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Varsa vs. Barsa

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  • Marilyn Hertenstein
    I would like the opinions of my fellow list members on this one. My grandfather s names was Andrej Varsa. I have seen the LDS films from the Church in
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 2, 2006
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      I would like the opinions of my fellow list members on this one. My
      grandfather's names was Andrej Varsa. I have seen the LDS films from the
      Church in Teplicksa, and the name was clearly VARSA. Some family members
      were listed as Varssa, or Varsfa with the second "s" an uncrossed f, but
      the"V" was always legible. His immigration papers all had VARSA on them,
      and that is what the family always went by. In my search the manifest on
      Ellis Island, I finally found him listed as Andras BARSA, arriving Dec. 11,
      1906. Originally, I discarded the spelling as the usually explanation of
      foreign sounding name, etc etc., but now I'm starting to wonder if there is
      more to the exchange of the letter V for the letter B. Has anyone else come
      across this occurrence. What do the members think of this?

      Opinions please.


      Marilyn


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • amiak27
      ... Some family members were listed as Varssa, or Varsfa with the second s an uncrossed f, but the V was always legible. ... Marilyn, I suspect the
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 2, 2006
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        --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, "Marilyn Hertenstein"
        <mjhertenstein@...> wrote:
        >
        > I would like the opinions of my fellow list members on this one.
        Some family members > were listed as Varssa, or Varsfa with the
        second "s" an uncrossed f, but > the"V" was always legible.
        > Marilyn

        Marilyn,

        I suspect the Varssa and Varsfa were spelling conventions of the time
        using what is called the "long s" that looks like aa lower case 'f'.
        I know it was in use in the USA and with European languages using
        either the Cyrillic or the Roman/Latin script, I suspect the long s
        was common in European languages that used the Latin script as well.

        I haven't found my "Written Languages" book and only did a part of the
        homework on teh internet, but check out
        http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_110.html

        "Dear Cecil:

        Why was it popular in the 18th century to occasionally substitute the
        letter f (or a reasonable facsimile) for s? What were the rules of
        grammar concerning this usage? Was is Noah Webster who finally put an
        end to this abfurd practice? --Nina G., Chicago

        Dear Nina:

        At last, a chance to show off my encyclopedic knowledge of
        paleography, the study of ancient writing. You have no idea how seldom
        this topic comes up in casual conversation.

        What you take to be an f is actually the so-called long s, also known
        as the medial s, to be differentiated from the terminal or short or
        round s, which we regard today as the conventional form. Throughout
        its history, the long s has always looked a lot like the lowercase f,
        to the extent of having a little nubbin vaguely reminiscent of a
        crossbar appended to its middle sometimes. But the two letters are not
        otherwise related.

        As one might deduce from the nomenclature, the long/medial s was
        supposed to be used in the middle of a word, while the terminal s was
        used to finish one off. (In practice this rule was somewhat
        haphazardly adhered to.) The two versions were phonetically equivalent
        and derived from the same Roman letterform. Why folks figured they
        needed two varieties when they could have scraped by with one is
        beyond me, but we might note that having terminal and middle
        letterforms is not inherently any nuttier than having every sentence
        start with a capital letter, a comparatively recent invention.

        The use of two types of s dates back at least to the Middle Ages. The
        long s became especially popular during the Italian Renaissance, with
        the development of the various "humanistic" scripts that gave rise to
        our present English script. You'll notice that the long f, though not
        the long s, persists in many serif fonts in the type style we now call
        italic, although the long s was used in so-called roman (i.e., non-
        slanty) fonts as well.

        The Italians often used the long s even when they should have used a
        short one because letters with long expressive strokes in them made
        for an artier-looking manuscript. Unfortunately, they also made for a
        manuscript that was near impossible to read, and it's probably for
        that reason as much as any that the use of the long s finally died out
        in the 19th century. The form survived in the formal German script
        Fraktur until Fraktur itself bit the dust after World War II. (The
        script had come to be associated with German militarism.) Can't say
        I'm sad to see it go. Spelling is enough of a crapshoot these days as
        it is.

