The Gohn Kuhn Coon Kohn Koon Brothers Go By Middle Names, First Name Johannes

+5 votes
There is a bit of a challenge in this family in the wikitree. It seems that the German Gohn family went by the surname Coon in the community. Complicating matters is the fact that the sons all had the first name Johannes and then went by their middle name. For example, Johannes Andreas Gohn (birth name) went by "Andrew Coon" in his community. He had several brothers as well, all using the prefix of Johannes and going by middle name. I am very willing to help out, but only manage one profile. Numerous merge requests have been made and rejected due to confusions. Thanks in advance for any suggestions to fix this family<3
WikiTree profile: Andrew Coon
in Policy and Style by Beth Stephenson G2G6 Mach 3 (36.2k points)
German naming conventions put the saint’s name first, often the same for every son, then the name they were actually called by.  It does make for a lot of confusion.  It would help if there was a standard entry, i.e.  both saint’s and called names in the same field as “Proper first name” and the called name as “Preferred”.  In America, English speaking record keepers often recorded only the saint’s name making these folks very difficult to differentiate and trace.

2 Answers

+9 votes
Best answer
At least for pre-emigration German naming conventions should be used: no middle names. All given names should go into the First Name Field with the name they go by in the Preferred Name field. And that means sometimes two or more names and not only "saints' names". Goethe was not called Johann or Wolfgang but Johann Wolfgang, Mozart was not Wolfgang or Amadeus but Wolfgang Amadeus, and the Austrian emperor was Kaiser Franz Josef and not Franz or Josef.
by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (549k points)
selected by Beth Stephenson
+5 votes
I fully agree with Helmut. In Germany there are no middle names, all first names are equal and the bearer of the name or the parents have determined through daily use how he was called.
Calling someone by a double first name is common in many German regions. In earlier times it was also often common for the first name to be the middle name and sometimes even the third.
I have a family in my ancestors, where all 8 boys were called Johann with their first name and differed only by their second first name (middle name).
It was not until the 19th century that the practice of underlining the given name on the birth certificate came up, as was the case with my original birth certificate in 1958.
It would therefore be a good idea to write all first names in one field and the preferred first name(s) in the field preffered First Name.
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)

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