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Meaning of the Name

In German (Austrian), the word turteltaub means literally turtledove, the bird shown on the figure. You may see an enlarged version clicking on top of the bird.
On Registrars

To understand the variations of the name, it is useful to know how the registration process used to work. The registrars were careless both on names and on dates. On 1827, Ester Grosman married Chaim Jonas Torkeltaub. She was then 21. A year later, in 1828, she first became mother and decreased her age to 20. Seven years later, in 1833 she was only 25. Three years later, in 1836 she was still 25. Finally, in 1837 she advanced to 26.
It should come as no surprise that the same person could be identified in different documents by different names.

Variations of the Name
In English, there is no way to pronounce the name. No matter how hard English speaking people try, it always sounds Turtletaub. Thus, many people have inverted the T and L in their name. In Poland Turteltaub often became Turkeltaub. (Click here for a specialist's explanation of this change.) Further, for phonetical reasons, it was often written as Turkieltaub. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, registrars did not exercise great care. Thus, the second vowel changed in a more or less random manner.
Origin of the Name

All the T contacted so far have Jewish ancestors. The use of surnames is something relatively new with Jewish people. Complete information on this subject can be obtained in the Internet site Jewish Gen.  In particular, the article The Names of the Jews is very informative. The article Vital Records in Poland has additional information on names, as well as data on how to obtain records
Turkel, Turtel, Turkle, Turtle
Contrasting with the variations cited above, the names Turteltaub and Turtel are NOT synonymous. Similarly, Turkeltaub and Turkel are NOT synonymous. This point was clarified by William Turkel, who has made a very serious effort to construct the family histories of these latter groups. Sherry Turkle, whose family came from Tarnopol, also believes that the name was always Turkel.
The above notwhistanding, there are several T who shortened their names to Turkel and Turtel.