LNAB question when religious marriages not recognized legally for European Jews

+7 votes

Between the1880's and 1920's in part of Galicia that is now Poland, Jewish marriages were not legally recognized.  This resulted in inconsistent birth records - for the same parents, some have the mother's last name, some have both mother and father last names, and some have father's last name.  

What adds an order of magnitude to the mess is that I'm working on a family with 18 children (same father but 3 different mothers).  In all cases, the children used the father's last name throughout their lives.  I found one record (so far) indicating the name had been legally changed to the father's last name.  That person's kids are another mess - some registered with his wife's last name, some with his father's last name and some with his mother's last name (from before he made the legal change).

Please also be aware that I have only been able to find birth records for 11 of these 18 children, so there's also a question of what LNAB to use for the other 7.

I had started adding profiles, using the father's LNAB, before discovering all this, so if the answer is to use anything other than the father's LNAB, it will mean some LNAB changes.

On top of all that, there are spelling variants in the mix.  The father's name is Honig, but records show Honig, Honek, Honik, and maybe a few others. Two of the mothers were sisters - their LNAB is Fallek, Falek, or Falak.  Even the father's mother's LNAB gets into the act - it's Gris or Gries or Griess.

I'm tempted to forget the entire mess and just use the father's LNAB for everyone - that's what all the family members always did, but then there are those pesky official records that I suppose we're supposed to be going by.

What's a beleaguered WikiTreer to do???????

NOTE - linked profile is the father.  None of the mothers have been added yet, but they are all mentioned in the father's bio.  Not all of the children (also mentioned in the father's bio) have been added yet, either, but I'm working on it … check back in a few million years or so when I'm finished with this family!   

WikiTree profile: Psachja Honig
in Policy and Style by Gaile Connolly G2G6 Pilot (927k points)
retagged by Gaile Connolly

What's a beleaguered WikiTreer to do???????

asked by Gaile Connolly


Whatever you do, DO NOT tear out your hair!  The "patchy bald" look is not a good one. 

I thought this was a common physical characteristic of WikiTreers, Melanie!
I'm on my way to the wig store.

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5 Answers

+5 votes
Whatever is recorded on the earliest source is the best way to go, the other parents surname can be added to Other last names box or mentioned in bio.

So there will no doubt be siblings with different LNAB, but not unheard of in many families.
by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+6 votes
In my wife's genealogy the situation is similar. Her ancestors lived in Czernowitz, Bukovina, Austro-Hungarian Empire, then Romania, now Ukraine. My wife's grandfather went by the name of Geringer in the US, but this was his mother's name. His father's name was Scharfstein and he went by this name in Czernowitz. Ellis Island records show that my wife's grandmother and mother arrived with the name Scharfstein, but immediately switched to Geringer. This name is still used by the family. I had a really hard time figuring this out.
by Henry Chadwick G2G6 Mach 4 (48.8k points)
+3 votes
Yeah, the one LNAB format doesn't seem to fit in all cultures for sure!

Still, I prefer to stick with the Wikitree guideline that says to use the name as given at birth, and add alternative names and spellings in the other names field, in addition to explaining it in the notes section.  I know it gets messy, but I figure the more info, and the more accurate the info is, the more helpful it is in the long run.

When you don't have a birth record, give it your best guess. LNABs can always be changed later if your find a more definitive birth record.
by Jaki Erdoes G2G6 Mach 3 (31.0k points)
But Jaki, in this case the "name as given at birth" by the parents (who were married in a religious ceremony that was not permitted to be registered) was the father's last name.  It is only the registration record that shows mother's last name for some kids, father's last name for other kids, and both last names hyphenated for still others.

If I were to blindly follow the guideline of using the official record, there would be about 12 different LNABs for these 18 children, which is not WikiTree's intent … there's also the guideline of using words and languages that "they" would have used then ("they" being the subject of the profile).  When there is an obvious typo on a birth record, we don't create the LNAB with the typo in it.  If we did, you could have a family of 6 children where 5 are named Smith and there's one Smitt in the middle.
Tend to agree with Gaile. Presumably the Jewish Community also recorded the names of the children somewhere. Perhaps better to use the father's LNAB and explain the recorded differences in the bio. Makes more sense and is true to the people concerned.
C, THANX for weighing in on this - I always accord very high value to anything you say.  If they did record their children's names/births either in private or synagogue records, the documents would not have survived the systematic destruction of all Jewish property during World War II.  The father, his 3rd wife, and several children were part of the Holocaust - some died and a few survived.
Yes, when you put it that way, I would agree. Better to stay true to your family than to the registrars!
+5 votes
As C. MacKinnon stated in a comment on one of the other answers, I'd go with the father's last name as LNAB--it's the name they actually used, and the name assigned by the parents and by their local community. The fact that the local authorities were anti-Jewish and used different names can get a quick note in the bio and an entry under "other last name(s)".

And shave your hair off if you wish (I do), but pulling it out can result in bleeding ;)
by Eric Hoffman G2G6 Mach 1 (18.5k points)
+4 votes
This story sounds as frustrating as the situation with Stillwell genealogy. Different sources show different lineages, differ on who was married to whom and it seems that each generation had to have several children who had the same first and last name as their cousins. Sources are contradictory. They can't all be right everywhere but to identify the errors is quite a challenge. Good luck to everyone in similar situations.
by Marion Ceruti G2G6 Pilot (152k points)

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