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Old 13.06.2012, 04:24
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Swiss naming customs

Hello!

I have a question to ask about Swiss names. I recently met this guy, and although we don't know each other very well, we've sort of become friends.

The thing is, he told me he was Swiss (he's lived in the US most of his life and just has an American accent). However, I discovered yesterday that he has three names and a surname (I'm not sure if it's three first names and a surname, or one first name, two middle names, and a surname). His name is Max Roger Martin Baumann.

He's very mysterious, I've never had the chance to meet his parents, and I'm afraid he's lying to me about being Swiss, because I read that Swiss people rarely have more than one first name. My question is, is it likely that a Swiss person would have so many names?

Also, if it is possible for him to be Swiss, could someone please clarify for me if it's likely to be three first names, or a first name and two middle names? Sorry, but I have no idea how middle names and stuff work in Europe and I heard that it was quite different from how it is in America!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I know it seems a bit strange to be asking this, but I had a really bad experience before with a guy who lied to me, and I don't want to get to know this guy any better if I can't trust him.

I'd really appreciate any replies that anyone could be kind enough to give me. Thanks.
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Old 13.06.2012, 04:36
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Re: Swiss naming customs

Well my girlfriend is Swiss and her and all her siblings have their first name, then two middle names and then their surname.
She said it's pretty common, but not like a rule or anything. (the people I met in Switzerland had either no middle name, one, two, sometimes more, so I don't know about this 'Swiss rarely have more than one name' thing)

I wouldn't be so quick to doubt him, who knows yet if he was born there, but his last name is Germanic so his family could easily be from Switzerland.

Why not just ask him a little more about himself?
I'm sure he would tell you about his family history and where in Switzerland he came from if you asked.

Good luck (:
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Old 13.06.2012, 04:40
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Re: Swiss naming customs

NZSwiss -- thank you so much, that is a relief. I do want to ask him more about himself, but I ask him things quite a lot, and I don't want to look like I'm showing too much interest in him because I think I'm more interested in him than he is in me. When I get to know him better, I'll feel more comfortable about asking him things, but I didn't want to get any more hooked on this guy until I'd settled this Swiss thing.

Anyway, thanks again so much!
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Old 13.06.2012, 04:40
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What an odd question...



Baumann sounds decidedly Swiss to me, who cares about the rest? Really, so many of these cultural "stamps" are so diluted that they offer little in the way of an identification aid.
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Old 13.06.2012, 04:45
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Re: Swiss naming customs

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Baumann sounds decidedly Swiss to me
I know, but don't forget Americans often have Germanic names!

I know it's an odd question, but honestly, you wouldn't believed what happened with this other guy who lied to me, and I really don't want to get into that situation again. He was always saying things like he was from somewhere or had such and such heritage...and it got so much worse.
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Old 13.06.2012, 04:52
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Re: Swiss naming customs

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NZSwiss -- thank you so much, that is a relief. I do want to ask him more about himself, but I ask him things quite a lot, and I don't want to look like I'm showing too much interest in him because I think I'm more interested in him than he is in me. When I get to know him better, I'll feel more comfortable about asking him things, but I didn't want to get any more hooked on this guy until I'd settled this Swiss thing.

Anyway, thanks again so much!
No problem, I wouldn't sweat the details too much. Not every guy is a lying asshole you know haha Just ask him where in Switzerland he is born, that's a pretty reasonable thing to ask. Either way, I'm sure it will work out fine.
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Old 13.06.2012, 05:01
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I know, but don't forget Americans often have Germanic names!

I know it's an odd question, but honestly, you wouldn't believed what happened with this other guy who lied to me, and I really don't want to get into that situation again. He was always saying things like he was from somewhere or had such and such heritage...and it got so much worse.
I said "Swiss" specifically for a reason. All Swiss (German, naturally) is Germanic, but not all Germanic is Swiss.

I'm not sure what you're hoping to accomplish here, but I'd be floored if asking about someone (who's name is now indexed in google, linked to this thread, by the way) on a forum for expats in a foreign country could tell you anything about someone in your private life.
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Old 13.06.2012, 05:20
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Re: Swiss naming customs

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I said "Swiss" specifically for a reason. All Swiss (German, naturally) is Germanic, but not all Germanic is Swiss.
I know; I wasn't trying to dispute that. I just meant that Baumann is also used in Germany, Norway, Austria, Estonia, etc., so it's difficult to be sure.

As for his name -- don't worry, I substituted his first two names for similar names used in Switzerland; I just wanted to give the structure of his name as an example. I'm not so cruel that I would post someone's full name on the Internet without their permission!

Finally, I really do appreciate how strange this question is (and yes, I know I'm more than a little paranoid), and I am very grateful for your response.

Thank you both for your help!
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Old 13.06.2012, 07:04
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Re: Swiss naming customs

I'm not sure you could 'prove' where someone came from based on their name... what is your point ? Why would someone bother to lie about their origins (and does it make any difference anyway?)...

If I told you I am 5th generation Australian/Irish/German/English/Swedish/Aboriginal/Jewish/Lutheran/Anglican/Presbyterian would that give you any better idea of who I am as a person (other than the odds that I probably have fair skin not dark)...

