Wednesday, 24 October 2012

What is a Sephardic surname?

I have seen a number of people asking whether their Spanish or Portuguese surname is Jewish. Excluding Cohen, Levy and their derivatives, there is no such thing as a Jewish surname. Jews used the same surnames as everyone else. I have the impression that some surnames - such as Rodriguez - were especially used by New Christians, but these were common names for Old Christians too.

A specific Iberian surname is not an indication of New Christian/Jewish ancestry. Context is everything.

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