Hungarian Jewish Surnames #general


Judith Romney Wegner
 

At 4:39 PM +0200 9/9/06, Evelin wrote:
----- Original Message -----
From: "Vivian Kahn" <vkahn@...>
Tom Klein has accurately observed that a
Hungarian Jewish name ending in "y" would be
unusual. Robert Neu, one of Hungarian SIG's
most erudite volunteers, says that one way to
distinguish Jewish Hungarian >from non-Jewish
Hungarian names is that the former end surnames
with the letter "i" and the latter use the
letter "y".
I just wish to add that the surname "i" instead
of "y" ending seems to be true not only for
Hungarian Jews but also for Jews living in
Prussia and probably at other places as well.

For example the WASBUTZKI / WAZBUTCKI surname
comes >from Seirey, a place of former Prussia.
Maybe so, but the name itself is obviously
Polish, not German (i.e., not Prussian)! And it
is certainly true of Polish surnames that gentile
names end in -ski while the Jewish version of the
same name usually ends in names in -y

Does anybody know why this is? Did it happen
because when written in Yiddish (i.e. in Hebrew
alphabet letters) the -ski ending had to be
rendered with a letter yod -- which would then in
turn automatically be rendered as a "y" when
persons with such names came to European
countries or USA and had to transliterate their
names?

Or was there by any chance a Polish law
requiring this difference in order to make it
possible to distinguish Jews >from "genuine"
Poles? I wonder why that would not surprise
me......

Judith Romney Wegner


Roger Lustig <julierog@...>
 

I wouldn't want to rely on a spelling-related rule such as the I/Y
distinction that Evelin proposes.

In Prussia, where German was the official language, the letter "y" was
used inconsistently, often as a matter of fashion or nationalistic
expression. The same surname may be found in vital records alternating
frequently between an -i ending and a -y ending over a long period of time.

For example: the KATSCHINSKI family of Upper Silesia, originally in
Sohrau. In 1812-36 they appear only in the Sohrau records (32 times),
and always with the -Y ending. (5 different spellings of the rest of
the surname though!) 1837-42: 2 -Y endings >from other towns. 1843-49 we
see only -I (5 records). 1850: 3 -Ys. One of them is a marriage that
is also recorded in another town--but with the -I ending. For the rest
of the 1850's there are 9 -Ys and 14 -Is, often the same person (father
of a child) being recorded both ways. And so on.

The same phenomenon may be observed in just about any other surname
ending with -I/-Y. LOEWY/LEWY/LEVI/LEWI/LOEWI/etc. is just one example.
Even a name >from a German word is spelled inconsistently, because
German itself was spelled inconsistently: MAI/MAY.

As for Hungarian names, the rule doesn't sound any more sensible
either--but for the opposite reason. In Hungarian, the alphabet
includes things that look like multiple-letter combinations, but are
treated as single letters. Those include "gy", "ly", "ny", and "ty".
Hungarian spelling is highly phonetic, with one letter or letter
combination having only one value. So names ending with a particular
sound require a particular spelling, no matter who's using them.

Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Hungarian_Jews for
examples of Hungarian names belonging to Jews. Start with John KEMENY
(KEMENY Janos), president of Dartmouth, inventor of BASIC, etc.

Roger Lustig
Princeton, NJ

Evelin wrote:


Tom Klein has accurately observed that a Hungarian Jewish name ending
in "y" would be unusual. Robert Neu, one of Hungarian SIG's most
erudite volunteers, says that one way to distinguish Jewish Hungarian
from non-Jewish Hungarian names is that the former end surnames with
the letter "i" and the latter use the letter "y".

I just wish to add that the surname "i" instead of "y" ending seems to
be true not only for Hungarian Jews but also for Jews living in Prussia
and probably at other places as well.

For example the WASBUTZKI / WAZBUTCKI surname comes >from Seirey, a
place of former Prussia. This ending "i" ending was kept as long as the
family lived in Eastern and Central Europe. It changed to the "y" ending
for people who moved and settled in the States. The "i" ending has been
used by my relatives living in Latvia, Eastern Prussia, Germany proper
and my grandfather born in Suwalki.


Roger Lustig <julierog@...>
 

Why this is, you ask? I don't think it is at all!

I just spent a few minutes at JRI-Poland. Looked for the name
KAMINSKI/KAMINSKY. A global search gives 646 records with an 'I', and 5
with a 'Y'.

Ah, but almost all of those records are >from Congress Poland and the
Pale (all but 4, in fact). >from 1867 onward, those records were kept in
Cyrillic. (The 4 >from Galizia all end in 'I'.)

So let's limit ourselves to records >from Congress Poland *before* 1867.
218 with an 'I', one (>from Kielce Gubernia) with a 'Y'.

Similar story with WARSZAWSKI/Y. 1731 to 7.

Bottom line: the name was spelled with an 'I' in Poland--when it was
spelled with Roman characters at all! I think you're on the right track
when you bring immigration into it: most of the Jewish immigrants >from
Poland & parts east came after 1880, and had therefore not had their
names written officially in Roman characters for at least 13 years (far
longer, if ever, in the Pale).

When they bought their tickets and boarded the ship--that's when the
name was written out in the Roman alphabet. Where? Hamburg, as often
as not...

Now, -SKI names just *couldn't* be spelled -SKY in Polish, but some
not-so-Polish names could be. Take LEWI/LEWY. Sure enough, JRI-Poland
has 115 LEWYs...

...to go along with the 2,260 LEWIs. And plenty of those are pre-1867.

(OK--so there weren't a lot of Polish Gentiles named LEVY *or* LEVI.
But I think the point stands.)

