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Archiver > HESSE > 2009-10 > 1254868704

From: Thierry Dietrich <>
Subject: Re: [HESSE] first names
Date: Tue, 6 Oct 2009 22:38:24 +0000 (GMT)
References: <mailman.1437.1254867406.16188.hesse@rootsweb.com>
In-Reply-To: <mailman.1437.1254867406.16188.hesse@rootsweb.com>

Hi all,

let me try to explain...

Vorname = First name

If there are more than one first name (i.e. additional "middle names"), then we say "Vornamen", i.e. plural for "Vorname". Thus, we also say "Vorname" w..r.t. "middle names".

Rufname (as Heidi said) = Name you are called by. This indeed could be a nickname, an abbreviated form (such as Bob or Jo in the U.S.) or even a complete different name not even in the list of first name + middle names. For instance my mother in Law has the "Rufname" Rosemarie, although her first name is Theresia and her middle name is Maria.

Typically in the 1800s and before the first name of almost all german males would have been Johann or Johannes. However, the middle name typically was the Rufname, i.e. the name they were called.

Sometimes the nickname may equal Rufname, but that is not always true (see above). The true translation for nickname = Spitzname.

Hope this explains a bit the slight differences in how we manage first and middle names in Germany.



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