Translated Surnames

If your relative’s last name is a word that is easily translated (such as a color or an occupation), is it possible that some records refer to him by that translated version of his name?

Was your ancestor with the last name of White actually a German with a different original such as Weiß?

Was your ancestor with the last name of Baker actually a Spaniard with the last name of Panadero?

4 thoughts on “Translated Surnames

  1. Lora

    Have an ancestor with the surname “Sophia” born 1835 in Portugal. Have tried versions of Sofia, Sophie, and cannot find him anywhere prior to the 1880 census in Chambers County, Texas. “Sophia” does not show up in Portuguese/Brazilian surname lists. First name Emanuel/Manuel. Have not been able to find him in any immigration list. What could the translation be? Or did he just change his last name entirely? He is my brick wall.

    Reply
    1. Paula Perry

      Find someone who speaks Portuguese and English and ask them what surnames might ‘sound like Sophie’ to an English speaker. As a Texan, I can tell you that the Texas drawl makes it harder. You should hear me trying to talk with someone who has an “accent”.

      Reply
  2. Nancy Hershberger

    My paternal grandmother was Bohemian with a surname of Public. One of my cousins found someone in that area who researched and found that their Bohemian name was actually Pavlik. I am hoping that this will help further research in Bohemia.

    Reply

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