Ralph Baer <RalphNBaer@...>
My ancestor Joseph "Geiseler" BERLIN lived in Gelsdorf (now
Grafschaft-Gelsdorf) in the Rheinland. He was born about 1715 and died
prior to 1786. His wife, Gudula (Goeth) Jacob, was born about 1722 and
died in Gelsdorf on 8 April 1808. I am, of course, very interested in
obtaining further data on their ancestors.
Joseph had the following known children in approximate birth order:
1) Michael BERLIN (Michael SCHMITZ, Michael BERLIN GEISLER) about 1747
Gelsdorf - 9 May 1809 Meckenheim), married to Sara Leib (Clara WEISS, Clara
2) Wolf BERLIN (Hieronymous SCHMITZ) b. about 1751 Gelsdorf
d. 29 September 1824 Meckenheim)
married 1. to Johanna Nathan, married 2. to Rachel Seligmann
3) Daniel BERLIN (George SCHMITZ) about 1755 Gelsdorf - after 1829, married
to Breile SALM
4) Jacob BERLIN about 1757 Gelsdorf - 7 October 1825 Gelsdorf,
married 1. to Sara Gabriel LEVI
married 2. to Rachel Leib (Josephine ROSENAU)
married 3. to Sibilla (Sophie) Wolf
married 4. to Judula Baer (Clara [Caroline] BERNARD).
For reasons that I won't go into, I suspect that that the third and fourth
wives were the same person.
5) Loeb (Leib) BERLIN 2 May 1761 Gelsdorf - 18 December 1834 Bonn, married
1. Rosse Leib, married 2. to Gudula (Guetgen, Judgen) Moises
6) Jacob Zwi BERLIN (Jacob SCHMITZ) about 1763 Gelsdorf - 30 January 1853
Meckenheim, married to Sibilla (Beile) Seligmann.
7) Lena Joseph BERLIN 1769 Gelsdorf - 1 December 1845 Combahn, married to
Isaac LEVI (Samuel ISAAC)
A few comments. It is possible that Joseph had other wives prior to Gudula
Jacob. Records pertaining to the various children all give Gudula in some
form, but have varying patronymics. However, it is possible that her
grandfather's name was used in some cases, etc. Most, but not all, of the
children changed the family name BERLIN to SCHMITZ. Apparently, the
Rheinland name adoption law of 1808 discouraged the use of family names
based upon places. I suspect that the name BERLIN had no connection with
the city of Berlin but actually was Bet-Resh-Lamed-Nun and stood for Ben
Rev L. N. where L. N. was someone's name, e.g. Loeb Nathan. My branch
from Jacob Zwi BERLIN changed the name to SCHMITZ and later back toBERLIN. Both names are currently used by members of the extended family.
Some of Daniel's descendants adopted the family name DANIEL. I do not
know why the particular name SCHMITZ was chosen. I was once told by the
late Klaus H. S. SCHULTE that in a Rheinland dialect SCHMITZ sounds
like "aus Metz" and that there indeed were people named BERLIN who lived
Numbers 4 and 6 above both used the name Jacob BERLIN. Apparently, there
were two Jacobs in the ancestry, one with the additional name Zwi. The is
further supported by the fact that Jacob BERLIN (number 4) had a son named
There also was a Voos (Servas?) BERLIN who died on 4 May 1796 in Gelsdorf.
Most probably, he was a brother of Joseph BERLIN.
I am quite interested in corresponding with anyone who is a descendant of
this family or has come across data that I may not have. I am also
interested in any other theories about the derivation of the names BERLIN
Ralph N. BAER Washington, DC RalphNBaer@aol.com