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Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames


Guilherme Faiguenboim, Sao Paolo: Editora Fraiha, January 1, 2004
Winner: Best Judaica Reference Book (2003) by the Association of Jewish Libraries. A compilation of 17,000 surnames presented under 12,000 entries. All names were used by the Jews who lived in Spain and Portugal for 15 centuries and later spread across the world as Sephardim, marranos and conversos. Hundreds of rare photographs, family shields and illustrations. It is more than a dictionary; it also contains a 72-page summary of Sephardic history, before and after the expulsion from Spain and Portugal and a 40-page linguistic essay about Sephardic names, including an interesting list of the 250 most frequent surnames.

The dictionary itself has 274 pages and appendices: geographic glossary, remissive index (replacing the soundex), a detailed list of all 335 bibliographical sources on which the book is based. The period covered by the dictionary is of 600 years, from the 14th to the 20th century. The researched area includes Spain and Portugal, France, Italy, Holland, England, Germany, Balkans, Central and Eastern Europe, the former Ottoman Empire, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, North America, Central America and the Caribbean, South America (including colonial times), Australia and others.