Meaning of the Surname OBERMAN.


What is the meaning of the name Oberman? According to the Oxford Dictionary of Surnames, the name signifies someone who lived at the upper end of the village or someone who lived on an upper floor in a multi-story building. The Jewish Oberman name signified that the person was a Rabbi or head of the village.

Surnames were first imposed on European Jews in the Austro-Hungarian Empire under the rule of Emperor Francis Joseph Hapsburg in 1787. After the third partition of Poland, it came under the rule of the Prussians and from 1794 until 1806 the Jews were forced to take German- sounding family names. In Frankfurt in 1807 and in Baden in 1809 laws were passed to ensure that Jews took fixed family names. In 1808 in the Napoleon Empire it was decreed that Jews take surnames. In 1812 Jews in Prussia which covered parts of modern day Lithuania ( where I believe my family Oberman originated.) had to take family names approved by the authorities. In the Pale of Settlement, the area of Poland taken over by the Russians the process started in 1804 and was completed in 1845.

Variations of the name Oberman.

Aberman, Eberman, Iberman, Uberman,

Goberman, Hoberman, Guberman, Huberman,

Oiberman, Oyberman.

The Australian Convict, John Hoberman [c 1765 - 1847]

Tobacco manufacturer, aged 37, from Germany, married; 5'8" ,

Dark complexion, Literate.

Tried at Middlesex IV Sessions (Middlesex G.D.) 28 April 1802 for stealing 13 lb tobacco and 14s0d from Ann Kemp, widow and manufacturer of tobacco in Whitechapel Road, his employer. Mrs Kemp's son gave evidence that Hoberman had been absent for a long time from work, saying his own child had had an accident falling on a fire. He was tried before a jury of whom half were foreigners. He spoken good broken English. Sentenced by Baron Thomson to transportation for seven years. Gaoled at Newgate and transferred to the Captivity hulk at Portsmouth. His wife did not accompany him.

Hoberman attended the Hobart musters in1811, 1818, 1819, and 1823. He claimed 30 acres of farmland in 1812 which was part of Geil's land at Old Beach and receipts show he sold the farm for 90. The claim was taken to the Supreme Court in Equity and the case dragged on until 1825. He had 38 acres in Carlton by 1838.

On 1 January 1810, in Hobart he married Ann Doyle, a convict from Dublin who had arrived at Port Jackson in the Rolla . He gave his marital status as single. They had at least one child, a daughter Sarah.

He was a faithful storekeeper and servant to Kemp and Gatehouse at the brewery at New Town. Until November 1810 he was a constable at New Town, then was demoted to watchman. He made a donation to Briscoe's fund when her husband drowned.

Hoberman was living in Goulburn St. when he died 14 June 1847, aged 85 (?). 

(extract from p. 282 "Convicts Unbound" by Marjorie Tipping published by Penquin ISBN 0670900680.)