JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen using different surname than father: why? #general

Deborah Schultz

Hello. Although I have looked through the discussion list archives, I
couldn't find an answer to this question. I hope that someone here may
be able to assist.

My great-grandmother's uncle, by every indication, is the son of
Solomon (Sholem Gershon) VEXLER or WECHSLER. The VEXLERS, >from Russia,
apparently lived in the area of Vitebsk (now Belarus). This son,
Raphael, who married into a family located in Glubokoye, Disna
district, Vilna province, always used some variation of the name
Raphael STILLMAN (both traveling to the U.S., as well as living here).
I found someone whom I believe is he, on a Russian revision list from
1875, living in his in-laws' hometown of Glubokoye (now Hlybokaye,
Belarus); there, he used the name SHTILMAN.

Raphael's parents, on his death certificate, are listed as Solomon
STILLMAN and Ida (no last name given). Raphael's name in Hebrew, on
his tombstone, is "Rafael son of Mr. Sholem Gershon." Some of his
descendants have heard the name STILLMAN. They introduced me to a
cousin of theirs, descended >from Raphael's sister, who confirms the
family is descended >from Sholem Gershon, but wonders where the name
STILLMAN came from.

I know >from discussions on this list that in other areas (belonging to
Austria-Hungary), some couples just had a Jewish religious marriage,
which wasn't recognized by the civil authorities. The children of
those couples used the mother's maiden surname. Did this also happen
in Russia? Was Raphael's mother's name Ida STILLMAN?

Uncle Raphael's descendants and their cousin, as well as I, are very
curious about this. If anyone has an answer, I would be very
appreciative. Thanks for your time!

Deborah Schultz
Metro Detroit, Michigan

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