Topics

Cohen and Katz #names


Steven Cohen
 

Coming from a family that was called Katz in Europe, but became Cohen
in America, I am wondering if any of you might be able to shed light
on this phenomenon. It must have been quite common: looking at the
Ellis Island database, I see that Katz appears 50% or so more often
than Cohen, while today Cohen is almost 3x more common in the US than
Katz. When did all of those Katzes become Cohens, and why?

Steven D. Cohen
Philadelphia


cesar465y@...
 

Hi,
Katz is an acronyms for Cohen Tzedek (caf, tzadi in Hebrew  כ"ץ).
Cohen is Priest, the highest status in terms of religious ascendency, and Tzedek means Justice. So Katz is a "Priest of Justice". You can learn more here.

Cesar Yeudkin
Israel

Researching:
YEUDKIN/YUDKIN & SHEIMAN from Gomel in Belarus
OSCHEVEROF/OSHEVEROV, SILBERT, KOHON, BERKUN, DUGATKIN & SHMUKLER from Kherson Gubernia in Ukraine


Max Heffler
 

Steven,

From Wikipedia:

 

Where it is a Jewish surname, Katz is almost always an abbreviation (Hebrew: כּ״ץ‎) formed from the initials of the term Kohen Tzedeq ("priest of justice"/"authentic priest") or Kohen Tzadok (meaning the name-bearer is of patrilineal descent of the Kohanim sons of Zadok), although when spelled out may mean the family ...

 

Max Heffler

Houston, TX

 

From: main@... [mailto:main@...] On Behalf Of Steven Cohen via groups.jewishgen.org
Sent: Wednesday, January 20, 2021 9:03 PM
To: main@...
Subject: [JewishGen.org] Cohen and Katz #names

 

Coming from a family that was called Katz in Europe, but became Cohen
in America, I am wondering if any of you might be able to shed light
on this phenomenon. It must have been quite common: looking at the
Ellis Island database, I see that Katz appears 50% or so more often
than Cohen, while today Cohen is almost 3x more common in the US than
Katz. When did all of those Katzes become Cohens, and why?

Steven D. Cohen
Philadelphia


--

Max Heffler
Houston, TX
max@...
HEFFLER(Ukraine)/TIRAS(Poland)/WASSEMAN(Lithuania)/MOORE(Poland)/ZLOT(Lithuania)
GORENSTEIN(Ukraine)/FLEISCHMAN(Latvia)/GOLDEN(Lithuania)


kassells@...
 

Hi Steven, 

Katz is an acronym for Kohen Tzedek which is used in the whole Ashkenazi world by people belonging to the priestly cast of Cohen.

When people were asked to choose a family name they felt that Cohen was essentially the same as Katz. They did not feel they changed their name. 

Best regards, 
Laurent Kassel 
Moreshet, Israel 


flmillner@...
 

Hi, Steven, I have extended family connections to a Zalman Katz of Zasliai, with sons who used Katz and Cohen as surnames.  My own feeling is that “cats” was not impressive and there must have been a family tradition of descending from a Levite.
let us know if you find anything else!
Fred Millner
Trenton, NJ


jonathan goldstine
 

My understanding is that Katz and Cohen are both abbreviations or errvivatives  of Kohen-Tzadik, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohen#Cohen_(and_its_variations)_as_a_surname
. I have both Katz’s and Cohen’s in my ancestry. I have struggled to figure out what is the correct name to use to look for records for the family in Germany, Poland and Eastern Europe.
--
Jonathan Goldstine


Yonatan Ben-Ari
 

It also depends how the name is spelled in hebrew, with a "kuph" or a "kaph". In my case my family name is Katzoff and in hebrew spelled with a "kuph". A very well known jewish museum wrote that we are cohanim which was wrong.
 
Yoni Ben-Ari (Katzoff), Jerusalem


Kenneth Ryesky
 

My now-retired rabbi from my now-former shul in the USA (though my wife and I still maintain our status as "Honorary Members" through a special dues rate accorded to people who have relocated from the vicinity) was active with the chevra kadisha.  We had numerous discussions regarding funeral and burial practices.

 

Seems that there are many people who, for whatever reason, acquired surnames such as Cohen or Katz when they were not in fact Kohanim, or surnames such as Levy or Levinson when they in fact were not Leviim.  The Hebrew spelling of their surnames in such cases is (or at least should be) קוהן or קץ  instead of כהן or כץ , or לבי or  לבינסון   instead of לוי or  . לוינסון


--
Ken Ryesky,  Petach Tikva, Israel     kenneth.ryesky@... 

Researching:
RAISKY/REISKY, ARONOV, SHKOLNIK(OV), AEROV; Gomel, Belarus
GERTZIG, BRODSKY; Yelizavetgrad, Ukraine
BRODSKY, VASILESKY; Odessa, Ukraine
IZRAELSON, ARSHENOV; Yevpatoriya, Ukraine (Crimea)


Adam Cherson
 

Something else to keep in mind: there are also Katzenellenbogen descendants who abbreviated their toponymic surname (derived from the County of Katzenelnbogen) to Katz, meaning that not all Katzes are Cohens.
--
Adam Cherson


anthony.rabin@...
 

Just to add to Adam Cherson's post, Katzenelnbogen is presumed to derive from the German for Cat's Elbow (the river on which the town stands apparently has that shape), rather than any more priestly connotations. The family 'crest', as seen on the tombstone of Rabbi Meir Katzenelnbogen, the Maharam of Padua, is a crouching cat!

Anthony Rabin
London, UK