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Names (multiple spellings!)
May 7, 2008, 02:08:14 pm
The spellings of names and places often change from one source to the next.

For example, it isn't unusual for the same person's name to be spelled Majer, Mayer, Meyer, Meier, Meir, etc.

It was not uncommon for Jews in Europe to go by Yiddish names in their community and Polish or German names in the larger community. In the case of children, they often went by nicknames, too (ie, Bronislawa was sometimes shortened to Bronka)

Even Jewish documents from the Lodz ghetto were recorded in Polish, Yiddish, and sometimes Hebrew. A person’s name may have only one or two letters changed between one document and another (ie, Avram/Abram; or Yankl/Jankiel). Sometimes, name changes are substantial, especially between pre-war, wartime and postwar documents (ie, Fischel/Ephraim).

Other common variant spellings for popular names I found include:
Bajla / Beyla / Beila / Belia / Bela / Bella
Chaja / Chaya / Haya
Chana / Hana / Khana
Estera / Ester / Esther
Leyb / Lajb / Laib / Lajbl /
Rachel / Ruchla / Ruchel / Rachela
Sara / Sura / Surela

For guidance on alternate spellings of names, visit the JewishGen Web site and use the Given Name Database to determine alternate spellings of given names --

2 replies

Posted: May 7, 2008 02:11:54 pm
The name of Lodz also has multiple variations!

Lodz = Litzmannstadt = Lodsch

Although this Website refers to the Lodz ghetto, the Germans called it Litzmannstadt during World War II. Therefore, most German documents refer to Lodz as Litzmannstadt (abbreviated as Litz. or Litzman.). Occasionally, you will also see Lodz spelled as Lodsch.
Posted: Jan 28, 2011 08:16:11 pm

Thank you for writing this!!!! I was started to go crazy thinking that the names kept changing because of bad luck or something on my part. I felt like i wasn't making any progress. The Jewish Gen website offers alot of different spellings of names and sometimes entirely different names