<< 3. The same sort of thing could have happened to a Scotsman by the name of
Brodie. I have reason to believe that there is a town by the name of Brodie
(or something like that) somewhere in North-Eastern Europe, which could
have been named after a Scots engineer/military man, thus passing his name
on to Jews who originated in "his" town. >>
A quick search through ShtettellSeeker shows there are four Brodys or
Brodies in Belarus, one in the Czech republic, one in Lithuania and
fourteen in Poland. I stopped looking further, and I left out all the many
close and plausibhle variants.
I don't think they were all named after a Scotsman--in fact, having lived
for many years close to the Scottish border (in Rabbi Brodie's native town,
Newcastle) and some time in the Scottish Highlands, I never once came across
a Scotsman by that name.
Here's a useful tip for Jewish genealogists: whenever you come across a new
family name, check out ShtettellSeeker; it may give you a clue to the meaning
of the name and to the family's geographic origin. (Drop off the final "er"
of course as in Wiener, Hamburger, Frankfurter etc.
I have, however, come across a family in Israel named Havkin which I suspect
might be a variant of Hawkins. A Haffkin is mentioned in the EncJud but the
application crashes every time I click on his name.
As for Gordon, Lord George Gordon, the scion of British nobility, converted
to Judaism. He was jailed--because of his new faith many suspect--and died
in Newgate Prison where he had a daily minyan and ate only kosher food. He
was never in Eastern Europe. I suspect that the Jewish Gordons were called
after a location, too--but I'm not going to look that one up in