Seek info about 17th century mixed marriages--Rhineland & Switzerland? #germany #france


     I'm a newbie. trying to find out if there are Jewish connections to my husbands family.    Per mixed marriages in the 1600's-1700's I would be interested in any research that has been done. In looking at my family line I noticed a definite
correlation (in Switzerland) of when Jews were booted out of certain cantons -that was when my family lines showed up in various parts of the country
as Reformed or Anabaptist/Mennonite. My dad tells the story (he wasnt sure how genuine) that the Lehmans originated from Lake Lehman (spelling?)
and might have been Jewish. Unlike most Mennonites my family lines (WEBER/HORST) were strong pro-Israel for generations. What I found interesting was that
both in Switzerland -Germany(Palatinate) and on coming to America there were several families that had tight connections -married each other -my generation
is the first to actually marry outside those connections. My dad could speak Pa. Dutch well enough that when he went to Europe for Relief work after WW2 that
he could talk fluently with the people he worked with.
WILBERS  - Krefeld Germany (husbands family) possible Jewish ? not sure thats why i'm on this

 Shirley Wilbers,   Eearl2@...
  Harrisonburg VA

Roger Lustig

There was no such thing as a "mixed marriage" involving one Jewish and
one Gentile party in the 17thC. In fact, that was generally true in
Germany, Switzerland, etc. until at least the middle of the 19thC.
Conversion of one party would have to precede the marriage, and
conversion to Judaism was not an option in most places.

As to LEHMANN coming from Lac Leman (Genfer See/Lake Geneva), it's
unlikely, especially as nobody would have caught the reference. LEHMANN
is about as common a surname as the German-speaking world has, with
literally 10s of thousands of entries in the White Pages.
( It means, literally, "liege man," i.e., a vassal.
Quite a few LEHMANNs in Germany were Jewish, but they made up at most 5%
of the total. And before around 1800, Jews generally didn't use surnames
at all, and those who did are not known to have used LEHMANN.

Nor is WILBERS known to have been used by any Jewish family in Germany.
(Source: Lars Menk, _A Dictionary of German-Jewish Surnames._) Again, if
the surname existed in the 17thC, and wasn't one of a small number of
surnames used by Jews in big cities, it's not a Jewish surname.

Roger Lustig, Princeton, NJ USA
Research coordinator, GerSIG

Corinna Woehrl

Hello Shirley and Roger,

I would like to support Roger's opinion:
Having done extensive research yet mostly in Northern Germany, I haven't come across one interreligious marriage before about 1880. There have been conversions to mostly Lutheran or seldom Catholic faith before: - in Breslau/Wroclaw I saw quite a few civil marriages in that time where the names of bride and groom and family members gave hints for a possible conversion.

The tolerance of Mennonites towards Jewish faith may resolve them also being in the focus of prosecution. Where Jews were allowed to settle, the authorities may have been tolerant enough to have other religious minorities staying there, too (example Friedrichstadt in Nordfriesland). But this is just my guess.

I have just checked an interesting German database on the distribution of names in Germany. I entered Wilbers which isn't really common and doesn't at all sound Jewish to me.

And here's the link to a database of Jewish families in Krefeld - no Wilbers, also no W. in the Memor-book.


The only way to solve the question is by doing further research going back step by step, keeping the question in mind.
Good luck and kind regards from Germany

Corinna, near Hamburg, Germany