Günzburg (surname)

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Ginsberg, Ginsburg, Gensburg, Ginsburgh, Ginzberg, Ginzborg, and Ginzburg are variants of the same surname derived from the surname Günzburg, a surname of Bavarian origin.


The Günzburg (Cyrillic: Гинзбург, Гинцбург, Yiddish: גינצבורג, גינזבורג‎, Ginzburg, Gintsburg) family originated in the town of Günzburg, Bavaria. It is believed that the family went there from the city of Ulm, Württemberg, and that for this reason the best-known progenitor of the family and some of his immediate descendants, as well as certain others, called themselves "Ulma-Günzburg". ("Rabbi Jair Chajim Bacharach und Seine Ahnen", p. 45, Treves, 1894) proves that "Gunz" and "Gaunz" are simply variants of "Günzburg."

It is also an Ashkenazi Jewish surname. When, early in the emancipation period, the Jews of Russia and of Austria were ordered by their governments to adopt family names, it was natural that many of them should choose a name so respected and pleasing as that of Günzburg. There is on record a lawsuit instituted by Baer Günzburg of Grodno against a Jewish family of that city who had adopted the same name under the decree of 1804 (Maggid, "Toledot Mishpechoth Gintzburg," p. 239, St. Petersburg, 1899). The court sustained the right of Jewish families to adopt any name they chose, and the number of Günzburg families accordingly increased.

The name is composed of two German elements. Burg means "castle" or "citadel". This commonly was also used to describe a walled settlement or town, hence common usage in town names such as Hamburg (from Old German: Hammaburg, lit. "castle above the river bend").[1] Developments of the word include Bürger ("town dweller") or Bürgermeister ("town master" or "mayor"). The river name Günz is ultimately derived from the Indo-European root *gheu-, meaning "to pour". Thus, Günzburg refers to a "fortified town by the river Günz".[2]




  • Benson Ginsburg (1918–2016), American behavior geneticist
  • Chad I. Ginsburg (born 1972), lead guitarist and mixer/producer of the modern rock band CKY
  • Charles Ginsburg (1920-1992), leader of a research team that developed one of the first practical videotape recorders
  • Charlotte Lucy Ginsburg, best known as Charlotte Gainsbourg (born 1971), English-French actress and singer-songwriter, daughter of Serge Gainsbourg
  • Christian David Ginsburg (1831–1914), Polish-UK Hebrew language scholar
  • Douglas H. Ginsburg (born 1946), Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • Isaac Ginsburg (1886-1975) Lithuanian-born American ichthyologist
  • James Steven Ginsburg (born 1965), American classical music producer
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (born 1933), American jurist and United States Supreme Court justice
  • Saul Moiseyevich Ginsburg (1866-1940), Russian author and historian
  • Serge Gainsbourg, né Lucien Ginsburg, (1928–1991) French singer, songwriter, pianist, film composer, poet, painter, screenwriter, writer, actor and director
  • Seymour Ginsburg (1927–2004), computer science pioneer of automata, formal language, and database theories
  • William H. Ginsburg (1943-2013), American lawyer


Other spellings[edit]




  • Mark Ginsbourg, birth name of Mark Gayn (1902-1981), Russia-born American left-wing journalist



  • Rabbi Louis Ginzberg (1873-1953), one of the outstanding Talmud scholars of the twentieth century.




  1. ^ Duden, Geographische Namen in Deutschland. - Mannheim, 1999. - p. 134
  2. ^ Duden, Geographische Namen in Deutschland. - Mannheim, 1999. - p. 130
  • Eisenstadt-Wiener, Da‘at (Czech: Qedošim), pp. 198–212, St. Petersburg, 1897–98;
  • Belinsohn, Shillume Emune Yisrael, Odessa, 1898;
  • Belinsohn, Ein Wort über die Familie Guenzburg, St. Petersburg, 1858. The chief source is Maggid's work, quoted above.
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSinger, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "Günzburg". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.

See also[edit]