A bit of background.

(1) A passenger manifest for an immigrant ancestor has a name which appeared to me to be FOIVL or FEIVL. Multiple people have looked at it, and all agree the first letter is an F, 2nd letter is E or O, 3rd letter is I, 4th letter is V, U or N, 5th letter is L or E. On the manifest there are no distinguishing characteristics between the V/U/N and the E/L letters. For example, Chave and Chane look identical, and I only know they are different because of my research.

(2) The issued Certificate of Arrival (COA) transcribed the name as JOINE. The Petition for Naturalization has JANIS (clearly legible and written multiple times). The immigrant ancestor changed his name and wrote, "JANIS AKA JACK."

(3) Immigrant's father's death certificate lists his father (immigrants grandfather) as YANOH and JewishGenner's said it must have been a typo and should have been YONAH. (Grandfather known to be deceased at time of immigrant's birth.)

(4) Immigrant's granddaughter thought immigrant's name was YONAH.

I am beginning to think immigrant had a double-first name but I find nothing to support the pairing of Yonah and Feivel. Nor can I find any names remotely like JANIS.

I would be most open to any thoughts or ideas.

Thank you.



closed as off-topic by rosends, Shmuel Brin, sabbahillel, DonielF, Yishai Aug 22 '17 at 12:38

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions about the Hebrew language or about history or news of the Jewish people, Jewish individuals, or the State of Israel, except as related to Judaism, are off-topic. If this question does relate to Judaism, please edit it to indicate how." – rosends, Shmuel Brin, sabbahillel, DonielF, Yishai
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


If you look closely it looks plausible that the first letter here is also a "J" and then the name can read Joine which is a way some people say a Cholom.

Look at the fifth name from the bottom where it looks like an "F" yet is clearly a "J".

  • True! And that is how Yiddish speakers would pronounce Jonah/Yonah: Yoyneh! – ezra Aug 22 '17 at 2:16
  • Gershon Gold: Interesting point about 5th from bottom. But if you look at the 1st one, it was YANKEL changed to JANKEL. So I think the 5th from bottom is also YANKEL rather than JANKEL. – jGo Aug 22 '17 at 2:16
  • Thank you, Ezra, that's helps a lot. I only knew Hebrew pronunciation. – jGo Aug 22 '17 at 2:17
  • In Poland a "Y" sound is written as "J" – Gershon Gold Aug 22 '17 at 9:55

Feivel is a diminutive of Feibush, which is the Yiddish form of the name Phoebus, and is often used as a translation of the Biblical name Shimshon (Samson).

Shimshon comes from the Hebrew word shemesh, which means "sun," and Phoebus is from the Greek word phoibus which means "bright" or "pure."


On a different note, feigel in Yiddish means a bird, and the name Jonah is from the Hebrew word yonah which means a dove. There might be a connection there, but last time I checked Feigel was a female name, and your ancestor's name was Feivel.

Also, there is a name on the list you provided: Taube. Taube is German for dove, which would be the literal translation of the name Jonah into German!

By the way, I hope you know that generally questions related to the etymology of Hebrew/Yiddish words when not directly connected to Jewish Law or literature is off-topic. Please see our Help Center for more information on this. Welcome to Mi Yodeya, jGo! We hope to see more of you soon!

  • Thank you for your reply and I had come to a similar answer, finding no connection between the names. I was also interested in the connection of the names to the literature -- so thank you for that as well. BTW: it was a discussion of the etymology of names (Feivel in particular) which made me think I could ask the question here. My apologies. – jGo Aug 22 '17 at 0:21
  • @jGo - You're welcome! I will begin searching for connection in the literature, if it exists. No problem about the question being "off-topic." I think we've all asked our fair share of them, even when we aren't new to the site. – ezra Aug 22 '17 at 0:26
  • Thank you. I'm looking for literature and etymological reasons why Feivel might be connected to Jonah -- if at all. Guess that teaches me -- to read the rules first. And I know better. LOL. – jGo Aug 22 '17 at 0:31

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .