Latin words

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Leslie asked:

I've gotten some Catholic Church baptism records and have decided that John becomes Joanni, Martin becomes Martinus since I know that my gggrandfather was John and had a brother Martin, and one named James. But I haven't heard of a brother named Jacob and there is a record of Jacobus.

How would Jacobus translate? Could it be James? Or would it be Jacob?

Baerbel's answer:

Jacobus could be either Jacob or James; it's translated both ways. One name that can be confusing is Guilielmus = Wilhelm. In Latin grammatical case endings are added to the end of the name. Thus, "Jacobus" is the nominative or subject form,, and "Jacobi" is the posessive form, so "Jacobus filius Jacobi Schmidt" means Jacob, son of Jacob Schmidt. THe grammatical endings are NOT part of the name, so they should be taken off in the transcription. At any rate, in my records I prefer to record the name the person would have been called in real life or how he signed his name, like "Heinrich", not "Henricus". Latin was the language of the Catholic Church, but not of the people. Again, I know that's personal preference.

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