Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Man With Two Last Names: Kaufman Kaufman

This week, my nieces have been hounding me for "family tree stories." One they really enjoyed was about Kaufman Kaufman, the brother of their 4th great grandmother (Amelia Kaufman Schwerin).
1860 United States Census; Baltimore, MD, Kaufman family (Kaufman Kaufman on line 24)

I first saw the name "Kaufman Kaufman" in the 1860 United States Census. I figured the enumerator had made a mistake and jotted down one Amelia's brothers' last name twice instead of a first and family name.

Kaufman was enumerated with his parents Moses and Mary (actually Marle) and several of his siblings, including 10-year-old Amelia.

So what was Kaufman's actual name?  The 1870 census was not helpful, as he was enumerated as "K Kofman."  He was living with his sister Adeline, her husband William Blum, and another Kaufman brother, David.
1870 United States Census; Baltimore, Maryland
There was a federal tax assessment from 1864, and there he was again as "Kaufman Kaufman, "a pedler (sic) 4th class" at Portand and Emery Streets in Baltimore. Could this really be his name?
1864 Federal Tax Assessments; Baltimore, Maryland; Kaufman Kaufman (line 33)
So then I moved backwards. The 1860 said the family was from "H Cassel, Germany," and the 1870 census said that the Kaufmans were from "Hesse Cassel."

Some of the Jewish records from that part of Germany have been indexed thanks to the GerSIG. With a bit of searching, I found birth records for all of the Kaufman children. They were born in the town of Raboldshausen, Germany, about midway between Hessen and Kassel. And what was Kaufman's name on his birth record?
Kaufman Kaufman Birth Record; Raboldshausen, Germany; 1846
Kaufman's given name was actually Kaufman Kaufman. He was born on December 30, 1846 to "merchant Moses Kaufman and Merla nee Wallach." A notation in the far-right column states that he emigrated to America.

In addition, when his family immigrated to America, 5-year-old Kaufman came with them.
Kaufman Family Ship Manifest; February 1853 (Kaufman Kaufman is listed on the second-to-last line)

By the time Moses's will was written in 1885 (soon before his 1886 death), Kaufman Kaufman must have grown tired of his name--and was by then known as Harry.


  1. Re Raboldshausen. I think you mean midway between Fulda and Kassel, not Hessen?