Tag Archives: Germany

Court Jews in Germany During the 1600s


Though you believe your ancestors were Jewish, unless they were “protected” because they were “Court Jews”, survival in Germany during the 1600s would have been difficult. Court Jews attained powerful positions of influence in European aristocracy. Whether they were bankers or money managers, consultants or representatives for trade or politics, they rose socially and received its rewards. Though not always permanent, Court Jews lived under noble protection and frequently received titles. Wealthy Jews used intricate networks to keep their sponsors well supplied with commodities and provided loans to Europe’s middle class.

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Secret Genealogy II: https://www.createspace.com/4235650

Secret Genealogy III: https://www.createspace.com/4239009

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Jewish Children Given Local Common Names


The use of multiple names is a Hebrew tradition. Jews blended common German names with Hebrew names. Hebrew names were important for legal contracts but the ancestors that we are looking for were probably long past writing up Hebrew contracts. They were hiding their Hebrew origins and at what point they quit teaching their children Hebrew probably varied within each family. In the 1800s, it became popular in Germany, Hungary and Poland to give Jewish children local common names. It was quite common all over the world, among Jews, to take the name of a town, city, village, hamlet, etc. Just because the ancestor you’re researching doesn’t have a Hebrew, Yiddish or Ladino name does not mean she wasn’t Jewish.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy a how-to for tracing ancient Jewish ancestry available at Amazon, B&N and Ocean-Hose.