While identifying family names is basic to doing genealogical research, Jewish family names are anything but simple. Different rules governed the adoption of names in different countries and in Ashkenazic and Sephardic communities.
Some names were chosen, others were assigned and some were evaded to avoid harsh consequences. They vary in origins and meanings and can have multiple spellings and grammatical forms. Names can reflect empires, border changes and emigration. Rabbinic lines have special features. Understanding Jewish naming practices can illuminate the information you gather and extend your family tree by generations.
Sallyann Amdur Sack is a pioneer and international leader in modern Jewish genealogy. She served as president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS), led seven annual IAJGS conferences and was honored with the IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award. She co-founded and chaired the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy in Jerusalem. She is the long-time editor of AVOTAYNU: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, and has written several major reference books on Jewish genealogy. She is currently working on the IAJGS Documentation of Jewish Records Worldwide Project, which she co-founded. Dr. Sack has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from George Washington University and a B.A. from Radcliffe College at Harvard.+ More... - Less...
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