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Roots in Prague

Many R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites are descended on their direct male line from Jews from Prague, the home of the Horowitz rabbinical family from which perhaps half of R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites are descended.  

Some of the ancestral surnames identified by R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites as their most distant known male ancestors were shared by Levites who lived in Prague. Other such surnames were shared by Jews in Prague not identified as Levites. Because it was not uncommon for sons-in-law to adopt the surnames of illustrious fathers-in-law, it is likely that there are some R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites who bear surnames inherited from Prague Jews who were Israelites. 

Click here for more information about the historic Jewish cemetery in Prague and to access a list, extracted by Meir G. Gover, of more than 850 surnames from matzevot (Jewish tombstones) at that cemetery.

Jim Wald has provided us with chromolithographs, etchings, and a map of old Prague: (1) Chromolithograph of the Old Jewish Cemetery of Prague, from an undated edition (@1900) of 100 watercolors of Prague, Stará Praha (Old Prague), by Václav Jansa (1859-1913); (2) chromolithograph of Maiselova Street in Josefov, the Jewish district of Prague, from an undated edition (@1900) of 100 watercolors of Prague, Stará Praha (Old Prague), by Václav Jansa (1859-1913) (Maiselova Street is named after Mordecai Meisel (1528-1601), a philanthropist and community leader in Prague); (3) chromolithograph of the Jüdisches Rathaus (the Jewish Town Hall) in Josefov, the Jewish district of Prague, from an undated edition (@1900) of 100 watercolors of Prague, Stará Praha (Old Prague), by Václav Jansa (1859-1913) (the Rathaus was
built in the 16th century by Mordecai Meisel); (4) engraving of the Alt Neuschul (the Old New Synagogue) of Prague (built in 1270, it is Europe's oldest active synagogue (the engraving dates to the mid-19th-century; the artist, Carl Würbs, lived from 1807-76; the engraver, Langer, seems likewise to have been active in the second third of the century and beyond); and (5) a map of Prague dating to the mid-19th century (the Jewish district, Josefov (labeled as Judenstadt, or Jewish Town, in the legend) is near the top of the map, below the bend of the Moldau Fluss (the Vlatava River); the historic Jewish cemetery is located in Josefov, in the dotted lot near the second "S" in "Fluss").






Jansa, Old Jewish Cemetery

Chromolithograph of the Old Jewish Cemetery of Prague, from an undated edition (@1900) of 100 watercolors of Prague, Stará Praha (Old Prague), by Václav Jansa (1859-1913). 
Click here for a larger view of the image.