At least once a year I like to post the surnames I am researching
Direct lines only,
BINSTOK, Soka, Chervonograd (was Kryznepole), Novoukrainka (was Varash)Ukraine
WOLF, WOOLF,Sokal, Ukraine
RIGOR L'viv, Sokal Ukraine
SINGER, ZINGER Lipniski, Lithuania
FRIEDMAN Dokshitzi, Belarus, Rakiskis, Lithuania
RUDAZSEWSKI, RUDASHEWSY Nemencine, Lithuania
TABACHNIK, Ivanovo near Pinsk, Belarus
CHELENCHOK Nikoleav ?
NOLL Seduva, Lithuania, Oudtshoorn, Cape Town, Paarle South Africa
GAFANOWITZ Rokiskis, Lithuania, South Africa
Wishing everyone a successful research and lots of health and happiness in the
coming new Century!!!!
Looking for someone to do research in New York on Directories for the Bronx in
the 20's, would be willing in exchange to do look ups here in Israel where
All the best,
Kibbutz Maayan Zvi, Israel
Susan Rosenthall <sarosenthall@...>
I have read and heard that Jewish people changed their surnames to avoidHere is how my mother explained it, in an oral history done in about 1992:
"When the Russo-Japanese War began, Jews would be conscripted into the army
and have to serve for 20 years. They would leave as teenagers and come back
as old men with gray beards. People would do anything to avoid the war.
Many would cut off ears or toes so they would be deemed unsuitable. All of
[your grandmother's] brothers changed their last names so if one were
drafted not all of them were. [The original last name was Salzmann] and one
changed his to Feller; another to Pearlman and so on.
My understanding is that there was no rhyme nor reason to it....they just
picked another name. Apparently, there were rules that not all the
brothers/young men in a family would be drafted, or not the youngest. So it
was to their benefit to be >from (or seem to be from) a smaller family rather
than a larger families, as less men in the family would be conscripted.
Susan Rosenthall (new to the list)
Jeanne Gold <JeanneGold@...>
Several weeks back I came across a site that provided a listAvotaynu Consolidated Jewish Surname Index
In a message dated 3/11/2002 2:45:12 PM Eastern Standard Time,
<< It seems that Bornstein was
my g-g-grandmother's original last name and she never changed it. It looks
like instead that my g-g-grandfather changed his name and that his "maiden"
name was Halevi. Is this what they did in the Old Country? >>
==It looks like these people lived around the time that family names were
first required. Before then, women were generally known by their father's
given name (e.g. Rachel Abraham was rachel, daughter of Abraham. When she
married Jacob she became Rachel Jacob. When Jacob died she was officially
known as Jacob's Widow.
Halevi translates as "the Levite." It was not a family name but a religious
ancestral designation. He would certainly be listed by that designation in
his marriage contract, the communal records, and on his tombstone (except
when/where it was common to substitute the acronym "Segal") Halevi was almost
never used as a family name (for some reason it appears to have been
restricted to France, and to creative artists; the composer Jacques Fromental
Halevy fulfilled both criteria)
Michael Bernet, New York
WOLFF (Pfungstadt, Frankfurt/M, Koenigsberg, Amsterdam, N.Carolina); BERNET,
BERNERT, JONDORF(Frensdorf, Bamberg, Nurnberg); FEUCHTWANGER
(Schwabach, Hagenbach & Fuerth); KONIGSHOFER (anywhere); BERG, WOLF(F),
(Demmelsdorf & Zeckendorf); Shim`on GUTENSTEIN (Bad Homburg ca 1760);
FRENSDORF/ER (anywhere); MAINZER (Lorsch); anyone in Ermreuth or Floss;
GOLDSCHMIDT (B. Homburg, Hessdorf). ALTMANN (Silesia); TIMMENDORFER
Sally Bruckheimer <sallybru@...>
Josh asked: "Is this what they did in the Old Country?"
Of course, it depends on what Old Country and when they did it. But in
general, yes, anything is possible. In your particular case, Halevi isn't
really a surname, but identifies your ancestor as of the tribe of Levi. It
could be that he took that surname, but maybe not.
Jews in the 1800's in Eastern Europe were generally not real attached to
their last names-they didn't use it among themselves. And they tried to
avoid the draft in Russia by 'fiddling around', having baby boys registered
as belonging to another family which had no sons, and doing other things to
make it hard for Russia. It was also not uncommon when the couple was not
allowed to marry civilly that a couple would marry religiously and the
babies would be considered 'illigitimate' by the government and have the
Mother's surname (the Father was not her husband according to the
So yes, anything is possible, with some things more common than others
depending on the year and the location which you don't specify.
