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German Names

In German society there was a first name and a calling name, so John Jacob would have that name on church records, deeds, etc., but for anything else, he would be known as Jacob.

There was a naming order for families. This was observed especially with the Mennonites.

This naming order started to go out in the 1840's.

Nicknames can also cause trouble. These are some among the Pennsylvania Germans.

Anton (Anthony) Tunis.
Barbara Bevvy
Bernhare, Bernd, and Barnet Bernard
Dietrich Dieter
Elizabeth Eliz, Eliza, or Lis
Johannans Hans or Hannes
Magdalena Matti, Matta, Lena, or Molly
Maria Mary with the nickname of Polly or Molly
Nicholas (Nicholaus) Nickel or Claus
Anna or Ann Nancy or Nan
Catharina Kate or Katie
Christoph (Christopher) Stoffell and was confused with Christian whose nickname was Christ or Christli
Gottfried (Godfrey, Geofrey, English) was confused with Frederick with the nickname of Fritz
Margretha Peggy or Maggie
Valentin (Valentine) Felty
Fronika Fanny
Ludwig Luwick or Lewis


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