Need help from someone who understands how Greek names are converted to Roman alphabet.

+2 votes

I have been researching someone who was of Greek nationality, and later emigrated to America. His westernized given name was Paul. I have found several different Roman spellings for his birth name, but have no idea which would be the correct one. (These spellings come from records generated while Paul was a merchant seaman.) Unfortunately, I have no access to any Greek records that would at least give me the original Greek... Here's the spellings I've found so far:

  • Poldefkis
  • Polydetkis
  • Polidelfikis
  • Poliderfikis
  • Poliderfikin
  • Polydenkis

And simply "Pol". I suspect the variations are due to the changing conversions from different alphabets...

Problem is, I don't even know which would be most likely. Can anyone clear up my confusion, or should I just list all the spellings in the body of the profile with an explanation?

WikiTree profile: Paul Kypriandes
in The Tree House by Kitty Linch G2G6 Mach 4 (40.7k points)
edited by Kitty Linch

3 Answers

+4 votes
Best answer
I am 99% sure his name was Πολυδεύκης the Greek version of Pollux (twin brother of Castor in Greek and Roman mythology). It is nowadays transliterated to Polydefkis.
by Jessica Key G2G6 Pilot (210k points)
selected by Kitty Linch
Thank you, Jessica. I'll put that in the name field, then explain the other versions in the bio.
I notice he has a middle name of Christos on his profile. For the most part, Greeks don't have middle names. His father's name is Christos on his marriage certificate, so it appears he used his father's given name as his middle name. Just a note -- since I doubt he'd have a middle name on his baptism record, if we were to find it.
Thank you again! I'll remove it from the name field, & add that in the bio, too.
Jessica, I've just found a record that substantiates your reasoning. The marriage record of one of Paul's sons lists that son's given name as Polydefkis...
+6 votes

I'd put the most likely used name in the data field and then list them all in the bio.  I have a German ancestor who had many name variations; surname and given name.  This is how I explained it:

Reinholt (Abendschon) Obenchain (1725 - bef. 1783)

by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
I'm hoping someone will be able to tell me which would be most likely...

A Google search of both names reveals that Polydefkis is the more common - at least in Greek - and this site suggests that Polydefkis is the correct surname and Polydetkis isn't listed:

And it looks like we also have a good confirmation from Jessica that it is Polydefkis (see below).

And I would explain the name variations in the bio with Wayne's explanation, that the clerk wrote it has he heard it.

+3 votes
This often happens in earlier times.Few people were educated,

Could not read write or spell.So people documenting them had too guess as to the spelling of  there names.
by Wayne Morgan G2G6 Pilot (917k points)

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