Defining "townsmen" + explaining surname longevity #ukraine


Writing Racketeer
 

I have two questions for you all:
  • A genealogist I've been working with commented that my ancestors appeared to have had a little money given their inclusion in a census of merchants and burghers. I also just logged 70 ancestral names into a database, and I found that about 10 of them were "townsmen."  I haven't seen any good explanations of "townsmen." Can anyone here explain what that meant in imperial Russia?
  • On a possible related note, I've repeatedly read that most Jews were forced to take surnames in the mid-1800s, so I was expecting that to be the case with my surname. Instead, I have traced Zabarsky back to 1740 in Belaya Tserkva in the Kiev Gubernia region, and I have no reason to believe it's not even older. Why would they have taken a surname so early?

I'd appreciate any insight you might have.

Lydia Zabarsky
New York

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