Does anyone have a sense of when surnames came into use in the area that's modern day Romania?
I am researching my grandmother's unusual maiden name -- Holdengraber -- and I have used the recent quarantine time to look for connections among the roughly 300 records containing that name in the JewishGen records. The earliest all seem to come from the same narrow region, what's today Suceava County, Romania and was then the southern part of Bukovina. I have long assumed that all the Holdengrabers shared a common ancestor, but given the number of them already by the 1860s, I imagine that ancestor would have to have assumed the surname as early as the 1760-80s.
I was under the impression that Jews didn't assume surnames until the Napoleonic reforms, though. Is it possible this ancestor would have done so three or four decades earlier?
Thanks for whatever information anyone can share. I'd be happy to compare notes with anyone who's interested. My deep dive into the records from these 3-4 towns is showing interesting ways that families moved from one nearby place to another over generations.
-- Joe Kraus <krausj2@...>