Re: Volatile Family Name Use in 18th Century Hamburg... Why? #germany

Sally Bruckheimer <sallybruc@...>

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The answer to all these name change questions is "they didn't care".
My gg grandmother had 20 children's births registered in a small German town,
and her name is different on each one - close enough to know it was her, but
different. If you spell my name Sallie, I will deny it is me, but our
ancestors didn't quibble, there were lots of variations and diminutives.

They only were called RENDSBERG after they left the town of that name, but
the name was not an inherited family name as we know it today. The surname
was to distinguish Abraham (or whatever) who came >from Rendsberg >from all
the other Abrahams in town (one of my ancestors was Abraham 'the gimp', as
he apparently was known for his limp). After a generation or two, RENDSBERG
would have disappeared in favor of something else, as people forgot where
the family came >from - but the law changed, requiring inherited family names.

If your family became 'famous jewelers', perhaps DELLEVIE, sounded less Jewish
and more French, therefore more cultured, than LEVY. They were Leviim or some
ancestor was named Levi. When inherited family names then followed, they kept

Looking back today, it seems strange, but Jews did not use inherited
family names and only adopted them when it was required by law. Even then,
they didn't use the family name among themselves, and Hebrew inscriptions on
tombstones, to this day, record "Abraham son of Isaac" rarely with a family
name; and the farther back you go with tombstones, the rarer will be the family
name, as it is an adaptation to modern usage.

Sally Bruckheimer, Piscataway, NJ sallybruc@...

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