Katznelson
I'm looking for information on the surname Katznelson. From my research, it seems to be Jewish. Does it have anything to do with the separate surnames Katz and Nelson, or does it have a totally different meaning than these?
Tags:  Katznelson
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Jim Young answered this query on October 20th.
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While there was an answer to it, what I found also appears to be a credible answer.
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Your answer is purely speculative and doesn't rest on any solid historical evidence as far as I can see. The ultimate source is Guggenheimer & Guggenheimer's Jewish Family Names and Their Origins wich is the most comprehensive and reliable Jewish onomastics dictionary. In it, you'll find that Katznelson, along with Katzeneleson, Kazenelson, Kaznelson, is derived from Katzenellenbogen (also Katzenlenbogen, Katznelbogen). This comes from the placename Katzenelnbogen, a small principality in central Germany whose major source of revenue was protection money paid by the Jews. There is additional information on this in The Oxford Names Companion which was cited in the original answer which there was no reason to question in the first place.
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So are you questioning Tel Aviv University's Leonid Smilovitsky's interp of Guggenheimer & Guggenheimer's Jewish Family Names and Their Origins or just the way he wrote it? Are you questioning my interp of Smilovitsky's statements because he wrote Katz - Katznelson? Or are you questioning why someone would not accept the original Oxford Names Companion?I was interested in the architecure of the name and I believe the OP was as well. That is how I saw the repeated question. Some people don't equate knowing the name's "place of birth" as knowing the meaning of a word (or the words used to form the name of origin). Since the OP was more concerned with Katz + Nelson, I thought Simlovtinksy on point in that it was the -son that was added at a later time. That is to say that it's not about being Nel's son + cat. This is why I quoted him as an expert. I have no problem admitting my supposition on -nel- added as something I don't know about or as a better way to connect katz with son as being incorrect as I am not nor ever said I am an expert on Jewish names. I used the information I found and if I made too great a leap, then I apologize.CORRECTION: Katznelson means son of Katznel, which, according to Oxford Names Companion and others, is an abbreviated version of Katzenellenbogen. Thus we see Katznelson is a locative name. Although folklore says the origin of Katzenellenbogen is associated with a "cat's elbow," I shall not suppose further on the actual meaning of this word or any part thereof.
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Katznelsonhttp://www.jewishgen.org/Belarus/newsletter/Turovnames.pdf I suggest reading the whole article about Jews in Belarus, but this quote is what should interest you: Old principles of forming Jewish family names also became a source of many last names, now permanent and passed on by inheritance. The Hebrew names “Ben” or “Bar” became “son” (“zon”) (der Sohn - son in German). From here appeared Katz - Katznelson, Shmuel - Shmulenson, Abram - Abramson, Israelson, Davidson, and Gurshenzon.I don't know enough about Jewish history and population movements into Central and Eastern Europe to speculate on where you would likely find relatives or more info. However, Katz obviously comes in many forms with many endings: Katzman, Katzovitz, Kasowits, Kaczowich, Katz, Katzer. (The first four names all meaning son of Katz). The best guess is that -nel- just makes it sound more Jewish or to have "cat" and "son" connect better (tzs is rather difficult to say, don't you think?).
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