Bob Kosovsky questions the proposition that when surnames
were taken, a person often took a surname related to the place where
he was living.
If this theory were true, logic would indicate that a majority ofAll true.
I pondered this for a while some years ago. Then I decided
that there would be no point in taking a surname that designated the
place where you currently lived. It only makes sense if you live
somewhere else. So, for instance, I have records >from Nezhin Ukraine
for 1860-1918. Looking through them, I found no people with the
surname "Nezhinskii", but I found families named "Varshavskii",
"Tarnapolskii", "Moskovskii", Mogilevskii, "Umanskii", and
"Berliner". These were people living in Nezhin at the time, and it
was convenient to label them as Khaim >from Warsaw or Khaim >from
Berlin. This would not have been convenient if they still lived in
Warsaw or Berlin, as there would have been too many Khaims of Warsaw there.
Visiting Professor 2007-2008, Boalt Hall, University of California Berkeley
Professor and Director, Institute on Int'l and Comparative Law
University of San Diego
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