Litzen / Litzen / Letson etc

Whilst we are well familiar with the name Jacobs, we are less knowledgeable about Litzen.


This short article attempts to aggregate our knowledge of the name.

One of our main sources for the name is research done by Hyamson.

In this document the name Litzin is used several times, sometimes in English and sometimes in Hebrew.

Other records where the Jacobs – Litzin connection appears are:-

1793:     Great Synagogue Marriage records show Henry Jacobs son of David Letson, marrying Kitty Moses.

1795:     Great Synagogue burial records record an ‘Infant’ Jacobs whose father was Feiss, son of David Litzin

1799:     Henry Jacobs (1767 – 1865) became a member of the Great Synagogue and his father is given as David Litzen. 

1799:     Great Synagogue burial records record an ‘Infant’ Jacobs whose father was Hirsh, son of David Litzin

1809:     In the burial record for David Jacobs (1726-1809) his father’s name is given as Jacob Litzin


Phil Kirby did further research and came to the belief that the surname is LITZEN which is German and also a town name in what was Western Prussia. The town still exists.

Philip believes that David Litzen moved around the Polish/German areas and came to the UK probably to escape the Polish podgroms.

Philip has also looked at the Polish History and the Russian history and have a pretty good idea about the changing influences on Jews in those areas.


If you look on Familysearch site ( the Mormons) you can see the family name Litzen and it is usually Swedish/German/Finnish.

Philip thinks David Litzen changed his name to Jacobs for business reasons and also because it was easier to pronounce.

 Other contributions in the past have also come from Debbie Bozkurt and Carol Freeman.

Shlomo Katanka contacted a Professor Simon Litsyn of Tel Aviv University, to see if he could throw any light on the matter. His reply was as follows:

Dear Shlomo

Thank you for your letter and nice to hear from you

There are several versions of the origins of the family name “Litzin”

The most likely derives from the Ukrainian town called Lityn

Lityn is an urban settlement in Vinnytsia Oblast, located in the historic region of the Podilia. It is a administrative seat of the Lityn Raion. Wikipedia

There are quite a lot of Jews named Litinsky , or similar.

Those who lived in  White Russian wrote the name “Lizen”

Because this is the way to write “t” in Belarusian.

Some of my family spell it Litin, some spell it Lizin.

I also met Litzins originating from Poland , from Lodz, the German name of Lodz is Litsmanstadt



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