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The origin of the name Socher

The name Socher goes back to the Hebrew word סוחר which means in English "trader" or "merchant". The word "סוחר" is written with niqqud (vowel points) as "סוֹחֵר".

Most "Socher" families, including ours, have ancestral roots going back to southern Germany and Austria. The emphasis of the pronunciation of the Hebrew word "סוחר" is more towards the middle/end and in German it is more to the front of "socher" but otherwise it is basically identical:

We can trace our family back to the mid 1700's via various birth and marriage entries of the catholic church in Bavaria, Germany, however the transition from an originally Jewish family must have been much earlier.

The settlement of Jewish merchants in Bavaria and Austria goes back well before the year 900. The toll and customs code ("Leges Portoriae") of Raffelstetten (Austria) from the year 906 mentions Jewish merchants. The Duke Otto I. of Wittelsbach (1117 to 1183) allowed Jewish settlers, who had given him money for the erection of the city of Landshut. Jews suffered however as an identifiable minority repeated massacres and expulsion from around the times of the Crusades (1095 - 1291) and well into the later centuries.

It is quite conceivable that a Jew known as "socher" married a german wife and their children became catholic.

I think as well that the different "Socher" Families that exist today around the world do not go back to a single Jewish merchant but possibly to a number of different merchants. The word "סוחר" refered originally to an occupation rather than a specific name. Just as the Miller families around the world trace back to a number of different millers working in different towns in England.


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