Ida & Joseph Schwarcz
Dear Steve,toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
I know some Elefants, many of them rabbis or shohetim. I have never wondered
about the origin of the name, Now you have inspired me to look into Kaganoff
who says the name derives >from the sign on one's house, but that the picture
of what was called an elephant was that of a camel!
Dr. Joseph M. Schwarcz
Dr. Ida Selavan Schwarcz
From: Stephen P Casey [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, December 03, 2004 7:03 AM
Subject: [h-sig] Surnames
It was Joseph the second, the so-called "hatted king"
(kalapos király) who compelled the Jews to have family
But I have a question: how my mother's ancestors
became Elefant? Who knew in Hungary around 1890, when
Joseph was king, what is an elephant?
My fathers family were cohens, so the name Kohn is
absolutely understandable. But Elefant? They must had
tom klein <h-sig@...>
i can't tell you why they were called ELEFANT, but anyone with even a modest=
amount of classical education (and a lot of hungarian jews fall into that=
category) would certainly have read about elephants, in biology, geography=
and even history classes (remember the story of hannibal?) - their=
schooling was quite good.
i can only speculate about the size of their nose, but keep in mind that not=
all names are based on the person's characteristics. "elephant" could also=
have referred to their business ("elephant tavern", etc.) or to a local=
landmark ("that tree looks just like an elephant"), or whatever.
=2E..... tom klein, toronto
Stephen P Casey <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:Modeerator: Given the focus of this list, future postings will eschew zoological subject matter.
Dan Goodman <dsgood@...>
On 29 Jan 2005 12:30:45 -0800, Judith Romney Wegner wrote:
Today, if a man's name is Yosef Hyman, we assume that Hyman is hisI believe that at least up to around 1910, the idea hadn't fully taken hold
in Norway. Or in the Frisian-speaking areas of Schleswig-Holstein.
MODERATOR NOTE: Please keep further responses connected to Jewish genealogy.
Robert Israel <israel@...>
In article < BEF0C6E9.30A6email@example.com >,
dotvic < firstname.lastname@example.org > wrote:
Now that I've found out that my grandfather had gone by his mother's maiden
If he was Oscar MAURER, when he got married did his wife take MAURER orBoth possibilities should be explored.
He left Ulanow to go to Budapest before shipping out to the USA under the
I have a had no luck getting records on him or his wife in Ulanow. CouldThese matters are complicated by the fact that, especially in the
Austro-Hungarian Empire, it was often difficult for Jews to marry
officially. They often just had a religious wedding which wasn't
recognized by the government. Children of such couples were considered
illegitimate, and therefore would tend to be registered under their
mother's maiden name. However, that might not prevent them >from later
reverting to using their father's surname.
For example, my ggf David HOFLING and his wife Chana GLASBERG seem to
have been in this situation. My grandmother's older siblings' births
were all registered (in Stanislawow) under the name GLASBERG. My
grandmother, however, seems to be an anomaly: although she is listed as
illegitimate and the space for the father's name is blank, her mother is
listed as Chana HOFLING. Moreover, the mother's parents are listed as
Peisech and Chaje HOFLING. I really don't know who those people are: the
first names don't match David's parents or Chana's, as far as I know.
All the children who emigrated to Canada and Argentina used the name
HOFLING (or HEFLING), even if they had GLASBERG birth registrations.
Vancouver, BC, Canada
In a message dated 7/5/2005 1:38:21 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
< I believe Roger Lustig hit the nail on the head when he stated in a recent posting
on above subject."How else did Jews get their names, you ask? Better to ask:
do we have any records of a local official who *did* assign names? Very few, if
Or of a list of "ridiculous" names for assignment to Jews? Well, no."
< Which brings us to the conclusion that we will never know the answer unless
we find some hard evidence how the names assignment was carried out.
==Do I understand you correctly >from the citation and the comment, Roger, as
saying that until we find proof, we cannot give any credence to the stories
that local officials picked the names for Jews or that they deliberately assigned
< >from the research I conducted on this subject for a University seminar term paper
and the little shreds of evidence I found among Eastern European Jews my
conclusion is that . . . .
==That's exactly what we need to dispel that common misunderstanding. Is
your study available anywhere (I read Hebrew readily)? Or could you give us more
information on what it was you found? Were the Jews' names really picked by gentile
Did they have the authority (or wield the power) to demand payment >from Jews
for non-ridiculous names? Can you point to local laws, to locations where this
practice was common to impose insulting names, and how much was paid to supplant
them with better names?
< . . . we have to give our ancestors a lot more credit for their imagination and
creativity than we are giving. They used lots of energies in choosing a family
name while at the same time trying to "outfox," the goyim.
