All About Names

Fahrenthold Sisters
contributed by Sally Fahrenthold

How to Pronounce "Pagel"

Our cousins pronounce "Pagel" in a variety of ways. In Fayette County it is pronounced "Paw-gull", in Lavaca County it sounds like "Par-gull", and the city folks tend to say "Pay-gull." It makes reading the minutes of the family reunion a bit tricky!

How do YOU say it?

Given Names

German-speaking families in Texas, like the Pagels, often attended church services that were conducted in German. Baptismal and also burial records for those churches would be recorded by the pastor in old German script. The Pagels in Fayette and Colorado Counties were primarily served by the pastor of the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church at Frelsburg. The Pagels who lived near Breslau in Lavaca County attended a German Methodist church.

Early baptisms were not necessarily held in a church building. The pastor served several communities and it was common for several cousins or neighbors to be baptized at the same time. Often the child was named after his godparents. For instance, Wilhelmine Fischer and her husband asked his father, Franz Fischer, and a neighbor, Dietrich Vogelsang, to be godparents for their son, Franz Dietrich Fischer.

A German name given at baptism was often Anglicized as the child grew older. Carl Wilhelm Pagel was later known as Charles or Charlie. Wilhelm would become William, Franz became Frank, Friedrich became Frederick, and so forth. However, feminine names that ended in "e" were pronounced as though they ended with an "a" the same as in Germany: Louise was pronounced as "Louisa", Wilhelmine was pronounced "Wilhelmina", Christine was pronounced "Christina", and there are many other names that followed this pattern.

It was also common for the child to be known by his second name. Friedrich Wilhelm Pagel was more commonly known as Wilhelm or William and his brother, Herman Julius, was known as Julius. Carl Friedrich and Johanna Pagel carried this custom to an extreme when they gave all five of their sons the first name Carl and all nine of their daughters the first name Johanna. The children were called by their middle names. Later in life only one of the boys was known as Charles and only one of the girls was known as Johanna. Some had dropped their first name altogether and some had switched the order of their names.

Gottfried and Friedrike Pagel seem to have been stuck on the name Friedrich. Their first son was Friedrich "Wilhelm", the second was Carl Friedrich, their fourth son was Friedrich Samuel, and even their second daughter had the feminine form, Fredericka.

As in families today, there were many nicknames: Charles Godfrey Pagel was known as Gus and Friedrich Samuel Pagel was known as Fritz, Antonia Appelt was known as Tony, and Nathalie Ladewig was known as Tallie.

To help you differentiate between the various names, the following scheme has been devised for this web site: If the person was known by his second name, rather than his first, the second name is written within quotation marks. If the person was commonly known by a nickname (a name other than that given to them at birth or baptism), the nickname is within parentheses. For example, Johanna "Christine" (Tina) Afflerbach was baptized as Johanna Christine Pagel. However, she was known as Christine or Tina. Although the spelling of names vary in different source material, an effort has been made to use the spelling most frequently documented.

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