        --CECIL ADAMS"
      • Marilyn Hertenstein
        Most interesting about the long and short s , thanks to your friend Cecil for the explanation. I m still concerned about the exchange of the letter B for V.
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 3, 2006
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          Most interesting about the long and short "s", thanks to your friend Cecil
          for the explanation.
          I'm still concerned about the exchange of the letter B for V. Were they
          pronounced similarly?
          Perhaps that would explain why it was written that way on the manifest,
          perhaps the clerk
          heard a B. But then again, I assume passengers must have had papers for
          them to copy from, and
          so that brings up another question that will show off my ignorance, does a
          Slovak, Hungarian or Cyrillic
          letter representing V look anything like a B? (Andrej came from Teplicska,
          near Spisska Nova Ves, now Slovakia)

          Marilyn

          _____

          From: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com] On
          Behalf Of amiak27
          Sent: Sunday, July 02, 2006 11:43 PM
          To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [S-R] Re: Varsa vs. Barsa - Long S



          --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@ <mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS%40yahoogroups.com>
          yahoogroups.com, "Marilyn Hertenstein"
          <mjhertenstein@...> wrote:
          >
          > I would like the opinions of my fellow list members on this one.
          Some family members > were listed as Varssa, or Varsfa with the
          second "s" an uncrossed f, but > the"V" was always legible.
          > Marilyn

          Marilyn,

          I suspect the Varssa and Varsfa were spelling conventions of the time
          using what is called the "long s" that looks like aa lower case 'f'.
          I know it was in use in the USA and with European languages using
          either the Cyrillic or the Roman/Latin script, I suspect the long s
          was common in European languages that used the Latin script as well.

          I haven't found my "Written Languages" book and only did a part of the
          homework on teh internet, but check out
          http://www.straight <http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_110.html>
          dope.com/classics/a1_110.html

          "Dear Cecil:

          Why was it popular in the 18th century to occasionally substitute the
          letter f (or a reasonable facsimile) for s? What were the rules of
          grammar concerning this usage? Was is Noah Webster who finally put an
          end to this abfurd practice? --Nina G., Chicago

          Dear Nina:

          At last, a chance to show off my encyclopedic knowledge of
          paleography, the study of ancient writing. You have no idea how seldom
          this topic comes up in casual conversation.

          What you take to be an f is actually the so-called long s, also known
          as the medial s, to be differentiated from the terminal or short or
          round s, which we regard today as the conventional form. Throughout
          its history, the long s has always looked a lot like the lowercase f,
          to the extent of having a little nubbin vaguely reminiscent of a
          crossbar appended to its middle sometimes. But the two letters are not
          otherwise related.

          As one might deduce from the nomenclature, the long/medial s was
          supposed to be used in the middle of a word, while the terminal s was
          used to finish one off. (In practice this rule was somewhat
          haphazardly adhered to.) The two versions were phonetically equivalent
          and derived from the same Roman letterform. Why folks figured they
          needed two varieties when they could have scraped by with one is
          beyond me, but we might note that having terminal and middle
          letterforms is not inherently any nuttier than having every sentence
          start with a capital letter, a comparatively recent invention.

          The use of two types of s dates back at least to the Middle Ages. The
          long s became especially popular during the Italian Renaissance, with
          the development of the various "humanistic" scripts that gave rise to
          our present English script. You'll notice that the long f, though not
          the long s, persists in many serif fonts in the type style we now call
          italic, although the long s was used in so-called roman (i.e., non-
          slanty) fonts as well.

          The Italians often used the long s even when they should have used a
          short one because letters with long expressive strokes in them made
          for an artier-looking manuscript. Unfortunately, they also made for a
          manuscript that was near impossible to read, and it's probably for
          that reason as much as any that the use of the long s finally died out
          in the 19th century. The form survived in the formal German script
          Fraktur until Fraktur itself bit the dust after World War II. (The
          script had come to be associated with German militarism.) Can't say
          I'm sad to see it go. Spelling is enough of a crapshoot these days as
          it is.

