Alternative Surname?

  • Hello fellow researchers
    I am puzzled by several entries from the Evangelische duplicate church books for Werben (Kr Cottbus). A series of alternative surnames are given:
    1. Lise Dahlitz oder Schwarzko is the unmarried mother of Christian Dahlitz (1825/36)
    2. Anna Dahlitz oder Schwarzko and Hans Chuddi oder Koal are named as the parents in this record (1827/10). Martin Schwarzko of Werben is named as the first Godparent.
    3. Christiane Schielka oder Schwarzko is the mother (no father listed) of Friedrich (1852/100). I think the record shows a Schwarzko as a Godparent but this is hard to read.
    What do these alternative records mean? I have been told that these families are Wendish (Sorbian). Under what circumstances would these alternative names be used.
    I will be very appreciative of some direction in this matter.
    Barry Krueger

  • Hello Barry,

    I think, the alternatives do not depend on beeing Sorbian or not: sometimes these alternative names have been used, if a person was born before the marriage of his/her parents. But in this case it was not usual to continue this naming for more than one generation.

    Other possibilities:
    1. a long time ago there might have been a person whose mother took a new marriage after the dead of his father. If the relationship between the child and the new husband of the mother has been very good - or if the husband was very honorable - the child might have taken both surnames: of his own father and of the new husband of his mother.

    2. the mother has been of a (relativly) famous or mighty familiy and took a husband of a less famous family. Then the sense of this doubled surname (in German language most times noticed als "anders genannt" or "alias") may have been used as a symbol for belonging to a famous family.

    One example for the last: I know about a Family "Gundelach anders genannt Becker". The Gundelachs have been famous and mighty with their making glass (and with beeing leaders of a glassmakers-association during the 16. century). "Becker" has been nearly a no-name - and so the combination "Gundelach anders genannt Becker" or "Gundelach alias Becker" or "Gundelach-Becker" took part.

    Most times these combinations are very old, which makes it hard to learn anything abourt their orign.

    Greetings from Hannover


    IRGENDWIE sind wir doch ALLE miteinander verwandt... ;)

  • To add one possibility more which has been in use until the end of the 19th century:

    Sometimes families named themself after a house, an village or an aerea, which belonged to them and took this name as their first or second surename. If the house, village or aerea got its name from a familiy which had possessed it before, both of the names have been surenames.

    Greetings again!

    IRGENDWIE sind wir doch ALLE miteinander verwandt... ;)

    Edited once, last by Sbriglione ().

  • Thankyou. Yes, perhaps it is a Hofname or Hausname. I have another ancestor this time from the village of Cortnitz in Saxony - his marriage record from the late 18th century describes him as "Andreas Kleinig called Mieth" - perhaps the same thing