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Gerstle Genealogy and Gerstle Family History Information

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  • Babette Stiefel (1837 - 1924)
  • Else Grünhut (1895 - 1944)
    Eintrag im »Gedenkbuch« des Bundesarchivs:* Grünhut, Else Elsa* geb. Gerstle* geboren am 12. Juni 1895* in Ichenhausen/Günzburg/Bayern* wohnhaft in Regensburg* Deportation* ab Nürnberg - Würzburg - Reg...
  • Frieda Gerstle (1871 - 1942)
    Eintrag im »Gedenkbuch« des Bundesarchivs:Gerstle, Frieda geb. Meier geboren am 06. Juni 1871 in München/Bayernwohnhaft in MünchenDeportation ab München 03. Juli 1942, Theresienstadt, GhettoTodesdatum ...
  • Fritz Gerstle (1889 - 1934)
    kein Eintrag im »Gedenkbuch« des Bundesarchivscf.:
  • Hermann Gerstle (1862 - 1943)
    Eintrag im »Gedenkbuch« des Bundesarchivs:Gerstle, Hermann geboren am 26. Februar 1862 in Ichenhausen / Günzburg / Bayern wohnhaft in MünchenInhaftierungsort: 16. März 1942, München, Barackenlager Knor...

About the Gerstle surname

The origin of the Gerstle family can not be known for sure, but there is a traditional story: Gerstle ancestors accompanied a mass migration of Jews from Italy to southern Germany by way of the ancient Roman military highway, the Heeresstrasse, about a thousand years ago. This migration followed an invitation from Charlemagne to the Jews of Italy to settle in his kingdom, an invitation prompted by the understanding that Jews in the Roman world prospered in business and were good for the general economy of the community. Charlemagne hoped that this prosperity would spread to his own kingdom. The German rulers following Charlemagne were not so tolerant in their attitude towards Jews. Life was difficult forthe Jews in the following centuries in Germany. In fact, one theory of the origin of the Gerstle name is that it was derived from the Hebrew word garash, meaning "to expel" or "cast out" with the addition of the German diminutive ending "le" for "little." Perhaps the name would have identified that man or family expelled in one of the many Jewish expulsions which occurred near Ichenhausen, in Neuburg on Kammel and Thannhausen. A second possible derivation of the name is from the German word for barley (Gerste) with the same diminutive ending. Support for this origin is a Gerstle coat of arms containing three barley stalks on a blue background, shown in Planches de L'Armorial General by J.B. Rietstap. If authentic, this "coat" could suggest that the Gerstle name literally stems from barley. It is possible, however, that the coat of arms was created because of the similarity of the name to the barley symbol. It is interesting to note that one line of the family living in Israel hebraized the Gerstle name to the Hebrew word for grain, dagan. (See Chart III) The Gerstles are known to have lived in Ichenhausen, a small southwest Bavarian town, halfway between Augsburg and Neu-Ulm, since 1538. Gerstles are also mentioned in documents from Krombach, a nearby town, in 1598. An unusual feature of this name is that so many of the residents of the town of Ichenhausen 15 used it. In this century the inhabitants of the town believed there were 27 to 33 distinct and unrelated Gerstle families. Though my research has shown many of these families to be related, the fact remains that the name was extremely popular. One possible explanation for the frequency of the name is its relative age. Most Jews received last names in the Napoleonic period when these names were required by law. The Gerstles, however, appear to be one of the few Bavarian families whose name had been established already in the 16th century. It is important to remember here that Jews had large families in the ensuing centuries. Thus by the time that many other Jewish households were just receiving their family names, the Gerstle name was already extremely common in the town, and the number of Gerstle families continued to increase disproportionately to other families because of the 100-year head start. It is not surprising that many Gerstle families did not know their relation to each other; the connections in some families were many generations back. It is interesting to reflect on the fact that those families who carry the Gerstle name today represent nine or ten generations of sons of sons.

Source: Eleven Generations of Gerstle by Karen Spiegel Franklin