Anyway, plenty of swiss use names that are Italian/French/German/English influenced. Baumann is a very common swiss/German name...

And plenty of kids here have more than one first name, so you can't say that he's not swiss because 'most swiss have one first name'. In fact, I'd say the opposite. Plenty of the kids I work with have 2-3 names before their surname, and particularly the French swiss seems to have double-barrelled first names - eg 'Jean-Claude'... It's also traditional in some Roman Catholic families to add a 'saint' name too - so their name might be one name after one grandparent, one name after another grandparent, one name that is a saint name (that is the child's 'patron') and then the surname.
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Old 13.06.2012, 07:50
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Re: Swiss naming customs

Maybe you shouldn't give his full name publicly here on a forum. If it was me I would be annoyed to find somebody was posting my full real name.
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Old 13.06.2012, 07:55
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Re: Swiss naming customs

If he has mentioned being born in Switzerland, I do't think it is out of order to ask a few more questions eg: Oh, whereabouts in Switzerland? Is that the German (French...) part? How old were you when you moved to (which place) in the USA? Why did your family move? Do you have any mamories of Switzerland? Do you have the pretty passport? :-) ....... Have you been back at all? When? etc etc. All general conversation stuff.
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Old 13.06.2012, 09:11
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Re: Swiss naming customs

We need more info. What's his social security number?

Honey, the issue lies with you. If you don't trust him, walk away. If you're not ready for a new relationship, then wait. What you don't do is post his name all over the internet.

Have the mods delete his name before he googles himself or a friend tells him about this post.

And going to back to your original question, there's really no distinct cultural custom about how many names a person has. It's usually one or two but it's not suspicious if one has three.

Just be happy your friend isn't named Ueli, Urs, Hans Peter, Blasius or Beat.

Edit: Just read about substituting the names. Good girl.
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Last edited by olygirl; 13.06.2012 at 09:58.
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Old 13.06.2012, 09:19
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Re: Swiss naming customs

There are several Roger Baumann living in USA.

If you join LinkedIn you can read their profiles, maybe you will find your Roger Baumann,

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/dir/Roger/Baumann
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Old 13.06.2012, 09:22
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Re: Swiss naming customs

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Do you have any mamories of Switzerland?
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Old 13.06.2012, 09:44
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Re: Swiss naming customs

[QUOTE=AlliCari;1581492]
As for his name -- don't worry, I substituted his first two names for similar names used in Switzerland; I just wanted to give the structure of his name as an example. I'm not so cruel that I would post someone's full name on the Internet without their permission!

QUOTE]

Let's read well, she's said she replaced his first 2 names!

If it helps you my son is Swiss and has 3 names before his surname. Traditionally Swiss people from the German part have 2 names but as someone has said this is not exactly a rule.

And just an advice, you could have had some bad experiences, but it would be more honest by your side to ask directly to him everything that you really want to know about him.
Good luck
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Old 13.06.2012, 09:49
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Re: Swiss naming customs

i'm swiss and i've got two first names, no middle name (technically) and two last names. go figure

moreover, don't date someone just because he/she is swiss. not cool. date someone because u like him/her.
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Old 13.06.2012, 13:14
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Re: Swiss naming customs

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I know, but don't forget Americans often have Germanic names!

I know it's an odd question, but honestly, you wouldn't believed what happened with this other guy who lied to me, and I really don't want to get into that situation again. He was always saying things like he was from somewhere or had such and such heritage...and it got so much worse.
If you dont' even trust the guy is giving you his real name, perhaps you should stop hanging out with him. Either that or ask for his papers.
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Old 13.06.2012, 13:40
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Re: Swiss naming customs

The Martin part is common here.
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Old 13.06.2012, 14:54
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Re: Swiss naming customs

I'd dump you if I'd be that guy and saw this thread. I would appreciate a direct question to my face, or the girl having better analytical skills and gut feeling than posting a thread like this on a web forum.
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Old 14.06.2012, 00:23
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Re: Swiss naming customs

In the German speaking part of Switzerland, as far as I know, anybody can legally have as many first names as their parents can fancy. Actually, there is no such thing as a middle name, but there are can be several first names.

In most cases, only the really first one is used in normal conversation. There may be exceptions, though, especially with double first names. My paternal Grandpa's first names were Johann Georg, but everyone called him "Schorsch," which is the French pronunciation of "George" (in French actually "Georges"). My Dad's first name was Hansjörg, which is a German contraction of Johann Georg. My first name is Hans Jörg, and that's what my Swiss family and friends call me. In Greece I'm called Yorgos, and my American friends call me Joerg, with a totally wrong pronunciation, but who cares?

When in the USA, while filling out a form, I have to put "Hans" in the First Name field and "Joerg" in the Middle Name field, which actually is wrong, but try to explain that to a narrow-minded immigration officer who doesn't know that there are real people living east of Maine. No big problem, though. What bothers me more is the fact that most of my correspondence is in English, and there, of course, I have to write, "Hans Joerg." This happens so often that I must make sure I still write "Hans Jörg" when signing a German document.

A combination of first names like the one that supposedly Swiss guy told you is totally normal in Switzerland. I can't see any reason for suspicion there. Maybe there are other aspects that make him "mysterious," as you put it, but it's up to you to shed more light on that part.
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