In a message dated 9/9/2008 12:12:16 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
firstname.lastname@example.org_ (mailto:email@example.com) writes:
<<I have to admit that I'm not well-read on the subject of "surnames", but it
has always been puzzling to me. Not necessarily the translations or
meanings of the names, but rather:
1. When and where did the process of giving/assigning surnames start?
2. Did the process apply equally to Jews, and non-Jews?
3. Did government officials just assign names arbitrarily?
4. Is it safe to assume that hundreds (thousands?) of completely unrelated
individuals ended up receiving the same surname?>>
These are questions we've all have had on jewishgen. I have been busy, with
a score of others, who have been asking the questions over the past ten years
on jewishgen and at conferences and records, and learning >from each other.
We've all learned and we've all responded repeatedly to these questions >from
For the 10th year as an active participant in jewishgen, I've decided to
be less generous, less busy, less informative. I've answered each of the
above questions many, many times in the past ten years, adding content as I
learned. My suggestion is you study books devoted to names, surnames, Jewish and
not, histories of names, lists of names, dictionaries of names, jewishgen
archives, google and wikipedia. In three years you'll know enough to take over
the tasks of those of us who are getting old. Much luck.
Michael Bernet, New York