ho*t t o
Political Considerations Required Surnames
By BETTY PROVIZER STARKMAN
Few of us are aware of the
political and historical significance
involved in our family names. In the
year 1787, the government of Austria
passed legislation requiring all Jews
to adopt surnames. On July 20,
1808, the Napoleonic Decree came
into being. It ordered the Jews of
France to adopt definitive family
Postcards: A Window
Into The Past
By MIRIAM WEINER
When a fellow genealogist
invited me to a postcard show at the
Penta Hotel in New York, I arrived
unprepared for the huge gathering
of postcard enthusiasts all eager to
sort through thousands of postcards
neatly cataloged by subject or
Within a few minutes, I located
postcards for the "S.S. Celtic," the
passenger liner which brought my
grandfather, Morris Weiner, to this
country in 1912. That first purchase
a few years ago led to many
postard shows and a collection
which now chronicles the history of
my family beginning with postcards
depicting scenes of Jewish
cemeteries in Russia, the train
station in Kiev, the dining all at Ellis
Island, Essex and Hester streets on
the Lower East Side and Emigrant
Landing in New York.
The collection includes a scene
of Lackawanna Avenue in Scranton
where my family once lived in 1907,
the courthouse in Brooklyn where
my grandparents obtained the
marriage license in 1905, the
Wallabout Market in Brooklyn where
my family did its shopping and one
postcard titled "Busy corner,
Broadway and Flushing Avenue."
Since my grandmother once lived at
858 Flushing Ave., I can almost see
her house in that postcard.
My mother was born in Albany
and I was able to locate postcards
for the period she lived there
depicting the public market and
various street scenes. This is not an
inexpensive collection. When I saw
the two postcards from Albia, Iowa,
where my father was born, I
reluctantly paid the princely sum of
$15 for a scene of the West Side
Square where I can make out the
faces of shopkeepers standing
outside their businesses with
streetcars in the background.
Street scenes from Des Moines
where I grew up include the high
school attended by my father and
me, the State Capitol Building — my
first summer job — and other
L-8 FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1989
places which form part of the
nostalgic memories of my
Postcards first appeared in the
late 1860s in Austria as a conveyor
of brief messages which could take
the form of advertisements,
among friends and relatives or
represent a souvenir from the
sender. Their popularity grew rapidly
with the addition of photos on
postcards which may represent the
only family photographs for many of
An important reference is a
French book about Jewish
postcards — not to be confused
with a book about "French
postcards!" In Images et Traditions
Juives, by Gerard Silvain (CELIV,
Milan: 1980, 476 pp.) the colorful
reproductions are chronicled by a
country from Abyssinie to Yemen
with 34 countries in between. The
personal notes found on some of
the postcards reflect the life and
times of the writer while also
representing a poignant peek into
their personal thoughts. The jacket
cover notes that the thousand
postcards (1897-1917) represent the
history of the Diaspora.
Interest in postcards is
evidenced by a great exhibit at the
Judaica Museum of the Hebrew
Home for the Aged in Riverdale,
New York, entitled "Having a
Wonderful Time — Wish You Were
Here!" depicting turn of the century
postcards for the Jewish New Year.
You needn't travel to a postcard
show, to discover special cards
relating to your ancentral roots. Try
the obvious places such as
shoeboxes (among the photo
collections), old correspondence
files, and boxes stored away in
attics and basements.
Miriam Weiner, a certified
genealogist, has prepared a
beginner's guide on how to
research family history. She can be
contacted at 136 Sandpiper Key,
Secaucus, N.J. 07094.
names. This was followed in 1812,
when Prussia made Jewish
emancipation contingent upon the
adoption of names. It is very
exciting to discover old 19th century
Jewish vital records stating that
"this marriage took place under the
laws of the Napoleonic Code." It
helps to make one aware of his
place in history.
PADOVER, as a surname is of
geographic origin, chosen to denote
roots in the Italian city of Padua.
The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia
(New York, 1939-1945) has several
biographies from 19th century
Russia, England, Italy and Austria.
A recent inquiry requested
information about the name
AUSLANDER. It is a descriptive
surname meaning "one who came
from another land" or "outsider."
The Universal Jewish
Encyclopedia has biographies from
the United States and Russia.
In Yiddish/German teig means
"dough." The surnames TEI and
TEIGMAN, were adopted by bakers
to denote their occupation.
The family name FARBMAN,
was chosen by an ancestor who
was either a dealer in dyes or a
painter. It is of occupational origin.
Another old Slovanic term for
apothecary is PROWIZOR, which
also became a Jewish family name.
There is an additional theory for the
PROWIZOR. In Latin, Spanish and
Italian, it means a "provider of
goods and services." This ties in
with the old family story that the
Provisors were involved with
providing goods to the Spanish
royalty before the Inquisition. Don
Luis Vandermane was the
"provisor" of the Spanish Armada.
The family name EISENMAN,
could be of either occupational or
descriptive root. It means literally,
"iron man." A physically strong
person could have chosen this
name. It might also have been
adopted by an ancestor who sold or
worked with iron.
Nicknames were sometimes the
source of a surname. KLUGER is
one such name meaning, "wise
It is believed that the surname
KAISER is a corruption of the
Hebrew Chasen (cantor). In 1737,
Moses Elkan Kaiser who married
Schonche Eul, died at "a great
age" in Frankfurt, Germany. They
had resided at the Gelber Ring
(yellow ring) house and part of the
family adopted the name RING. In
Frankfurt, they were also related to
the FUCHS and CHASEN families.
Betty Provizer Starkman is the
past president and founder of the
genealogical branch of the Jewish
Historical Society of Michigan.
A Chanukah Thanks
By BARBARA MORSE
When I ask my parents about the past,
those days, they say, gone at last.
But every time I see their faces,
in their eyes and lines are traces.
Of a time they will never forget.
It's still deep within them yet.
The tattooed numbers on their arm,
who would want to do such harm?
To parents as wonderful as mine .. .
for the future, never again, such a crime.
I'm so thankful my parents are here today ..
God helped them out and led the way.
I admire them, they are so strong,
to have endured such pain and unjust wrong.
The past is a lesson to all us children,
to stand united and forever herein .. .
Remember Chanukah as a gift to all of us,
of our parents who came out strong from the Holocaust .
Barbara E. Morse is a Southfield resident.