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Leinen Coat of Arms / Leinen Family Crest

The surname of LEINEN is a Western Ashkenazic Jewish surname taken by someone who was good a chanting the Pentateuch at public worship in the synagogue, or for someone who regularly did so. The name was derived from the Yiddish word LAYNER (reader), which ultimately came from the Latin LEGERE. The English variant is LANIER. The name also sometimes applied to a weaver, or to one who looked after the cloth and checked the workers, or who was the inspector who was required to stamp his approval on cloth. Many crafts were required regarding cloth and wool, first from the shearing of sheep to the finished article. The occupation of the officer whose duty it was to inspect all cloths for proper quality and length and attach his seal of approval, was an unpopular official. It was known in the Middle Ages that such a person could be mobbed and mortally wounded, should his sanction not be given. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. Between 1880 and 1914, almost three million Jews left Eastern Europe, representing the most extensive migration in Jewish history since the expulsion of Jews from Spain at the end of the 15th century. Most of the emigrants fled from Russia, where pogroms had raged, and where the laws of Czar Alexander III had oppressed Jewish life. Most of the emigrants departed from Hamburg and went to the United States, but some emigrated to Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada and South Africa. While the vast majority of the immigrants to America came through Ellis Island from 1907 to 1914 thousands of East European Jews participated in a little known episode in American Jewish history. They migrated through the port of Galveston, Texas and then were routed to towns throughout the Midwest where lodging and jobs awaited them.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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