Toponymic Names #general


Joseph Fibel <jfibel@...>
 

Dear Genners,

Although I respect Michael Bernet's encyclopaedic knowledge of German
history and culture,
I find that I have to disagree with one of his recent postings in which he
said that toponymic surnames were taken by German families only after their
owners had moved >from those communities. ,

I commend to all Genners the excellent book called The Memoirs of Glueckel
of Hameln, published by Schocken. Glueckel was born in 1645-she died in
1724, She wrote her memoirs in 7 books over a period of several years. She
wrote them in Judeo German, that is, in German words but in Hebrew
characters. The first English version was only published in 1920.

Glueckel had 14 children, 3 of whom did not live beyond their first year.
She assisted her husband in his extensive business dealings throughout
Europe and when he died she ran the family business by herself, traveling
throughout Western Europe visiting Mercantile Fairs, buying and selling
many types of merchandise at the fairs, and selling through her own retail
store in Hamburg. She also started and owned a small factory manufacturing
gold lace.

She married off her children to wealthy merchants in many cities. Glueckel
tells of her negotiations with these families for doweries and we find that
several of her daughters' spouses had toponymic surnames for the very cities
they lived in. Here are a few examples:

Daughter Zippora married in 1675 Kossman Cleve (>from Cleve)

Daughter Hannah married Samuel Hameln (>from Hameln)

Son Moses married 1685 daughter of Samson Baiersdorf (Samsnon was HofJude of
Baiersdorf)

Freundchen married 1700. Mordechai ben Moses Altona (>from Altona)

Another example: Samuel Stuttgart, who lived in Stuttgart was Parnass of all
Hessia.

Glueckel's father was >from Hameln and so his and her surname became Hameln.

Frequently, these important men also had another hereditary name which they
used interchangeably with their toponymic. Eventually, of course, many of
these toponymics did persist after the families left their communities but
sometimes they reverted to their heriditary non toponymic names.

Judeo German was a West German precursor to Yiddish so in fact this book is
the first Yiddish book vy a women.


Judith Romney Wegner
 

At 1:29 AM -0400 9/8/06, Joseph Fibel wrote:
I commend to all Genners the excellent book called The Memoirs of Glueckel
of Hameln, published by Schocken. Glueckel was born in 1645-she died in
1724, She wrote her memoirs in 7 books over a period of several years. She
wrote them in Judeo German, that is, in German words but in Hebrew
characters. The first English version was only published in 1920.
To me, one of the most interesting things about Glueckel's memoirs is
that whereas the author goes into great detail describing births,
marriages and deaths, she never (so far as i recall) so much as
mentions a boy becoming a bar mitzvah. This would seem to indicate
that in her time (at least in Hameln) there was as yet no customary
celebration of this event. Of course there is no halakhic
requirement of such a celebration; but I don't think Glueckel ever
comments on one of her sons being called to the Torah for the first
time or even on their having reached the age of obligation to observe
the mitzvot. I am wondering whether anyone can point us to firm
documentary evidence of bar mitzvah celebrations taking place
anywhere else in Glueckel's time.

If such celebrations were taking place elsewhere, I wonder why not
in Hameln? (Anyone who has read the book would agree that given the
minute detail she goes into about other life-cycle events in her
family, she would surely have at least mentioned one or two bar
mitzvah ceremonies if such were customary in her time and place.)

Judith Romney Wegner