Hungarian Secular Names Soma and Antal #hungary #names

Aaron Slotnik

Hello Hungarian Researchers,

I would be interested in hearing from people who have firsthand knowledge of the Hungarian secular names Soma or Antal and their corresponding Hebrew names, preferably from documented sources.  Searches of the JewishGen Given Names Database have come up empty.

As you have likely experienced, one of the many difficulties of Hungarian Jewish genealogy is that our families used secular names that often bore no resemblance to their Hebrew/Yiddish names, therefore making it extremely difficult to confirm whether someone was the same person in different types of records.  It seems to be especially problematic when trying to trace people across the 1848 Census and later records when the trend seems to have been to adopt more Hungarian secular names and less Jewish ones.  One recent confirmed discovery is an individual in the 1848 Census as 'Mozes', in later rabbinic and civil records as 'Ignatz', and his Hebrew name on his child's matzeva as 'Ephraim Menashe'.  Not to mention the surname changed from a patronymic in the 1848 Census to a fixed surname.

Thanks in advance for your insight.

Aaron Slotnik
Chicago, IL




Names were not fixed but there are some regularities, common pairs and discrepancies as well.

The secular name Soma is a diminutive of the full name Sámuel (just like Samu). So his Hebrew name may have been Shmuel or a combo of Shmuel and something.

As for Antal (=Anthony, Tony, Anton, etc), this would be harder. Antal may have been Asher, Avraham and others or something totally different.



Karesz Vandor
genealogist/historian/private tour guide

Hungarian Roots
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Mentes a vírusoktól.


Hello Aaron,
In the course of my research I have come across a man in Budapest named Antal, whose Hebrew name was Natan.
Shari Nilsen, UK


You need to be cautious with Hungarian names because in many cases there is no connection between religious and secular names.
Stephen Schmideg
Melbourne, Australia