Accession consists of textual records documenting Fred M. Catzman's regular column, “The Name Game”, in the Canadian Jewish News. As well as correspondence with readers and fans, the records include more than a thousand individual column topics (family names). A chronological publication date list and an alphabetical name list are both included in File 13 (Correspondence with the Canadian Jewish News). Column copies and typescripts include not only original meanings of surnames, but details on alternative spellings and European geographical origins: excellent clues for discovering previously unknown relatives. Correspondence files include letters from many grateful readers reporting this additional unexpected and exciting outcome from his responses to their requests. The research files also offer family historians a wide range of valuable information concerning name and family research information sources identified during Mr. Catzman’s many years of research.
Records were in the custody of Marvin and Lynn Catzman, the son and daughter-in-law of Fred Catzman, until donated to the Archives.
Fred M. Catzman, Q.C. (1906-2003) practiced law in Toronto from 1929 until his 1995 retirement. A long-time senior partner in the Toronto legal firm of Catzman and Wahl, he was honoured with the Law Society of Upper Canada Medal in 1986 and received the Order of Ontario in February, 2003. He also chaired a special four-year-long “Advisory Committee on the Personal Property Security Act” for the Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relation.
As important as his successful law practice, was his life-long fascination with family names, their origins and meanings. While assembling his extensive research into a manuscript for a book on this topic, he began writing a regular column, “The Name Game”, for the Canadian Jewish News in June 1985. The column was published until mid-1995. It contained brief essays on the origins, meaning of, and variations on Jewish family names. The resultant letters from readers and family historians inevitably requested his assistance in researching their own family names. These requests served both as guides to further research and subjects for future columns.
ASSOCIATED MAERIALS NOTE: Records donated to the Ontario Jewish Archives by Fred Catzman may be found in Accessions 1981-3-12, 1985-4-1 and 1987-12-4.