Can two brothers--alive at the same time--be named Abram and Abraham? #names

Angie Elfassi

I have a friend whose ancestor had two wives (one died) and he had children with the second wife and called them by the same name as the children from the first wife. Therefore, Avraham and Abraham might have been half brothers.

Angie Elfassi

Dan Nussbaum

In my family data base I have two brothers with the same English name. One is the oldest in the sibship who was already married when he arrived in the states with his wife's family. He was Sam in English and Simcha in Hebrew.

The other was the youngest and he was a baby when he arrived with his parents. He was Zalman in whatever and Sam in English. There was at least eighteen years difference in age between them.

Daniel Nussbaum II, M.D., FAAP
Retired Developmental Pediatrician
Rochester, New York
Tone can be misinterpreted in email. Please read my words with warmth, kindness, and good intentions.

Searching for;
Nussbaum, Katzenstein, Mannheimer and Goldschmidt; Rhina, Raboldshausen and Bad Hersfeld, Germany
Teplitzky, Bendersky and Kaszkiet; Uman, Ukraine
Rosenthal and S(c)henk(el)man; Zinkov, Ukraine
Bild and Kashlevsky; anywhere


Actually, it's not so strange or rare, and certainly NOT impossible.  My GGF Leizer Wolf Rosenberg in Tirgu Frumos, Romania, had two wives in succession, both named Leah and two sons named Izaak.  
With Leah (1) Bercovici, he had Izaak, Avram, and Hanna.  Leah 1 died in childbirth with Hannah.  After observing Shloshim, 30 days later, Leizer married Leah (2) Schlaicher.  They had two children, my GM Brahnia, and the second Izaak, although they pronounced it a little differently: Itzik or Aizic, according to different relatiives.
So, two Leahs, two Itzaaks.
Marc Cohen
Los Gatos, California

Marc M. Cohen, Los Gatos, California, USA

BARAK/CANTORCZY: Khotin, Bessarabia; Strorozhinets, Bukovina, Ukraine
CHOMITZ/HAMETZ: Ionina (Janina), Greece; Ignatovka, Ukraine; Kiev Gubernia, Ukraine
COHEN: Dinovitsi (Dunayevtsy) Ukraine; Roman/Tirgu Frumos, Romania
KORNITZKY: Kiev Gubernia, Stepnitz/Stepantsy, Ukraine
RÎBNER: Storozhinetz, Costesti (Costyntsi), Drachinets, Cabesti, Bukovina, Ukraine
ROSENBERG: Tirgu Frumos, Roman, Romania; ISRAEL
WEININGER: Cabesti, Costesti, Drachinets, Czernowitz, Bukovina, Ukraine

R Jaffer

In the 1910 US census and in the birth records for his first four children, my grandfather, whose Yiddish name was Boruch, was recorded as Benjamin. The only problem was that he had an older brother living in the same small city whose given name at birth was Benjamin. Two Benjamin Weinberg brothers lived less than a mile from each other. At some point he was probably told to pick a new name or had learned enough English to do so, and started calling himself Barnet which also began with the letter "B". I couldn't find him in the 1910 census until I searched for his wife. When I found the birth records for my mother's siblings, I realized he had been a Yiddish-speaking man struggling to find an English name for himself when he fist immigrated.

Roberta Jaffer

JoAnne Goldberg

The possibilities range from a name change/borrowing a name to
half-brothers or cousins to just a regular mistake.

One of my relatives had five sons, two of whom used variations of their
names (Israel/Isadore, Jack/Jake) during their lifetimes. I have seen
versions of the tree that show seven sons --  unrelated men with those
duplicate names have been grafted on to the tree. I was initially kind
of confused, but because the brothers were born in Chicago around 1900,
I could find actual census records and sort it out.

JoAnne Goldberg - Menlo Park, California; GEDmatch M131535



@Israel P
Your examples reflect what I think may have happened--travel under another's papers.  Makes me wonder/worry what happened to "Abraham" and where (back in Poland?) because the family's relocation to England happened in response to pogroms.

I knew they were same name and highly unlikely for brothers alive at same time, which is why I posed this dilemma here.

Yes, thought of cousins, but the survivors who knew relevant folks say they weren't cousins, but their childen were.

Definitely two people, and I agree, some story to be told, if only . . .

Thank you for your ideas.  Yes, gravestone has "Abram Moishe" (because only placed recently, by descendants who've heard same details).

