Re: Given Name Jacques (derived from Jacob) and Key Austro-Hungarian Dates for Jewish Integration Including Germanization of Jewish Surnames and Given Names for Slovakian Jews #germany


I appreciated the emails JewishGen members sent me with regard to the
given name Jacques. I thought I'd share a bit more background in the
hopes this information might help others. Also it might stimulate other
comments to help me and others find my current missing information (I
don't think in terms of "brick walls") for the Jewish MAYER family I'm

First, when I obtained the 1906 Berlin death record for my
William/Wilhelm MAYER (of Berlin, NYC, Vienna, Pressburg/Bratislava?;
born 1 Jan. 1834), it listed his parents as Jacques Mayer and Anna
HERZFELD. Knowing as most do that Jacques is generally considered a
French given name and reading a few articles and chapters in books
concerning the European Jews and the French revolution, I speculated
that Jacques Mayer (whose wife was born ~1799 based on her Vienna death
record) was possibly was a bit older and born in France to a Jewish
family who lent money to the royals and nobility. With the Revolution
many migrated East to Berlin. When Napolean came to Prussia many Jewish
families moved farther East to Vienna and other Eastern European cities.
That still may hold true for this the Mayer family and I'm seeking the
middle missing documentation with an open mind.

The 1897 Vienna death record of William's sibling
Caroline/Karolina/Charlotte Mayer (born ~1835; M1 Goldmann, Vienna,
1870; M2 Tutsch, Vienna, 1877) states she was born in Pressburg, now
Bratislava. Although William in his US Passport applications claims he
was born in Vienna, Austria, the good Vienna Jewish records for this
time period do not have any such record. Also this family appears to
show up in Vienna not long after the 1848 citizen riots in Europe caused
more permitted Jewish residency movement within the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Unfortunately, Bratislava Archive's Jewish records (referencing FHL
MicroFiche #6414537: copy of Jordan Auslander's Index to Jewish vital
statistic records of Slovakia; Teaneck, NJ; Avotaynu 1993) exist for:
neolog Births 1872-1943, Marriages 1872-1943, Deaths:
orthodox " 1819-1944 " 1850-1937 "
orthodox index " 1841-1895 " 1852-1937 "
1873-1926, 1934-1944
& 1926-1944
but ALL are noted as "incomplete records in German, Hungarian &
Yiddish". No birth for William was found. The response >from the
Bratislava City Archive claimed they have no Jewish birth records
before 1841.

In the front of Jordan Auslander's Index to Jewish vital static records
of Slovakia, he lists some dates associated with Jewish records and
civil rights which some may find useful. They include the date when the
"Germanization" of names, both surnames and given names, started
although I found no comment about compliance. I summarize those pre-1900:

1735 Census counted 12,000 Slovkian Jews
1784 Rabbis instructed to keep Jewish birth, marriage and death register
records in German.
1787 Jews ordered to choose German surnames for taxes and the draft and
to "Germanicize their first names by January 1, 1788"
1827 Each religious community directed to keep two registers according
to set procedures.
1840 Mandated to keep birth, marriage, death records but "Jewish
compliance tempered by the absence of official recognition of citizenship."
1850 Jewish marriages recognized improving compliance for record keeping.
1851 Jewish communities required to keep "parish" registry books for
vital records improving compliance.
18(6?)7 "Hungarian Diet passes Emancipation Act granting Jews
citizenship, residence restrictions and serfdom abolished. Place names
changed to Hungarian"
18(8?)6 Jewish vital record keeping enforced, "compliance virtually
1894 "Register agenda nationalized, civil marriage introduced, along
with general freedom of religion."
1895 Civil record keeping begins; Jewish records kept in separate
(1898?) Hungary gives Jewish faith same standing as other religions.

James Castellan, Rose Valley, Pennsylvania

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