An Accidental Discovery from the Year 1787/1799



The process of assigning permanent surnames to Jewish families (most of which are still used to this day) began in Austria. On 23 July 1787, five years after the Edict of Tolerance, the Austrian emperor Joseph II issued a decree called “Das Patent über die Judennamen” which compelled the Jews to adopt German surnames. In addition, imperial decrees dated November 12, 1787 and December 13, 1787, supplemented March 11, 1799, required Jews of the Habsburg Empire, included Bukovina, to choose personal given from lists of 121 male and 37 female names. These included German forms of biblical names, a small number of German Christian names, and a few Yiddish appellations.