How did you get that name? its as plain as a Pikestaff!
Weâ€™ve said it a hundred times: transcribing the earliest extant UK Synagogue records is hard work and requires many qualities, foremost amongst which :
- A knowledge of the cursive Hebrew alphabet;Â ditto Hebrew names, European place names, and the kinds of occupationsÂ and professionsÂ our 18th and 19th century forebearsÂ might have followedÂ excellent eyesight
- A large degree of luck
And it was a good dose of luck thatÂ led us to first find, and then solve, one such puzzle.
In order to simplify searches in www.synagoguescribes.co.uk,Â weâ€™ve been thinking aboutÂ rationalisingÂ spellings across the various tables, without betraying the original intentions of our transcriber.Â We have started by looking at the â€śadditionalâ€ť words in the patronymics. rather than the names themselves: for example Schneider or Shneider?
As you well know, consulting the microfilms of the original registers requires a trip to the Archives, so we donâ€™t Â have the original Hebrew to hand, Â but In the following example, the consonants must have corresponded to Sh-N-K. Susser has Â rendered these as as Shnook (long-nosed?). Lewin gives it as Schnuk. And we had it as ………. well. letâ€™s not go there since, top of a long list of results in aÂ Google search, were multiple instances of a, rather dodgy word in modern French slang!
Now this is where Lady Luck took a hand because, whilst I was trying to resolve the Sh-n-k problem, Gaby was researching a family with Dutch origins and chanced upon this
Event: event 1809 Amsterdam on the list under nr. 48.40[?]: the wid.Jochem Elias = Gittele, widow of Jochanan Luria, 68 yrs.old.
Event: was naturalized 8 Jun 1812 Amsterdam assumption of name Snoek
Proust had his madeleines.Â Those of us old enough to have lived through WW2 will remember Snoek â€“ and not in a good way. Â It mostly came tinned, although there might have been some sold fresh at the fishmongers. but, although it was off-rations and was intended to provide much needed protein., no-one liked it and the tins lay rusting on the shelves.. Â I never quite knew what it was, only that it smelled unpleasant and tasted worse, Â but a check today of the online encyclopaedias describes itÂ as â€ťSnoek or Snook is used in various forms as the common name for several species of fish. The name derives from the Dutch name “snoek” for the pikeâ€ť
And guess what!
The only English family that we have found with this unusual word in their patronymic were called PYKE eg: