Kaplan
Does anyone know the origin / usage of Kaplan? Thanks in advance.Elinor
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There's an interesting point I found that at one point all male Jews in the Russian Empire were required to join the army for 25 years and many changed their surname to Kaplan to try and gain exemption!
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Name changing was one method of avoiding conscription. The eldest son of the family was exempted from military service, so that he could support the parents in their later years. So if one family had two sons and a neighbouring family had no son the second son swapped parents and acquired a new name. In Orthodox Jewish families a son who went into the army was considered dead. There are examples of returning sons being rejected by kin and community.
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German, meaning "chaplain" or "curate". As a Jewish surname it denotes descent from a rabbi.
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