Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

And so, We Begin

By Martin M. Bodek


Printer Friendly Version

Email this article



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The day is short, and the work is long, so let us get right into it, shall we?

E. Cabaniss writes:

"Cabaniss
French Huguenot (I think)
Came to Virginia late 17th early 18th century"

I thank you, sir, for being the first correspondent to this column and for having a surname whose meaning I could immediately divine. Imagine my consternation if I failed to hit it out of the park the first time up to the plate, or at least hit a single.

Your arrival time is accurate. My research found that Henri Cabaniss, along with his wife Marie and their infant son, Henry (I suppose that would make him "Jr."), stepped off the ship Mary and Ann (was this the genesis for Gilligan's Island?) in Virginia in July 1700.

Your assumption is correct as well. The origin of the surname is indeed Southern French. It is a variant spelling of Cabanis, a habitational name from any of various places in Gard (Gard is a county or "department" in France) named Cabanis.

Cabanis comes from the Latin capannis, which means "at the huts", an ablative plural of capanna which means "hut."

I'd say I got at least a triple. Let's see if I can knock that runner in.

J. Stromer writes :

"After reading your article on the origins of names, it prompted me to find out where both my maiden and married name originates from…The two names are STROMER and REINER."

Your married name Stromer has at least three possibilities, all of which have German origins. The first possibility is from the Middle High German word stromer, which is a reduced form of stromeier, which is a variant of strohmeyer, which is an occupational name for a collector of straw taxes (did you follow all that?). It breaks down to stro or "straw" + meier which means "bailiff" or "steward."

The second possibility is from the German word strom, which means "stream." Hence a stromer would be a river person by profession or habit.

The third possibility is from the Middle High German word stromer which itself has a definition rather than a variant. And that is "tramp" or "vagrant." The word stromer itself is a variant of the word stromen, which means "to pull one way and another."

Considering the third possibility, I think you'd prefer the first or second possibility.

As for your maiden name, once again we have at least three possible meanings from the same language. Reiner can be French, German or Dutch though. It derives from a personal name formed with the Germanic elements ragin or "counsel" + hari, heri or "army."

Possibility number two is German again and is a topographic name for someone living at the edge of a field or wood, from the Middle High German rein, which mean "edge" or "embankment."

Possibility number three is German once more. Rein also means "clean." Reiner would denote a person that is either fastidious, righteous or pure.

I lay down a bunt and score that runner from third.

Up next at the plate is J. Venter, who writes:

"My surname is Venter and I'm from South Africa. Apparently they originally hail from the Netherlands but came to SA from Hameln Germany, after a few generations."

We have at least two possibilities from different languages.

The first possibility is that the origin is German, and is a shortened form of the Italian given name Bonaventura, which means "good fortune."

The other possibility is that it is a shortened form of the Dutch word Deventer, which is a locational name for someone whose origins are from the city Deventer in the Netherlands.

Note that for Dutch surnames, "Van" usually denotes a place of origin, while "De" usually denotes a nickname. In this instance, it seems the name is strictly locational, the "De" was dropped during a migration and the Venter surname was what remained.

Batting cleanup is L. Emmons, who writes:

"what do you make of the name "Emmons"? … Someone told me it means "uncle" but in what language, and is that true?

…I know that my great grandfather Emmons came to central IL from New York…My grandparents died in their 90s in the mid 1970s, to give you an idea of the time frame. Differing stories about Jewish ancestory in the family.

…There is a branch of Emmons that founded a county in ND and settled in Nebraska and did well, that doesn't appear to be us."

The Emmons surname is most probably Anglo-Saxon from the baptismal name for the son of Emma.Variations of the name include Eman, Emmon, Emmond, Emmonts, Emon, Emond, Emonds, Emonts and many, many more.

Other possible definitions — in a sea of many because of the variants — include the Irish word Eamon which means "wealthy protector," the female personal name Ismaine or Ismenia, which is a variant from the French and Persian word jasmine and the French variant Haymond, from the personal name Haimon.

The Anglo-Saxon origin seems to go back to the genesis of surnames itself! The first recorded use of it is in Berkshire in southern England, a county first mentioned in literature in the year 860.

The history of the Anglo-Saxon version is replete with richness, and there are many recorded first Northeast American settlements by numerous variants across the intervening centuries starting with the seventeenth.

What is fascinating here is that your report criss-crosses all over the United States, as do the initial settlements, and naturally the internal American sojourns, and all their spelling variants!

I hope this settles your curiosity a bit. However, because of the enormous possibilities and age and variants of the name, the true origin would probably be very difficult to find unless you can unearth a family tree that goes back centuries.

Who do we have next? Step right up!

S. Chapman writes:

"…I live in Cape Town, South Africa as a 3rd generation South African. My great grandfather, Benjamin Chapman, was born in Russia, but lived in Spital fields, London County, before moving to Cape Town in 1901. I am on a quest to find out Benjamin Chapman's Russian surname before he changed it to "Chapman".

"Chapman" means "merchant" and is a common British surname and not distinctly Jewish although he was an Orthodox Jew.

From the records in the South African State Archives, Benjamin stated that he had become naturalised in the UK and that he was born in or about April 1874 in Swentian (there are many possible spellings of this town), Russia (now possibly in Lithuania) and that he married Tilly Guinsberg / Ginsberg in London in or around 1895.

Any ideas on the forerunner name to Chapman? There are family legends around "Chapelowitz / Chapelowicz / Chaplinski" being the forerunner name but none of these have been confirmed. I think that Kaufmann which means "trader" would have been the closest German name, but my Grandfather was of Russian origin."

There is much information in your e-mail and lots of useful detail. Please allow me to respond to you point for point, or rather paragraph by paragraph:

If you believe that the Surname has a Russian origin, then let us discuss those linguistic possibilities.

It might be the patronymic of Chapp, which is a shortened version of Czepan, which is the Slavic version of Stefan, which is a variant of Stephen, which is Greek in origin and means "crown."

It might also be a locational name for an area named Ciapin, which is near Lepel, Belarus.

However, if it is English in origin, then your "merchant" definition is correct, for the word is more likely from the Old English ceapmanns (a compound of ceapan to buy, sell or trade + mann or man).

Ginsberg, by the way, is a locational name, derived from the places named Gunzberg in Bavaria, Gunzburg in Swabia, and Gintsshprik, which is the name for Konigsburg in East Prussia.

As for the forerunner family legends, I must say that although each example is quite near Chapman in various surname databases, I don't see a connection to, or evidence that any evolved into, Chapman.

Chapelowitz and Chapelowicz and their countless variants have apparently patronymic suffixes. If so, they probably derive from the Polish given name Kapel, which is a variant of kapela, which is an occupational name for a musician, and means "music band" or "court orchestra."

Chaplinski is a diminutive of Chaplin, which is a variant of Chaplik, which is derived from the Polish word czapla, and means heron. It's a nickname for a person with long, thin legs. Chaplin might also be locational from various towns in Eastern Europe such as Czaplino, Czaplina, Czaplinka and a few others.

Do not easily dismiss the German connection, because the Chapman name is descended originally from the ancient Anglo Saxon race that arrived in England from Northern Germany and the Rhine Valley about the year 400.

Indeed, in Germany the name was Kaufman, which literally translates from German to "buyer man."

So an inquiry is necessary. Was your surname established in Europe, Russia or Germany? Perhaps because you provided me with such exquisite detail, there might be someone in your family who might have this particular data nugget. If he or she does, you are that much closer to your answer.

You might find it interesting to note that while I was "practicing" surname research while I waited for my column to be launched, Chapman is one of the surnames at which I had a look. Why, you might ask? Well, while in Synagogue one Saturday morning (and afternoon. Man, they drag on!), I threw a mental dart at some of my fellow congregants, and researched their name for sport. Mr. Chapman sits three rows behind me. He'll be amused when he sees this in print, as, I hope, will you.

Well, I've reached the point in this column entry where I have exceeded the typical internet attention span three-fold (they say it's about 550 words. This has approached 2,000 words, a number some novelists consider a goal for a day's work!), much to the chagrin of the publisher. So we'll end it for now and I'll have a look at what else we have in the e-mailbag. Up next, Toensing and Yampolsky and Hendricks, oh my!

Department of corrections: several astute readers pointed out my incorrect interpretation of the name "Lustbader." I took to be a compound word and did not consider that the name itself is derived from a single word. It turns out that "lustbad" is German for a luxurious bath or "shvitz." So a "lustbader" would be a sauna frequenter or an owner of such a place or chain of places. I will be sure to consider compound-looking surnames as single words as well to avoid this error.

Despite the newfound definition, I am still amused by the surname.


TRY to stump Martin by clicking here.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Martin Bodek is not a professional surname onomastician, but he plays one for this column (and hopes to parlay it into a career). He is still researching the actual origins of his own last name. It is either Hebrew for "search" and implies an introspective sort, or occupational for "ritual slaughter inspector." It might also be from the German surname "Bodeker" which means a cooper, or barrel maker.


Previously:

Last, but Not Least




© 2009, Martin M. Bodek