1752 - 1834 (81 years)
||Selig Nathan Grafenberg |
||28 Jul 1752
||Prof. Selly Grafenberg wrote the following in 1913 in Goettingen. It is based on oral and written reports provided by his father, Salomon Grafenberg. His grandson, Walter K. Halstead, translated the history from German to English. |
The first demonstrable ancestor of our family, anyway the first bearer of our name was Selig Nathan Graefenburg.
The building in Adelebsen lying at the corner of Stone Way and Long Street (now designated 55 Long Street) that may well be viewed as the ancestral home of the family Graefenburg consisted until 1855 of two independent houses. In the one lying nearer to the castle (westerly) Selig Nathan Graefenburg operated a dry goods business.
In 1855, his son and successor, bought the house bordering on Stone Way from its previous owner, Alexander Edelstein; Nathan was also the one who in 1856 built the store, created the unity of the present building, and in the following year added the room at the Stone Way as an iron goods warehouse. Salomon Graefenburg built the adjoining cellar with the stove warehouse above it in 1869.
Before the year 1808, when the Hanover – district Jews first received their family names, Selig Nathan Graefenburg was simply called Selig or, because his mother who came from Hesse (apparently from Hersfeld) was named Perle, also Perle’s Selig, mainly for distinction from another Selig of the family Dannenberg. His officially recorded name according to the then existing custom was Selig Nathan.
When then in the year 1808 the Jews of the then existing kingdom of Westfalia were ordered officially to adopt family names, Selig Nathan, at the suggestion of the then mayor of Adelebsen, the shoemaker Carl Denecke, took the name Graefenburg, because of his frequent business trips to Barterode he passed the Graefenburg, a wooded mountain south of Adelebsen. To his son, Nathan who as a six-year old boy attending the official name granting, the mayor who at the action also served as sponsor [literally: godfather] gave a pair of shoes as a sponsor’s present.
Nathan Graefenburg, the son of the above-named,
Born on 5 October 1802 in Adelebsen
Died 23 July 1874 in Goettingen.
He took over the business of his father in the year 1824 because the latter (according to the document of April 28, 1824) felt too old to be able to carry it on himself. At the time the father was 72 years old, if the dates are correct that were recorded in 1843 by the then official “list maker” Salomon Loewenthal of the congregation of the Synagogue Adelebsen and reproduced above; but according to his own statement in the reference document he counted only nearly 70 years!
Nathan Graefenberg in the year 1836 founded the ironware business that ever since remained part of the dry goods business. On January 1 1864, he turned it over to his eldest son, Salomon, and in January 1871 he moved to Goettingen.
In two documents, namely the above-mentioned transfer contract of April 28, 1824 and an annex to it dated May 9 1827 concerning the dowry of Nathan’s sister, the name of our family appears as Graefenburg; but in a document of June 28 1830, it is spelled Grefenberg, which certainly must be an incorrectly understood and written form of Graefenberg.
The original spelling of Graefenburg presumably was gradually replaced by the present form because the names of other Jews in Adelebsen, such as Dannenberg, Eichenberg, Meyenberg, Stehberg, that also derive from mountains in the area, all with --- berg--.
But my father confirms that the name Graefenburg continued to live in popular usage; he remembers from his childhood that the then active police clerk Guenther in Adelebsen, among others, always called his father Graefenburg. I personally remember that old Mrs. Frommtchen Lowenstern occasionally pronounced our names as Grebenburg, which undoubtedly is a distorted form of Graefenburg.
I remember my grandfather Nathan Grafenberg as a good, industrious and quiet man who in the last years of his life suffered asthma attacks.
Our grandmother was a busy, intelligent and extremely active woman who retained her physical and mental powers until the time of her death.
From 1872 on, through my school, university, and military service years I lived in her house in Goettingen; so I will always retain her image in my memory. She had many varied interests, was for her children and grandchildren a caring, devoted and strong mother and grandmother.
That occasionally her temper got the better of her must be mentioned to complete the picture but cannot change the positive total image of her character. What she did for my siblings and me during our school years in Goettingen and also later, we shall never forget.
||17 Ab 5512
||11 Ada 5594
||Dry goods business |
||20 Feb 1834
||2 Jan 2011 |
||At least one living or private individual is linked to this item - Details withheld.|