APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2008-04 > 1209275965
From: Worth Anderson <>
Subject: [APG] What is best practice for recording names from multi-lingualcommunities?
Date: Sat, 26 Apr 2008 22:59:25 -0700 (PDT)
When compiling a genealogy based on sources in multiple languages, what is considered "best practice" for rendering given names?
I'm writing up some ethnically German families who lived on the territory of modern-day Poland, and cite sources written in Latin, Polish, Russian and German, although the bulk are in Polish.
Although a few also spoke some Polish (and later Russian), German was these people's "mother tongue." When one of them signed a document, inevitably he signed using the German form of his name. However, the majority were illiterate, and the only record of them is the pastor's Polonized rendering of their names in the church register.
Should one record the name as it is found in the source, as one would do in citing or quoting the source? That produces a genealogy where people are recorded using names they almost certainly did not use themselves in everyday life. (Indeed, an "Albrecht" might not have responded if addressed as "Wojciech.")
Or should one convert the names to a single language? That produces a genealogy where children who died young, for example, are listed using a form of name not found in any record (for example, using "Christoph" when the birth and death records both say "Krzystof").
I'm aware of one not-entirely-felicitious effort to address this issue. Rev. Christian Denissen confronted this problem in another multi-lingual community when he compiled his "Genealogy of the French Families of the Detroit River Region." He Anglicized all of the names in his work, including the ones in 1600s Quebec and France. The result is jarring.
I would imagine this issue regularly comes up in Jewish research as well. I'd be grateful for any perspective/recommendations on what people see as the "right" way to handle this.
Worth S. Anderson
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|[APG] What is best practice for recording names from multi-lingualcommunities? by Worth Anderson <>|