Thank you all for your thghtful feedback.
Carolynn Duffy

Jill Whitehead

Another possibility is that the brothers were half brothers and had one parent who was different, or one son was adopted.

Jill Whitehead, Surrey, Uk

Dubin, David M. MD

In my tree I have  a Yitzchok and and Ayzik who were brothers, both alive at the same time. Both correspond strongly with Isaac. 

I was given my a Jewish name, Meir David, while my grandfather Yitzchok David was alive.

In the Bible Abram was renamed Abraham. In some way they could be considered two separate names  

it’s pretty clear two brothers would not have the exact same Jewish/Hebrew name. (George Foreman notwithstanding)

some possibilities include:
1- despite having the same moniker they had different Jewish names. 
2- different second names may have sufficed to consider the names “different”. Abram Moses may have been considered different enough  
3- Abram/Abraham  may have been the second Jewish name of one brother  
4- Sephardic Jews do not have the taboo. 

Finding the birth records would help greatly. 

good luck 

David Dubin
teaneck, nj 

Robert Weinberg

I bet that they had different names at birth, either in Hebrew or Yiddish, and one of them changed his name years later to one that was more of his liking. Highly unlikely to have been given the same name (Abram = Abraham) at birth. Bob Weinberg



My great grandmother Rebecca Schoenberg had 3 brothers- Yomtov, Jacob Leib, & Hyman (Chaim). Their father was Mordechai (Max) & his brother was also Jacob Leib Schoenberg. Yomtov changed his names to Jacob as well. So yes- it’s possible. Not sure why my great Uncle Yomtov also chose Jacob but he did. 

Perhaps one of yours also had a different name but went by Abraham? Have you found their gravestones? Yomtov/Jacob’s gravestone lists his name as Yomtov on the grave. I would look at their gravestones to see what they say & if they both list them as being “the son of” the same man to verify that they are indeed full brothers. 

Best of luck!

Amybeth Gregory
Western, NY
BLUMENTHAL: Russia> Poland> NYC> Rochester, NY
SCHOENBERG/SHOENBERG: Russia/Ukraine (Kuz’myn) (Satanov)> Rochester, NY
POLLACK/POLLAK: Russia/Ukraine (Kuz’myn) (Satanov)
COHEN/ha COHEN: Russia/Ukraine (Kuz’myn) (Satanov)
GRYNGRAS: Poland (Radzilow) (Szczuczyn)




It seems extremely unlikely, to not say impossible. Abram and Abraham are a same first name, and therefore it is not given to two different siblings. 

1. It can be the same person, named Abraham, Abram or Abram Moishe. I have an ancestor being named Tsvi, or Hirsch, or Tsvi Hirsch in different places. 
2. But due to one being born 1875, the other 1857, I would say cousins rather than brothers. It's an option to be considered. 
3. Or one could have been adopted?
4. I have in my tree two brothers that switched identities, in order for the youngest to travel to the US under the oldest name. 

If it is a fact that they were two individuals, there is without a doubt a story to be told - but not the one of a common first name for two brothers given by their parents.


Adrien Aszerman

Israel P

Not the same thing (it never is!) but I have a few examples.:

1. Two of my sisters have the same (Jewish) middle name.
2. We know two brothers named Louis.One of them adopted that name in adulthood.
3. We have a man named Herman who went by Mike, after he used his brother Michael's papers to get a job when he was underage.

Israel Pickholtz


I am researching two men, whose descendants all claim were brothers.  Only problem is they have the names Abraham and Abram. 

One of the brother's names was Abraham, born est 1858.  Abraham's wife, Leba, appears as a widow on the 1911 England census.  We don't know when or if he died in England or Poland, or along the way to England.  We don't know when Leba and her young adult/teen children arrived in England.  Abraham's children were born in the late 1888 through 1894 in Poland, so he was alive at least until their births.

Another of the brother's names is reported as "Abram Moishe," born 1875.  Abram Moishe's English registration records show that name, but he was called/known by the Anglicized name, "Morris."  The earliest record of Abram (his England registration document) is dated 1912, with the name "Abram Moishe."

Is it possible for two brothers who lived at the same time to have been named "Abraham" and "Abram"?  Could Abram have added or chosen the name "Abram" after his older brother, Abraham, died? 

Might Abram Moishe have added the name Abram as a guise in order to be able to travel to England (in his deceased brother's stead, possibly posing as the older brother, and/or to accompany and/or travel to Leba, his 'wife')?

Thank you in advance for any help or insights.

Carolynn Duffy