From Abramovici to Bertram

The Bertram family name has its roots in the Abramovici family which migrated from Ploesti, Romania to North America early in the 20th Century. When the family came to North America, Abramovici, in Romanian, became Abramovich, in English. Then, in the early 1920's, Abramovich became Bertram.

Thanks to the efforts of Prof. Ladislau Gyemant, we now know that our Abramovici line started with the children of Abram Samuil who was born in about 1810. Beresh Abramovich was born Beris Abramovici in 1857.

The latter transformation ocurred when Nat Abramovich, son of Beresh Abramovich was working as a bookkeeper. His immediate superior liked him, but when the owner saw the name Abramovich, he said that he wouldn't have any foreigners around. So, with the cooperation of his boss, Nat Abramovich became Nat Bertram. The name Bertram was taken from Beresh, the first name of Beresh Abramovich. As others followed and moved from Winnipeg to California, they followed Nat's lead and changed their names from Abramovich to Bertram.

Nat's daughter Mandy, also tells us that Nat first changed his name to Abrams, and then to Bertram.

It was not until recently that current generations have been able to piece together this evolution in the Family name. The following explanation of a bit of the Romanian alphabet was graciously provided by Silviu Serban of Montreal, Canada.

"In Romanian spelling, Abramovich is Abramovici. The Romanian language has been using a complete Latin alphabet since 1863. Before that, it was a mixture of Latin and Cyrillic, because of the somewhat Slavonic tradition of the Romanian Orthodox Church.

The Romanian alphabet is mainly based on the Italian alphabet (except that the Romanian one has a different graphical representation for sh - like "s" with a sedilla, and for ts or tz - like "t" with a sedilla - think of the French sedilla for c). The special vowels are: 1) an "a" with a rounded reversed cap on it, pronounced like the English "er" without "r"; 2) or; 3) an "a" or an "i" both graphically with a circumflex accent on them, pronounced likewise, think of the French circumflex accent for "a" and "i", the pronounciation is as you would say in English "little", thinking of the vowel of medium length existing between "t" and "l" of" little"; 4) a special vowel "i", written as in English, which is hardly pronounced and it is always at the end of the word, like in Abramovici.

Both languages, Romanian and Italian, belong to the same branch, Italo-Romanic, in the group of the Romance languages. I strongly believe that Abramovici was spelled the same way at the beginning of the century as it is now because the orthographic reforms (three in this century) weren't so radical. The cyrillic alphabet was used in the Soviet Republic of Moldavia, as a sign of the Russian occupation, but now Moldova is an independent state and they use the Romanian alphabet (they call it "Latin") because they speak Romanian."

We have also seen some references to "Abramovitch," including Uncle Joe's book. However, that is apparently the French spelling of Abramovici. Since the name on Beresh's gravestone in Winnipeg is "Abramovich," we'll use that spelling in this genealogy.

Last revision: 3/7/97

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