ORIGIN OF OUR FAMILY SURNAMESROMM:
This name is an abbreviation for
"Rosh Metivta" (Head of the Yeshiva). Probably a family whose Head held that position would use this as their name. It is an old Jewish custom to use abbreviations from the initials or syllables of other names or words. It
was common to refer to famous Rabbis and Sages such as Rashi and Rambam by abbreviations based on their Hebrew titles and names.
Another method of forming a name would be to take one based on places of origin or residence.
This name could have come from the villages Auerbach
in Hesse or Auerpach in the Oberpfalz (Germany).
Jewish family names based on these villages were altered into Russian forms such as Awerbach, Awerbuch and Averbakh, whilst in Poland they were altered to Orbach and Urbach, and sometimes shortened to Auer and Oer.
As far back as the 15th Century, Auerbach is documented as a Jewish family name. There was a Mose Auerbach in 1497 who was a court Jew of the Bishop of Regensburg. The family is mentioned again in 1606 in Vienna and in 1616 in Prague. There was a University Professor, Michael Awerbach an Ophtalmologist in Moscow in the 19th-20th Century.
Many family names derived from sources such as countries of origin have altered so much that they no longer resemble the original form. Therefore, unless the family has reliable records, the root of its name is very difficult to trace.
According to information from the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, the name comes from GETZEL meaning a little God. However, it may also come from Katz (Kohen Tzadik) from Ketzel (Yiddish - meaning a kitten), or from Katzenellenbogen. (see link "Origins Katzenellenbogen?")
The Jewish Genealogy website mentions several Katzel's in Lithuania and Latvia: Kaunas (Kovno), Lygumai, Musninkai, Rumsiskis,
Ukmerge (Vilkomir) and Vilnius (Lithuania); Karsava and Riga (Latvia).
The most likely origin of this name is that it is a shortened form, or a corruption, of the name "Yaakov". In the Database of Jewish Genealogy, the name Zhakob, Zhekub and Zhukov appear frequently for the Russian Region. In Poland, there is a long list of families with the name "Skop" mostly spelled "Szkop". See HERE. A more remote possibility of the origin : In Shtetlinks the story of "How Skopishik began" mentions a priest by the name of Skop. Since a law was passed requiring people to adopt family names, some may have used the town name or perhaps there were families that took the priest's name which is likely to have been a common Polish surname.
My EMAIL: joancatzel_AT_yahoo_DOT_com
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