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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 confusion. These are some among the Pennsylvania Germans.

Anton (Anthony)Tunis.
Bernhare, Bernd, and BarnetBernard
ElizabethEliz, Eliza, or Lis
JohannansHans or Hannes
MagdalenaMatti, Matta, Lena, or Molly
MariaMary with the nickname of Polly or Molly
Nicholas (Nicholaus)Nickel or Claus
Anna or AnnNancy or Nan
CatharinaKate or Katie
Christoph (Christopher)Stoffell and was confused with Christian whose nickname was Christ or Christli
Gottfried (Godfrey, Geofrey)In English, was confused with Frederick and the nickname of Fritz
MargrethaPeggy or Maggie
Valentin (Valentine)Felty
LudwigLuwick or Lewis

Page content reviewed and/or updated by the Advisory Board 2022 Dec

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