Justin Levy <levyduffy@...>
Hamburg’s Jews were amongst the latest to have to adopt fixed surnames.
On 21 December 1848 the German parliament in Frankfurt had passed the law covering
the basic rights of the German people (Reichsgesetz betreffend die Grundrechte des
deutschen Volkes). Paragraph 16 ensured that these rights could in no way be
affected by a person's religion.
Hamburg’s governing city council passed a bye-law (Provisorische Verordnung) on 21
February 1849 on the implementation of the aforementioned paragraph 16. Article 2
of this by-law made the adoption of fixed surnames a prerequisite to the granting
of full citizenship.
The council also expressed the expectation that families that had been using a
surname for quite some time would not change that name. Seemingly few did.
In reality surnames were not all that fixed at all. One of the branches of my
family that originated in Hessen had used LEVI as a surname since the early 18th
century, but changed it to TRAUBE when they moved to Hamburg in the late 1840s.
Throughout the 1850s many records show the use of LEVY TRAUBE as a sort of
double-barrelled surname. By the end of the 1860s it was TRAUBE alone. However, by
the 1890s, my gggm was giving her maiden name as LEVY again.
Hope this helps you somewhat. Regards,
Justin Levy, Dublin, Ireland (levyduffy@...)