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Bibliography on Jewish Given Names

Compiled by Warren Blatt

  • Aleichem, Sholom.   "Back from the Draft", from Old Country Tales (New York: Putnam, 1966, 1979, 1999).
    Reprinted in Avotaynu XIII:2 (Summer 1997), pages 12-16.
    {A humorous view of the Russian bureaucracy's confusion surrounding Jewish given names}.

  • Beider, Alexander.   A Dictionary of Ashkenazic Given Names: Their Origins, Structure, Pronunciation, and Migrations. (Teaneck, NJ: Avotaynu, Inc., 2001). 728 pages. ISBN 1-886223-12-2.
    {The most comprehensive work on East European Jewish given names: sources, diminutives, phonetics, naming traditions, etymology}.

  • Beider, Alexander.
    + A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire. (Teaneck, NJ: Avotaynu, 2008). 1,008 pages. ISBN 978-1-886223-38-7; and
    + A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Kingdom of Poland. (Teaneck, NJ: Avotaynu, 1996). 608 pages. ISBN 0-9626373-9-4; and
    + A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia. (Teaneck, NJ: Avotaynu, 2004). 600 pages. ISBN 978-1-886223-19-6.
    {The most comprehensive scholarly studies of Jewish surnames in Eastern Europe. For given names, useful because of surnames derived from given names}.

  • Beider, Alexander.   "Jewish Patronymic and Metronymic Surnames in Russia".  Avotaynu VII:4 (Winter 1991), pages 3-15.
    {Surnames derived from given names. Includes an excellent table of given names used in the Russian Empire}.

  • Beider, Alexander.   "Jewish Given Names in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania".  Avotaynu XIII:2 (Summer 1997), pages 20-25.
    {A scholarly view of the usage and etymology of Jewish given names in Lithuania, from the 14th to 19th centuries}.

  • Blatt, Warren.   "Jewish Given Names in Eastern Europe and the U.S."  Avotaynu XIV:3 (Fall 1998), pages 9-15.
    {An overview, with focus on interpreting names found in genealogical documents}.

  • Feldblyum, Boris.   Russian-Jewish Given Names. (Teaneck, NJ: Avotaynu, Inc., 1998). 144 pages. ISBN 1-886223-07-6.
    {A translation of Iser Kulisher's 1911 work on Jewish given names used in Czarist Russia. Lists over 6,000 names, with variants and combinations}.

  • Gorr, Shmuel.   Jewish Personal Names: Their Origin, Derivation, and Diminutive Forms. Edited by Chaim Freedman. (Teaneck, NJ: Avotaynu, Inc., 1992). 112 pages. ISBN 0-9626373-2-7.
    {Good coverage of Hebrew and Yiddish names, grouped by root, but no historical context}.

  • Harkavy, Alexander.   Yiddish-English-Hebrew Dictionary. 2nd ed. (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1928). [Reprint by YIVO / Schocken, 1988. ISBN 0-8052-4027-6].   {See pages 525-30, on Yiddish given names}.

  • Hoffman, William F. and George W. Helon.   First Names of the Polish Commonwealth: Origins and Meanings. (Chicago: Polish Genealogical Society of America, 1998). 426 pages. ISBN 0-924207-06-X.
    {Thorough coverage of first names used in Poland, of all ethnicities}.

  • Kaganoff, Benzion C.   A Dictionary of Jewish Names and Their History. (New York: Schocken Books, 1977). 250 pages. ISBN 0-8052-0643-4.
    {Mostly covers surnames.  Anecdotal, highly readable layman's view, but error prone and no references given}.

  • Kolatch, Alfred J.   The New Name Dictionary: Modern English and Hebrew Names. (New York: Jonathan David, 1989). 328 pages. ISBN 0824603311.
    {A revision of the author's earlier works These are the Names (1948), The Name Dictionary (1967), and The Complete Dictionary of English and Hebrew First Names (1984).  Covers Biblical and modern Israeli Hebrew names, and English names}.

  • Lawson, Edwin D.   Personal Names and Naming: An Annotated Bibliography. (New York: Greenwood Press, 1987), and
    More Names and Naming: An Annotated Bibliography (New York: Greenwood Press, 1996).   {Continues Elsdon Smith's bibliography}.

  • Panchyk, Richard.   "Given Names and Hungarian Jews".  Avotaynu XI:2 (Summer 1995), pages 24-28;   "Variations and Changes in Hungarian-Jewish Names".  Avotaynu XIV:2 (Summer 1998), pages 41-42.   Also his Master's Thesis: Magyarization: A Study of Given Names Among Jews in Buda, 1820-95. (Spring 1994, University of Massachusetts, Amherst).

  • Rhode, Harold.   "Thoughts on Jewish Given Names from Analysis of Czarist Records".  Avotaynu XI:2 (Summer 1995), pages 19-21;   "Using Litvak Naming Patterns to Derive Names of Unknown Ancestors".  Avotaynu XI:3 (Fall 1995), pages 22-23.

  • van Straten, Jits and Harmen Snel.   Joodse voornamen in Amsterdam: Een inventarisatie van Asjkenazische en bijbehorende burgerlijke voornamen tussen 1669 en 1850. [Jewish First Names in Amsterdam: An inventory of Ashkenazic and matching civil first names]. (Bennekom, Holland, 1996). 178 pages.
    {Comparisons of civil names associated with Hebrew/Yiddish names, based on civil and Jewish records}.

  • Singerman, Robert.   Jewish Given Names and Family Names: A New Bibliography. Edited by David L. Gold. (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2001). 245 pages. ISBN 9004121897.
    {A subject-organized list of over 3,000 books and articles on Jewish given names and family names throughout history}.
    {Earlier edition was: Jewish and Hebrew Onomastics: A Bibliography. (New York and London: Garland, 1977). 132 pages. ISBN 0824098811}.

  • Smith, Elsdon Coles.   Personal Names: A Bibliography. (New York: New York Public Library, 1952). 226 pages. OCLC: 173455.
    {Over 3,400 annotated bibliographic citations on all aspects of names and naming}.

  • Wilhelm, Y. Z.   Ziv HaShemos. What's in a Name?: Laws and Customs Regarding the Naming of Children and Related Topics. (Brooklyn, NY: S.I.E. Publications, 1998). 112 pages. ISBN 1-8814-0039-5.   {Orthodox responsa on naming practices}.

  • Zunz, Leopold.   Namen der Juden. Eine geschichtliche Untersuchung. (Leipzig: L. Fort, 1837). 125 pages.
    {The classic work on Jewish given names}.

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