Godparents? #galicia


Nikki Nafziger
 

I found my great grandfather's birth record in the all Galicia database. It listed Moses and Elkie Parnes as Godparents 1 and 2 (given names and surnames). I didn't think Jews had Godparents.  And they have his surname: Parnes. Is it a translation faux pas that's really grandparents or great grandparents? I found Elka Parnes death record in the same town of Brzezany. She would have been 67 at Hersch Leib Parnes birth in 1856. Another thing I don't understand is Hersh Leib birth record listed him as son of Uscher STAHL and Freude (that's how it was listed, without the surname Parnes) and then the Godparents names. I know that surnames were not always used and that many times children would take their Mothers maiden name. Can I infer from that, that Freude was Hersh Leib Mother and she was a Parnes? (And daughter of Moses and Elkie Parnes, so Godparents is grandparents)? I'm trying to find names of farther back generations.  Hersh Leib Parnes was Father to Netti Parnes who married Ernst Drescher who had my Father David Drescher.  Hersh Leib Parnes married his first wife's sister after his first wife died of consumption.  With his second wife he had Toni Parnes who married Bernard Schmeer who had my Mother Anne Schmeer. (Bernard was really Parnes. His Father was Oskar Parnes,  Hersh Leib brother but Oskar divorced Bernard's Mom (Hinde) Rose Schmeer and took his Mom's maiden name). Please help me understand the translation/meaning of Godparents.  Thank you. (And if my guess is right about the birth record saying son of Uscher STAHL and Freude as being another example of taking the Mother's maiden name). My name at birth, maiden name (for genealogical research; after my Dad legally removed the C from our last name to Americanize it) N

ikki Renee Dresher. My email is: nikkinashmusic@...


Shlomo Katz
 

Generally, "Godfather" refers to the "sandek," the person who holds the boy during his circumcision. It often would be the grandfather or another relative.
It can be a clue to figuring out relationships and naming patterns.
Shlomo Katz
Silver Spring, MD


Odeda Zlotnick
 

To add to the above, which is correct, an alternative explanation:  at times another - often younger (or childless) couple is also involved.  The wife will take the baby from the mother (who is in the woman's gallery) will hand him to her own husband, who will then hand him to the Sandek.  This couple are the "kvatters" - and preforming this role is supposed to make sure they will have children of their own.

I see "google translate" translates kvatter to godfather - so maybe that's what happened when the document was translated.

Moses may have been Hersch Leib's uncle - same generation as his mother.

Odeda Zlotnick
Jerusalem, Israel.


Gail H. Marcus
 

To add another complication--my parents always told me that one great-aunt and great-uncle had been designated as my godparents.  I also had never heard of this being a Jewish thing, so I always wondered if my parents were just trying to adopt an American custom.

The facts in my case are a little different than the ones above, so some of the responses don't "fit," and I wonder if there is any other explanation.  The facts in my case are:  1) this all happened in the U.S., 2) I am female, so it has nothing to do with a bris, and 3) the couple was indeed childless, but they were also an older couple, so there was no expectation of them having children. 

I've also thought that godparents were supposed to care for a child if anything happens to the parents, but when I was born, all 4 of my grandparents were living and my great-aunt and -uncle were in the same age range as my grandparents, so I don't know why they would have expected someone other than my grandparents to raise me.  (And at least one set of grandparents probably had the means.)

I don't want to hijack someone else's question, but I was wondering if there were any explanations that would make sense for both Nikki's case and mine.

Gail Marcus
Maryland


jbonline1111@...
 

No one has mentioned what denomination of Judaism their family was part of. I wonder if Reform Judaism had a period in which it used godparents, maybe around the time when worship was moved to Sundays and there were no Bar/Bat Mitzvot.
--
Barbara Sloan
Conway, SC


Gail H. Marcus
 

In my case, my parents still belonged to an Orthodox congregation at that time.  (But that may have been the only convenient option where we lived.)  We eventually joined a Conservative congregation.  Probably when I was about 12.  My great-aunt and -uncle had died by then, so whenever they were designated "godparents" must have been well before that time.

