there is a long standing belief in some parts of Russia that two living people in the same family should not have the same name, as one or the other of them won't live long.
My people are Russian (though we've been in the U.S. since 1895), and I was told the same story as a child. The reason was that you didn't want the Angel of Death to get confused...
Even as a kid I thought that was strange. All that power, and the AoD couldn't get the details of his job straight? 8-)
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