Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Mediterranean Region, Volume 1: Mahgreb, Gibraltar, and Malta
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A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Mediterranean Region: 
Volume 1: Maghreb, Gibraltar, and Malta

by Alexander Beider

For about 30 years, Dr. Alexander Beider focused on the origin and evolution of Ashkenazic names and the vernacular language in Eastern Europe. He has now drawn his attention to surnames of the Mediterranean region—mostly Sephardic— and has published the first volume of his research: A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Mediterranean Region, Volume 1: Maghreb, Gibraltar and Malta.

The book identifies nearly 2,000 independent root surnames from which more than 10,000 variant surnames are derived. A typical entry contains three sections: Main, Origin and Variants.
   • The Main 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 nearly 300 sources from which Dr. Beider draws his conclusions.
   • The Origin section includes an identification of bearers of the name as having a single common ancestor (monogenetic) or multiple independent ancestors (polygenetic). This is followed by the etymology—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 North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya), Gibraltar, and Malta making a particular focus on the Jewish migrations to these regions from other Mediterranean 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 Maghreb.
8½" x 11" 728 pp. hardcover $89.00  
 

Complete list of names
Sample entry in Dictionary (Abecassis)
Contents

0. Introduction 1
0.1 Preface 1
0.2 Main geographic terms 5
0.3 Administrative subdivision of the area covered 6
0.4 General statistics 10
0.5 Transcription Rules 15
0.5.1 Arabic 15
0.5.2 Hebrew 17
0.5.3 Signs used for general phonetic transcription 18
Chapter 1. History of surnames 20
1.1 Migrated surnames 20
1.1.1 Generalities 20
1.1.2 Old Iberian surnames 21
1.1.3 MARRANO surnames 30
1.1.4 Italian surnames 38
1.1.5 Surnames from the Ottoman Empire and Greece 48
1.1.6 Surnames from Alsace and Lorraine 51
1.1.7 Ashkenazic surnames from Central and Eastern Europe 55
1.2 Surnames adopted locally 57
1.2.1 Arabic and Hebrew naming systems 57
1.2.2 Before the 19th century 59
1.2.3 19th–20th centuries 67
1.3 Age of surnames in North Africa 72
1.3.1 Methods and results of their application 72
1.3.2 Misconcepts to be avoided 79
1.4 Internal migrations within the area 84
1.4.1 Generalities 84
1.4.2 Migrations from Morocco to Gibraltar 91
1.4.3 Migrations from Morocco to Algeria 93
1.4.4 Migrations internal to one region 93
Chapter 2. Surname variants 98
2.1 Basic concepts 98
2.1.1 Variants and their importance for the etymology 98
2.1.2 Identification of variants in civil records 100
2.2 Graphic variants 106
2.2.1 Variants using the same letters 106
2.2.2 French spelling 107
2.2.3 Spanish, English, and pseudo-German spellings 109
2.2.4 Italian spelling 113
2.2.5 Portuguese spelling 114
2.2.6 Spelling of migrated Ashkenazic surnames 115
2.2.7 Variation between different languages 115
2.2.8 Transcription of Arabic consonants 117
2.2.9 Transcription of Arabic vowels 120
2.2.10 Reconstruction of the original Arabic pronunciation 124
2.3 Phonetic variants 126
2.3.1 General features of (Judeo-)Arabic 127
2.3.2 Dialectal variation in (Judeo-)Arabic 128
2.3.3 Phonetic distortions 132
2.4 Semantic and translated variants 137
2.5 Morphologic variants 139
2.5.1 Generalities 139
2.5.2 Prefix ben 141
2.5.3 Definite article 143
2.5.4 Suffix -î 146
2.5.5 Prefix abû 147
2.5.6 Prefix u- 147
2.5.7 Suffix -s 148
2.5.8 False morphologic variants 149
2.6 Graphic distortions 150
2.7 Double surnames 152
Chapter 3. Languages used 156
3.1 Generalities 156
3.2 Surnames based on Arabic 158
3.2.1 Arabic and Judeo-Arabic 158
3.2.2 Surnames based on Arabic diminutives 160
3.2.3 Surnames based on Arabic forms derived from verbs 163
3.3 Surnames based on Berber idioms 164
3.4 Surnames based on Hebrew or Aramaic 167
3.5 Role of Romance languages 171
3.5.1 Spanish, Judeo-Spanish, and Portuguese 171
3.5.2 Italian 173
3.5.3 French 174
Chapter 4. Types of surnames 175
4.1 Classification 175
4.1.1 Main concepts and statistical results 175
4.1.2 Previous classifications 179
4.2 Surnames derived from given names 180
4.2.1 Given names: generalities 180
4.2.2 Given names: full forms 182
4.2.3 Given names: diminutives and other derived forms 183
4.3 Surnames shared with Gentiles and borrowed from them 188
4.3.1 Surnames used by Muslims 188
4.3.2 Surnames used by Christians 193
Chapter 5. Frequency of surnames 195
5.1 Most common surnames by region 195
5.1.1 Libya 195
5.1.2 Tunisia 195
5.1.3 Algeria 196
5.1.4 Morocco 197
5.1.5 Gibraltar 198
5.1.6 Malta 198
5.1.7 Synthetic table 198
5.2 Geographic distribution of the most common surnames 201
5.2.1 Surnames common in all of Maghreb 201
5.2.2 Surnames common in large continuous areas of Maghreb 203
5.2.3 Surnames common only in one or two regions 203
5.3 Reasons for the common use of surnames 205
Chapter 6. Methodology of the etymological search 207
6.1 Methodological principles 207
6.1.1 Generalities 207
6.1.2 Time period and general context of the inception of surnames 211
6.1.3 References to etymons 212
6.1.4 Words that can be sources for surnames 214
6.1.5 Region of the inception of a surname 215
6.1.6 Difference between the surname and its etymon 217
6.1.7 Surnames and given names 219
6.1.8 Existence of non-Jewish bearers 220
6.1.9 Monogenetic versus polygenetic surnames 221
6.1.10 Synthesis 222
6.2 Case studies 226
6.2.1 Eisenbeth and names of Muslim tribes 226
6.2.2 Surnames of pseudo-Hebrew or pseudo-Aramaic origin 228
Appendix: Previous studies of surnames from Maghreb 231
A.1 Hamet (1928) 231
A.2 Eisenbeth (1936) 231
A.3 Laredo (1978) 232
A.4 Tolédano (1998) 234
A.5 Sebag (2002) 236
A.6 Taïeb (2004) 238
Index to surnames mentioned in the Introductory portion 241
Glossary 244
Bibliography 246
Works cited 246
Principal sources of surnames 258
How to use the dictionary 261
Surnames present inside of the same entry 261
General structure of an entry 261
Surname section 264
Spelling and Spelling details 264
Location 265
Sharing 266
References 267
Nature section 269
Etymology section 270
Type 271
Structure for migrated surnames 271
Main structure for non-migrated surnames 272
Structure for surnames derived from toponyms 274
Structure for surnames derived from given names 275
Non-retained etymology section 276
Variant type section 278
Difference in comparison to other reference books 279
What to do if you cannot find your surname listed 280
Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Mediterranean Region: Maghreb, Gibraltar, and Malta 282
Index of surnames (Latin characters) in the Dictionary portion 629
Index of Hebrew spellings appearing in the Dictionary portion 697

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