Or as the expression goes "if we have a lemon let's make a lemonade." Specially
when being forced to take on a Gentile family name.
==The question isn't the pluck or ingenuity of our ancestors but the veracity
of an extensive legend (unfortunately given "authentification" by otherwise
generally reliable Benzion Kaganoff) that colors--and may besmirch, Jewish
< I'll just give a couple of examples, The name BACH was chosen by a certain Jew not
because of his great love for music. But because it was a Hebrew acronym for
==Kaganoff concurs with you on that one. Lars Menk also lists the rabbinical
author, Joel Sirkes, who like many others is named after his best-known book,
Beyt Chadash in this case. Menk also gives Bach as an acronym for Ben Kohanim
and Ben Avraham heChazan. With a doubled "a," Baach is the name of two locations
in Germany, and was a popular Gentile surname in SW Germany. Not a few Jewish
families used the double-a spelling.
====Bach is German for "brook" and is the second element of thousands of locations
in the German speaking world. Since brooks vary greatly in physical and aesthetic
quality, it would be pretty fair to assume that someone >from a village named
Stinkbach or Schmutzbach might want to shorten the name, and I would be
unsurprised to learn that a member of the extensive, and economically and
rabbinically prominent family Bacharach (named after a town) might delete part of his name to make him
seem less obviously Jewish.
< Or the name KRAVITZ which has a Slavic ring is also a Hebrew acronym
for a verse >from Psalms. "Kol Rina Ve Yeshua Be Ohalei Tzadikim." Which we
also recite in the holiday Halel prayer.
==What do you think a Kravitz would prefer to hang above his shopfront? A
sign reading "Kol Rina Ve Yeshua Be Ohalei Tzadikim." (which would properly form
the acronym KRAVIBOTZ) or a sign that indicated his trade? Would you change your
mind if the "Kravitz which has a Slavic ring" was actually Polish and Ukrainian,
for Taylor, as in Schneider, Chayat and other widely accepted Jewish names..
==Truth is, Jews in Europe did look for biblical and religious inspiration
that would yield an acronym equal to their name, position, or family. One popular
set of choices was variants on "sons of the martyrs."
==For a whole year early in my genealogy experience, I toyed with the idea
that the Bernet name was derived from
1. A Sefardi name derived >from a Spanish translation of Yom Tov
2. An acronym of Ben R' Naftali Yom Tov
Both fitted family traditions. Both proved that family tradition on the
longevity of Yom Tov in the Bernet family were wrong: The name first occurred in
my family around 1750.
< We are lucky that these ancestors left in writing the reason why they
chose these names, otherwise we would never have known why these names were
chosen and would have given different, wild but not correct theories as some have done in
this discussion. >
==I'd love to see some specific citations that illustrate this point. How
many of these refer specifically to names that had been imposed? Which were
written by people who actually chose a name, and how many by their ancestor-
Michael Bernet, New York
==I'm sure we'd all like to believe that humiliating names are no longer
imposed in Europe. Don't dismiss that thought so quickly. Tuesday's New York
Times reported on Werner Kufeldt, a 64-year-old widower and retired bricklayer
from the German city of Essen.==His name means Cow field. What an abusive name to impose on a Jew!
==Sorry, wait a minute. This Kufeldt, who made a trip across the border to
the Netherlands to arrange a low-price cremation for when his life comes to
its end, is not a Jew. Makes me wonder who forced that humiliating
anti-teutonic name on this Gentile family.
==Gives me a chance to prove my creativity with a little legend. Perhaps his
father had only enough money for a bribe to avoid being named Kuhschwantz
(Cow's tail). Or how about thinking of Kufeldt as the Hebrew acronym Kolo u-piv
emet lo dibru tamid ("his voice and his mouth did not always speak the
==More seriously, more scientific, and more productive: look for one week at
the paid ads for obituaries listed in the daily New York Times. It's fairly
easy to divide them into Jewish and Gentile by the given information about
each one's funeral parlor. (Don't go by the given names of grandchildren
which tend to be biblical more often among Gentiles than among Jews)
==Now, using two different colored pens, check off the "humiliating"
surnames in each group.
==Surprise? Still believe that evil Gentiles commonly imposed nasty surnames
on hapless Jews?
Michael Bernet, New York
Sally Bruckheimer <sallybru@...>
The short answer is 'Yes'. ;-)
Actually, if his parents were married civilly, he would be named with his
father's surname - usually.
If his parents were married religiously but not civilly, he would be named
with his mother's surname - usually.
This is for civil records. What he called himself and what his neighbors
called him was different. And what he called himself after he left Europe
was some third thing.
