German SIG #Germany Volatile Family Name Use in 18th Century Hamburg... Why? #germany

Alan Ehrlich


I've encountered a puzzling thing regarding my DELLEVIE ancestors, and would
appreciate any explanation you might offer.

Prior to moving to Hamburg in the mid 18th century, the family lived in
Rendsburg for a period of two or three generations.Upon their arrival in
Hamburg, on those occasions where they used a civil (family) name, it's
believed they were called RENDSBURG.

After that, public records show that by latest 1781 they began exclusively
going by the family name DELLEVIE in most if not all areas of their lives,
since >from this date onward DELLEVIE appears in all wedding and birth
entries, as well as in the 1st edition of the Hamburg Address Book (idem
subsequent editions), etc. Additionally, they were well known
Jewelers/silversmiths; and I've quite often come upon 18th century examples
of their production at Christie's, Sotheby's or in other auction houses.

HOWEVER, up until circa 1820, when one of the family members died, the
Hamburg death records "very unsystematically" show the family name as either
DELLEVIE, LEVY or RENDSBURG. BUT the family name inscribed on all the
tombstones (Jewish cemeteries in Altona and Grindel) always exclusively is

I realize that the name DELLEVIE only was officially "officialized" in 1810.
But why all the volatility in the name they used. and why always RENDSBURG
on their headstones? Friendly regards,

Alan Ehrlich, Geneva Switzerland alan.ehrlich@...

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