JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Gender of my Great Grandparents #general

Judith Romney Wegner

At 8:00 AM -0400 8/14/06, wrote:
I have been receiving a great deal of help >from a volunteer
geneologist. He has identified the names of three of my great
grandparents as "Matis", "Judah" and "Fugah". I am uncertain as to
the gender represented by each of these names.

Any guidance will be greatly appreciated.

Julius Cohen
Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

Dear Julius.

Judah is a masculine name. Your own name -- Julius -- reflects the
Hebrew name Judah. Julius is a very common Anglicization of the name
Judah (in Hebrew, Yehudah). So presumably your own Hebrew name is

Judah is one of the most famous names in the Bible. As the moderator
already pointed out, he was a son of Jacob and became the eponymous
ancestor of the tribe of Judah, >from whom most Jews (other than
Kohanim or Levi'im) traditionally believe themselves to be
descended. The very word "Jew" itself comes >from the adjective
Judaean (via the Greek Ioudaios and the Latin Judaeus.

Matis is another masculine name -- most likely an abbreviation of
Mattisyahu -- usually rendered Mattathias in English translations of
the Book of Maccabees (found not in the Bible but in the Apocrypha)
where he appears as the High Priest of Modin and the father of the
Judas Maccabaeus. The New Testament version of Mattisyahu is
Matthias or Matthew.)

As for "Fugah", this could perhaps be corruption of Feigele
(pronounced Fay-ge-la) which is not Hebrew but Yiddish; if so, it
is a a woman's name. It comes >from the German word Vogel meaning
"bird" and is often a Yiddish translation of the biblical Hebrew name
Zipporah, likewise meaning bird. According to the book of Exodus,
she was the daughter of Jethro, a Midianite priest and became the
wife of Moses (incidentally, their children Gershom and Eliezer are
among many examples showing that Israelite descent in biblical times
was patrilineal, and not matrilineal at all -- that was a much later
historical development!)

Judith Romney Wegner

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