Monday, September 19, 2011

Czech first names

Translation of Czech first names into English is often discussed topic. There are some name which are easy to translate, as Anna, Jan or Zuzana, but there are also other names where translation is not so clear – the most common example is the name Václav, which is widely discussed (there are currently four different names used for translation of name Václav – all of them are based on the immigration records).

Sometimes our ancestors themselves were those who brought the confusion into the usage of different translations of first names. They had a common Czech name but used unusual English translation which led to misunderstanding. If you find out such case, don't hesitate to contact me for explanation.

If you are directly researching Czech parish registries, it must be taken into account that the forms of names used there are often different from those which were used in common language. Czech registries were written in three different languages – Czech, Latin and German. This leads to another risk of confussion, even in case where Latin or German version is very similar to the English one. That's why the Latin and German translation was added to all names.



Czech
English
German / Latin
Alois
Aloysius
Aloisius / Aloisius
Alžběta
Elizabeth
Elisabeth / Elisabetha
Anežka
Agnes
Agnes / Agnes
Anna
Ann, Anne
Anna, Anne / Anna
Antonín
Anthony
Anton / Antonius
Antonie
Antonia
Antonia / Antonia
Barbora
Barbara
Barbara / Barbara
Bartoloměj
Bart, Bartolomew
Batholomeus / Bartholomaeus
Blažej
Blasius
Blasius / Blasius
Eliška
Elisa, Elizabeth
Elizabeth / Elisabetha
Filip
Philip
Phillip / Phillipus
František
Frank, Francis
Franz / Franciscus
Františka
Frances
Franziska / Francisca
Havel
Gallus
Gallus / Gallus
Helena
Helen
Helene / Helena
Ignác
Ignatius
Ignaz / Ignatius
Jáchym
Joachym
Joachym / Joachimus
Jakub
Jacob, James
Jakob / Jacobus
Jan
John
Johann / Johannes
Jiljí
Giles
Egidius / Aegidius
Jiří
George
Georg / Georgius
Johana
Jane
Johanna / Johanna
Josef
Joseph
Joseph / Joseph
Josefa
Josephine, Jennifer
Josepha / Josepha
Karel
Charles
Karl / Carolus
Karolina
Caroline
Karolina / Carolina
Kašpar
Casper
Kaspar / Casparus
Kateřina
Catherine
Katharina / Catharina
Klára
Clara
Clara / Clara
Kryštof
Christopher
Christoph / Christophorus
Lucie
Lucy
Lucia / Lucia
Ludvík
Louis, Lewis
Ludwig / Ludovicus
Lukáš
Lucas
Lucas / Lucas
Magdaléna
Magdalene
Magdalene / Magdalena
Marek
Mark
Markus / Marcus
Mariana, Marie Anna
Mary Ann
Marianne / Maria Anna
Marie
Mary
Marie / Maria
Markéta
Margaret
Margarethe / Margaretha
Martin
Martin
Martin / Martinus
Matěj
Matthias
Matthias / Mathias
Matouš
Matthias
Matheus / Matheus
Matyáš1
Matthias
Matthias / Matthias
Michal
Michael
Michael / Michael
Mikuláš
Nicholas
Nicholas / Nicolaus
Ondřej
Andrew
Andreas / Andreas
Pavel
Paul
Paul / Paulus
Petr
Peter
Peter / Petrus
Rozalie
Rose, Rosalie
Rosalie / Rosalia
Rozina
Rose, Rosine
Rosina / Rosina
Rudolf
Rudolph
Rudolph / Rudolphus
Řehoř
Gregory
Gregor / Gregorius
Růžena
Rose
Rosina / Rosina
Salomena
Salome
Salome / Salome
Šebestián
Sebastian
Sebastien / Sebastian
Šimon
Simon
Simon / Simeon
Štěpán
Steven, Stephen
Stephan / Stephanus
Terezie
Theresa
Theres / Theresia
Tomáš
Thomas
Thomas / Thomas
Václav
Wenceslas, James, William, Walter
Wenzl / Wenceslaus
Vavřinec
Lawrence
Laurenz / Laurentius
Vincenc
Vincent
Vinzenz / Vincentius
Vít
Vitus
Veit
Vojtěch
Albert, Adalbert
Adalbert
Voršila
Ursula
Ursula
Zuzana
Susan
Susane / Susana
Žofie
Sophia
Sophia

1Matěj, Matouš and Matyáš are originally one single name, Matthias. It developed into three different names during the centuries, nowadays all three forms are used.

25 comments:

  1. Great to see this new blog! Wish you all the best! Scott Phillips

    ReplyDelete
  2. I thought I had seen Vojtěch as James in Chicago on some records. Is there another name for James?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Scott, thanks!

    Jen, I think most common translation of James is Jakub. However the translations are sometimes so unclear that even Jan could be translated as James instead of John and so on.

