Names DAVID, DAVIS, REITER / What's in a name #general

Martin Davis (com)

Rennie M. Salz poses some interesting questions related to the links with
the names Davis, David and Reiter and, as a Davis I thought it might be
interesting to provide a little background to the 'name game' as my own
research has thrown up. It is logical but not simple!

In 1769, my ancestor Moziek (Moshe) Dawidowicz (son of Dawid)was born to
Dawid (David) ben Moshe and Sara Mayerow in or near the town of Dzialoszyn,
western Poland. Dawid and Sara being my g-g-g-g-g-grandparents. In 1793,
Moziek Dawidowicz appears to have been registered in the Prussian census of
Dzialoszyn as Moses David (the name being Germanified). In 1801, Moziek
Dawidowicz and his wife Estera Wolkowicz had a son, whom they named Jankiel
(Jankle). Following the old tradition they reverted to the use of the
patronymic and Jankiel's name appears as Jankiel Moskowicz in subsequent
records. In 1819 Jankiel Moskowicz married Leja (Leah Abramowicz) in the
village of Osjakow. By 1828 Jankiel, Leja and all their children were using
the family name Dawidowicz. I would assume that because of the Prussian law
of 1823 requiring all Jews of that area to have a family name, he adopted
that of his father - as did Jankiel's brother's Berek and Joachim (Chaim),
and so they established and kept a common family name with the family from
the period circa 1760.

The family name Dawidowicz then stuck with the family up until my
grandfather and his siblings came to the UK in 1902. At some point soon
after they started to use the family name Davis - which is a contraction of
Davidson and a logical translation >from Dawidowicz. Davis has been our
family name ever since.

So in our specific case, the first name David and our family name Davis are
linked by a naming pattern which is at least 300 years old.

Finally, to consider the 'Reiter' name mentioned by Rennie in her email, I
would guess that her ancestor's given name was followed by the patronymic
and, to further clarify who the person was, that ancestor was known by their
trade. In the case of the name Reiter, it is of Dutch and German origin, and
is an occupational name meaning 'one who cleared the land for tilling' or
'one who fought on horseback'.

Martin Davis - London (UK)

Anna Reuter <anna94306@...>

Dear Genners:

Martin Davis has done an excellent job documenting surname (Davis)
changes in his family. Rennie M. Salz asked about REITER in addition to
David, Davis.

Since my surname is REUTER, I would like to respond to REITER with what
I know of my Family.

When I first started researching my family history, I assumed it was
Germanic in origin. It is always best to look for a Paper Trail and/or
ask Relatives what they know as fact or fable. Also, consult the books
written by Dr. Alexander Beider to see if his linguistic Scholarship will
give you some insight. Beider can also list Towns of Origins, which may
be helpful.

My GF, Reven Rojter, immigrated >from the Russian Empire (Bessarabia) in
1913 via Rotterdam. Note the "j" >from the Manifest. It is most likely a
transliteration >from his Russian Papers. My GF's first language was Yiddish.
Given his town of origin, he might have been able to speak or read
some Russian, Ukrainian or Romanian. (my speculation)

Luckily for my research, INS (now USCIS) challenged my GF during the
Naturalization Process in 1919. They asked him to sign his name in
his original language. He signed his name in Hebrew Script.
I transliterated his signature as Reven Roiter or Royter. A copy of the
letter was in my GF's INS file.

Later, after asking ALL my relatives about the name origin, a younger
cousin told me that my Uncle (in a nursing home at the time) had admitted
that he had changed the spelling of the surname >from Roiter/Royter to
Reuter, sometime before World War I. He felt that Reuter (German spelling)
was classier than Roiter/Royter spelling. My GF and Uncle were listed as
"RENTER" in the 1920 US Census. Other family members had not immigrated yet.

Roit in Yiddish (and German) means the color, Red.
No red heads, no red beards or Red Faces in our Family at all.
As far as I have researched, there are no Davis or David surnames
in our family. But I expect there are many Reiter Families out there.


Anna Reuter
Palo Alto, California

snip..Finally, to consider the 'Reiter' name mentioned by Rennie in her email, I
would guess that her ancestor's given name was followed by the patronymic