A link: Jewish surnames

Fascinating piece on Slate on the 8th by Bennett Muraskin, “Jewish Surnames Explained”. The crucial fact is that for a long time Jews had no family names as we understand them now, but used references of the FN1 child-of FN2 sort (very common around the world); I am Arnold Arnoldson, and my father was Arnold Melchiorson, in this system. For reasons briedfly noted in this piece, Jews were required to adopt fixed (and inheritable) family names; the piece eumerates the various strategies they adopted.

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