    I think as it depended only on people coming to U.S. which name will they choose as a "translation" to their original name, there is a huge mess in these translations...

    ReplyDelete
  4. My great-grandmother listed her father's name on her marriage record in the U.S. as Albert, so I knew I had the correct record when her birth record gave her father as "Votech". I am now searching for another of my great-grandmothers who came from Bohemia.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for the new perspective on Czech first names. I always assumed Vaclav was "James" and Jakub was "Jacob", Alois became "Louis" because that is how OUR families translated the Czech names when they immigrated to the U.S. from many areas in Bohemia. Your posts have opened my eyes. A name frustration for me is how to figure out the rules for the feminine endings on surnames. -- mgk

    ReplyDelete
  6. In our family, the english version of Vojtech was Albert...and for Vaclav, is was James.

    ReplyDelete
  7. A tradition developed among Czech immigrants to America to replace Vaclav with James, despite the fact that there is no historical or lingusitic connection between those two names. It was just that Vaclav was preceived as unusual in America and had no ranslation used as a firstname by Americans (the equivalents are Wenceslaus of the Christmas carol or Wendel, from the Germanized Wenzel). And James was very acceptable in America but did not already correspond to any Czech firstname. So it was a convenient substitution. James was available, because it is a uniquely English name, becoming common when the creators of the King James Bible substituted the king's name for the original Jacob everywhere in the text.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Albert/Vojtech is very different. It derives from an early Christian missionary named Adalbert, the Germanic form of the Enlish/French Albert. A protege of his had the very Slavic name Vojtech. When Adalbert died, Vojtech took his name to honor him. Vojtech eventually became one of the first bishops of Prague and carried on Adalbert's missionary work, converting the boy who would become King St. Steven of Hungary. So the Adalbert/Vojtech name is common throughout Central Europe. Interestingly, among the Magyars of today's Hungary the same name is Bela.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Matous is usually transcribed as Matthew. Matthew and Matthias were two different Apostols, Matthias being selested to replace Judas Iscariot.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it is only misreading and the name is Jirzik (Jiří, George). Capital J (often replaced by G) could be a very tricky letter.

      Delete
    2. (Sorry for the confused postings. My first attempt to post returned a "503 Service Unavailable" message so I posted again. Then, when I saw that both posts succeeded, I deleted the first, but not before you had replied. My goodness, you are quick!)

      Thanks for the reply. I had considered every other letter except G.

      Congratulations on your blog. I just discovered it today and it is a great resource. Congratulations also on your new daughter.

      Delete
  11. In researching my ancestors from Loštice, I came across the name Birzik, which was a common name for men in that town in the mid-1600's. Later it seems to disappear altogether. In what I think is the marriage record of his daughter, his name is listed as Jirzik, which I presume translates as George. Could Birzik be another form of the name Jirzik?

    ReplyDelete
  12. How about the name Ludmilla?

    ReplyDelete
  13. It seems to me that Helena and Magdalena were often used interchangeably, probably due to the abreviation Lena/Alena. Any thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Interesting piece of information, let me tell you, your blog gives the best and the most interesting information. once again hats off to you! Thanks a million once again, Regards, Hindu Boy Names

    ReplyDelete
  15. My Great Grandmother was Born Bozena, in USA they called her Bertha.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm curious if you know of similar translations for town names. The passenger list I have from Bremen, Germany says my ancestors came from "Zugice" (or possibly Lugice) but I can't figure out where this is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a document here that matches the German and Latin names of Moravian towns to their Czech equivalent. Unfortunately, there is no entry for Zugice or Lugice.

      Delete
  17. What about the name Eva? Would that also be Eva in Czech? I've run into that name a few times in some of the older records.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would be the same - Eva, sometimes Ewa.

      Delete
  18. I am looking for womens name fininka or something like that is my fathers prenunciation of it would anyone know.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Such a helpful list! I was researching Bohemian ancestors yesterday and found my great-grand-uncle James listed as Vaclav on a passenger list. I thought maybe I had the wrong family and would have to start over from scratch. Your blog came to the rescue! Fascinating stuff. Thanks for posting!

    ReplyDelete
  20. What about abbreviated middle names in the Hamry area of Klatovy, Pilsen? I am running across quite a few called Karl Bor. or Karl Borv. or Karl Borg. before the surname. A few are spelled out and looks like Borvenuvs or Borvenre. There are also many called Johann Baptist then the Surname.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Sometimes saints names were given to boys. For Example, Karl Borromeo Aschenbrenner was named after St, Charles Borromeo. Other examples are: Johann Baptist Beierl named for St, John the Baptist, as well as Johann Nepomuk Kollross named after St. John Nepomuk. Those middle names were usually abbreviated to Bor., Nep., and Bap. in the baptismal records of 1800-1850 in and around Eisenstrass (Hojsova Straz) and Hammern (Hamry), in Klatovy Pilzen.

    ReplyDelete