The name Einstein is a proud symbol of ancient Jewish culture. Before the late Middle Ages, people were known only by a single name. However, as the population increased and travelers set out on their journeys, it became necessary for people to adopt a second name to identify themselves. Jewish hereditary surnames were adopted from a variety of different sources. The surname Einstein may come from one of two derivations. It may be an occupational surname, derived from the German word einsteinen, which means to enclose or to surround, with stone. It may have been given as a surname to one who worked with stone. Alternatively, it has been suggested that the surname Einstein is a Jewish (Ashkenazic) ornamental name. Numerous Jewish surnames are ornamental surnames, which are names that have an ornamental value and are not necessarily related to the localities, occupations, nicknames or given names of the first person who used the name. However, ornamental names were often derived from elements that described locations or features of geography, animals and birds, occupations or personal names.
^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
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