Help with a German family tree

I’m entering some family names into my genealogy program from a Stammbaum (family tree) I found in an old family bible. The typewritten document is undated, but was probably compiled in the mid 1930s.

There is one entry I’m a little unsure of, and would appreciate some help.

It reads (reproduced as it appears on the page):

Simon Meyer
Ruguhn aus
am 21.4.1767
Schutz auf Raguhn
gest.1801 Cöthen

Have I got this right: Simon Meyer, originally named (gennant) Schmarja [first name?], [lived in?] Raguhn [a town in Saxony-Anhalt], [coming] from Tabor, Bohemia, on 21 April, 1767.

If the date is supposed to be his birthdate, it’s the only one on the chart with “am” before it, which makes me think it means something else.

Also, I don’t understand what “Schutz auf Raguhn” means. Google Translate only gives me “Protection Raguhn,” which doesn’t make much sense.

He died in 1801 in Cöthen (Köthen in Saxony-Anhalt). That’s clear enough.

Can you offer any help with the other parts?


I can’t help with the Schutz auf Raguhn part, but the gen. is probably a so-called Genanntname, where the name of some estate or some other affiliation is added to a person’s full name. They’re mostly from the time family names where introduced, and are very rare nowadays (I only know this because I had a student recently with a ‘gen. Something’ in his name, so I looked it up).

Perhaps ‘Schutz’ is some form of office or function? (‘Schutzmann’ is an old word for ‘police officer’, for example.)

ETA: Just found this site, which lists ‘Schütz’ as something like a forest warden. Perhaps the date is that of his appointment?

genannt in this case means that his last name by birth was Meyer, but he was actually called Schmarja. There could be a number of reasons for this.

am 21.4.1764 means born on April 21st, 1764.

I’m assuming that Schutz actually means Schulz. A Schulz was the mayor (or some type of administration official) of a village.

On rereading the original post, Schmarja Ruguhn appears to be the complete alias name, Schmarja being the first name and Ruguhn being the last name (which sounds highly unusual to my ears). Tabor in Böhmen (=Bohemia) seems to be the place of origin.

I have to admit that I’m really unsure about this, but here is another interpretation:

Simon Meyer (first and last name)
gen. Schmarja (the last name by which he was known)
Ruguhn (Raguhn, the place where he lived, the spelling is not correct)
aus Tabor (Böhmen) (he was originally from Tabor in Bohemia)
am 21.4.1767 (his date of birth)
Schutz auf Raguhn (forest warden actually seems to make sense, i. e. he held this position in Raguhn)
gest.1801 Cöthen (date and place of death, Cöthen is a city in the same district as Raguhn)

So you think Schmarja was his last name, not first? According to the chart, his son’s name was Meyer Simon, reversing his name.

Everywhere else in this document, a birthdate is indicated by “geb,” not “am,” which made me think it doesn’t signify a birthdate here.

It’s typed, so I’m not misreading the L as a T. And after posting the OP, I found that another person on this tree is called a Schutzjude, a term I didn’t know, and only just looked up. So I’m guessing Schmarja was one, too. Does that make sense?

(I just realized that I misspelled Raguhn as Ruguhn in the third line. It’s Raguhn in both places. Sorry.)

As I mentioned, Raguhn is a town in Saxony-Anhalt, a region in which many of the other people on this chart were born, so I’m not sure this theory works.

What makes this really tricky is that Simon and Meyer can both be first names as well as last names (isn’t Meyer a Jewish first name?).

Schutz auf Raguhn could really be referring to the profession/office (Schutz) he held in this place (Raguhn). This is old German usage, mind you.

The am in connection with the date of birth definitely means on (as in: born on). I’m pretty sure about that.

With regards to the term Schutzjude: In which year did this description appear? Would this have been an affluent and prominent family? I was under the impression that this was a status which was granted in rather exceptional cases on a fairly high level.

After doing some additional, albeit cursory research, I find that Schutz could indeed have a connection to Schutzjude (i. e. a Jew with a letter of protection that entitled him to reside in particular place). One would really have to ask a genealogist for conclusive information.

As I said, the Stammbaum is probably from the 1930s, but I have no idea about the family’s staus back in the late 18th century. I only found this document a couple of days ago, and never knew anything about my ancestors before that. My mother’s family were prosperous Jewish merchants in Hannover before WWII, but that’s about all I know.

All of the other entries on the chart take the form:

First Name Last Name
geb. date, location
gest. date, location

Nowhere else does it say “am”.

This document being the family tree of a Jewish family, maybe the term Schutz standing for Schutzjude would have been obvious for an intended reader? Basically, it meant that the person enjoyed a certain secured legal status (before full emancipation of the Jews which didn’t occur until the 19th century). This day would also have been a very important date in his life.

The sentence am 21.4.1767 Schutz auf Raguhn then could be translated that Schutz (i. e. Status as Schutzjude) was granted on April 21st, 1767, in Raguhn, in other words, this would have been the date the letter of protection was issued. This would make sense.

Schutz means protection, Schutzjude literally means “protected Jew”.

Very interesting. Thanks.

You can read his will here… heaps more info on him.

including an expansion summary of his life and status in Deutchland, answering the questions.

Wow! That’s incredible, Isilder! I assume you Googled “Simon Meyer Raguhn”? I hadn’t thought to try that. :smack:

The whole left side of that family tree is my family on my mother’s mother’s side. The tree looks remarkably like the one I have, although mine has no red ink. But the typewriter is of the same vintage and the style and layout are very similar. (That’s proabably just coincidental.)

The summary of his life you mentioned, I assume that’s among all the documents in German in that collection?

Unfortunately, although I grew up hearing German spoken by my grandmother and know a few words, I don’t know anywhere near enough to read the will or the other documents. If anyone who knows German would care to summarize them for me, I would be very grateful.

Thanks again, Isilder, for this great find.

To commasense, I just found this reference. I am a direct descendant of Simon Meyer or, as he was later known, Meyer Simon of Raguhn and later, Gusten, Germany. I would be most interested in knowing more about the family tree you found in an old Bible. I see that Isilder referenced the family tree located at the Leo Baeck Institute in NYC. I have gone to see that tree and know the origin of it and who made it. Also, I have been trying to track the descendants of the individuals in the will. This has all come about in my genealogical research. Commasense, if you would please contact me, I would be most appreciative and, perhaps, we can collaborate on family history.

Thanks. Check your private messages.