Friedman Surname Genealogy

Friedman origins
were German, from the elements fried, meaning “peace,” plus mann or “man.” Fried itself evolved as a
diminutive of the old Germanic personal name Friederich, a
hereditary name of the medieval Hohenstaufen family of SW
Germany. Friedman or variants thereof then began to emerge as
surnames, in SW Germany and in Silesia.
By the time that Jewish families were obligated to take a surname in
the early 19th century, many opted for this non-Jewish
name Friedman. It approximated in meaning to their shalom (“peace”) or Solomon
(meaning “peaceful”).
The Friedman surname has no connection with the English Freeman,
which means “a free man.”

Resources on

Friedman Ancestry

Friedmann name is mainly to be found in Baden-Wurttemberg and
Rheinland-Pfalz in Germany today. It also appears to a lesser
extent in Hungary. In the 19th century, with the larger Jewish
population, there was a wider spread.

Emigration data to America
showed sizeable numbers of Friedmans coming from Germany and Hungary
and also from Poland and Russia.  The Friedman family circle, now
numbering more than 2,500 members, is composed of the descendants of
the marriage of Pinchas Friedman and Clara Glicksman in Poland in 1808.

The principal destination for these emigrants was of course
America. Friedman (pronounced “Freedman”) was the main spelling
there. Some, however, did change their name to
Freeman (Solomon Friedman, for instance, made this name change on his
arrival in Hartford, Connecticut in 1861).

Other Friedman
destinations were England, Canada, Australia,
South America and, later, South Africa. The spelling here ended
up being either Friedman or Freedman.

The Friedman emigrants to
America seemed to show a pattern, coming first from Germany in the
1840’s, then from Russia in mid-century (or rather Latvia and Lithuania
of the Russian Empire at that time), and, by the turn of the century,
increasingly from Hungary (then still part of the old Austro-Hungarian

Some went South. The earliest Friedman arrival in America from
Hungary was probably Bernard Friedman, a
travelling peddler in Alabama and Mississippi at the time of the Civil
War. After the War he settled in Tuscaloosa where he became a
successful entrepreneur. In 1875 he had acquired a magnificant
antebellum mansion there from a bankrupt owner. Battle House was
stay with the Friedman family until 1965 when it was willed to the
state as a
historic house museum.

Another Jewish Friedman outpost in the South was Natchitotes,

where Samuel and Caroline Friedman settled in the mid 1800’s.
Two generations later Sylvan Friedman, a large landowner and cattleman
there, became a
prominent Louisiana politician. Less fortunate was JB Friedman, a
justice of the peace in Boutte, Louisiana.

“On June 11 1888, Mr. Friedman was just
stepping off the porch of his store, intending to go to the railroad
station nearby, when the assassin stepped around the corner and shot
him. He was taken back into his house and a doctor called, but he
died before midnight.”

Most Friedmans, however, came North and in particular to New York City
(in 1965 it was calculated that Friedman was the 17th most common
surname there). It has been the first and second generation
American born Friedmans who succeeded most brilliantly there, as
businessmen, entrepreneurs, lawyers, economists, scientists, writers,
and in a host of other professions as well. Milton
Friedman’s upbringing
shows how an immigrant son without any
particular advantages could make it in his chosen profession.

There have also been more recent Friedman arrivals, such as Lily Friedman,
among those who escaped or survived the Nazi holocaust.

Australia. The first
recorded Hungarian in Australia was merchant Isaac Friedman who arrived
with his wife and daughter in 1833. He was recorded as a
shop-keeper in Hobart in the 1840’s.

Friedman Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Select Friedman Names

, a first generation American, was an independent
inventor with a broad range of interests and ideas. His most
successful invention was probably the flexible drinking straw.
Milton Friedman was probably
the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th
century. A monetarist in his approach, he was a recipient of the
Nobel Prize in Economics in 1976.
Herbert Friedman was a pioneer
in rocket technology in relation to solar physics and astronomy.
Thomas Friedman, the author of The World is Flat, is the
Pulitzer Prize winning writer on foreign affairs for the New York Times.

Select Friedmans

  • 5,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 23,000 in America (most numerous
    in New York)
  • 4,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada).




Click here for return to front page

Leave a Reply