Recorded in many forms including Katz, Katzmann, Katzel, and locational compounds such as Katzberg, Katzberger, Katzbach, Katzenbach, Katzenmeir, Katzenschwanz, Katzensteig and others, this is a ancient German surname. It may also be Askenasic, although the origin is the same. The base form as Katz derives from a fused form or acronym of "kohen tsedek" meaning a priest, or literally a priest of righteousness! It has also been suggested that the name may derive from the word "katsin" meaning "the rich one", which given the robust humour of the medieval period when the surname was first recorded, does not seem an unreasonable explanation. However one has to be very careful in ascribing modern (20th century) interpretations to medieval words or phrases, indeed without being actually present when a name was "given", it is now impossible to be certain as to the precise meaning. The surname is well recorded in the surviving ancient rolls and charters of Germany. These include Bernardus Cattus zu Hamburg in the year 1252, and in 1355, that of Catharina Katz of Gamshurst, Achern. Other interesting recordings showing some of the surname development are those of Contzelin Katzenbuch of Munchingen in 1350, and Stephan der Katsperger zu Cham in 1392.
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