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History of "Hebrew Names"

What is the history of Jews having separate legal names and “Hebrew names”? I’ve been doing a lot of genealogical research lately, and am trying to parse whether my sources are conflating two separate people, or referring to one person who had a Hebrew name different from her legal name.

My great-great-grandfather had only one older sister, whom he called “Eta” in his memoirs. Some historical records and other people’s family trees list an older sister “Ethel”, and others list an “Esther”. Similarly, historical records list his mother as “Bette”, except for Esther’s son who wrote about her as “Bracha”.

Eta was born in Hungary in the 1870s, and Bette/Bracha in the 1850s. They family was part of the Reform movement in Hungary, if that is relevant. Would “Hebrew names” have been a thing in that place and time, or are we mixing up records of two different people?

submitted by /u/priuspheasant
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Source: Reditt