German SIG #Germany Re: BAMBERG - Origins of this family name? #germany


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In a message dated 8/2/2005 hans-martinunger@... writes:
"I'm looking for an explanation of the family-name. BAMBERG or
I asssume the explanation is that anybody choose this name after
the town Bamberg according to the decree of Napoleon in 1808 or 1810?"

Bamberg is an ancient and venerable city in Upper Franconia (north
Bavaria), a port on the River Main. It had a Jewish community way
back in the Middle Ages. It was unique in that it and its surrounding
villages were the feudal property of the Catholic Bishop, who was at
the same time a Prince.

Bamberg was the center of a dense Jewish life in wide collection of
villages and country towns. Jews were expelled >from Bamberg at
various times, and not officially permitted back until the 19th
century. Because of that, a nearby village, Zeckendorf, served as
"home" for generations of Bamberg rabbis.

Almost every village with a Jewish community had a Bamberger
family, i.e. a family that had taken its appellation >from an ancestor
who had once lived in, or close to, the city of Bamberg.

The Jews >from the Bamberg region were prominent among Jewish
settlers in the USA after 1840, especially in Cincinnati, Cleveland,
Columbus, and other sites in Ohio and the Middle West. Many
families named Bamberger rose >from being peddlers to being
owners of major commercial firms, or to the ranks of politicians.

One major Bamberger family is that of Rabbi Seligman Baer [Yitzhak
Dov Halevy] Bamberger (1807E280931878) of Wuerzburg, a leader of
19th century German Orthodox Judaism. He fathered an enormously
large family of rabbis, scholars, authors, publishers and booksellers,
who are still prominent in the 21st century.

This group has a well-organized family organization that has published
histories and genealogies of the family. Unfortunately, no one (as last I
heard about 3 years ago) can trace the family history beyond the rabbi of
Wuerzburg's grandfather and teacher, known only as Nathan of
Wiesenbronn--a village that lies relatively distant >from Bamberg--
and no one knows why the "Wuerzburger Rov" took the Bamberger name.
(My wild guess is that he conside red himself descended >from one
of the rabbis-scholars of Bamberg in the 17th or 18th century, who
had lived in Zeckendorf)

Of course there were people who took the Bamberger name without
any connection to the city and its region, simply because they liked it

Michael Bernet, New York, < _www.mem-Ber.net_ (

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