Thursday, December 31, 2015

Steuer Family Lore Proven

The Steuer Original Family Name

I’m still looking for missing pieces of this puzzle but I can now say that the Steuer Family Lore has been proven. Two different people from two different branches of my extended STEUER family tree mentioned a story about STEUER not being our family’s original name.

After virtually meeting a cousin (now several years ago), he told me that the family name was originally Yitkowitz and it was his ancestor (Bernhardt Steuer) who came to the states before Julius and changed the name. One of his sources says that Bernardt’s mother-in-law’s maiden name was Steuer, but it hasn’t been proven. He went on to tell me that his family settled in New York and Julius Steuer came over afterwards and settled in Cleveland. Later, Aaron Steuer (father of the famous Max D) came over and their two families kept in touch.

This information contradicts what I have with sources:
Julius Steuer emigrated in either 1877 (a letter from his granddaughter) or 1878, the 1910 Census.
Aaron Steuer emigrated in 1877, according to his son’s (Max D) passport application of July 1902. I also have a note that states that his emigration was preceeded by Julius Steuer and his family and that Aaron did not seek them out.
Max David Steuer, Bernhardt’s son, emigrated in Jan 1880, a letter from another cousin.
Bernhardt Steuer emigrated in 1881
William Steuer emigrated in 1884, 1920 Census
Rose Keller Steuer, William’s mother, emigrated in 1885, 1930 Census
Rachel Steuer Schiff, William’s sister, emigrated in 1886, 1900 Census
Sarah Steuer Schwartz, William’s sister, emigrated in 1889, 1930 Census
Rabbi Urlich Bernhard Steuer emigrated in Sep 1938, 1938 Passenger List from Bremen
Eva Steuer Halas emigrated from London to Canada (after her marriage). She emigrated to London after being liberated from Auschwitz.

When I heard this information about the name change, I immediately had an Instant Chat with a cousin in Cleveland. He told me “once, a long time ago my mother had the family aghast when she mentioned at a party that the family name had been Utkovitch. We assumed she was just making her usual confrontational remarks. Might it be true? I somehow, knowing my mother, had thought that she made up the story just to get a reaction.  Her mother denied it, but you have to remember that Beckie was a Steuer by marriage and might not have known too much.”

Later, he told me that he heard that there was a wealthy woman who was going to marry one of the brothers and he was asked by either her father if he would be willing to take on Steuer as his family name since he (the father) had no one to carry on his family name. This brother agreed. The other brothers took on Steuer so it would be known that they were all brothers.

The other branch of the family that told me about the original family name felt it was from their ancestor, Bernhardt (Bernat) Steuer. He married Fanny Klein and her father was Josef Jonas Klein and they felt his wife was possibly Minnie Steuer because this is what was written on Fanny’s death certificate, although her daughter Minnie Steuer was the informant.

I actually think this was a maternal grandfather that made the request, although I have not been able to prove it. Too many unknown maiden names. I did find the Hungarian marriage record for Julius (Juda) with his third wife (1876) and it already has his name and his father’s last name was also listed as STEUER.

The spelling of the name is in question, since all information was verbal. Both cousins did say the same thing, that it means son of a Jew. Is it Yitkowitz, Yitkowits, Yidkowitz, Yidkowits, Yitkovits, Yudkovits, or Utkovitch. What I do know is that the “Y” sound in Hungarian is spelled with a “J”. Where to start?

I did just recently found the marriage record and birth records for Bernhard and Fanny. Of course, it was Fanny’s Yiddish name – Feige and Bernhardt’s Hungarian name – Bernat. And here it was! Bernat’s last name was listed as Judkovics. His father was listed as Meier- no last name listed, but that is it is assumed to be the same if not shown. No mother was listed for him. The birth records for 3 of their children had their last name spelled Judkiewicz. The children were Hanny (b. 26 May 1872), Ignatz (b. 04 Feb 1875) and Gerzon (b. 27 Mar 1876).

According to the 1900 census she had given birth to 8 children and only 2 were still living (at the time she was living with her daughter Mary, her son-in-law Morris Reich and grandchildren). I assume they died in Hungary. As of now I haven’t found any death records for any of the other children and no passenger lists for any of their children.

Not sure of when there was the name change, but I feel someone other than Bernat (Bernhardt) married the girl from a wealthy family since their children’s birth records were NOT listed as Steuer.


  1. Hi there! I know this post is from many years ago, but just in case you'r still receiving comments, I wanted to reach out. I'm a descendent of Mary & Morris Reich (whom you mention in your last paragraph). Thanks for doing all this research; it's been very helpful in compiling my own records! Would love to be in touch if you receive this.


  2. You're welcome! So glad you reached out to me.