19 July 2009

Book: An Ashkenazi given name handbook

Avotaynu has announced the publication of Alexander Beider's "Handbook of Ashkenazic Given Names and Their Variants."

This softcover book is the dictionary section of his previously published and massive volume, "Dictionary of Ashkenazi Given Names." It does not contain Beider's 300-page introductory section - his doctoral thesis for the Department of History at the Sorbonne (Paris).

Included is the description of each name's origin and evolution, demonstrating how name variants are derived from the root name, with the indexes listing 15,000 name variants of the 735 root names.The three-part index is in the Latin alphabet, Cyrillic and Hebrew.

The 232-page softcover is $26 plus shipping. Avotaynu offers free shipping for orders of $50 or more in the US. If you will be attending Philly 2009 - the 29th IAJGS International Conference of Jewish Genealogy - and live outside the US, contact Avotaynu to reserve a copy for pick-up at the conference and save what can be a major international shipping charge.

Here's a very small portion of the full-page Yentl entry; view the complete entry here.

Several names with the same root gentil were used by Jews in various Romance countries. Since the Middle Ages, Gentile was a common name in Italy. Gentel appears in medieval documents from Spain. Migrants from these countries came to the Ottoman Empire and as a result ג׳ינטיליה and ג׳ינטיל were common names in that area. Gentil, Gentile, Gentila and Gentilia appear in medieval sources from southern and northern France, while ינטיל and יינטיל are quoted in Hebrew documents from England dating from the 13th century. Note that English Jews mainly originated from northern France. In old French, the adjective gentil(l)e meant noble. The use of the similar names in France, Italy and Spain could either be due to migrations between these countries or independent events. ...

For more information, click here; to see the 15,000-name index, click here.

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