Jewish Aliases

Started by Private User on Thursday, August 4, 2011


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Private User
8/4/2011 at 6:46 AM

Hello all!
This discussion is not only for this profile, but for all similar profiles of people who needed to take an alias for whatever reason (in this case, to escape Jewish oppression during the Spanish Inquisition period). I'd like to get feedback on a consistent way to enter names for people like Garcia Pimentel, also known as Mordecai Abenhacar. Traditionally the ways to enter this have been inconsistent. We have seen use of parentheses, slashes, commas, and the letters AKA. And we have seen it done in the name fields and/or in the Display Name field. Now Geni has provided an "Also Known As" field. Should we begin using that for these cases? I propose the following standard:

* First, Middle, and Last name Fields should contain the Birth Name
* Display Name Field should be in the form: Birth Name, AKA Alias Name
* Also Known As Field should be the Alias Name

This is just my suggestion. What does everyone else think?
Thanks and best regards,

8/4/2011 at 11:09 AM

Eric - I agree with your suggestion. The legal (birth) name should be in the first, middle and last name fields and the alias should be in the known as field. In general, we should use also known as for spelling variants and aliases, not use "OR" or SLASH or put both (all) variants in the name.


There are other Jewish naming conventions which I handle differently -

1) patronym, especially before the existence of surnames
2) kinuyim (double names) such as Judah Leib, that were common among European Jewish, especially Eastern European.

So as an example of #1 -- Hinde Bas Dov Ber (my 4th great grandmother) -- I chose to put Hinde Bas Dov Ber in the first name field.

As an example of #2 - her son Judah Leib Margolis, Judah Leib consists of his Hebrew name and the Yiddish name associated with his Hebrew name conventionally (Leib 'lion') since the lion is the symbol of the tribe of Judah. I put both names in the first name field. Interestingly, records vary as to whether one or the other or both names are found for such doublets.

8/4/2011 at 11:09 AM

Also, Eric - I would make a note in the early part of the About Me about the alias, what it was and why it was used.

8/4/2011 at 11:10 AM

And a third suggestion. I normally would write the alias also in the Display Name if it was the name he conventionally went by, versus the birth name. So Mercedes Sosa is an example.

Private User
8/7/2011 at 9:38 PM

Eric, I've been having a lot of problems like this... in my family's case, my ancestors immigrated from Russia or Poland and then simply "Americanized" their names, so Luba Perl Rabinowitz became Libby Pearl, which makes things incredibly difficult to track! In some cases, I use the name they were commonly known by, and other times I'll use a parenthesis (so that it's "American Last Name (Birth Last Name)"), since most research I'm doing is by the Americanized version.

8/13/2011 at 9:06 AM

Is there a recommended practice for including Jewish names on a Geni profile for someone who also has a legal or Americanized English name? I have sometimes put the Jewish name in parentheses under "middle name" and sometimes put in in the "nickname" field. What system makes a public profile more easily found by someone who may be searching by the Jewish name? Since transliterating Hebrew into English is not an exact science, does it even help to include a transliterated Hebrew name in the profile?

8/13/2011 at 9:45 AM

If you put the Americanized name in the name fields and the Jewish name in the Also Known As (used to be Nicknames), both will be searchable. Also note it in the About Me.

e.g., Harry Frankel (Americanized name)
Elias Hirsch Frankel (Jewish name) also by the way in Polish written Eliasz Gersz
About Me: "Born Eliasz Gersz (Elijah / Elias Hirsch) in Pzerosl, Poland ...."

8/13/2011 at 9:48 AM

I like to put Polish spelling in also as "also known as" if I found it in JRI-P in, so that others can look at the record online.

As long as you make sure to have all the names someplace searchable, you'll be fine. And document in About Me. And where possible, add sources. Normally, we go with the name at death, which is why my great grandfather's name is Harry Frankel not Elias Hirsch :)

8/13/2011 at 9:52 AM

If their name would be in records in Hebrew, then you can actually do something different.

For the Muslim Emirs of Cordoba, I put their Arabic names (in Arabic script) in the data fields and used their English or Spanish names in the Display Name.

I have not used Hebrew for my relatives since the only records I have access to are transcribed Polish.

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