Mark Grekin <markgrekin@...>
Rebecca Gerber in her msg. dated Sept. 12, 2002 writes:
<< I am curious about the timing of surnames being required in
Kishinev (Chisinau). As I am looking through records of the 1800s,
I find that most people had an identifiable surname, but that a
fair number are only identified by an occupation. For instance,
Moshe Volyuvich Portnoy >from Kishinev. A portnoy is a tailor. So
is this person known as Moshe, son of Vol, the Tailor, or simply
as Moshe Portnoy, son of Vol? In some cases it is very clear. i.e.,
Itsko Abramovich of Kishinev This would be Itsko, son of Abram. No
Rebecca, hi again.
In your msg. (see below) you are not correct on both assumptions.
a) many Jewish last names were derivative of their (or their
ancestors) professions such as Shliapochnik (hat maker), Sapozhnik
(cobbler), Stoliar (joiner), etc. Portnoy in your letter belongs to
this category and is not definition of Moshe's profession but Moshe's
last name. Therefore, the person in this document is Moshe (first
name) Volyuvich (patronymic, Moshe's father name was Vol'ka aka.
Velvel) Portnoy (last name).
b)in the case of Itsko Abramovich; another way of creating last
name for a Jew was to use either his patronymic (first name of his/her
father) or place of dwelling. Thus such last names as Meerovich and
Meerson (>from Meir), Boruchovich and Borochov (>from Borukh), Itskovich
(>from Itsko), Abramovich, Abramson (that's your case, >from Abram),
etc. or Kishinevskiy (>from Kishinev), Umanskiy (>from Uman'), Moldavsky
or Moldaver (>from Moldova), Polsky or Pollak (>from Poland), etc.
Therefore, in your case, the person is Itsko (first name) Abramovich
(last name), the patronymic is omitted. Sorry to say, but your
statement "In some cases it is very clear. i.e., Itsko Abramovich
of Kishinev" is not correct.