OUR FAMILY NAME?
Horwitz, Horowitz, Gurevich, Guravich, Hurowitsch, Gurewitsch,
The Answer is All of the Above.
HORWITZ is the version most the members of our family took when they came to
Chicago 1905-1908. Max took the last name Hurwitz one of Eliah and Gutta's
son's took the name Gurevitch. Nathan and his family who stayed in Riga used
the name Gurewitsch. Abe's sons Harry and Bernie later changed Horwitz to
WHY SO MANY VERSIONS
OF THE SAME NAME?
Our family members lived in a part of the
world which from time to time was dominated by Sweden, Poland,
Germany, Russia and other governments.
They were required to spell their surname
in the current local language. Some of these languages did not have
a soft "H" sound to start a name so they used a "G". The "v" sound
was spelled with the letter "w". Instead of "itz" their version
would be "itch" (sometimes spelled "itsch" or "ich".).
The vowel sounds for the first and second
"o" came out as "a", "e", "u" as well as "o".
Sometimes the second "o" sound would be
swallowed up and disappear.
While there are family members with
tombstones that spell the family name in Hebrew characters HORVITZ
they more commonly used the second vowel sound HOROVITZ.
Phonetically HOROVITZ becomes ГУРЕВИЦ
in Russian which transliterates to English as GUREVICH.
GUREVICH = HOROWITZ
Alexander Beider, has this to say
about Gurevich “(common in Mogilvev gub., Vitebsk, Rezhitsa,
Lepel’, Borisov, Bobrujsk, Riga, Poltava gub.) Rabbinical,
see Gorovits.” – The geographical areas he mentions are all
around Riga and Southwest around Minsk, Belarus, within 200 to
300 miles of Riga.
This is Dr. Beider's comment on Gorovitz. "This is a Rabbinical
surname. From the town of
Hořovice (Horowitz in German) (Bohemia) The founder of the
family Horowitz (traditional spelling of this surname in Latin
characters) was Isaiah ben Moses Ha-Levi (died 1517), who lived
in Prague. His grandson Abraham moved to Poland and dwelt in
Kraków (cracow) and Lwów (Lemberg, L’vov), where he was elected
judge of the province (EJ, 8:983-84). The members of the family
Horowitz are considered Levites."
Click here to read the actual entry.
Click on Photo above to find out where our family name comes from. You
will be transferred to pages prepared by the World Wide Horowitz
Families Association based in Israel. To return to these pages click on
link to FamRoots Home.
We know that our family name since about 1500
was taken from the city in the Czech Republic just outside of Prague by
the name of HOROVICE. (See the information below.)
We have thought that the we were related to the famous rabbinical family
that had come from Girona, Spain that had previously used the surname of
Ha-Levi. However, our Y-Chromosome DNA does not go back to Spain at all. It
goes back to Siberia.
Jump to Topics on This Page
Gurevich = Horwitz
Origin of Horowitz Surname
Russian Jewish Names
Hirsh - Jewish
First & Second Names
There are variations of his name according to the
members of our family. However, they are all variations of the Bible name
translated into English as Enoch.
In Yiddish his name was pronounce more as Khenoch or
Khenech. We are using Henoch in this record because so many of his grandsons
were given first names starting with an "H" in his honor.
The Russians replaced the H sound at the start of his
name with a "G" and he appears in the historical records as Genech. On
Abe's Russian passport his Patronymic was Genehov.
His middle name was Hirsch. Since there were several
other of his relatives in Rezekne who also had the first name og Henoch he may
have gone by Henoch-Hirsh to distinguish him from his cousins and uncles. See
the additional discussion of this popular name in the column to the right.
The Deer as a
Hebrew Symbol and Name - Hirsch
Dr. Beider explains that the deer is a reference to
such names as Hirsch, Herschel, etc. The deer is a symbol of the tribe
of Naphtali, Jacob's sixth son whose mother was Rachel's handmaid
(Genesis 30: 7-8). The Talmud states: "Be as enduring as the tiger, as
free as the eagle, as fleet as the deer, as strong as the lion, so as
to fulfill the will of your Father in Heaven." Source is Struan
Robertson's website on