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The Jeff Malka Sephardic Collection

Jewish Surnames from the Periodical Sefarad 1941-2007

The Arias B. Montano Institute is part of Spain's Superior Council of Scientific Research (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas). In 1941 the Institute began publishing a bi-annual academic periodical entitled Sefarad that continues to this day. The journal was first dedicated to the research of Jews in Spain upto the 1492 Expulsion and occasionally a bit beyond that date. Several years ago its focus was enlarged and it presently also covers Hebrew studies and Mediterranean Jews.

Searching in the still relatively unexplored Spanish archives like the archives of the Crown of Aragon, the various regional Notarial Archives, and similar, Spanish university scholars produced articles based on these valuable primary sources. Frequently, authors included lists of names encountered in the documents they studied - list of inhabitants, property owners etc. These records are the indelible proof of the existence of surnames already in use in medieval Spain, a fact that provides further evidence of Sephardic roots. Nevertheless, one has to take into account that not all the Spanish archives have been studied and the present compilation of surnames used in medieval Spain is by necessity only partial and eclectic because it is based on the articles published. For example, major Jewish population centers like Cordoba, Granada and others studied elsewhere are greatly under-represented.

The present index covering articles published in Sefarad articles between 1941 and 2007, includes the surname, given name, place and year of occurrence and the reference of the article in which it appears. It includes a total of more than 2,000 surnames.

Some conclusions can be learnt from this index:

- Name spelling was not yet fixed and the surnames are found under various orthographic forms or with various prefixes
- Some surnames composed of two words may be found either as a single word or as two words
- Patronymic names (Isaac ben Yacov ben Yehuda) seem to have disappeared among Sephardic Jews
- Similarly toponymic or place surnames are rare. Many of today's toponymic Sephardic surnames appear to have been adopted after the expulsion, first as nicknames.


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.

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.

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This collection can be searched by via the JewishGen Spain Database, the JewishGen Jeff Malka Collection or the JewishGen Sephardic Collection

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