BADEN-WURTTEMBERG-L ArchivesArchiver > BADEN-WURTTEMBERG > 2008-07 > 1215285721
From: "B-W List Admin" <>
Subject: [BW] Are Certain Germanic Surnames "Jewish" Names? A FewConsiderations
Date: Sat, 5 Jul 2008 12:22:01 -0700
From: Annette Ammons < >
Subject: [BW] new
Date: Sat, 5 Jul 2008 14:24:57 -0400
Hello, I am searching for any information on Albert Julius Neumann(Germany)
and Victoria (Herdeg(g)Neumann (Germany. She immigrated to the US as a
Herdeg and settled in Pennsylvania and gave birth to my grandfather John
Aloyisius Neumann. She and Albert baptized John in Pittston, PA as Albert
Neumann. Albert died in PA and she remarried a Delaney and moved to New
Jersey. I would also like to know if Neumann is a Jewish name?
Dear Annette & Baden-Wuerttemberg List Friends,
Annette's question above concerning whether NEUMANN may be a "Jewish"
surname prompted me to dig up some of my prior notes on this subject
previously shared on the list. Many people ask similar questions about many
different Germanic surnames. Perhaps my observations will be of interest to
some of them.
Despite popular belief among many family seekers, Germanic surnames are
neither exclusive to a particular religion, *nor a reliable indicator* of a
person's or a family's religious heritage.
Persons surnamed NEUMANN (or having other common Germanic
surnames) can be Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or whatever. As an example,
my common German surname of HELLER represents my Catholic family from
Baden---but the famous American author, Joseph HELLER, and his family are
Jewish. I also am acquainted with many families who are named HELLER who
are neither Catholic nor Jewish.
While is true that *some* Germanic surnames seem especially common to
persons of Jewish heritage, that phenomenon is due to the way surnames were
acquired (and/or *assigned*) to people in the past---and you will almost
always find instances of a specific surname among those of different
religions, especially Germanic surnames. (For more details on this, you
might want to consider a bit of research into the way surnames originated;
many of the Web sites I have previously suggested can help you become
acquainted with this subject.)
The bigger problem Annette may have in finding her specific ancestors is
there are likely hundreds of thousands of *unrelated* NEUMANN families
both in German-speaking countries and the USA with that surname, regardless
of what religion they may be affiliated with. She will need to do some
USA-based research to see if she can determine WHERE (meaning, the name of
the village, town, or city) her particular NEUMANN family
originated---whether that is in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, or whatever.
Without being able to determine that first, she will almost certainly find
herself going crazy trying to demonstrate a genealogical relationship
between her specific NEUMANN family and anyone else's (which is
the main purpose of genealogy). J
Incidentally, family seekers, always be mindful that simply sharing a
(whether common or "rare") is NOT the best indication that any two persons
are related. The more common the name, the more complex your family search.
You will need supporting information about your family members (e.g.
birthdate, exact place of birth, parents' names, maiden names, children's
names, religious affiliation, occupation, emigration information, etc.) to
VERIFY that the person you may find in some resource is indeed the RIGHT
Wishing you the best research outcomes,
Carla HELLER, Los Angeles, California USA
List Co-Administrator, ROOTSWEB'S Baden-Wuerttemberg Mailing List