I never knew my grandfather, Harvey Blieden, as he died in 1934. I knew he was the son of Aron who was the son of Ber. However, I never gave much thought as to who Harvey could have been named after. Yesterday, I believe I stumbled upon the answer to a question I never realized I had.
Harvey was the son of Aron Bliden and Hannah Wolfson Bliden. In an earlier blog dated February 6, 2020, I wrote about Hannah’s father, Yechezkel Wolfson. I now believe that Harvey was named for his grandfather, Yechezkel, who died a martyr. Below I explain my reasoning.
Our Jewish Eastern European ancestors had Hebrew names, Yiddish names, Secular names, and Americanized names. They also often had double names and went by their double name, their first name, and at times, just their middle name. I have even seen cases where the middle name and first name were flip flopped.
To help understand what all of these names could have been, JewishGen.org has a Given Names Database https://www.jewishgen.org/databases/GivenNames/ where you plug in a name and all of the variations of that name are returned. I was doing this for some unusual ancestor names when I decided to see what other names Yechezkel could have gone by. This is what the Given Names Database returned:
- Hebrew: Yechezkeyl Khatsa\Khatse / Ezekiel / Leviye / Leviyo
- Yiddish: Ekhezkeyl / Yekhezkl / Ezekhil / Haskl / Heskl / Hatskl / Kaskl / Khaske / Khaskl / Khatse / Khatshe / Khatskele / Khatskl / Khatsl / Khazkl / Kheskl / Khezkl / YEZEKIEL / Yokhezkiel
- Secular: no listings
- English equivalents: Charles / Chaskel / EZEKIEL / Harry / Haskel / Henry / Hyman / Oscar
The English equivalents of Chaskel and Harry immediately caught my eye as I remembered documents I had seen for Harvey. Some of these documents include:
- I have a South African permit for Chazkel Bliden. Before Harvey came to the US, he went to South Africa.
- On his ship manifest to the US dated 1906, he is listed as Chaikel Blendman
- On his marriage certificate he is listed as Harry Bleiden
- On his 1920 Draft Card, he is listed as Harvey Blieden
- On his naturalization index, he is listed as Harry Blieden
- On his naturalization papers, he is listed as Chazkel Blieden and/or Bleiden
- On his tombstone, his name is Harvey Blieden. In Hebrew it states Yehezkel ben Rav Ahron Yitzhak which translates to Ezekiel son of Aron Isaac.
From the Given Names Database we see that variations for Yechezkel could be Chazkel, Ezekiel, and Harry, all of which Harvey went by at various times. Harvey was the oldest son and since boys were named after deceased ancestors, it would make sense that Harvey would have been named for his grandfather Yechezkel.
You can now also understand why researching our ancestors is so confusing and time-consuming. You need to search for the same person using so many different variations of their name. However, it is always rewarding when the lightbulb goes off. Realizing who Harvey was named for is another stepping stone and might provide clues to further discoveries.