Surname help needed--gender suffixes (Czechoslovakia)

+3 votes
I've come across gender suffixes before when working with profiles such as Austria, Poland, and other eastern European countries. I'm specifically working with Czechoslovakia right now, but the question is the same. In this case, the masculine version of the surname is Valek. The feminine form is Valkova. Which should I use as Marie's LNAB? Do I use the father's surname or the feminine form of the name?

in The Tree House by Emma MacBeath G2G6 Pilot (791k points)

3 Answers

+6 votes
In my personal opinion (decidedly not what is in the name recommendations on the Czech Roots pages) it depends a lot on time and location and in the common use in the source. For instance, if in the birth/baptismal register a midwife is mentioned I'll use the form her family name is in. Location plays a role because in many predominantly German speaking areas the Czech female form was not used. Time comes into play because Czech had a major orthographic reform in the mid-19th century that changed among other things a female ending of -owa to -ová (and added the accent). I'm using what I find in the birth/baptismal record with the orthography used at that time following the common usage for female names in the source I'm using.

Addendum: The reason I'm not following the naming recommendations in the Czech Roots pages is that they so obviously contradict what has otherwise become so widespread on WikiTree, namely to stick with the source.
by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (544k points)
edited by Helmut Jungschaffer
Helmut: Thank you for the very informative answer.
I have roots in the Czech Republic also, predominantly from formerly German speaking parts. The Czech feminine forms of the names were not used in the many documents I have found. By the way, my family always considered themselves Austrian, and not Czech, as the country was the Austro-Hungarian Empire when they lived there.

I have a few contemporary documents, and also extracts of church records made in the 1930s. These documents are often bilingual. Czech feminine forms of surnames are never used in any of these. When I compared these to the archival records, names were exactly as used in the archives.
This person identifies as Bohemian and speaks Czech as her birth language. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any records before she came to America. However, her naturalization papers state that her maiden name is Maria Valkova--father John Valek.
Bohemian translates to Česky; Bohemia translates to Čechy.

So, she is of Czech ethnicity, and not German, so the name is consistent.
+3 votes
I try to use both. If the person is obviously ethnically Czech, I go for the Czech feminine version in the LNAB, because that's what the guideline says and that's what I am used to, but I try to include the masculine spelling (and all alternative spellings) in alternative surnames or in biography so that users that are not familiar with Czech can still find it:

Some of the records are kept in German and then there are German feminine versions of Czech surnames, which makes it a challenge to keep some kind of standard (to say nothing of the German spelling of Czech surnames - no standard versions there). Nevertheless, I try to standardize the surnames at least a little bit, which helps checking the surname frequencies in this map:
by Tomáš Minárik G2G4 (4.7k points)
Thank you, Tomáš. She is definitely Czech. She identifies (or at least her papers do) as Bohemian.
Oh my gosh, I just noticed the birth record you added for Ludvik. Thank you so much! This family has been a challenge to work on since this is out of my area of expertise.
You're welcome. It's my favourite sub-region of the Czech Republic, and I have been looking for many ancestors at the website, so it was a matter of minutes :) I also added the birth record for Marie Válková. Technically speaking, she was not born in Czechoslovakia, but in Moravia, Austria, since that was the name of the country at that time.
Thank you again for adding Marie's birth record and for updating the locations. Some of these countries change hands so often, it's hard to know. I have Slovenian family, but some of the time they lived in "Austria."
+1 vote
Many of my Bohemian female ancestors,but not all, use the "-ova" ending  Both my grandfather and uncle,if they were still living,would testify toe that..
by David Hughey G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)

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