          --CECIL ADAMS"






          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Bill Tarkulich
          The issue appears to be a case of simple clerical error based on the information you exhibit. Ship manifests were written at the port of departure by the
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 3, 2006
          • 0 Attachment
            The issue appears to be a case of simple clerical error based on the
            information you exhibit.

            Ship manifests were written at the port of departure by the shipping
            company; specifically, the ship's Purser. The US Dept. of Commerce mandated
            that the shipping companies complete these manifests and hand them over at
            arrival. The US immigration officials for the most part reviewed the
            information on the manifest and brought up specific issues as points of
            interrogatory and examination at Ellis Island or similar immigrant
            processing stations. US Immigration Officials were only allowed to modify
            manifests when clearly an error was identified. US Immigration stations
            also employed a wide variety of interpreters and had no agenda for
            "Americanizing" names.

            Now, consider ports of departure. Here, we have a Slovak immigrant, often
            illiterate, sitting in a foreign port, oftentimes Germany trying to say
            their name, surname, village name and so on in a Slavic Language to a
            typically Germanic Purser. Do you remember your grandparent's voice? How
            heavy the accent was was. Errors such as you describe do not surprise me.

            For further reading:
            http://www.iabsi.com/gen/public/EIDB_Errors.htm#Other
            At the bottom of the page are links to the following topics, written by the
            US INS:
            * An essay about immigrants' tendency to change their names
            * How did immigration change immigrants' names?
            * What information is found on Alien Registration Records?
            * What are these numbers written on a ship passenger manifest?
            * When and where did INS collect ship passenger manifests?
            * Where can I find out about a certain immigration/nationality law?
            * What was a Declaration of Intention?
            * What was a Petition for Naturalization?
            * What was a Naturalization Certificate?
            * What different kinds of citizenship records did INS create after 1906?
            * Why are there so few naturalization records for women before 1922?
            * Immigration and Naturalization Legislation (1790-1996)

            Bill Tarkulich

            P.S., Regarding "Varsfa" - this is old style cursive. A double-"s", that is
            "ss", was always written like a modern day "sf"

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Marilyn Hertenstein [mailto:mjhertenstein@...]
            Sent: Sunday, July 02, 2006 10:18 PM
            To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [S-R] Varsa vs. Barsa

            I would like the opinions of my fellow list members on this one. My
            grandfather's names was Andrej Varsa. I have seen the LDS films from the
            Church in Teplicksa, and the name was clearly VARSA. Some family members
            were listed as Varssa, or Varsfa with the second "s" an uncrossed f, but
            the"V" was always legible. His immigration papers all had VARSA on them,
            and that is what the family always went by. In my search the manifest on
            Ellis Island, I finally found him listed as Andras BARSA, arriving Dec. 11,
            1906. Originally, I discarded the spelling as the usually explanation of
            foreign sounding name, etc etc., but now I'm starting to wonder if there is
            more to the exchange of the letter V for the letter B. Has anyone else come
            across this occurrence. What do the members think of this?

            Opinions please.


            Marilyn


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




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          • Antal Burjan
            Hello Marilyn, A brief and general explanation that may work, though: certain consonants frequently change place with each other through ages or when a
            Message 5 of 5 , Jul 3, 2006
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              Hello Marilyn,

              A brief and general explanation that may work, though: certain consonants frequently change place with each other through ages or when a language develops from another. Some typical examples:

              b <--> v - just look at ther mess in Spanish where (mostly in pronounciation, very rarely in spelling) b substituted the initial (Latin) v.

              f <--> p - it is not by chance that even English spell "f" as "ph" so many times. It is a graphical reminder of this phenomenon... fenomenon? Or just consider Tagalog (Filipino) where Spanish (and English) "f"s have been substituted with p (pilipino - for filipino, pranses - for francés, and so on...

              r <--> l - just as in branco (Portuguese) - blanco (Spanish), praça (pt) - plaza (es), and so on...

              Don't think that these changes occur only in the languages I mentioned. Don't think that proper names are not subject to these changes. These (and much more) phonetical changes occur on a universal base and people who speak more languages than I do (or happen to speak other languages) will be able to confirm it and they will surely add several other examples too. So don't bother too much trying to understand the changes in the spelling of your name - just keep a good record of them. I'm not sure I answered YOUR question... however I hope you'll be able to use this general answer too.

