Jewish Patronymics

+6 votes
I'm doing some work at the moment that involves some of the Jewish leaders in Babylon in the 5th and 6th centuries.  

In line with the principle of presenting names as the user would have known them, WikiTree has adopted the use of patronymics for Welsh royalty, and we followed suit in the Indonesia Project for Indonesian patronymic names.  

The Babylonian Jews were uploaded before these discussions and there is considerable variation in LNABs.  I would like to propose that since their culture itself used patronymics, WikiTree follow suit, so in this case Nehemiah's LNAB would be "ben Haninai."
WikiTree profile: Nehemiah ben Haninai
in Policy and Style by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (352k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
No idea really, but I'd have guessed they were more likely to speak Aramaic than Hebrew.
Well yes.  Or ancient Persian.  And they certainly would not have used English script.  I think it's OK to make some accomodation to those of us who want to do genealogy but don't read and write ancient languages!
Jack, Just to let you know, there has been some push-back about using the patronymics for the Cymru Project. The problem seems to be with the prefix, because using just a couple of prefixes dumps every profile under ab-, ap- or ferch, and then you have to look through the alphabet to find the last name of father.  I don't find it a problem, but it might be informative to look at how the reference books index these people.
So sorry to hear about the pushback.  After all the work that's been done on Cymru to get names right, the idea of sacrificing accuracy for a slight perceived convenience is appalling.  The work-around on patronymics that was used both for Welsh names and I see for some Hebrew patronymic names is to add it to the first name, so for Dafydd ap Gruffydd becomes Last Name=Gruffydd and first name becomes Dafydd ap.  Which of course violates the policy that first names should only be one word.

The reason I brought it up here is that Babylonian Jewish names of the 300's and 400's are really a separate group of people, they're not Euroaristo, they're not Persian or Arabic, so they could have their own policy consistent with patronymics.  One alternative is that since most of them claim descent from King David, sometimes their last name is shown as ha David or simply David.  If one went that way, you would have the same problem you mentioned with Cymru -- for people who were known as Haninai ben Abraham, etc.  you'd have to look for every single one under "D" for David (or "H" for "ha") as the LNAB.  I"d rather look under ben for the men and bat for the women!

But without a policy, the LNABs are all over the map and only with intensive research do you discover who the duplicates are.

1 Answer

+1 vote

Of course if there's a source saying this was his patronymic he should have it for LNAB but no expert either and these are pretty 'ancient', so a source probably is going to be hard to find . Looking for something most genealogies /books indeed seem to use the patronymic  Not sure how the Jewish patronymics work, but if it's similar to the Dutch, his son now probably has the wrong patronymic  (he now has his fathers patronymic for LNAB ) And his brother, if the father was the same and if this lineage is correct of course, also has the wrong one ?  Looks like they really need some attention .. if you like I can try if I can find and add some sources for you ?

by Bea Wijma G2G6 Pilot (279k points)
Hi, Bea -- I'm not sure I have the time and energy to try to improve ALL the LNABs of this group, but I will want to improve the profiles I work on, and it seemed worthwhile to set a precedent that could be used collaboratively.  

And this group of profiles includes some material that is factual and some that is legendary and all the sources that can help sort that out is most appreciated!
It indeed is more easy to set a precedent, so it's clear and we all know or can decide how to work on them and what naming convention we can use for these families. I'm pretty busy also, but will look for and add some sources to the profiles. We have to start somewhere eeh :)

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