Carnival of Eastern European Genealogy – First (Given) Names

I’m pleased to host the Eleventh Edition of the Carnival of Eastern European Genealogy this month.

The topic for this edition is First (Given) Names: Did any of your ancestors have an unusual given name? Have you discovered the meanings behind the given names of your ancestors? Did your ancestors use any naming patterns for their children? Are there any given names that are particularly common in your family history? Did any of your ancestors have given names that you particularly like or dislike? Does your family celebrate “Name Days”? Did your immigrant ancestors change their given names after they arrived in America? Tell us about the first (given) names in your family. You can concentrate on one name, a few names, or you can go wild and write about the first names of all your ancestors!

Jessica Oswalt of Jessica’s Genejournal describes how many of her German ancestors had more than one given name. Most genealogists have struggled with trying to find their ancestors when the records used creative spellings of their names, but some of Jessica’s ancestors present another problem when they used any one of their multiple given names in different documents. Read about Jessica’s adventures with multiple given names and given names that were unusual for Germans in My German Ancestors: Naming Patterns and Odd Names … Thanks for an interesting look at unusual challenges with given names, Jessica!

Schelly Talalay Dardashti of Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog writes about her family’s practice of naming children after their relatives. This practice results in an interesting conundrum when all the children in a single family decided to name one of their sons after the child’s grandfather. And so, today, anyone with the name Leib Talalay, wherever he may live, is probably a cousin. Read all the details at Here’s a Leib, there’s a Leib! While you’re at it, you’ll find out why Schelly’s daughter loves her given name and initials, and why Schelly was once known as Shirley! Thanks for a great article, Schelly. It’s a fascinating read!

Lisa of 100 Years in America tells us about the wonderful Hungarian and Croatian given names in her family tree. She’s partial to her ancestors’ original given names, even though many of them changed their names to something more American after they immigrated to the United States. Who can blame her? The names Ilona and Etelka sing of her family’s rich cultural traditions and history. But, sometimes, finding the names of your ancestors in immigrant passenger lists involves more than just looking for creative spellings! Find out how Lisa discovered the real names of Cisto Toth and Ujlaki Ferenczné by reading Ádám to Zsuzsanna: Hungarian & Croatian given names in the family tree. What a wonderful look at given names and their variants, Lisa!

Julie Cahill Tarr at GenBlog details the naming patterns in her father’s family where maiden names were used as middle names. Julie goes on to tell us about her ancestors’ given names, both those that were frequently used and those that are unique, such as Marcella (one of her favorites) and Dorcas (one of my favorites). And why does Julie want to give her children names that begin with the letter “J”? Read My Family’s Given Names to find out! Thanks for an interesting and well-sourced article, Julie! (I’m sure you’ve plucked footnoteMaven‘s heartstrings with your source citations, too!)

The title of Donna Pointkouski’s carnival contribution, Call Me Ishmael, is likely to grab the reader’s attention, especially if you’re of a literary bent. Donna’s family tree is full of Joes and Marys, but a number of her ancestors were given first names that will attract attention as readily as the name Ishmael. Donna’s Bavarian ancestors sported such names as Dionys, Kresensz, Wolfgang, and Walburga, and her Polish ancestors bore the names Wawrzyniec, Wacława, Hilary, and Teofila. Read the full article on Donna’s blog What’s Past is Prologue to learn the meanings behind these names. Thanks so much for a fascinating article, Donna!

When many of your Polish ancestors are named Jan or Marianna, how do you sort out one from the other? Jasia of Creative Gene tells us about the various nicknames used to distinguish cousins with the same given name. And what about naming patterns? Jasia describes the Galician practice of naming children after specific relatives and the practice of naming children after the saint on whose feast day the child was born. What would Jasia have been named if her parents had followed one of these practices? The title of Jasia’s post gives away part of the answer, but to find out the rest of the story, you’ll have to read Polish First Names (I should be Sophie). Thanks for contributing to the Carnival of Eastern European Genealogy, Jasia. After reading your article, I’m even more convinced that we must have been separated at birth!

Al of Al’s Polish-American Genealogy Research writes that his ancestors from the Lipusz parish in Poland started a naming tradition that has continued on with their descendants in America for 200 years. Some of Al’s Wierzba ancestors were given unique names such as Wojciech, Bartlomiej, and Kazimierz, but many distant cousins, even those with little contact with the rest of the family have provided their children with the same given names. Read his article Given Names: A Submission for the Carnival of Eastern European Genealogy to learn more about the common and uncommon names in Al’s family tree. Thanks for telling us about the given names in your family history, Al!

The last entry in this month’s Carnival of Eastern European Genealogy is my own at Steve’s Genealogy Blog. My earliest known Niedziałkowski ancestors tended to name their children for a saint whose feast day was near, but not necessarily on the day of the child’s birth or baptism. This practice meant that given names were seldom reused unless a child died at a young age, at which time the name of the deceased child would be given to the next born child of the same sex. Prior to the time when my grandfather immigrated to America, most of my Niedziałkowski relatives bore a single given name. There are some exceptions, however, including one cousin who was given what is probably my favorite name: Faustina Apolonia Obidzieńska. You can read the entire article, Given Names in the Niedziałkowski Family.

And so ends this Eleventh Edition of the Carnival of Eastern European Genealogy. Thanks so much, Jessica, for allowing me to host the Carnival this month, and many, many thanks to all the bloggers who contributed. I really enjoyed putting this together!

Copyright © 2008 by Stephen J. Danko

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Carnival of Eastern European Genealogy – First (Given) Names

  1. Lisa says:

    Nice job on the carnival, Steve.

    (Oops, almost called you Istvan!).



  2. Jasia says:

    Very nice job, Steve! It was a good topic that I enjoyed writing about.

  3. Thank you for suggesting this topic, Steve. It was an excellent idea.

Comments are closed.