Sunday, April 25, 2021

Hers Fuchs. And His Brother Hers Fuchs. Huh?

My great-great grandmother had a brother named Eizik Leib Fuchs.  Eizik Leib married Gittel Buchbinder, and they had a bunch of kids.  Two of those kids were named Hers (pronounced Hersh) Fuchs, so I recorded the older Hers' death as "before 1887," as that was when Hers #2 was born.  So far no mystery, right?

Birth of Hers Fuchs #1; Felso Neresnicze, Hungary (now Novoslytsya, Ukraine); December 25, 1878

Hers #1's birth is clearly recorded as December 25, 1878, to Leib and Gitel Fuks.  What about Hers #2?

Birth of Hers Fuchs #2; Felso Neresnicze, Hungary (now Novoslytsya, Ukraine); January 24, 1887

Hers #2 was born January 24, 1887 to Leba and Gitel (nee Buchbinder) Fux.  As an aside, the midwife was Malka Wizel, the baby's grandmother (and my great-great-great grandmother).

So I assumed that Hers #1 died at some point before January 24, 1887.  Reasonable, right?  Except that I recently found this.

Marriage of Hers Fuksz; Szaldobos, Hungary (currently Steblivka, Ukraine), 1900

Hers Fuksz, son of Leib and Gitel Fuksz of Felso Neresznicze, was married in 1900.  And his birth date is given as December 25, 1877, exactly one year off of Hers #1.  Hers #2 would have only been 13 at the time.  So this would be Hers #1 getting married more than 13 years after I was sure he had to have died.

Every other Leib Fuchs in town who would have been having children in the 1870s/1880s was married to a woman not named Gitel.  So I'm pretty sure that both Hers #1 and Hers #2 were born to the same couple.  Hers #1 was obviously still alive when Hers #2 was born.  

It would make sense for their oldest son to be given the name Hers, as the baby's deceased grandfather was Baruch Hersh, usually called Hers in Hungarian records.  And it would have made sense for a second child to be given the name in honor of the grandfather, if the first child had died before the birth of the second.  But it does not make sense (in any way I can determine) for two children in the same family to be given the same name.

Hers #2 emigrated to America with his parents and the younger group of siblings (leaving behind married older siblings like Hers #1), where he was known as Harry.  In one census, he is known as B. Harry, showing that he was likely Baruch Hersh, just like his deceased grandfather--and the presumed Hebrew name of his older brother.

So why would a couple have two sons with the same name??  Any ideas?

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16 comments:

  1. I have found a couple of ancestors who had two living sons with the same name. In my husband's family, John Woodruff left a will naming his sons John the Elder and John the Younger. I also went to elementary school with a boy whose father loved boxer Joe Louis. He therefore named all three sons Joe Louis Surname!

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    1. The difference is that Hungarian Jews wouldn't do this--naming after a still-living relative pretty much says you want them to die!

      Poor Joe Louis Surnames!!

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  2. I have multiple sibling relatives (male and female) who had the same first name . They had different middle names however,by which they were known.

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    1. Were they Eastern European Jews? If so, what town did this happen in?

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  3. Any chance that the second was named after another Hers from the other side of the family who died closer to when #2 was born?

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    1. I looked and didn't see another remotely closely related on either branch. It's just the oddest thing!

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    2. Yes it is.... my only other thought was because one was sick and maybe they thought he wouldn't make it? Or the 1st one drafted for war and they figured they wouldn't see him again? I can't imagine if he was a infant of a relative they took in due to death of mother during childbirth that the record wouldn't indicate that. Would DNA help at all? Was Hers#2 the last child born?

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  4. Could the first one be Hertz? (Like part of Naftali Herz ... or Herzel) . It’s common to see “ts “ recorded as “s”

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    1. I don't know. The letter 's' in Hungarian sounds like 'sh' in English. I'm not sure if they'd even see a connection to Hertz.

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  5. Maybe somebody else used his birth certificate? My ggm (Litvak) had to use a birth cert of a child who had died for one who didn't have one, but this was when she immigrated. I heard a story from an older cousin that their family name was due to a birth cert being sold to them for someone who had died. Just a thought.

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    1. Hers #2 did live with his parents once in America, so it would seem to me that they were truly his parents.

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  6. Finding more documents about the family will help solving the mystery. Is there a book of residents of that town? That can help.... personally I believe there is a mistake in one of the documents or a missing piece of information...

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    1. No book of residents. Also no censuses that I'm aware of that would cover the years that both Hers brothers would be living with their parents.

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    2. Hello Lara, I have been following your blog since I heard yo speak in Washington state, and you raise an intersting conundrum. I can only think of a couple of circumstances where 2 boys have the same first name. 1) It is possible that Gitel's deceased father/grandfather also had the name Hersz.
      2) The second child may have had a different given name, say Jakob Hersz, but was registered as Hersz. The registration may have been done to confuse the authorities (and future genealogists) for reasons unknown to us.

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  7. it is odd. perhaps they had subtle name differences Baruch Hers and ___ Hers but both went by a different nickname or diminitve name. this could be if the first one never formally used the name Hers.

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