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I've run across the abbreviated name "B." in the oldest church books I am working with. I don't think I've seen it used after around the middle of the 17th century, but I've seen it in entries in the marriage and funeral books between the 1570s and 1640. These are the oldest people still alive at the time, so they'd have been born likely before 1570, and at a time before baptism records were kept, so I cannot see their baptismal names. So far, I've noticed the following:

  • B. Michael enter image description here

  • B. Adam enter image description here

  • B. Baltzar enter image description here enter image description here

  • B. Conrad

  • B. Elias enter image description here enter image description here

  • B. Eÿlias Friderich enter image description here

  • B. Frederich enter image description here

  • B. Sebastian enter image description here

I have only seen this abbreviated name style for "B."; no other letter.

Was there some common "B" name such that an abbreviated "B" would make sense? What name did this indicate?

Examples in context:

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    In more recent books, there are sometimes abbrevations for some social/legal status (eg citizen). Could this indicate someone who is a Bürger of that place? Do you know whether this distinction exists for that time and location?
    – jadepx
    Oct 6, 2021 at 16:40
  • I think it's not an abbreviation of a name. Do you have an example how it's used in a marriage record? If it's an indication of social status (like Bauer, for example), then it should be used in other records as well, including baptism and marriages. If it's only used with death records, then it's probably something else.
    – CuriousM
    Oct 6, 2021 at 20:09
  • Reviewing my notes, let me correct myself. You're correct, I've only seen it in funeral records, not with marriages. That said, however, the records only start about 1574, and these guys were all already born, baptised, and married by that point, so I wouldn't take the lack of such a record as specifically indicative. The last of them that I've noticed died in 1636, with no new "B. ___" people being baptised/married after 1574.
    – BrianFreud
    Oct 7, 2021 at 0:46
  • Very interesting. Do all persons have this B., or are there some without it? Modern citizenship did not exist at that point. As this is already past the Reformation, it might indicate the religion of the person? Is the B. only present for men?
    – jadepx
    Oct 7, 2021 at 8:14
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    If it's only used in funeral records, then it might be from Latin Beatus = selig, verstorben. See: sudetendeutsche-familienforscher.de/genealogische-abkuerzungen/… But this does not explain why only some have it and others not. There has to be some additional explanation.
    – CuriousM
    Oct 12, 2021 at 20:25

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