One pattern that I've noticed with the one of my German ancestors in what is
now Columbia Co., Ulrich Sauer/Sower, is that all of his children (born
between 1757 and about 1782) seem to have been named after the sponsor of
the same sex. I haven't found any baptismal record for my 4g-grandfather
Teunis Sauer (b. 1759) but he was given a Dutch first name although he
didn't have any known Dutch relatives.
I haven't found any record of Ulrich Sauer before the baptism of his son
Peter in 1757. An 1810 obit gives the unlikely age of 110-120 for Ulrich.
Both of Ulrich's known wives, Catharina Hess and Rosina Michel, were of
From: Jim Groat [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, June 28, 2002 11:23 PM
Subject: Re: [NYCOL] German Naming Patterns / was Dutch Naming Patterns
The Palatines appear to have had a naming pattern but it was erratic at
best. A good example is my Revolutionary War Ancestor, Peter Groat
(Petrus Grad) of Ghent. He had 6 sons all baptized at Claverack. Their
baptismal records list their given christian names only, as follows:
Henrich, John, Wiliam, Petrus, Jacob, and Frederick. However, all other
records I've found of any of them throughout their lives suggests that
they used "Peter" as a middle name; e. g. Henrich P., John P., William
P., Jacob P. and Frederick P. The exception of course was Peter Jr. of
Chatham. The naming caused me some serious problems early in my research
as I think I mentioned when we met. Jacob P. had a son he apparently
named "Richard" but he was baptized "Peter". The vast majority of the
time official records of him list his as "Peter." Most governmental
documents such as that listing him as a New York State Assemblyman from
Wayne County show "Richard P." However, most unofficial references to
him, including his listing as Sheriff of Wayne County, his obituary,
etc., list his as simply "R. P." which is apparently how he referred to
himself. I guess this is fortunate for between the Dutch Groots and the
Palatine Grads there are enough Peter's to keep the professional
genealogists busy for many years to come. In short, don't expect too
much help from naming schemes when it comes to the Palatines. <grin>
Cliff Lamere wrote:
You said, "... your letters have been very thought provoking, though they
haven't helped with my Snyder line." That is because the Snyders
Dutch. Many Snyders of Columbia Co. were originally Palatine Schneiders.
Your Snyder md. a Schmidt who was probably also German. If Germans used a
system of naming children, it was probably a different one from the one used
by the Dutch (which was quite variable). I have read conflicting
information about what kind of German pattern there might have been.
Sometimes all of the boys were named the same, possibly after the father I
been told. I don't know how often this occurred, but I can't imagine
it was common. Yet on another mailing list, a couple of other people
confirmed that it had happened in their German ancestry.
The example I have in my own heritage happened in one family in which the
name originated (although there were other Kittles in New York as
well). The earliest immigrant in this line was Daniel Goddel / Godel /
Goettel / Gettel (the 'o's have an umlaut over them). He had 5 sons named
Johannes (could Daniel have been Johannes Daniel by birth?). The first son
had no middle name and went by the name Johannes. The others had middle
names and mainly used those instead of Johannes. However, sometimes they
were recorded with the first name and sometimes with the middle name. It
can be a real mess trying to keep track of someone.
Herbert Z. Jones, in the "Palatine Families of New York" does not mention
this type of naming possibility. Instead, he says on page xxv that in New
York (but not Pennsylvania) German offspring often had a middle initial that
was the same as the first initial of the father's Christian (christening or
baptismal) name. The father may not have used his baptismal name, so the
initial may not always be helpful.
In some churches, only certain names were acceptable as baptismal
names. So, a family might accept a name suggested to them for
their child, or select one that they didn't want, but then they would call
the child by the name they intended for him or her. So, the child grew up
using a different name from the recorded name. This creates problems for
our modern genealogist.
Fortunately for the Dutch researcher, the recorded name is the one that
grew up with (I haven't heard that Dutch New Yorkers ever had
special baptismal names). However, a nickname was often used in place of
the official name, and that can create some confusion. But at least there
was a well-known connection between the given name and the nick-name. A
German's christening name and given name may have been totally unrelated.
There is a webpage which gives a very neat naming system that was
by the Palatine Germans. It would be a wonderful help if it
were true. The fact that the Palatine expert Jones didn't mention it in his
book or a later book "More Palatine Families" makes me skeptical. Maybe it
worked in a particular surname or branch of a surname, so the writer quoted
on the webpage may have generalized too much.
On the other hand, the New York Dutch (of various surnames and in various
of a single surname) often did use a general system. I am not
aware of anything nearly so helpful with the Germans.
Note: the Pennsylvania Dutch were Germans, not Dutch. They may have
name Dutch because they would have described themselves as
deutsch (sounds like doytsh). Deutsch means German. The non-Germans
probably didn't realize the difference.
The Chapman surname that you mentioned does not sound Dutch, so any Dutch
pattern would not apply there either.
For people interested in an English naming pattern, here is a link. I do
if the webpage is accurate.
Jean Snow wrote:
> Dear Jim, Jim, Cliff and Tiffany, and others
> I too have found your discussions fascinating, though I have no
> with any of those lines. Fascinating to the point that I saved
> to study at my leisure and add to my collection of names and
> If I can brag a bit <sheepish grin>, I was guest speaker for the
> Family Association Convention recently in Salt Lake City, and
> of my talk was about the derivation of names and the Chapman
> particular. I didn't have room or time to include naming practices which
> varied from group to group.
> But your letters have been very thought provoking, though they haven't
> helped with my Snyder line. Of course, I still haven't found the parents
> my Cyrus, b 1833, and he and wife Rebecca Smith (Schmidt line)
> to follow any particular practice. The first son was John
> makes me think they must have been Methodists, the second son Henry
> (there's a Henry Snyder in Columbia who might be related), and the third
> son was named Smith E. Snyder. So I finally got a last name for a
> one I already knew. Sigh.
> Cheers! Jean