Select Halpern Surname Genealogy

Halpern is a Jewish surname derived from the German town of Heilbronn in Wurttemburg.  Heilbrunn had a large and influential Jewish population in medieval times.   Halpern and Halperin are the main spellings today, dividing approximately 75/25.

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Select Halpern Ancestry

Heilbronn gave rise to the Jewish name of Halpern even though the town had emptied of Jews by 1500. There has been one DNA connection to an old Heilperin rabbinical family from Germany at that time.  Another line is thought to have connected to Rabbi Reuven Halpern of Glowno in the early 1800's and then possibly before that to Rabbi Jehiel  Heilprin or Heilperin of Minsk a century or so earlier.

The Halpern and Halperin emigrants to America came mainly from the Jewish quarters in the Russian Empire at that time.  Sizeable numbers came from Galicia, then part of Poland.  Some records from Lvov date from the early 1800's.  Others came from lands that were then part of the Austria-Hungary empire but are now part of Ukraine.

There was a tidal wave of emigrants to America at the turn of the 20th century.  Others escaped, to America or Israel, before or after the Nazi atrocities.

America.  Halperns and Halperins came mainly to the New York area.  Some remained strongly rooted in their Yiddish culture.  Others had a broader American experience.  Among those in New York were: 
  • Ralph Halpern who was born in Manhattan in 1890.  He became a state assemblyman for Queens.  His son Seymour followed in his footsteps.
  • Harry Halpern who was born on the Lower East Side in 1899.  He became a very prominent conservative rabbi in Brooklyn. 
  • Harry Halpern who arrived in the early 1900ís from Russia, worked in the garment center, and settled in the Bronx.  His son Morty Halpern became a legendary Broadway stage manager.  
  • Moshe-Leyb Halpern who came in 1908, aged 22, from Zlotshev in eastern Galicia to avoid the draft.  He became well-known in the 1920ís as a modern Yiddish poet. 
  • and Sam and Arie Halpern who came in 1949 after World War Two, having survived the Nazi slave camp at Kamionka in Poland.  The brothers started with supermarkets and then expanded into property, becoming one of the biggest property developers in New Jersey.
Jacob and Judith Halpern emigrated to America from Jablanow in Galicia in 1913.  They settled in Fall River, Massachusetts.  Later Halperns of this family changed their name to White.

Samuel and Rebeka Halperin came to Minneapolis from Odessa in Russia in 1900 where they raised five children, two boys and three girls.  Hal Halperin became a manager of the Chicago office of Variety and Max Halperin a Chicago agent; while daughter Nan Halperin became a star of the vaudeville stage.

England.  The Halpern numbers in England, mainly in London, are small.   Moshe Halpern arrived in London from Lvov in 1910.  More recently, Rabbi Chaim Halpern has been a leading member of London's orthodox rabbinate.  Colin Halpern acquired the UK Domino's Pizza chain franchise in 1993 and is now a wealthy man.

Select Halpern Miscellany

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

Select Halpern Names

Moshe-Leyb Halpern was an influential Yiddish poet writing in New York in the 1920's.
Nan Halperin became a star of the vaudeville stage in 1915.
Morty Halpern was considered the dean of Broadway stage managers.  He died in 2006 at the age of 96.

Select Halperns Today
  • 3,000 in America (most numerous in New York) 
  • 500 elsewhere (most numerous in UK)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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