Merkel Apt

Bornca 1780
Partner Hanschel Gassmann (ca 1785 – )


Pinkus Apt (1806-07 – )

Partner Ernestine (Ester) Gassmann (ca 1790 – )


Adolph (Zac) Apt (15/06/1814 – 24/11/1892)


Merkel's name is linked to Gassmann family members in several sources: in one he is married to Hanschel Gassmann and father of Pinkus, in another he is married to Ester Gassmann and father of Adolph. I assume that both sources refer to the same Merkel, but this is not yet certain.

Since Ester and Hanschel are of the first generation to be born with the Gassmann surname in the region, and only one person in the region - Fabian-Feibusch Gassmann - is known to have adopted the Gassmann surname in the previous generation I assume that Hanschel is a daughter of Fabian-Feibusch Gassmann. For reasons discussed below, I believe that Ester's maiden name may not be Gassmann.

However, the picture is confused by an entry in the Gleiwitz Jewish registers recording the 1838 marriage of a Wolf Apt aged 24 years from Lublinitz to Babette Gassmann aged 23 years from Langendorf. The record names the parents of Wolf as the late Merkel Apt and Ernestine geb. Majud, widow of Apt, now married to Ring; Babette's parents are named as Loebel Gassmann and Rebek. geb Epstein. The source of the record is an attestation provided by the officiating rabbi. Kaethe Danziger (geb. Halberstaedter) records the children of Adolph Apt in Lublinitz and Bertha Gassmann from Langendorf, noting the latter was born about 1816, and the similarities between these two couples (Wolf Apt and Babette Gassmann, Adolph Apt and Bertha Gassmann) warrant closer examination.
  • Babette and Bertha have the same parents and their ages could be identical. In a culture where vernacular names are fluid, Babette could easily be a diminutive or cognate of Bertha.
  • Wolf and Adolph have the same father (or at least their fathers share the same name) and both come from Lublinitz and their ages could be identical. The names "Adolf" and "Wolf" are often confused, the looped flourish at the start of a typical hand-written "W" being very similar to a capital "A" and the remainder of the "W" being very similar to a lower case "d". The Gleiwitz record has been transcribed at least once (from the rabbi's attestation) so a mis-reading of "Adolf" as "Wolf" could easily have occurred

While multiple marriages between children of the same two families is not unusual, there is significant evidence that the two couples may in fact be one. But this would leave a discrepancy concerning Wolf/Adoph's mother.
  • The marriage record gives her maiden name as Majud and her present married name as Ring. A contemporary Ernestine geb. Majud is known from her daughter's death certificate as the wife of Benjamin Ring, so the marriage record appears to refer to a real person rather than the result of a transcription error.
  • Adolph's birth certificate, which names his mother as Ester Gassmann, was written (retrospectively) in 1834, four years before the marriage to Babette Gassmann. Ernestine is a common German cognate of the Hebrew Ester, and it is possible that the maiden name "Gassmann" instead of "Majud" has been attributed to Adolph's mother; the source of the error would probably be a confusion with Merkel's previous wife Hanschel geb. Gassmann. Adolph's death certificate also names his mother as Esther geb. Gassmann; Adolph's death was reported by his son Moritz.

Until this discrepancy can be resolved, the 1838 marriage cannot be attributed unambiguously to Adolph and Bertha; rather, it may reveal an otherwise unknown sibling of Bertha and a more distant relative of Adolph.

Regardless of whether there were one, two or three contemporary Merkel Apts in the area, and whether his (or their) wives were sisters, we know that his (or their) sons Pinkus and Adolph (as well as Wolf-who-may-be-Adolph) married the eldest daughters of Fabian-Feibusch Gassmann's son Loebel Gassmann.

Adolph's father lived in Himmelwitz at the time that Adolph's birth was attested (1834); however in the same year as Adolph was born (1814) a Merkel Apt was registered as a resident of Langendorf, the home of the Gassmann family.

My 4 x great grandfather.

Sources (click here for generic source information)

This record was last updated on 06/01/2023 at 21:25