Learn why “Mordechai Yehuda” is also “Mortka Leib” is also “Max.” An introduction to Jewish given names (first names), focusing on practical issues for genealogical research. Our ancestors each had many different given names and nicknames, in various languages and alphabets— this can make Jewish genealogical research difficult. This presentation will teach you about the history and patterns of Jewish first names, and how to recognize your ancestors’ names in genealogical sources.
Topics include: Religious and secular names; origins of given names; variants, nicknames and diminutives; double names (unrelated pairs, kinnui, Hebrew/Yiddish translations); patronymics; name equivalents; Ashkenazic naming traditions (naming of children); statistics on the distribution and popularity of given names in various regions and times; spelling issues; Polish and Russian declensions; interpretation of names in documents; and the Americanization of immigrant Jewish names: adaptations and transformations.
This program is possible through the generous support of the William M. Lowenstein Genealogical Research Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation.
“Jewish Given Names” is a collaboration between the Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh and the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center. Please register online. The program is free for JGS-Pittsburgh members and $5 for the general public. To become a member of the JGS-Pittsburgh and receive a free membership code, please visit its website at https://www.pghjgs.org/membership.
Warren Blatt is the former Managing Director of JewishGen (www.jewishgen.org), the primary Internet site for Jewish genealogy. Blatt has over 40 years of research experience with Russian and Polish Jewish records, and is the author of the JewishGen FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about Jewish Genealogy, and many other JewishGen InfoFiles. He is the author of Resources for Jewish Genealogy in the Boston Area; and co-author (with Gary Mokotoff) of Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy. He was the Chair of the 15th International Seminar on Jewish Genealogy. In 2004, he was awarded the IAJGS’ Lifetime Achievement Award in Jerusalem.