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Muslim Identity Disc


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Just obtained an identity disc (1881/83 model) to a soldier named 'Ben Kassen ben Aiach'. I'm assuming that this is an Algerian name but can anyone with a greater knowledge of Arabic naming than I have (practically everyone then! :whistle: ) confirm whether this is the case please? Also, would this be his full name, or is there a name missing there?

Thanks,

Dave.

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I guess that you spotted the obscured "S", making it "Seine 3 Bureau" recruitment office, likely for Territorial French Infantry?

Makes him very likely to be Algerian (but also possibly Tunisian, Senagalese or Moroccan for all I know) .

Can't find him here - http://canadp-archivesenligne.paris.fr/autres_archives_genealogiques/_etat_signaletiques_services_militaires/index.php&usg=ALkJrhhw-9wNHIX0EVTWI9CFarQvUQVBiQ

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Nor could I, but it only covers up to 1912 (I took a look on there whilst deciding whether or not to go for this disc). He may not appear anyway if he actually was Algerian or Moroccan (I've found similar names within Algerian and Moroccan soldiers (mostly Algerian), but, having no knowledge on Arabic naming, have only this to go on) as they only had voluntary service until 1913 and only limited compulsory service after that so he may not actually have a 'class year' as such (there is none on the disc to give any clue anyway... not even an 'E.V.' year).

Thanks for your interest anyway,

Dave

(PS... there was no need to spot the obscured 's' BTW... I read it as 'Seine 3 Bureau' anyway (it couldn't really have been anything else!) and didn't even notice!!!! :unsure: )

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(PS... there was no need to spot the obscured 's' BTW... I read it as 'Seine 3 Bureau' anyway (it couldn't really have been anything else!) and didn't even notice!!!! :unsure: )

Unlike the seller, who had it as German :thumbsup:

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Unlike the seller, who had it as German :thumbsup:

You probably also noticed his other mis-listing too, then? Quite a nice (if rather standard) Belgian Mle.1889 disc to a Carabinier from Anderlecht which was also listed as being a 'German' disc!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dave;

I only have a bit of Arabic (although enough to get discounts at the local Moroccan-owned "Italian" pizza shop), but I believe that "ben" is "son of", like McDonald is "son of Donald".

Wait, I just recall something from 40 years ago: "Ya kalb, ya ibn homar", as "Oh dog, oh son of a donkey", so "son of Kassen" would be "ibn Kassen". Used that in front of a Saudi 40 years ago and he found it's use (not directed to him, but to some drunk grabbing at a nice lady's chest) extremely amusing, so I think that that is correct.

However, I do think that "ben" is a relational adjective, although I think it should be "bin". Also, "Kassem" rings truer than "Kassen". God knows how the French handled transliteration, probably badly.

Bob

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bin, ben or ibn. It just depends upon the vagaries of dialect and transliteration.

A full classic Arabic name consists of the given name - bin - fathers given name - bin - grandfathers given name, then the tribe name, e.g. al Zawahi. (The definite article and proper name are sometimes hyphenated in transliteration)

So George bin William bin Charles al-Windsor, if you like, God Bless his little cotton socks.

However, there are an almost infinite number of vernacular variations. An honorific can be added which becomes, in common use, part of the name. "Sayyid" - or Saeed - ("Sir" of "Honourable" maybe) can be attached to the name, so that an individual whose given name is e.g. Nasr, might always be referred to as Sayyid Nasr.

The word "Abu" (father of) sometimes figures. This can very occasionally relate to a sons name, but more often it relates to a quality or thing that the person wishes to be associated with. Abu Karim - or Kareem - for example, is "Father of Mercy." "Abu Saif" - Father of the Sword.

It can also be a bit of a nickname - thinking of somebody I knew - "Abu Shanab" means "Father of the Moustache" and could be given to somebody with luxuriant upper lip finery.

I recall rural Arabs referring to our Belvederes (a twin rotor helicopter used by the RAF) as "Abu Punkatayn" which translates as "Father of Two Fans." Ho ho ! (Loses something in the translation).

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Thanks for the further responses.

I already had the 'ben' for 'son of', but needed to know whether it was possible to pinpoint the name to a particular area. Every 'ben Aiach' and 'ben Kassen' (as individual names) - quite a few - I had found were from Algerian soldiers, but then came across a couple from Morocco too - which threw a bit of a spanner into the works. A further pointer I need to find is whether 'Ben Kassen ben Aiach' is actually a complete name (there are a few with similar total names listed in French records) or whether there is a name or names missing.

Cheers.

Dave

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