Names, Lineages, and Document Archaeology: Examining Traditions and Cultural Shifts in Jewish Personal Names
Author(s): Taylor Peacock
While artifacts and grave goods remain an archaeologist’s primary tools for gathering information on past populations, document and historical archaeology increasingly look to census records, obituaries, and family records, not just to confirm information about recovered artifacts, but as artifacts themselves. This study analyzed census data, birth records, and obituaries associated with three missing individuals assumed to be buried in Victoria’s Congregation Emanu-El Jewish cemetery to understand how personal names could be used in identification. The study determined that shifts in personal naming traditions in a family can indicate religious conversion, as was found across four generations of the Sylvester family, preventing burial in the cemetery. The study also examined name shifts across a single individual: first, how those who create records impact the data they collect, as was the case of Huldah who became Hilda across three decades of census, and second, how individuals themselves may change names between documents, highlighting how personal choices impact identification, as was the case of Solomon, also Simon. In examining three different forms of naming as case studies, the results emphasized how crucial documents can be to identifying individuals and families, but in doing so, we must consider social and cultural contexts.
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Names, Lineages, and Document Archaeology: Examining Traditions and Cultural Shifts in Jewish Personal Names. Taylor Peacock. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443261)
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min long: -141.504; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -51.68; max lat: 73.328 ;
Abstract Id(s): 21849