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A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire Hardcover – Jan 1993

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 760 pages
  • Publisher: Avotaynu (January 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0962637335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962637339
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 22.9 x 28.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
An essential, well-produced and rich resource for anyone interested in his/her Jewish (Ashkenazi) roots. Well-documented with excellent chapters on different kind of surnames.Suitable for 19th century Jewish historians as well. A treasure.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa449ca68) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa44df54c) out of 5 stars Magnum Opus by THE authority on the topic Nov. 7 2005
By R. Cannata - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Russian born, with a PhD., living in France, writing in English, Beider is a bona fide genius -- an intellectual athlete on the scale of a William Dembski. If you think he is wasting his time with such a topic as the origin of Jewish surnames, read the introduction to this book. The project is fascinating and immensely complicated. In German speaking countries Christian civil authorities were generally responsible for the surnaming process in the late 18th century. In Pale of Settlement within the Russian Empire, Jewish authorities were responsible for the adoption of surnames. Some names came from German, Russian, Yiddish and Hebrew words, or occupations, or personality traits. Some names came from localities. Some could come from Jewish given names. Some were patrynomics. Some were of compound or highly ambiguous orgins. Most were fluid. The complexities are staggering, and it took someone with the care and analytic skills of Beider to start to sort this all out.

To get a picture of the debates see Beider's recent review of Lars Menk and Heinrich and Eva Guggenheimer's books, in Avotaynu journal XXI: 2 (summer 2005), pp.35ff. Beider shows Menk to be a qualified success, and Guggenheimer to be a muddled trainwreck. I don't think most of us would be equipped to navigate through the issues involved without Beider.

The book consists of two massive works -- 1. a huge introduction that charts out all the debates and argues for his approach. And 2. an enormous dictionary of zillions of surnames. This book, while staggering in detail, is not yet comprehensive. For example, only 2 of the 10 surnames I am most interested in from Elizavetgrad (Kirovograd) central Ukraine (Kherson oblast) were listed at all.

In any case, it is indispensible for anyone with interest in 18th and 19th century Jewish Russia.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa44df564) out of 5 stars Excellent Resource book for Jewish Geneologists June 15 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
An essential, well-produced and rich resource for anyone interested in his/her Jewish (Ashkenazi) roots. Well-documented with excellent chapters on different kind of surnames.Suitable for 19th century Jewish historians as well. A treasure.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5038c9c) out of 5 stars Take it with a grain of salt Oct. 21 2009
By fluffy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
However extensive is the list of Jewish surnames in this book, the interpretation of these names by the author should be always taken with a grain of salt. A.Beider often takes the first plausible explanation of the name without checking it against available historical records or even common sense.
HASH(0xa4462a98) out of 5 stars Not the complete reference that I was hoping for. ... July 24 2014
By Baja Diver 770 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not the complete reference that I was hoping for. There are a lot of references to many different Jewish surnames but the info is not so conclusive and leaves much to be desired. It can be helpful as a starting point for researching last names. That's why I bought a used copy at a much lower price.
HASH(0xa4c5fe7c) out of 5 stars Great source. The amount of work the author must ... July 19 2016
By cleo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great source. The amount of work the author must have gone to come up with this comprehensive book is amazing.


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