Mother's surname #general


fransegall@...
 

I've noticed that in many old vital records and specifically in the JRI-Poland
database, many children's birth - and even death - records are listed as the child
having the mother's surname rather than the father's as is customary today.

Is that simply the way it is listed in the database, or is that likely the name
the child used throughout life? In other words, would Sarah (Bergman), daughter
of Isaac Stein and Feige Bergman be listed on a marriage certificate as Sarah
Bergman or Sarah Stein? If she immigrated to the US, which name would she likely
have used - Bergman (mother) or Stein (father)?

Somehow it seems more likely that the *father's* name would be carried down, but
there's so much I don't know....

Fran Segall
Manassas, VA


Judith Romney Wegner
 


I've noticed that in many old vital records and specifically in the JRI-Poland
database, many children's birth - and even death - records are
listed as the child
having the mother's surname rather than the father's as is customary today.
Fran Segall

Dear Fran,

In some parts of Europe (including the Austro-Hungarian Empire,
which encompassed parts of Poland at certain historical periods)
Jewish marriages conducted under religious auspices were not legally
registrable (only Church marriages and civil marriages were legally
recognized and registrable ) , therefore births to those couples
were registered only as illegitimate births to the mother.

This was just one of many examples of discrimination against Jews.
Because of this official non-recognition of the father, we had drawn
a blank trying to trace my husband's Austrian (but Polish-born) great
grandfather; the Austrian birth record of his grandfather stated
"no details known" for the great-grandfather. Fortunately, a very
kind Jgenner researching the same family had managed to tracked down
both g and gg grandparents and sent us the information!

In some places ( including a large chunk Poland when it was under
Russian rule) the motivation for not registering the child in the
father's surname was to conceal the child's existence >from the Czar's
"khappers" (that's the Yiddish term for the guys they sent around to
the father's house to conscript sons as young as 12 years old for the
army -- where they would be forced to serve for 25 years). If
children were not registered in the father's name it was harder for
the army to know of their existence and track them down.

Judith Romney Wegner.


Sally M. Bruckheimer <sallybru@...>
 

Sometimes in the Russian Empire it was illegal for Jews to marry (civilly),
to cut down on our numbers - often only the eldest son was allowed to marry.
However, the Jews weren't interested in the civil marriage and married
religiously. The surnames were not much used among the Jews, who called
themselves X the son/daughter of Y. The state required the surname for tax
and draft and such - to keep track of who is whom.

Well, according to the state, since there was no civil marriage, the
children were illegitimate and had the Mother's surname. The Jews didn't
care, the kid was still X the son/daughter of Y. Whether they said he was
Smith or Jones was no concern of the Jews; the child was the legitimate
offspring of a (religiously) married couple.

Sally Bruckheimer
Chatham, NJ

"I've noticed that in many old vital records and specifically in the JRI-Poland
database, many children's birth - and even death - records are listed as the
child having the mother's surname rather than the father's as is customary today."


Stan Goodman <SPAM_FOILER@...>
 

On Wed, 1 Dec 2004 14:34:34 UTC, fransegall@comcast.net opined:

I've noticed that in many old vital records and specifically in the JRI-Poland
database, many children's birth - and even death - records are listed as the
child having the mother's surname rather than the father's as is customary
today.

Is that simply the way it is listed in the database, or is that likely the
name the child used throughout life? In other words, would Sarah (Bergman),
daughter of Isaac Stein and Feige Bergman be listed on a marriage certificate
as Sarah Bergman or Sarah Stein? If she immigrated to the US, which name
would she likely have used - Bergman (mother) or Stein (father)?

Somehow it seems more likely that the *father's* name would be carried down,
but there's so much I don't know....
You will find this kind of listing especially in Galician records, i.e. from
those parts of Poland that belonged to Austria in the nineteenth century.
The reason, in those cases, was simply that the parents didn't trouble to
register their marriage, so that the children were, as far as the Austrian
government were concerned, bastards, not entitled to use the surname of
their biological father. That left the mother's surname as the only
remaining option. This, it isn't hard to see, wreaks havoc with any attempt
at genealogical history.

--
Stan Goodman, Qiryat Tiv'on, Israel

Searching:
NEACHOWICZ/NOACHOWICZ, NEJMAN/NAJMAN, SURALSKI: >from Lomza Gubernia
ISMACH: >from Lomza Gubernia, Galicia, and Ukraina
HERTANU, ABRAMOVICI, LAUER: >from Dorohoi District, Romania
GRISARU, VATARU: >from Iasi, Dorohoi, and Mileanca, Romania

See my interactive family tree (requires Java 1.1.6 or better). the URL is:
http://www.hashkedim.com

For reasons connected with anti-spam/junk security, the return address is
not valid. To communicate with me, please visit my website (see the URL
above -- no Java required for this purpose) and fill in the email form
there.


