“Un-German” German Names

Last evening, my wife and I watched a documentary on Poland, it covered the Gdansk (Danzig)- Szczecin (Stettin) area in particular. Baltic Coasts – Hidden Treasures: Explore the coastline from Vistula Lagoon via Gdansk Bay to the sandy beaches and steep cliffs of Pomerania and West-Pomerania.Genealogy-Ideas

The reason for this post involves what I learned from one of the featured individuals, a talented young Photographer; his name- Michal Szlaga. Looking at his name never made me think of German descent or Germanic heritage but then the announcer pronounced his name and it was Michael Schlaeger / Schläger (exactly).

You can imagine my surprise.  I certainly would never have pronounced his name Michal Szlaga as Michael Schlaeger. (btw. please enjoy his site.) But there it was, a Germanic sounding name in Polish spelling.

If you are researching the Baltic region, as I do, this little example provides a useful object lesson in spelling and heritage/ research. Be cautious that you are not fooled by spelling.. sound counts, too.  If you do not know the pronunciation of particular languages you can and will be fooled.