Which name to use of Finnish people with birth records in Russian

+3 votes

Roughly 50 % of my ancestry is Greek Catholic. This means their church records are mostly written in Russian and/or Slavonic or some variation thereof. They didn't speak Russian though, but Finnish (or Karelian), and the names they used themselves differed from the ones on the records.

The same, of course, applies to the rest of Finland with the church records in Swedish. The Finland Project has a policy that we should use the name in the source.

But how do I do this?

For example, my grandfather, whom I've learned to know as Johannes Repo. In his birth record, he's Іоаннъ Григоріевъ Ребо. His first name could be romanized as Ioann, or ìoann” (ISO-9), or maybe even Yoann or Joann. I don't even know how it's supposed to be pronounced, and it's a very common name. Anyway, it's really just another way to spell Ivan. Which is actually used in some other documents on him, in Finnish too. Ivan was a very common name, and, in many parishes, the name could be spelled Иванъ by one priest and Іоаннъ by another.

Then there’s the patronym. Григоріевъ, or Grigorìev”, Grigoryev etc. Patronyms were only used in church records, though. Can I just skip this one, please?

And then, his last name at birth. It’s spelled Rebo, but Repo was the common spelling and that’s why I’ve used it.

So, which variation of the name should I use? Does it matter where and how I enter the other variations?

(The cyrillic letters broke the styling, sorry about that.)

WikiTree profile: Johannes Repo
in Policy and Style by T. Repo G2G Crew (730 points)

2 Answers

+1 vote
Best answer

The problem with translating the names is that the next time someone wants to search this person in the church books they would have a heck of a time finding the records having to guess what the translation was.

The other thing is to know for sure what name they used if the only source is in cyrillic letters. Project Finland calls for using the language used in the sources and you are welcome to discuss it in our Google-group by joining Project Finland. Please consider joining as we really need people experienced with the Greek Catholic church books.

See https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Finnish_names for more information on Finnish names.

That said, reading cyrillic letters would be hard for most of us Finns, so I would probably use the cyrillic names in Proper First Name and Last Name At Birth, then use Preferred Name and Current Last Name for roman spelling. But as said, we really would need to discuss this within the group.

Patronyms are often important to determine the difference between two similiarly named individuals, so I would not skip it, but put the patronym in the Middle Name field.

by Juha Soini G2G6 Pilot (101k points)
selected by Abby Glann
+1 vote
I would use the names they used themself, in churchbooks the names are usually changed in Russian, slavonic or in western europe latin.

The people knew themself best what their name was,but usually couldn't read
by Anonymous Young G2G6 Mach 1 (10.2k points)

Related questions

+2 votes
0 answers
51 views asked Jan 5 in Genealogy Help by Peter Geary G2G6 Mach 4 (44.1k points)
+2 votes
0 answers
+2 votes
2 answers
+4 votes
2 answers
77 views asked Mar 24 in Genealogy Help by Nancy Thomas G2G6 Mach 4 (47.0k points)
+2 votes
1 answer
+3 votes
2 answers
105 views asked Aug 21, 2018 in Genealogy Help by Vic Watt G2G6 Pilot (330k points)

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright