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The Jeff Malka Sephardic Collection

Jewish Surnames from the Balkans

Four onomastic studies of Balkan Jewry have been conducted:

  1. Asher Moissis who wrote on the surnames of the Jews of Greece[1],
    2. Baruh Pinto on the surnames in Turkey[1],
    3. Shlomo Alboher on the surnames of Bitola, Macedonia[3]and
    4. Mathilde Tagger on the surnames in Bulgaria (to be soon published)[4].

   All these four studies are the basis of the present All BALKAN Sephardic Surnames. Additional sources used to build the current list are:
   A. Turkey:

  1. List of surnames from Izmir based on Dov Cohen[5]index of 3,150 weddings for the 4th quarter of the 19th cent. and the beginning of the 20th
    2. Surnames found in Istanbul Project[6]and not listed in Pinto's book
    3. List of surnames found in Rosanes's[7] book (Tel Aviv, 1936)

   B. Greece:

  1. List of victims of the Holocaust for Jannina (from the web)[8]
    2. List of surnames of Holocaust victims from the isles of Rodos and Cos from a personal picture of the plaque hanged at the entrance of Rodos synagogue
    3. List of the Holocaust victims from the isle Crete found in Recanati's book[9](Jerusalem, 2006).

   C. Bulgaria:

  1. Dictionary of Bulgarian Jewish Surnames by M.A.Tagger that will soon be published.

   D. Serbia and Bosnia

  1. A census of Belgrad, Serbia, Jewry from 1856 based on Tagger & Kerem[10](Bergensfield, NJ, 2006).
    2. A list of surnames graciously sent by Mathias Hanau based on several Serbian sources

   E. Croatia

  1. A list of surnames of Holocaust victims from Split based on Tagger & Kerem[11](Bergensfield, NJ, 2006)

   F. Romania

  1. A list of Romanian Sephardic surnames compiled by Tagger during the last 15 years from several sources
    2. Surnames of grooms and brides born in various communities of Romania among the Russe (Bulgaria) wedding database[12](on the web)


   The multiplicity of the languages involved creates great difficulties in the building of this name list because names are written in different alphabets and even for those using the Latin alphabet many letters are pronounced differently depending on the language in question. Just think of the Cyrillic alphabet for Bulgaria, the Greek alphabet, the Latin alphabet used in Turkish, all the Yugoslavian countries and Romania. To these, add the Hebrew alphabet in which the old registers were written and Arabic for names having their origin in medieval Spain where Arabic was the current language for four-five centuries. The French and Spanish influences on the spellings also needed to be considered.
   Moissis's book is in French with the surnames transliterated from Greek to French transliteration. The surnames in Pinto's book are spelled according to the Turkish language. Alboher's book is in Hebrew but the surnames are brought in as they were spelled in Macedonian. The surnames in Tagger's dictionary is in English while the names have been transliterated from Bulgarian Cyrillic letters to Latin ones.
   To permit the use of a the search engine in English, no diatric marks were included in this list and therefore a special note was added when a name included a letter with such a sign. These include notes such as: c with cedilla, s with kvaka, etc. Other notes include "Transliterated from Hebrew" or Transliterated from Cyrillic" etc. This was done in order to indicate that the spelling is not the original one and hint at the original language.
   Onomastic studies provide all the variant spellings of a name. The task was less easy when creating just a list of names. Yet, an effort was made to collect the various spellings found within a same list.
   The following tables of Serbian and Turkish diatrical signs will assist the reader to understand the pronunciation of certain surnames.

Serbian Letters

Pronunciation

Description in the DB

c

ts

 

č

tch

c with kvaka

ć

tj

c with accent

đ

dj

d with dash

h

kh

 

j

y

 

s

s

 

š

sh

s with kvaka

z

z

 

ž

j

z with kvaka

*Kvaka is the diatrical mark whose shape is like a moon crescent, placed upon the letters C, S and Z

Turkish Letters

Pronunciation

Description in the DB

c

dj

 

ç

tch

c with cedilla

h

kh

 

g

gh

 

j

j

 

s

s

 

ş

sh

s with cedilla

Footnotes:

1 Moissis, Asher. Les noms des Juifs de Grèce. Gordes (France),1998.

2 Pinto, Baruh. Sephardic onomasticon. Istanbul, Gözlem, 2004. (Anglais et Turc).

3 Alboher, Shlomo. Kehilat Monastir (Bitola), Makedonia; Ir Yehudit atika sheyehudim thi cv- esh Treblinka akhaltam. Jerusalme, World Zionist Federation, 2005. (Hebreu). [La communauté de Monastir (Macedoine); une ancienne ville juive dans laquelle plus aucun Juif ne vit aujourd'hui; les flammes de Treblinka les ont consumés].

4 Tagger, Mathilde A. Dictionary of Bulgarian Jewish Surnames. (Anglais) (Doît bientôt être publié)

5 Cohen, Dov. List of 7,300 Names of Jewish Brides and Grooms Who Married in Izmir Between the Years 1883-1901 & 1918. 1997. (Anglais traduit de l'Hébreu)

6 http://www.benkazez.com/dan/istanbul/

7 Rosanes, Shelomo. Divrei Yemei Togarma.

8 http://www.kkjsm.org/

9 Récanati, Aure. Mémorial de la Déportation des Juifs de Grèce. Jérusalem, Erez, 2006. 3 v.

10 Tagger, Mathilde & Yitzchak Kerem. Guidebook for the Sephardic and Oriental Gemealogical Sources in Israel. Bergsfield, NJ, Avotaynu, 2006. (Anglais)

11 Op. Cit.

12 http://www.JewishGen.org/databases/russeWeddingsSrchFrm.html

Acknowledgements

We acknowledge the tremendous contributions and lifelong dedication of Mathilde Tagger, z"l who made this index available. For many years, and right until her untimely death, Mathilde Tagger was a very close friend and collaborator with Jeff Malka. Together they worked to promote Sephardic genealogy research and educate the public about its enormous potential. Mathilde compiled this information based upon the original source material: Klarsfeld, Serge. Mémorial de la Déportation des Juifs de France. Paris, 1978.

In addition, we express our grateful appreciation to Dr. Jeff Malka for his monumental ongoing effort to collect and make accessible Sephardic genealogical information, and for his generosity in contributing his extraordinarily valuable collection to JewishGen.


Search the Database

The Jewish Surnames from the Balkans can be searched by via the JewishGen Balkans Database or the JewishGen Sephardic Collection


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