Gail Marcus
Maryland


David Harrison
 

The question of denomination is very important, as is a name of the country in a particular period.  I have heard, more than once that there are more than 40 different distinct world-wide denominations of Jews,  I would also suggest that Reform in Great Britain is different to in the USA. On my side of the Atlantic Reform and Liberal share the same Rabbinic training and these people will often change from congregations of one to the other and maybe back again.  Likewise, if a person moves to a different town and there is no congregation of their preferred variety within (what is deemed) a reasonable travel distance, there may only be one congregation to join.  However our pandemic with services on Zoom is making it easier to join in services of the flavour that you prefer.  A pretty face may also result in a change of allegiance.

As young marrieds with a child we alternated festival celebrations with another couple and could not devise an alternative to "Godparents" to our mutual agreements (in our wills) that if one couple died then the other would take on the care of the other's children who were already very used to them.   Nearly 55 years later, I am the only parent of the four still alive, but with that same relationship to the other children, it may not be rare.

David Harrison
Birmingham, England.


From: main@... <main@...> on behalf of jbonline1111@... <jbonline1111@...>
Sent: 15 July 2021 19:22
To: main@... <main@...>
Subject: Re: [JewishGen.org] Godparents? #galicia
 
No one has mentioned what denomination of Judaism their family was part of. I wonder if Reform Judaism had a period in which it used godparents, maybe around the time when worship was moved to Sundays and there were no Bar/Bat Mitzvot.
--
Barbara Sloan
Conway, SC


Stephan Owen Parnes
 

The first step in understanding a record that has been identified by reviewing an indexing project should be to review the original document.  In this case the original document may be found in the Grodek Jewish birth records available at FamilySearch.

In the box showing the child’s name in this document are the names of the sandek and (I believe) the midwife.  In a box with the heading “Parentes” the names of the child’s mother and father are listed. In a box with the heading “Patrini” are found the “godparents.”

Thus, the term “Godparents” does not refer to the sandek in this record.  It is not clear to me whether the couple named as Godparents  are relatives or not.  This couple would likely be important people in the town, if not relatives.

In any case, the woman named here (the “Godmother”—sometimes called “kwatterin”) would bring the baby from the mother and then hand the baby to the man named here (the “Godfather”—sometimes called “kwatter”).  The “Godfather” would the bring the infant in and place him on the Chair of Elijah or hand the infant to the mohel or to the child’s father.

Regarding Freude’s maiden name, looking the JRI-Poland’s indexes shows a Brzezany marriage record for Uscher Stahl and Freude Feintuch in 1879. Uscher Stahl’s father was Hersch Leib Stahl. Thus, the infant you mentioned would likely be named after Uscher’s father. Whether or not Freude’s mother might have been a Parnes is not clear without further research.

Stephan Parnes
Great Barrington, MA



On Jul 13, 2021, at 3:34 PM, Nikki Nafziger <nikkinashmusic@...> wrote:


I found my great grandfather's birth record in the all Galicia database. It listed Moses and Elkie Parnes as Godparents 1 and 2 (given names and surnames). I didn't think Jews had Godparents. … Please help me understand the translation/meaning of Godparents.  Thank you. (Nikki Drex by
_._,_._,_


Nikki Nafziger
 

I apologize that it took me this long to figure out how to reply. My query is to Stephan Owen Parnes in particular, My great grandpa Hersch Leib Parnes was born in 1856. My Dad's Mom, Netti Parnes (Hersch Leib's first born) was born in 1880. The birth record I found said he was son of Uscher Stahl and Freude with Godparents Moses and Elkie Parnes. I'm trying to find out his parents and grandparents names.  The names Uscher Stahl and Freude are very confusing to me. The marriage you show in 1879 can't apply to his parents. I would love to be able to look up the original birth record, as you suggest. My problem is I'm such a technological dinosaur that I don't know what to put in the search engine, etc. Can you please tell me what specific steps to take? Do I put family search in the search engine....then Grodek Jewish family records? Please advise. Thank you. I'm hitting brick walls on going further back on any of my great grandparents. I can't even find what I found 15 years ago (when I last  devoted time and energy into tracing my family tree farther back). I'm first generation born in the United States. Both my parents were born in Oldenburg Germany, my Dad in 1915 and Harburg, Germany, my Mom in 1918. Both German Jews (all Jews. my 4 grandparents, greatgrandparents and the only greatgreat grandparents I've been able to find; researching 15 years ago). Thank you so much, in advance, for helping me. I really appreciate it. I have grandchildren I want to give copies of the family tree to. My name at birth (for genealogical purposes):

Nikki Renee Dresher.
My email is: nikkinashmusic@...