In Sosnowiec: two brothers, one called Abram and one called Abraham #poland #names

Derek Stavrou

Shalom to the discussion group
I recently came across a strange example of Jewish naming patterns.
Abraham SZTORCHAN (1884-1951)  was the eldest of eight children (five sons, three daughters) born in Poland between 1884 and 1889.
The next child born was Abram  SZTORCHAN (1886-1943) who was murdered along with many of his family at Auschwitz in 1943
Their Birth records in JRi-Poland ( Bedzin PSA Births, Deaths, Marriages 1884-1900) record them both as Abram.  (I haven't seen the full records, which are from Bedzin.  The family lived in Dekerta St, Sosnowiec):
SZTORCHAN Abram 1884 B 79
SZTORCHAN Abram 1886 B 216
The younger son was definitely known in the family as Abraham.  He left Sosnowiec for Detroit, USA: around 1907 and all his documentation (US Draft records, shipping manifest, US censuses) shows him as Abraham.
All the documentation I've seen about Abram is in the name of Abram.  
Admittedly, I don't have documentary evidence that they were sons of the same parents, but Abram's granddaughter confirms that they were, based on information from her own mother and other family members.
If anyone can shed any light on why brothers should be given such closely related names, I would be very grateful.
With best wishes for A Sweet New Year and Gmar Chaima Tova
Derek Stavrou
Kfar Sava, Israel 

David Ziants

My intuitive guess, is that these were cousins. In a Yiddish pronunciation the Hebrew name Avraham אברהם (Abraham) often becomes convoluted to Avrum or such like. Sometimes oral family history can be convoluted, especially when siblings and hence their children (i.e. first cousins) were neighbours - basically lived together even sleeping in each others houses and it is easy for even the closest of family members to forget who belongs to who (I do hope the parents knew though).
Chag Same'ach
David Ziants

Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


Could also be that the second brother was named for a recently deceased close relative.  In my family, all 4 grandparents were known as Leib. When a child is named "Abraham" for a paternal grandparent that died, and then a maternal grandparent dies that is named Abraham, the parents might name the next son "Abram" to honor that grandparent. Makes sense to me.

Karen Sanders
West Haven, CT

Sherri Bobish


Abraham arrived in NY in 1915 on the ship Espagne.  Under the surname SCHTORKLAM.  He left behind his wife in Paris, and was bound for his cousin M. ROSENBERG at 1046 Dekalb Ave., Brooklyn, NY.

Abraham's wife (Chaie), and three children, arrived in NY in 1916 under the surname SCHTORKHAN on the ship Lafayette. They were bound for Abraham in Detroit, and Chaie left behind a brother-in-law in Paris named Leon SCHTORKHAN.

Abraham passed on in 1952.

Michigan, U.S., Death Records
Name: Abraham Storchan
Gender: Male
Race: White
Marital status: Widowed
Death Age: 67
Birth Date: 18 Jun 1884
Birth Place: Poland
Death Date: 27 Apr 1952
Death Place: Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, USA
Father: Joel Storchan
File Number: 441063
Good luck in your search,

Sherri Bobish

RATOWSKY / CHAIMSON (Ariogala, Lith.); LEFFENFELD / FINK / KALTER (Daliowa & Jasliska, Pol.)
BOJDA / BLEIWEISS (Tarnow & Tarnobrzeg, Pol.); WALTZMAN / WALZMAN (Ustrzyki Dolne, Pol.)
LEVY (Tyrawa Woloska, Pol.); SOLON / SOLAN / SOKOLSKY (Grodek, Bialystok, Pol.)
BOBISH / BLUMENKRANZ / APPEL / WEINER / ROSENBERG (Vysoko-Litovsk, Brest, Biala Podlaska)

Susan Safyan

I have relatives in Paris called Storchan. And my maternal grandmother, Bertha Studenberg, was from the Storchan/Studenberg mixed clan from Sosnowiec. She and her older brothers went to Paris to work in the sweatshops before immigrating to Detroit to do the same. Her nephew, Henri Storchan, survived the war as a child hidden in the French countryside and lived in Paris until he passed away about a decade ago. 

I would love to know anything more you can share, Mr. Stavrou, about the family. And if you are a distant cousin? 

Many thanks!
Susan Safyan
ssafyan (at)


It seems very unlikely to me that they are in fact brothers if those are truly their names. As others have mentioned, in pronunciation Avraham often becomes almost indistinguishable from Avram so just in terms of practicality it would be strange. The other thing is that Avram as a true formal name is pretty uncommon, most cases where it's the recorded or known name I would be willing to bet it's really Avraham. The verse states that after being circumcised Abraham's name should no longer be called Avram but rather Avraham and it is therefore somewhat "wrong" to use the former name. I'm unsure why one would actually specifically use the formal name Avram as opposed to Avraham. 
Binyamin Kerman
Baltimore MD

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