Re: Surnames and patronymics in Germany #germany #names


Dear Peter,

Here's a thought:
I was struck by the fact that the first witness's name was Gottlieb, same as the father's "surname."  This, and knowing that deaths were often reported by family members, I was suspicious of the similarity of the surnames Mann vs. Pfann.  I looked up this original death document on, and confirmed that there was a transcription error, that the witness's name was actually Gottlieb Pfann.

I suspect that the witness was either an older brother or cousin of Moises, named after the grandfather, giving further credence to the theory that Gottlieb is a patronymic.

Hope this helps!

Joan Zeller
Pittsford, New York, USA

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