February 15, 2017

Rudolph Adolph Otto Friedrich

(This post originally appeared on my former blog, A Face to the Sun, on February 1, 2012.)

When I was little, I always thought it pretty humorous that my dad had three middle names...and they were fun to say quickly. His middle names were the first names of his three godparents, and that was the custom of the day among the German Lutherans who had immigrated from northern Germany.
 I came across my dad's baptismal certificate, which was once quite beautiful, I'm sure, but now it is cracked and deteriorating.  It was rolled up in a box and I really didn't get to it in time; however, I did have color copies made so that what we have of it is perserved.
The top half of the certificate indicates that this is a Tauf-Schein, or baptismal certificate.  The drawing is of Jesus, gathering the little children to him with the dove or Holy Spirit above him.  The flowers, lilies of the valley and roses, symbolize usually happiness and perhaps purity.

The certificate says:
Rudolf Adolf Otto Friedrich Elling, born on the 18th September 1923 in Richfield Township, Henry County, Ohio
son of Albert Elling...
and his wife, Ida, born Spoering
is baptized on 7 October 1923 in the parents' house.

Baptized in the name of God.
G. Peters, Ev. Lutheran Pastor

The godparents were Adolf Baden, Otto Inselmann, and Friedrich Elling, his
uncle, probably.

The baptismal font is shown with Mark 16:16, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved..."

I'm not sure what the 7 indicates next to the date...7 a.m. doesn't seem right.  Any ideas?
(My German friend, Kerstin,helped with this question.  She writes:
"I read your article and saw the very beautiful document, the Taufschein. I can help you, was is the meaning of the "7".

It is meant, that Rudolf was baptized on the 7th Oktober 1923 in his parent's house. In German you say to a special date" am siebten Oktober", and like in this document, it is shortened to 7 ten. So you have a document for generell and you only have  to fill in a single number. It doensn't mean the number 10 (ten), and so, he was not baptized om a 10th October.

Ps: The other numbers are for example: Am ersten October( 1 ten), am zweiten, (2 ten), am dritten, am vierten, am fünften, am sechsten, am siebten....."
 I have corrected the date in the text above.

Dad never spelled his name as Rudolf; it was always Rudolph ... or Rudy.
And he usually just took Frederick as his middle name.  Guess he just chose the one he wanted!  It was nice to have multiple choice!

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