I believe that these are the birth records of my GGGrandmother and her sister. In the USA, they were known as Sophia (1st pict) and Mary (2nd pict). Their parents were known as Christ and Sophia. The black bars indicate the relevant rows.

The columns are birth date, baptism date, father's name, mother's name, child's name, ???. I don't read German so I am unsure of the last two columns.

My question: Is there any logic to the multiple given names? In the USA, people are normally use their first name, here there are multiple instances where the first was not used.

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  • 2
    – user6485
    Jun 4, 2021 at 15:24
  • 1
    Many of my spouse's German-speaking Lutheran relatives went by the second of their two or three given names, and there was very frequent overlap between names of siblings. Contemporary officialdom (in Hungary) had just as much trouble with this as we do; later documents often record only the call name, or switch the order of names around, leading to elaborate process-of-elimination identifications of "who is it that died here, anyway?"
    – JPmiaou
    Jun 9, 2021 at 19:14

1 Answer 1


The columns are titled, from left to right:

  1. Jahr, Mon. u Tag (Year, month and day) der Geburt (of birth) / der Taufe (of baptism)

  2. Namen des Vaters (Name(s) of the father): starting with occupation, surname is underlined

  3. Namen der Mutter (Name(s) of the mother): "g" or "geb" indicates maiden name

  4. Namen des Kindes (Name(s) of the child): typically multiple given names, and often also information on the death where available

  5. Namen der Taufzeugen (Name(s)s of the godparents): typically three godparents, with full name and residence

  6. This column is only partially visible, but probably contains remarks, the name of the priest or something similar

As for "unused" given names, girls/women often received one very common name, like Anna or Maria, which might not have been used in everyday life, and one ore more other names, often chosen from family tradition, that were sometimes also used interchangeably.

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