Surname Adoption derived from Mother #names


Does any one know of families adopting a mother's or grandmother's surname? I know that three LEVI brothers residing in Ihringen, Grandduchy of Baden-Durlach in 1809, adopted BLUM as their surname.  I suspect that this was the surname of their grandmother who probably was a member of a BLUM family in neighboring Alsace where BLUM was a surname in use in the 18th century.  Their Mother's maiden name was WEYL, and she too was from Alsace (Ribeauville). 

Dan Bing
Knoxville, TN 

Valentin Lupu

There are plenty of such surnames in Eastern Europe. Some few examples:  Bashevis (from Bat Shevah), Sirkin (Sarah), Haikin (Chaia, Chaike),  Rivlin (Rivah), Beilin (Beilah), etc.

Valentin Lupu

Michael Sharp

I have found this on my family tree where in Russian Poland families sometimes adopted a matronymic rather than a patronymic naming convention. This may have been done to avoid conscription into the Tsarist army under the Cantonist laws. Whether similar factors applied in late 17th century / early 18th century western and central Europe I do not know

Laurie Sosna

I've got one in my family.
Levi MELLER married Paye Ettl LEVIN (1870?). He took her last name.
Story goes that Paye had no brothers, Levi became the "only son" and head of the family, avoids conscription.

I can't find any records of them (not sure where they were born, where they married, last names are not distinctive enough).
They ended up in Yekaterinoslav (Dnipro) maybe, some indication that they may have been from Lithuania.
A bit of a mess, genealogically speaking.
Their grandson Lewis used Meller as his middle name on his naturalization papers.

Laurie Sosna
San Francisco, CA

Doug Cohen

In some places, esp. the Austro-Hungarian empire, families were limited in how many sons the governent allowed to marry.   Other children were married by a rabbi "according to the laws of Moses and Jewish traditions." Thus, as far as the government was concerned, the marriage wasn't lawful.  And children were considered illegitimate and took the mother's surname.  the Jews didn't care what the government thought; they knew their children had been under the chupa -- and they never wanted surnames anyway!

Don't know if that's what happened in your family or not, but it's a plausible reason.

Doug Cohen, Sarasota, FL & Lexington, MA

Yonatan Ben-Ari

Several months (or years ago) there was an article in the israeli newspaper "makor rishon" regarding  a book written by a doctoral candidate at bar ilan university regarding people who took maternal family names. Very interesting and enlightning.
Yoni ben ari