All in all, I'd say that the phenomenon you describe is limited to
emigrants. Why didn't the -Y appear at the ends of the names of Polish
Gentile emigrants so often? Probably because, even though the vital
records were kept in Cyrillic for them too (after 1867), they were more
likely to have used Roman characters in their daily lives, their native
tongue being one that was written in the Roman alphabet. Oh, and they
came later, almost all after 1900, which would have raised the
likelihood of their being literate.

Roger Lustig
Princeton, NJ

Judith Romney Wegner wrote:
[snip]


Maybe so, but the name itself is obviously
Polish, not German (i.e., not Prussian)! And it
is certainly true of Polish surnames that gentile
names end in -ski while the Jewish version of the
same name usually ends in names in -y

Does anybody know why this is? Did it happen
because when written in Yiddish (i.e. in Hebrew
alphabet letters) the -ski ending had to be
rendered with a letter yod -- which would then in
turn automatically be rendered as a "y" when
persons with such names came to European
countries or USA and had to transliterate their
names?

Or was there by any chance a Polish law
requiring this difference in order to make it
possible to distinguish Jews >from "genuine"
Poles? I wonder why that would not surprise
me......


Vivian Kahn
 

Tom Klein has accurately observed that a Hungarian Jewish name ending
in "y" would be unusual. Robert Neu, one of Hungarian SIG's most
erudite volunteers, says that one way to distinguish Jewish Hungarian
from non-Jewish Hungarian names is that the former end surnames with
the letter "i" and the latter use the letter "y". For example,
Andrassy, Ferenczy, and Palffy are non-Jewish Hungarians while
Andrasi, Hantosi, Furedi, Heregi, Banfi and Marai (e.g. Sandor Marai,
is the great Hungarian Jewish author >from Kosice) are Jewish names.

While there are definitely exceptions to this rule, Szazadunk
nevvaltozasai [The name changes of our century] a book published in
Budapest in 1895, shows that that many of the Hungarian Jews who took
Magyar names did assume names such as Ferenczi, Bercsenyi, and Batori
rather than Ferenczy, Bercseny, and Batory.

Vivian Kahn, Hungarian SIG Coordinator

Subject: Re: Hungarian Jewish Last Names
From: tom klein <h-sig@...>
Date: Fri, 8 Sep 2006 09:54:07 -0400

Although my Hungarian spelling isn't very good, I've never seen an
umlaut (or any other accent) over a y. (In fact, the y itself was reserved
for nobility, in the same way that von, as opposed to van, was. So an
original Jewish family name ending in y would be unusual, although I
know that some changed spellings after they emigrated.) Also, the
town would be called Hemle, but I can't find a place with such a name in
the 1913 gazetteer (which still doesn't mean that it didn't exist).


Evelyn Waldstein
 

----- Original Message -----
From: "Vivian Kahn" <vkahn@...>
To: "JewishGen Discussion Group" Sent: Saturday, September 09, 2006 10:18 AM
Subject: Hungarian Jewish Surnames

Tom Klein has accurately observed that a Hungarian Jewish name ending in
"y" would be unusual. Robert Neu, one of Hungarian SIG's most erudite
volunteers, says that one way to distinguish Jewish Hungarian >from
non-Jewish Hungarian names is that the former end surnames with the
letter "i" and the latter use the letter "y".
I just wish to add that the surname "i" instead of "y" ending seems to be
true not only for Hungarian Jews but also for Jews living in Prussia and
probably at other places as well.

For example the WASBUTZKI / WAZBUTCKI surname comes >from Seirey, a place of
former Prussia. This ending "i" ending was kept as long as the family lived
in Eastern and Central Europe. It changed to the "y" ending for people who
moved and settled in the States. The "i" ending has been used by my
relatives living in Latvia, Eastern Prussia, Germany proper and my
grandfather born in Suwalki.

Evelyn Waldstein (Latvia, now Israel)
evewa@...


Sally Bruckheimer <sallybru@...>
 

Of course, in the US (and perhaps elsewhere), anything ending -i could turn
into -y, or vice versa as names adapted to 'American' language and spelling
vagaries. My guess would be that -i would preferably become -y, since -i is
not a common English ending.

So Hemli (in Hungarian) would turn into Hemly or Hemley because it is more
'like' an English name.

Sally Bruckheimer
Bridgewater, NJ

"Robert Neu, one of Hungarian SIG's most
erudite volunteers, says that one way to distinguish Jewish Hungarian
from non-Jewish Hungarian names is that the former end surnames with
the letter "i" and the latter use the letter "y"."


kalman@...
 

Dear Siggers,

sorry for the belated reply.

Though y with an Umlaut is very rare, it does exist in Hungarian surname
endings, if the final y is preceded by g, l, n or t, and it indicates
(though, I repeat, it is an archaic method and a pretty rare case) that it
should not be pronounced as part of the consonant (gy, ly, ny, ty) but
rather as a distinct vowel (i.e., i), since otherwise these "double
letters" could be taken as one single consonants.

Typically you will not find final y im Jewish (Hungarized) names, but
sometimes it may happen. Y with an Umlaut in a Jewish name, however, would
be far more than a rarity.

In fact, the rules (written and informal) of Hungarization of names
exclude some "historical" names so that "Andrassy" or "Banffy" simply
could not be chosen.

"Von" as part of referring to one's nobility could be used by used once
they managed to get (buy) nobility: i.e., the rank of a Baron. The father
of the philosopher Georg (Gyorgy) Lukacs, and for a short time in his
youth even Lukacs himself, used his surname as "von Lukacs".

To Vivian:
Although Sandor Marai was in fact an excellent writer and an immaculate
person who hated anti-Semitism, he was not a Jew. He was of German origin,
of the German minority of Upper Hungary called the "Tsipsers" (maybe
Zipser in German?).


Gyorgy C. Kalman
Budakeszi/Budapest, Hungary