Sachs Surname Genealogy

surname Sachs took its name from the region of Saxony in central
Germany, originally Sachsen after a line of princes there in the 15th
century. The name, however, became more common in Bavaria.The Jewish Sachs name is of more recent origin – dating probably from
the early 19th century when Jews in Germany were obligated to take
Sachs was a name adopted in memory of persecuted forebears, an acronym
of the Hebrew phrase zera kodesh
, or “his name is of the seed of holiness.”Spelling variants are Sacks and Saks.

Resources on

Sachs Ancestry

There are an estimated 12,000 Sachs in Germany today. The name
been fairly common in Bavaria (Hans Sachs the famous meistersinger came
from Nuremburg in Bavaria) and has also cropped up in Hesse.

As a
Jewish name, Sachs was to be found throughout the Yiddish diaspora of
central and eastern Europe, in Poland, Lithuania and Russia as well as
Germany. The rabbi Michael Sachs, born in Silesia in the early
1800’s, was one of the great preachers of his age.

Of the Sachs who
to America
some 70 percent started out from German-speaking lands.

America. The first Sachs
in America may have been Dutch, early settlers in New York state.
Johan Peter Sachs was recorded as marrying Angeniser Thornbauer in
Kingston, NY in 1727. Two Sachs from the Palatinate in
Germany – Johan Adam Sachs and Johann Jacob Sachs – were onboard the Edinburgh which came to
Philadelphia in 1749.

The following were some 19th century German Sachs immigrants:

  • Franz Sachs and his son Joseph left Luderode in Thuringia for
    Louisville, Kentucky in 1849. Both father and son were tailors.
  • Daniel Sachs arrived in 1858 and found work in the coal
    mines in Eckley, northern Pennsylvania. Other Sachs also settled
    in this locality.
  • Gottfried Sachs, following his sister, came with
    his family from Stuttgart to California in 1885. They settled in
    Zamora, just
    north of Sacramento.

Jewish. The
first main Jewish settlement in America was in Baltimore and a
number of Sachs came from that community. Andrew Saks, born there
in 1847, started the Saks chain of department stores which later
included their flagship store of Saks Fifth Avenue in New

Joseph Sachs, an immigrant from Bavaria, ran a successful
congregational school for
Jewish students in Baltimore. His son Samuel Sachs joined his
father-in-law’s investment banking company – which became Goldman Sachs
after Samuel took over the running of the firm in 1904. The
company story, together with the family dynamics, is covered in June
Breton Fisher’s 2009 book Henry
Goldman, Goldman Sachs, and the Founding of Wall Street.

The wave of late 19th century Jewish immigration included the following

  • Wolf Sachs, a peddler and shop owner who had come from Russia to
    Pennsylvania in 1888 and then brought his family together in Baltimore
    in 1900. His daughter Mary Sachs opened a clothing
    store in Harrisburg,
    Pennsylvania in 1918 which became one of the town’s leading retail
  • Florence (Flossie) Sachs who came with her family from Lithuania
    to Pittsburgh in the early 1880’s. She was the wife of Lewis
    Selsnick and mother of David Selsnick, both of whom were to prosper in
    new American movie industry.
  • and Solomon
    who came from Russia to New York in 1906. He was
    only to live for another eight years before dying of tuberculosis.

There were later arrivals fleeing Nazi persecution such as the
scientist and astronomer Rainer Sachs.

. John Sachs
emigrated from Thuringia (then part of Prussia) to the Hespeler area of
Cambridge, Ontario in 1848 where other German families had
settled. Several other Sachs families were to
be found in the early history of this region.

Sachs Harbour is a hamlet on Banks island in the Northwest
territories. It was named after the schooner Mary Sachs, built in California,
that was part of the Canadian Arctic expedition of 1913.

South Africa. A Sachs
family (originally Saks) left their home in Lithuania in 1914 and
moved to South Africa. Solly Sachs who was a child then
became a
fearless trade union organizer and opponent of apartheid.
He and his son Albie spent many years in exile in England. Albie
had lost his arm and his sight in one eye from a bomb placed by South
Africa’s security services. He later returned to South Africa
and, post-apartheid, was appointed as a judge on the Constitutional
Court of
South Africa.

Another Sacks from Lithuania, Samuel, came to England in 1917 and
worked as a doctor in London’s East End. He had been houseman to
Henry Head, one of Britain’s pioneering neurologists; while his wife
Elsie, who had studied under Marie Curie, became a surgeon. Their
son Oliver Sacks would become world-famous as a neurologist.

Sachs Miscellany

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

Select Sachs Names

Andrew Saks from Baltimore founded
the Saks chain of department stores which eventaully included Saks
Fifth Avenue in New York.
Samuel Sachs was an American
investment banker. He joined his father-in-law Marcus Goldman’s
firm, prompting the name change to Goldman Sachs in 1904 when he took
over the running of the firm.
Albie Sachs, born of Jewish
immigrants from Lithuania, was a judge on the Constitutional Court of
South Africa, appointed by Nelson Mandela in 1994.
Oliver Sacks is a British
neurologuist whose books such as Awakenings
and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for
a Hat
have brought him a wider audience.
Jeffrey Sachs is an American
economist and author of bestsellers such as The End of Poverty and Common Wealth.

Select Sachs

  • 300 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 6,000 in America (most numerous
    in New York)




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