German SIG #Germany Re: Was "Theis" ISRAEL, born 1610, Jewish? #germany

Roger Lustig


It's very unlikely that Theis ISRAEL was Jewish. For one thing, most
Jews in northern Europe didn't have a surname at all until around 1800.
They used patronymics, i.e., Theis' father would have had the given name
Israel, and his son would be Jakov [ben = son of] Theis. Among those who
did, Lars Menk's _A Dictionary of German-Jewish Surnames_ does not
record ISRAEL as having appeared anywhere before 1700.

Mattityahu (Matthew) is a perfectly good Jewish given name, but there
are probably a thousand Gentiles for every Jew with that name.
Apollonia?? and Johann are as unlikely as it gets: Christian saints were
not appropriate people for a Jew to name his children after, unless the
name came directly >from the Old Testament. So, Yochanan, yes; Johann, no.

And, yes, there are Gentiles named ISRAEL.
for an example.

Could Theis have been a convert? I suppose, but since he'd have to have
taken a surname at conversion, why would he choose one that advertised
the past he was trying to escape?

A scan of the German on-line White Pages shows almost 600 private
(non-commercial) entries for ISRAEL. Even with 100,000 Jews in Germany,
600 is far too many for all or even most to be Jewish.

Roger Lustig?? Princeton, NJ USA?? research coordinator, GerSIG

On 10/31/2019 Jeffrey Herrmann <jeffrey.herrmann@...> Wrote:

My 8th great grandfather, Mathiess " Theis " ISRAEL, (possibly also known
as Matthias ISRAEL) was born in 1610 in Bassenheim, Mayen-Koblenz,
Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany and died on 7 December 1698 in Altenkirchen,
Kusel, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. His daughter, Appollonia
ISRAEL, was also born in Bassenheim, in 1650. Appollonia married a
Johann Wissbach >from Kirdorf, a small Roman Catholic village near Bad
Homburg, and lived there for the rest of her life. He probably was a
Roman Catholic.
I have found no evidence of the religion of this 8th great grandfather
or of his daughter. What is the likelihood, given his surname, that
Mathiess "Theis" ISRAEL was Jewish? Does anyone know of records which
might shed light on this question? Any thoughts or opinions would be
greatly appreciated.

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