About Jewish Given Name Variations
Jews used different given names in different localities and for different purposes. Typically Jews were given a Hebrew name. This name would be used in religious rituals and within the Jewish community. Historically, Jews have also taken on local names to match the local customs of the area in which they lived. The local name was usually a translation of the person’s Hebrew name into the local language, or was related to the Hebrew name in some other way. Sometimes there was no difference between the Hebrew and local name except for pronunciation.
The JewishGen Given Names Database captures the different given names used by Jews in a specific country as well as the given name changes from one country to another. For example, if your great grandfather immigrated to the United States as “Morris” it is possible he traveled under a different given name like “Moses” and had even another different given name in the country where he came from such as “Moshe”.
To search this database, enter a given name and then select the country in which you know this name was used. This will be the country in which the person was living when they went by that name. From this database you can learn:
- Other countries in which that name was used
- Hebrew and Yiddish versions of the name
- Other localized variants or name equivalents
- Name gender
- Name origins
Understanding name variants and the countries in which they are used will greatly assist you in your genealogical research; it will help you to know what names to search for your ancestors under in the various records you may come across.