess Felik is Felix.  Not a Jewish name, but maybe an attempt at assimilation.  
Fred Millner

Judy Petersen

Hi Irwin,
     You're correct, Zalman was the other "Z" name for someone with the secular name Solomon I've come across when transcribing--I forgot to mention it originally, so thanks for adding it!
     However, these are not names I'm searching.  They are names I transcribed from records for the JewishGen All Hungary database.  So for the person Solomon / Zanvel, I don't think someone would need to broaden their search to include Zev or Wulf in this instance, or it would have been listed as something along the lines of Zanvel hamechune Zev (Zanvel also known as Zev). I have seen this format (though not that name combination) in other entries.
     Thank you!

               Judy Petersen


Zanvel is exclusively a yiddish version of Samuel and has no relation with Zev which is Wolf in yiddish. Zelik and Zeligman is a very common name in Germanic countries. It can be found very often in Alsace as a "kinuy" for the "shem ha kodesh" Yitzhak (which has a same kind of meaning, happy). It is also found with Salomon (because of the similarity of pronounciation), or with other hebrew names less common like Azriel. The translated form Felix respond to the meaning of the name in latin.
Ref. A. Beider, A Dictionary of Ashkenazic Given Names, Avotaynu, 2001, p. 461-463.

Max Polonovski
Cercle de généalogie juive, Paris  

Adelle Gloger

My father, born in 1906 in Tarnopol, was given the Hebrew name, Zelig. His given name was Zigmund. Later, Sigmund in the USA.
Adelle Weintraub Gloger
Beachwood, Ohio