Carlos Glikson
 

I've noticed that in many old vital records and specifically in the
JRI-Poland database, many children's birth - and even death - records are
listed as the child having the mother's surname rather than the father's
as is customary today.
There could be so many reasons for usage of the mother's last name that I am
including a message I posted in JewishGen years ago. At the time I
summarized possible motives for different areas, dates, and situations,
after receiving many mails in response to a similar question about use of
the mother's name....Sorry for the late reply, I am catching up after an
absence.

"Thank you to all who helped me gain insight on the many reasons behind
surname changes in immigrants and use of maternal name. I wish to thank all
who took their time to answer. It was my first posting in JewishGen and I
felt the added strength of individual and collective knowledge and
experiences.

Here is a summary of many varied facts and theories mentioned by Genners for
different dates, areas, and circumstances - different >from the unfairly
blamed clerk in Ellis Island!

They could help to look into other cases and pinpoint the reason for the
change in names:

+Different policies in terms of recording Jewish marriages and legislating
use of surnames among Jews.

+Jewish marriages not being recognized, and children being given documents
with their mothers maiden name

+Religious Marriage considered sufficient. Never bothering to register a
civil marriage with the authorities, with the option for children of taking
either surname

+Having religious marriages, in general not registering until after the
first child was born, and scoffing at the notations of illegitimacy in the
eyes of the Polish government as of no consequence at all.

+Not being able to afford the fee for a civil marriage - children born of
the religious marriage had to take the surname of the mother

+Only one marriage permit issued per Jew family descendance under
Austro-Hungarian law, and only if a significant fee was paid. So marriage of
more than one children would not be recorded by the civil authorities and
children of such couples would be listed in the Austro-Hungarian metrical
records as illegitimate.

+Times when governments in Poland and in Hungary did not allow Jews to marry
more than once (even if his spouse was deceased). In that case, they were
married only by Jewish ceremony and the children of this second (etc.)
marriage bore the family name of the mother.

+Civil marriages being conducted in front of a cross. Jews who refused to
marry in front of a cross were technically illegitimate

+Marriages performed elsewhere and not formally registered in cities where
children were born

+Many people in the United States, Irish in particular, had a particular
dislike for Russians, or what they perceived as Russian sounding names...
Consequently, many Russian or East-European Jews Germanized their names.

+Thinking that having a close maternal relative with the same surname in the
States would make it easier to be admitted if using the maternal surname

+Desire to avoid the authorities for some reason, probably connected with
military service - either to avoid conscription or to evade punishment after
deserting

+In Russia outside the Kingdom of Poland, Jewish men except the first born
were draftable and sometimes not permitted to marry - so baby boys were
never registered or sometimes registered as the child of another couple with
no boys.

+Inherited surnames were still relatively new and not especially desired by
Jews since they were forced on them by the government in an effort to keep
track of who was who (and draftable, etc.)

+A Jew emmigrating to the US may give no second thought to getting rid of a
name forced on him by the Czar.

+Inconsistent use amongst European Jews of what we consider to be "surnames"
(family names uniformly reflecting the paternal line) until the 19th century
as the earliest.

+Marriages governed by religious law until fairly recently (typically the
19th century) with individual names recorded in official documents being a
totally different question.

+In 20th century not recognition of the state or synagogue as a power proper
for marriage authorization, not for reasons related to religion, but for
political ones

+Need to be sponsored by a family member in order to be accepted as an
immigrant, and pretending to be related to the sponsor using papers in the
new name.

+Jews who needed a surname often used the wife's name if they were (as often
occured) living with the wife's family.

+Men marrying into a well known Rabbinical family taking the father-in-law's
family name

+Men going into their father-in-law's profession, and the family's name
changing according to that profession

+Anglicization, easier spelling or pronounciation, and even choosing a name
more in their liking, and ease in the States to "call yourself anything you
wanted"

+Travelling under the mother's maiden name and resuming the father's name on
arrival

+Travels under the mother's maiden name being thus noted by the authorities
on their certificate of arrival or naturalization papers.

Thank you very much for all these comments - hope they help and did not skip
any!

Carlos Glikson
Buenos Aires, Argentina