However, sometimes men were registered with other surnames to avoid the
draft or for some other reason. Usually, among the Jews he would have been
known as 'Ovsei ben David' or whatever his and his father's forenames were,
with probably no surname. And in the US, he could have used any surname he
You need to look at the records >from the town he came >from (if you know it)
with an open mind. Check his first name and his father's first name and
whatever else you know. He might be Maurer or Bergstein or something else.
He might have been registered with his brother as one person (eldest son is
exempt >from draft, so only admit you have one son) or as somebody else's son
or not at all.
Actually, it seems amazing that anybody finds any record of their ancestors
in Russia, but amazingly they often do. Just be happy that there are
records to check, as my mother's mother's family come >from an area which has
no civil bmd records at all.
==I'm sure we'd all like to believe that humiliating names are no longerWell, not every goyishe Teutonic was Immanuel Kant, you know.
==Surprise? Still believe that evil Gentiles commonly imposed nastyLet's not generalize about the "evil' Gentales. Discussion was about German
and Austrian officials practices toward tradional 'Ost Juden' on the
On 3/8/07, Jordan Zakarin <email@example.com> wrote:
we don't know where... my great great grandfather was from.First of all, regarding the very resilient Ellis Island name change
myth, please see the article by Marian Smith, historian for the INS
(U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, recently renamed the
Marian points out that passenger lists were created abroad and that
Ellis Island inspectors used these lists during the inspection
process. She also notes that all EI inspectors spoke several languages
and that they were assigned to process immigrants whose language they
spoke. In addition, inspectors were instructed not to change the name
or identifying information found for any immigrant unless requested by
the immigrant or given evidence that the original information was
As to the likelihood of the name GREEN in Europe: Possibly it was GRUN
with an umlaut on the U. Pronunciation is not too different than
GREEN. When they say a name was "the same in Europe," relatives
sometimes mean that it wasn't shortened, not that it was spelled
Some websites to go to, to see the occurrence of a Jewish surname in
1) JRI-Poland <http://jri-poland.org/>
(An exact spelling search shows not one GREEN, but many GRUENs,
GRINs, and especially GRUNs -- in the Galicia provinces of Krakow,
Lwow, Stanislawow, and Tarnopol and elsewhere.)
2) The Ellis Island website, via Steve Morse's One Step
(Searching for a name that starts with/is GREEN with ethnicity
Galicia brings up only two names. Neither manifest was viewable,
so we can't know if we agree with the indexer's reading.)
3) Avotaynu's Consolidated Jewish Surname Index
(GREEN appears in a number of databases. In some, such as the
Family Tree of the Jewish People, it is probably a surname in an
English-speaking country. But there are also occurrences in foreign
records, including those indexed in a number of JewishGen databases.)
Note the Advanced Search Option described on the CJSI page, which
also works on JRI and on JewishGen databases: Enclose characters of
the name in brackets to signify that those letters should not be
soundexed but must appear as is. For example, searching for [GR]EEN
would bring up names beginning with GR that sound like GREEN; using
brackets eliminates names like GOREN >from the results.
4) Yad Vashem's Central Database of Shoah Victims Names
(On the Advanced Search page, an exact name search for GREEN brings
up a number of listings. These occurrences may just reflect how
English-speaking relatives spelled the name in their Testimony.
There are also many GRUNs, GRUENs, and GRINs >from Galician
provinces and elsewhere. Note that the "English" spellings in this
database are often transliterated >from Hebrew or Cyrillic characters.)
For more source information see the section on Jewish Names in the
and Joachim Mugdan's JewishGen InfoFile, "The Names of the Jews," at
Renee Stern Steinig
Dix Hills, New York, USA
The name MAY may be a special case, as it is a Kohen name like KATZ.toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
MAY supposedly stands for "Mizzera Aharon yerusha."
On 5 May 2009 at 0:04, French SIG digest wrote:
I had a relative in Alsace who appears in the 1789 Census whose family had
I can say in response, that the volume of "Memoires Juives en Alsace",toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
of A. A. Fraenckel, which lists over 5000 marriage contracts in Alsace
filed with Notaries, >from 1701-1791, and for which my husband and I
created a 2-volume index, shows clearly that there were many who had
hereditary family names in Alsace in those years. I can trace back my
own family names into the 1600's and earlier. And the same is true for
the early families in Moselle.
In 1784 the largest Jewish community in France was in Alsace, followed
by Lorraine, and then the region of the Comtat-Venaissin in the south
(mostly Sephardic. The smallest community at that date was in Paris,
which had only about 500 Jews. In Alsace there were over 20,000.
