Similar but not identical names -- could they be the same people?

Started by Bruce R. Gilson on Sunday, July 20, 2014


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7/20/2014 at 4:36 AM

I had an uncle by marriage named Israel Pleener. In searching various databases, I found a birth record of Izrail PLINER, which I assume is simply the same name transliterated from Cyrillic, which shows he was born in Rezekne (now in Latvia) on 10/14/1884 (Julian) which is 10/26/1884 Gregorian. Parents are father Khaim-Shaya (son of Tevel) and Sheina (daughter of Khaim) of Rezekne. The death record of his mother, Sheina (daughter of Khaim), shows she died on 2/9/1902 Julian (2/22/1902 Gregorian) aged 55, of pneumonia, in Rezekne.

A different database shows a Pliner family with a Schaya Haim and a Scheina listed as his wife. The differences between Khaim-Shaya and Schaya Haim are mainly transliteration -- these names have been transliterated from Yiddish to Russian and the second of them apparently to German! -- but the reversal of the two names is problematic. And his father is listed as Schewel rather than Tevel, with the German use of "w" for the "v" sound, but the "Sch" vs. the "T" is also problematic. This database does not show my uncle, but it is from 1896 and he would have been only 12 at the time, and there do not appear to be any minors in this database, so that is not an issue.

What is the likelihood that Khaim-Shaya Pliner (son of Tevel) and Schaya Haim Pliner (son of Schewel) are the same person?

Private User
7/20/2014 at 4:09 PM

You may want to tag one or more Curators with interest in this area:

7/20/2014 at 5:15 PM

Private User What does "tag" mean in this context?

Private User
7/20/2014 at 8:59 PM

Type an @, immediately followed by the name of the person whom you want to tag, as you apparently did with mine
See note to the right of the "Your Reply" field, below.
If the person's full name does not appear as you type it, visit their profile first.

7/21/2014 at 3:31 AM

@Malka Mysels seems the curator with most closely related interests.

7/21/2014 at 3:34 AM

The system doesn't put the name in blue. It only seems to try to find people in my own tree and people who have contributed to this discussion.

7/21/2014 at 3:40 AM

Malka Mysels tagged - if you'd be kind enough to assist Bruce (above)

7/21/2014 at 6:09 AM

Hi Bruce R. Gilson, the only issue I see is Sch for T. I need to give that some thought. I wonder if it could be a transliteration error?

I have been looking through records from Latvia for my husband's ancestors but am not as familiar with them as with Polish and Lithuanian records.

7/21/2014 at 6:20 AM

Erica Howton Thank you.

Hatte Blejer There is also the order of the names: Khaim-Shaya in one case and Schaya Haim in the other place. And of course there can be a transliteration error. Three different alphabets were involved; I'm sure that the names were first written in the Hebrew alphabet and transliterated to Cyrillic, and now to Roman. The original records are obviously in some archive, probably in Riga, Latvia, and while I understand there is an archivist there who will research those listings, the cost of that is prohibitive.

7/21/2014 at 7:57 AM

Bruce R. Gilson - the order of the names doesn't bother me since I have seen records with one or the other or both names, as well as with nicknames. Eastern European Jews had double or triple names -- their secular Yiddish name and their Hebrew name. I have definitely seen these double names reversed in records.

I'm guessing that these are the same person. I have not seen Schewel as a given name although I find it as a surname. It may be Shaul however, which of course is not the same as Tevel (usually found with David).

By the way, Haim / Chaim is very often used as an extra name to ward off the Angel of Death if the child is sick or even if another child has died previously.

Here's a good article on names:

7/21/2014 at 8:16 AM

Hmmm, after looking at the Jewish Gen database, this needs more study as Schewel and Tevel appear in the 1897 census. They may be two distinct families. I need to look at all the records having to do with these two names. So one is son of Rafal it looks like and one son of Leib. Various children. Etc.

7/21/2014 at 2:50 PM

Hatte Blejer I haven't found either Schewel or Tevel in the 1897 census. I did find Haim (son of Schewel) and his wife Scheina (daughter of Haim) in that census, although the ages do not match the ages in the 1896 list of families in Rezekne. In the 1897 census, Haim is 38 and Scheina is 40, In the 1896 list of families in Rezekne, both are shown as 41 in 1896. (And in a death record I found, Scheina was shown as 55 in 1902, which doesn't agree with either).

7/21/2014 at 2:57 PM

Hatte Blejer Thanks for the link to the YIVO article. I knew about Alter being used -- my maternal grandfather used Alter (anglicized to Alex) as his first name all the time I knew him alive, and only at his funeral did I find out that the actual name he was given was Chanoch. I did not know about these other names being used for that purpose, though Chaim certainly makes sense.

7/21/2014 at 7:15 PM

My husband's great grandfather was Chaim Alter.

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