Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Almost Wordless Wednesday: The Many Names of Barney Markell

Barney Markell was a man of many names. Above, his gravestone in Riverside Cemetery, New Jersey, showing that he died 73 years ago today.

As part of my Genealogy Go-Over, I'm reexamining the details I've gathered about ancestors. Now it's Barney's turn.
  • The translation of his Hebrew name is: Binyamin Yitzchock Henoch, son of R' Alchonon Avraham. Knowing his father's name helped to connect him with his brothers (by seeing their gravestones and other documents).
  • On his petition for naturalization, his name is shown as "Banna Markell." 
  • On his declaration of intention, his name is shown as "Bena Markell."
  • On his first marriage license, his name is shown as "Berna Markell."
  • On his second marriage license, 19 years after the first marriage, his name is shown as "Barney H. Markell."
  • On his WWI draft card, his name is shown as "Banna Henry Markell." 
  • No WWII draft card found yet...but I've also seen his name as "Barnhart Markell."
I've written before about the Markell branch of my family tree, including here and here (among other posts), and expect more posts as I continue double-checking my research.

RIP, Barney Markell, father-in-law of a matchmaker aunt who brought my parents together for their first date.


  1. His Hebrew name looks like Benjamin. I wonder why that name didn't stick. And how did Markell come about? You'll have to excuse my ignorance about Jewish naming customs. Well, you don't have to but I want you to.

  2. Hi Wendy! Yes, it does look like Benjamin (spelled with a y in the Hebrew version and translated by the friendly folks at "Tracing the Tribe" on FB). Markell may be a version of Merkel/Merkle, a common surname in the area where he was born. I know my Barney used "Markell" consistently on his many documents, as did his brothers. Thanks for your comments.

  3. I encountered the same thing with my Jewish roots. My maternal grandfather's family was Gartner/Gardner and the given names change according to various records such as Leon, Louis & Leopold for my great grandfather.

  4. Colleen, I can see Leon and Louis, but Leopold? This is what gives us headaches! Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Thank goodness his last name was consistent or it really would have been a challenge to identify him!

  6. Hi Anna, you are so right! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

  7. That's a lot of names! It's a good reminder to look for all kinds of variant names/spellings when we search for family members.

  8. Dana, ordinarily I wouldn't have thought to look for this gentleman under "Barney." So you're right, we have to keep an open mind and look for all kinds of variants during our research!