Many were toponyms, patronyms or based on a trade. Many were still
retained when the Napoleonic Decree of 1808 was put into force.
Los Altos, CA USA
--- On Tue, 5/5/09, Israel P <IsraelP@pikholz.org> wrote:
From: Israel P <IsraelP@pikholz.org>
My husband's mother was nee DIDISHEIM. He could trace his DIDISHEIMtoggle quoted messageShow quoted text
branch (even with different spellings) as far as 1690, when the first
DIDISHEIM took that name at their arrival in Switzerland, before
arriving in France. The same thing for his NORDMANN branch.
Eve Line Blum-Cherchevsky
http://www.convoi73.org and also
Cercle de Genealogie Juive (International JGS in Paris)
At 10:03 +0300 5/05/09, Israel P wrote:
The name MAY may be a special case, as it is a Kohen name like KATZ.
E. Randol Schoenberg
It has been a while since I posted my ancestral surnames to the list.
Thanks to the help of many of you, and Julius Mueller, in particular,
I have added a few names in the past years.
My ancestral surnames are: AUSCH (Praha) AUSTERLITZ (Wien) BEER
(Lomnice, Radimer) BIEDERMANN (Bratislava, Wien) BITTNER (Breclav)
BLOCH (Ckyne) BOEHMER (Kounice) BRASCHINSKY/BRASCHITZ (Branky, Usov)
BRAUN (Holesov) BREITENFELD (Lobkowitz, Rychmburk) BROCK/BRUEK
(Hermanuv Mestec) CHALFON/HALFON/HALPHEN (Mannheim, Metz) DUSCHAK
(Uhersky Ostroh) FEITLER/VEIDLER (Ceske Budejovice, Kaplice, Kardasova
Recice, Rozmberk nad Vltavou, Udoli) FREISTADT (Bratislava) FUNK
(Prostejov, Wien) GLASER (Bratislava) GOLDSTEIN (WIEN) HIRSCH
(Prostejov) HOFFMAN (Brno) HOFFMANN (Breclav, Wien) HOFMANN (Lomnice)
HOROWITZ (Praha) JELINEK/JELLINEK (Holesov, Hodonin, Unicov, Wien)
JONTOF/JONTOF-HUTTER/JONTOW (Praha) KATAN (Eisenstadt, Praha, Wien)
KATSCHER (Branky, Lostice, Slavkov, Valasske Mezirici) KOENIG
(Miroslav) KOHN (Ckyne) KOLISCH (Hodonin, Korycany, Wien) LANG
(Prostejov) LEWY/LOEWY (Kolodeje nad Luznici) LOEWY (Bratislava,
Szecseny) LUCERNA (Wien) MENZELES (Bratislava, Wien) MOELLER (Karasova
Recice) NACHOD (Praha, Wien) PALLAK/POLLACK (Bratislava) PRESSBURG
(Bratislava) REICHMANN (Hlinsko, Pradubice, Raab) REIF (Uhersky
Ostroh, Wien) ROSENFELD (Korycany) SCHMIDT (Branky, Valasske,
Mezirici) SCHOENBERG (Bratislava, Szecseny, Wien) SCHWARZ (Bratislava,
Pezinok, Wien) SIMON (Bratislava, Tyrnau) SINGER (Kojetin, Prostejov,
Uhersky Ostroh, Valasske Mezirici) SINSHEIM/SINZHEIM/SINZHEIMER
(Mannheim, Wien) SPITZER (Prostejov) STAMPFER (Ckyne, Kolodeje nad
Luznici) STEININGER (Kaplice, Rozmberk nad Vltavou) TAUSEK/TAUSSIG
(Lobkowitz, Rychmburk) TEOMIM (Padua, Wien) TREBITSCH (Bratislava)
TRITSCH (Praha) VAIDAL (Frankfurt) WEINBERGER (Velke Mezirici) WEIS
(Uhersky Ostroh) WILTSCHEK (Bucovice) ZAY (Metz) ZEIMER (Hresihlavy,
Praha) ZEISEL/ZEISL/ZEISSEL/ZEISSL (Jevicko, Lednice, Lomnice,
Radimer, Rozsochy, Svojanov, Velke Mezirici, Wien) ZODEKS/ZODEX
(Praha) And my non-Jewish 1/16 is ERTL (Kula) INQUART (Budapest, Wien)
RESCH (Budapest, Kula, Pecsvarad) STRAZSAI (Kula) VIGHARD/VICKARDT
Of course, these are just the ancestral surnames, if we included
cousins, the list would explode. I would encourage all of you to
enter your trees on http://www.geni.com because I am finding with that
program that many of us can connect our trees by finding common cousins.
Los Angeles, CA