Whenever a duplicate name occurred in these patterns, the
next name in the series was used. If a child died in infancy
the name was often reused for the next child of the same gender.
A rare twist occurred sometimes. A child's name would be reused
when a spouse died and the surviving spouse remarried and had
more children with the next spouse. I found this happened when
a spouse had children in Germany and then his spouse died. He
left his children behind in Germany, possibly with the grandparents,
and then emigrated to Australia. Sometime after arrival he
remarried and named his eldest son born in Australia by his new
spouse with the same name as the son still living in Germany. This
results in two adult children with the same name.
If you are lucky enough to find a family with a lot of
children, who strictly followed one of these naming patterns,
then it may give you useful clues to determining the possible
names of family members in earlier generations.
5. An "in" or "en", added to the end of a name, such as
Anna Maria Kerchnerin, is a Germanic language name ending suffix
denoting that the person is female. Thus the correct spelling of
the last name in the example would be Kerchner, not Kerchnerin.
6. An "er" or "ner", added to a surname based on the name of something,
denoted that the person worked with that object or at that occupation,
if the main portion of the name was an object or an occupation, or that
the person was from that geographic location or city, if the main portion
of the name was a geographic location. Examples: Forst is German for a
forest, thus Forster is one who worked in a forest or with woodlands or
was from a forest. Berlin is a city in Germany, thus Berliner is one who
is from Berlin. Since English is a Germanic rooted language we do the same
thing in English, i.e., Paint(er), Garden(er), New York(er).
The suffixes mentioned in 5. and 6. above are compounded in many
cases. The nouns Kirche and Kerche are German words for church. Thus for
the surname spelled in an early record as Kerchnerin, i.e., Kerch(ner)(in)
is a family name which means a person who worked in or near a church,
and this particular person is female.
7. Frequently the secular name given to the child was also the same as the
secular given name of one of the baptismal sponsors for the child. Said
baptismal sponsors frequently were close relatives but also could be
close and trusted friends and neighbors.
8. In the last half of the 19th century after the first and middle name
naming convention switched to the way it is today, some families gave all
the children the same middle name, which was often the maiden name of the
mother of the children. This same middle name, which if it was a surname,
could also be that of a famous patriot, such as Benjamin Franklin or George
Washington. But, if all the children had the same middle name, this could
be a clue to the maiden name of their mother.
I hope that the above information will be of assistance to individuals
researching 18th Century German names and records.