Sunday, 26 July 2015

So That's Why There Are 5 Johanns in One of my Families!

I've been catching up on my unread blogs on Feedly & came across an interesting article on German naming traditions.  The post was written by Diane Haddad for Ancestry Insider, Family Tree Magazine's blog.  This article explained why German families gave their children the same first names.

I know that some of my German ancestors named all of their sons Johann.  In one family there is a Johann Friedrich Erdmann, Johann Gottlob, Johann Carl Heinrich and Johann Carl Friedrich.  The feminine version, Johanne, was also very popular amongst my ancestors. In another family group there is Johanne Caroline, Johanne Salome & Johanne Auguste.  This is further confused by the fact that their brother is called Johann Christian, their mother Johanne Christiane & their father Johann Gottlieb!

Apparently German children were given two names.  Boys were commonly baptised as Johannes or Johann.  It is the second name, the Rufname, that they were known by.  So in my second family group example from above, the members of the family would be known as: Christiane (mum), Gottlieb (dad), Caroline, Salome & Auguste (sisters) & Christian (brother).  I wonder how that works with the other siblings though, as there are still some conflicts in this family group.  The other siblings are Caroline Christiane, Eleanore Ernestine, Marie Elisabeth, Ernest Gottlieb, Gottlieb Traugott, & Ernst Wilhelm - still results in more than one Christiane & Gottlieb.  I had just assumed that they were known by both names.  This naming tradition may help to explain why, generations later, family members where still known by their middle names, which I had thought was just a family 'quirk'.

Another tradition in German-speaking areas was to name children for one of their baptismal sponsors. The most common patterns used is similar to Scottish naming traditions.  Sons were named in the following order / pattern:

  • First born, named after paternal grandfather
  • Second born, named after maternal grandfather
  • Third born, named after father of the child
  • Fourth (& any further born), named after uncles of the child.
The same patterns applied to daughters - first born named after paternal grandmother, second born named after maternal grandmother, third born named after mother, fourth & successive named after aunts.  I will have to have a closer look at my ancestors to see if they followed this tradition, & then I might be able to have a guess at unknown parents & siblings!

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Some Webpages I've Found Useful for Reading the Irish Catholic Parish Registers

Two websites that I have found helpful so far in reading the registers are:

Irish Genealogy Tool Kit Website, Latin in Irish Catholic Parish Registers
This page has terms you are likely to come across when reading the birth, marriage & death registers. Begin tracing your Irish ancestry, Latin names in English
This website has a list of Irish names written in Latin, to help you decipher the names you will come across.  Beneath this list there is also an explanation of the rules of Latin, e.g. :James son of James should read: Jacobus filius Jacobi"; male names that end in o add 'nis, Hugonis.

In saying this though, I couldn't actually find a death entry for my parish, so I don't know how helpful those tips are yet.

Also, Irish Catholic Church Registers: Bog Latin & Other Demons by James R Reilly at had a Sampler of Latin terms, given names & abbreviations found in Sacramental Registers was helpful.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

National Library of Ireland's Roman Catholic Registers

Well, the Roman Catholic registers haven't been online for long but I've already made my first discovery!  Granted, I knew the parish, & the townland, & it was only a few pages into the microfilm, but I've managed to translate most of the entries.  Some of the other siblings will be just as easy to find, but some of the siblings were born before this register started in 1849.  Finding other Irish relatives won't be anywhere as easy because at best I have a county, & one I just have 'Ireland'.

Here is my first discovery:

5 Dec 1850 - Bap Hannam f Michaelis Curran + Anna Mulheron de Derryreel
Translated 5 Dec 1850 Baptism of Hannah, daughter of Michael Curran & Anna Mulheron of Derryreel.