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Subject: Re: Looking for ethnicity
Author: Sean Foglai   (guest)
Date: November 6, 2006 at 10:25 AM
Reply to: Looking for ethnicity by Werner

Werner
German: from a personal name composed of the Germanic elements war(in) ‘guard’ + heri, hari ‘army’.

On the question of whether it's Jewish or not, it's a little bit nebulous. Most Jews of German extraction have German-based last names that may be no different than other non-Jewish German names.

The taking of surnames occurred around the same era for both and while Yiddish, which is a Germanic language, was often the spoken language of the Jewish communities, many Jews of course communicated in German as well.

As a result, many names that are associated almost exclusively with Jews still have their roots in German, i.e. Goldberg, Rubenstein, Birnbaum … so it can be difficult to tell.

I'd also add, that probably for some families, it was easier to take a more common German sounding name to help avoid prejudices.

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