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By Alexander Beider
Comprehensive collection of Jewish surnames from Italy, France, Spain, Carribean.

Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Italy, France and "Portuguese" Communities


  • For about 30 years, Dr. Alexander Beider focused on the origin and evolution of Ashkenazic names and the vernacular language in Eastern Europe. Since 2015, he has drawn his attention to surnames of the Mediterranean region—mostly Sephardic— and has published the second volume of his research: A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Italy, France and “Portuguese” Communities. His first volume is A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Maghreb, Gibraltar, and Malta (2017).

    The book identifies more than 3,150 independent root surnames from which nearly 10,000 variant surnames are derived. A typical entry contains four sections: References, Group, Etymology, and Variants
       • The References section identifies the surname and spelling variants (in both Latin and Hebrew characters), where in the region it was used, earliest references, and bibliographic source of the information. There are more than 560 sources from which Dr. Beider draws his conclusions.

    • The Group section includes an identification of the Jewish group to which the first bearers of the name belonged: from the continental Italy, Sicilian, Southern or Northern French, Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula before the expulsions of 1490s, “Portuguese” (Catholic-born people who started to profess Judaism, the religion of their ancestors, after their migrations from the Iberian Peninsula during the 16th-18th centuries to countries where the Jewish religion was tolerated) , Ashkenazic, North African.
       • The Etymology section explains the linguistic origin of the name.
       • Finally, the Variant section shows the main variants of the name that exist in the region.

    The introductory portion describes the history of surnames in the territory of modern continental Italy, southern France and medieval Northern France, and “Portuguese” communities in such cities as Amsterdam, Hamburg, London, Bordeaux, Bayonne, as well as in the Caribbean Islands and Surinam. The book makes a particular focus on the Jewish migrations to these regions from other countries as well as migrations internal to the area covered.

    By the comprehensiveness of the sample of surnames collected and the rigor of their linguistic and historical analysis (similar to that found in previous works by Dr. Beider), this study dwarfs all previous publications dealing with the Jewish surnames from Italy, southern France and the “Portuguese” Jewish centers.

    8½" x 11" 882 pp. hardcover $99.00

    Table of Contents

    Names Included in this Book

    Sample Page from this Book (Modigliano)

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