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Thread: Is Goldstein Always a Jewish Surname?

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    Senior Member Ægir's Avatar
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    Is Goldstein Always a Jewish Surname?

    Well I have a female friend of mine who is in a bit of a genealogy pickle and I thought I would throw her dilemma out here to see your thoughts. This girl is very interested in genealogy and very prod of her German heritage…being of German origin on all of her grandparents lines…at least that is what she thought. This is where it gets interesting…she recently discovered that her mother was adopted as her mother recently discovered her real birth certificate. Her mother was shocked to find out her fathers surname was not Hess (which is the line of her adoptive father) but is Goldstein. Now in America that surname is always thought to be Jewish. The plot thickens though as her birth mothers maiden name was Fleischer and the reason for adoption seems to be just because they had too many children in rural Appalachia. The area they are from is filled with Germans but not many Jews.
    My question is can the Goldstein surname be non-Jewish or is it always a Jewish name. I will value this lasses friendship no matter what the case is but I would love to console her fears if possible. Anyone with knowledge of German Surnames input is greatly appreciated…thanks...
    For the Ancestors who came before us, the Generations that flow form us, for the Blood that is in our veins.

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    Senior Member Loyalist's Avatar
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    I have never come across a Goldstein who was not a Jew. In America, a Goldstein/Fleischer union is undoubtedly Jewish. I suppose this is one of the occupational hazards of genealogical research, at least from our perspective.

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    Senior Member thoughtcrime's Avatar
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    Yes, from all I know "Goldstein" is ultimately a jewish name, at least here in Germany.
    "Lever dot as slav."

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    Over the years in this part of Pennsylvania this comes

    Over the years in this part of Pennsylvania this comes up pretty often.

    We have Meyers who are Jewish and Lutherans, the same with Hoffman's, Kauffman's, and many other names. We have Heilman's can trace their line back to Martin Luther who are Lutheran and have been for centuries. Yet there are a number of Jewish Heilman's.

    Willie Heilman was an Ace in the German Air Force during World War II Michael Heilman was a Ace in the American Air Force.

    My father served in the Pacific Theater, the US used a lot of German Americans in the Pacific War, they were GREAT soldiers and kept them out of Europe.

    There is a DVD Documentary you can rent at Netfix called something like "Hitlers Jewish Soldiers". A number served during the war in positions of importance in the German Army. Their fathers had served in the German Army in WW I. It was needed, but it was felt after the war they would have been gone.

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    Senior Member Ægir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PA. Dutchman View Post
    Over the years in this part of Pennsylvania this comes up pretty often.

    We have Meyers who are Jewish and Lutherans, the same with Hoffman's, Kauffman's, and many other names. We have Hellman's can trace their line back to Martin Luther who are Lutheran and have been for centuries, yet there are a number of Jewish Hellman's.
    .
    This is exactly why I asked the question…and with the virtual absence of Jews in the part of Appalachia where this union took place and the predominance of Germans in this particular area made me wonder the same about Goldsteins…
    For the Ancestors who came before us, the Generations that flow form us, for the Blood that is in our veins.

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    Senior Member Thorwolf's Avatar
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    They are askenazim! ther are many "Germans" who are decended from christianised Jews!

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    There is one distant possibility that it may not be a Jewish name, though that becomes even less likely considering that this is America and the question would arise why an English name would be Germanised, even in an area that has very few of non-German lineage.

    That would be if there was an original English name Goldstone, deoikonymically from villages called that esp. in Kent & Staffordshire; etymologically from the female given name Golda and -tun/-ton "farm, hamlet". The likelihood of that being the cause is near zilch, so you're basically looking at some Jewish ancestry (however that may be further back, with simply the name passed down in paternal lineage).

    There are many names which sound "notoriously Jewish" but aren't always (Rosenberg being one of them - see Alfred Rosenberg; also possible in Scandinavian names, cf. Rosdahl and Lindberg, so Rosenberg can be possible - curious about the footballer actually) Either way, Goldstein doesn't seem to be such case, at least I haven't come across any person of prominence (and there are many) with that surname that wasn't Jewish.
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
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    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    Yes, it is predominantly an Ashkenazic name, but it could also be German.

    Jewish (Ashkenazic): ornamental name composed of German Gold ‘gold’ + Stein ‘stone’.
    German: from a medieval personal name, nickname, or occupational name from Middle High German, Middle Low German golste(i)n ‘gold stone’, ‘precious stone’, (probably chrysolite or topaz, which was used as a testing stone by alchemists).
    http://www.ancestry.com/facts/goldst...y-history.ashx

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd View Post
    you're basically looking at some Jewish ancestry (however that may be further back, with simply the name passed down in paternal lineage).
    Indeed, this is most likely the case. I have a friend whose name is Schlanger, a surname that according to Ancestry.com is exclusively Ashkenazic Jewish, and he's Christian claiming predominantly German descent as well as English descent.

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    well many many years ago jewish people in germany were forced to take on german names so that they could slowly integrate into society. many jews were given very strange names that associated them with minerals, wealth, money because the stereotype still exsisted even then. that is why so many jews have names like "Goldfarb", "Goldstein", "Goldberg." also wierd names that are combination of wierd objects like, "spielberg" = "play mountain" or "engelmann" = "angel man".

    i would say it is almost strictly jewish on these terms.

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