I have been trying to trace my roots and the earliest appearance of "Rosch" as a (sur)name seems to be Rabbi Ascher ben Jechiel (1250 or 1259 – 1327). However, I cannot find which, if any, of his sons might have stayed in Germany or taken up "Rosch" as a surname.

Is there a source of Jewish genealogy that I could look up to find this? It doesn't have to be in English, by the way.

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    Welcome to G&FH SE! As a new user be sure to take the Tour to learn about the site and its protocols. Although it can be interesting to try and trace towards the present time from historical figures who may share our name, I think you will be much more likely to prove/disprove that the person is your ancestor by tracing your ancestors who share your name by starting from the present and working back.
    – PolyGeo
    May 22, 2016 at 6:53
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    For what it's worth, Rosch wasn't a surname, rather it was an abbreviation of Rabbeinu Ascher. His son was known as the Tur, for the title of his most well-known work. May 22, 2016 at 19:09
  • @NoahfromFrankfurt Hi, yes, I have another ancestor who took on a nickname which then became the first instance of that surname and as far as I know all instances of that surname May 24, 2016 at 1:05
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    I recommend you try inquiring this at Rabbinic Genealogy Special Interest Group, from JewishGen.
    – Veverke
    Jul 28, 2016 at 15:46
  • @Veverke thank you! That is a great resource, I will have to see what is the best way of accessing it. Jul 29, 2016 at 7:12

1 Answer 1


You are making a wrong assumption, in my understanding.

Rabbi Asher's surname was not "Rosh" - it is simply an acronym of his name (his letter abbreviations make sense only in Hebrew). It's like saying that Maimonides's surname was Rambam, which is, again, an acronym of his name, following the way most of the great Jewish authorities are referenced, from centuries back and even from these days.

Rabbi Asher had no family name, and I think it's fair enough to assume he had none, since family names were adopted (imposed) centuries later, at least among jews.

  • Most family names originate with nicknames or trades (like Miller or Taylor). Another one of my family names on my father's mother's side is just that, a nickname that became a family name, and I have been able to trace it to precisely the individual where it began. I wanted to see if it was possible here with Rabbi Ascher. Jun 29, 2018 at 4:22
  • You are right that surnames may originate from nicknames, but this is not the case with Jewish authorities acronyms.
    – Veverke
    Jul 1, 2018 at 7:10

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