Katz name derivation

Katz name derivation

Oh boy, I have a lot to catch up on here. I visited the Mormon Family Research Center in Oakland, where I met Jeremy Frankel, the president of the SF Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society. More on that, and what I learned about ordering LDS records, in an upcoming post.

Also, I connected online with Dave Howard, who is the leading researching about the Jewish community in Rezekne. His FamRoots.org and HorwitzFam.org sites are a treasure trove of information. I will be posting highlights and links to the most relevant stuff in an upcoming post.

For now, I thought I would post this excerpt from Alexander Beider's Dictionary of Jewish Surnames From the Russian Empire. Howard has a few small parts of the work available to view on his Horwitz site. Here is a section dealing with the surname Katz.

Kats (usually spelled Katz in Roman characters) is an acronymic surname, the abbreviation of Kohen Tzadek (Kohen of righteousness). It arose in the 15th century and was often used in Hebrew texts as a sign of priestly descent, that is, it had the same role as the appellation ha-Kohen. In general, when dealing with this appellation in Hebrew texts, on cannot consider it to be a surname; rather, it is an indication of Kohen origin, synonymous with ha-Kohen. For some famous rabbinical families, however, the name Katz (Kats) was hereditary and thus may be considered a true surname. St the beginning of the 20th century, this surname was common in almost all regions of the Russian Empire—in Bessarabia, Grodno guberniya, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine (especially in Volhynia). The surname Katzman, formed from Kats by adding the Yiddish element man, was common in some regions....

Since it is hard to read, I will summarize. Katz originates from the name Kohen, which means priest in Hebrew, possibly the same as Goan. Kats or Katz is an acronym for Kohen Tsadek (Kohen of righteousness). The name was common throughout the Russian Empire. Of course, our great-grandmother was Bette Katz, the wife of Julius Wolgemuth of Koenigsberg.

By the way, Beider has another volume on Jewish surnames in Galicia, which are likely to contain informative entries for Ringel and Kaufler. The books are published by Avotainu and are very expensive. I will be looking for where I can find them in a library.