              Have a nice day ahead.
              BA

              Marilyn Hertenstein <mjhertenstein@...> escribió:
              Most interesting about the long and short "s", thanks to your friend Cecil
              for the explanation.
              I'm still concerned about the exchange of the letter B for V. Were they
              pronounced similarly?
              Perhaps that would explain why it was written that way on the manifest,
              perhaps the clerk
              heard a B. But then again, I assume passengers must have had papers for
              them to copy from, and
              so that brings up another question that will show off my ignorance, does a
              Slovak, Hungarian or Cyrillic
              letter representing V look anything like a B? (Andrej came from Teplicska,
              near Spisska Nova Ves, now Slovakia)

              Marilyn

              _____

              From: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com] On
              Behalf Of amiak27
              Sent: Sunday, July 02, 2006 11:43 PM
              To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [S-R] Re: Varsa vs. Barsa - Long S

              --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@ <mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS%40yahoogroups.com>
              yahoogroups.com, "Marilyn Hertenstein"
              <mjhertenstein@...> wrote:
              >
              > I would like the opinions of my fellow list members on this one.
              Some family members > were listed as Varssa, or Varsfa with the
              second "s" an uncrossed f, but > the"V" was always legible.
              > Marilyn

              Marilyn,

              I suspect the Varssa and Varsfa were spelling conventions of the time
              using what is called the "long s" that looks like aa lower case 'f'.
              I know it was in use in the USA and with European languages using
              either the Cyrillic or the Roman/Latin script, I suspect the long s
              was common in European languages that used the Latin script as well.

              I haven't found my "Written Languages" book and only did a part of the
              homework on teh internet, but check out
              http://www.straight <http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_110.html>
              dope.com/classics/a1_110.html

              "Dear Cecil:

              Why was it popular in the 18th century to occasionally substitute the
              letter f (or a reasonable facsimile) for s? What were the rules of
              grammar concerning this usage? Was is Noah Webster who finally put an
              end to this abfurd practice? --Nina G., Chicago

              Dear Nina:

              At last, a chance to show off my encyclopedic knowledge of
              paleography, the study of ancient writing. You have no idea how seldom
              this topic comes up in casual conversation.

              What you take to be an f is actually the so-called long s, also known
              as the medial s, to be differentiated from the terminal or short or
              round s, which we regard today as the conventional form. Throughout
              its history, the long s has always looked a lot like the lowercase f,
              to the extent of having a little nubbin vaguely reminiscent of a
              crossbar appended to its middle sometimes. But the two letters are not
              otherwise related.

              As one might deduce from the nomenclature, the long/medial s was
              supposed to be used in the middle of a word, while the terminal s was
              used to finish one off. (In practice this rule was somewhat
              haphazardly adhered to.) The two versions were phonetically equivalent
              and derived from the same Roman letterform. Why folks figured they
              needed two varieties when they could have scraped by with one is
              beyond me, but we might note that having terminal and middle
              letterforms is not inherently any nuttier than having every sentence
              start with a capital letter, a comparatively recent invention.

              The use of two types of s dates back at least to the Middle Ages. The
              long s became especially popular during the Italian Renaissance, with
              the development of the various "humanistic" scripts that gave rise to
              our present English script. You'll notice that the long f, though not
              the long s, persists in many serif fonts in the type style we now call
              italic, although the long s was used in so-called roman (i.e., non-
              slanty) fonts as well.

              The Italians often used the long s even when they should have used a
              short one because letters with long expressive strokes in them made
              for an artier-looking manuscript. Unfortunately, they also made for a
              manuscript that was near impossible to read, and it's probably for
              that reason as much as any that the use of the long s finally died out
              in the 19th century. The form survived in the formal German script
              Fraktur until Fraktur itself bit the dust after World War II. (The
              script had come to be associated with German militarism.) Can't say
              I'm sad to see it go. Spelling is enough of a crapshoot these days as
              it is.

              --CECIL ADAMS"

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






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              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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