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Some Sephardic Names
Origins and meanings

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It will be helpful for the reader of this section to first go to the page about the general origins of Jewish names (just click here). This will provide a better basis for understanding this section.

Because Jewish Sephardic names are often so ancient, discovering the origins and meanings of these names can be of interest. There is no way I can list all Sephardic names here, but this is a sampling that can give the reader an idea. I have elected to skip Jewish names that were simply adopted from existing spanish names (Rodriguez, Henriquez, etc.) because I cannot provide a meaning to them of Jewish interest other than that they were adopted from Spanish names - usually their Catholic godfather when forcibly converted. Many of these families reverted to Judaism when able to do so.

Please do not write to ask about the meaning of your own name. I am flooded with queries as it is and already feel guilty at my inability to get to them all. If your name is not listed, make it a project to discover its meaning. Start by going to my listing of books and search for yourself. Be a detective. That is what makes genealogy fun!

Name Variants Origin Meaning Notes
Abenrey Malka,Ben Rey,Ibn Rey,Avenreyna,Ben Melekh,Reyno,Soberano Hispanic-Arabic son of king  
Abitbol Toboul,Abitboul (see also Botbol) Arabic Drummer (taboula)    
Abrabanel,Abravanel unk unk   ancient family said to descend from King David
Abulafia Boulafia, Alafia Arabic Possessor of strength/health or well being (afia) some Moslem families carry this name.
Aknin Aqnine, ben Aknine Berber Jacob  
Albaz Elbaz,Elvas,ben.. Arabic Falconer, also locality in spain  
Alfassi Elfassi,Fasi,Defaz Arabic from Fez, Morocco  
Anonios   Greek Eternal Romaniote name, found in Ioannina
Aragon De Aragon Spanish from Aragon Moslems and Jews both carry this name
Arapis   Greek Arabic Romaniote name found in Ioannina
Ashkenazi Eshkanazi, Eskinazi Hebrew means German  
Assouline Asulin,ben..,Benasuly Berber Rocks  
Azulay ben.. Berber or Spanish Good (Ber), blue eyes (Sp)  
Barcilon Barchilon,Barcilon,Bargeloni Hebrew old name of Barcelona  
Ben Sushan ben Sussan Persian name of ancient Persian capital  
Botbol Tebol,Boutbol. (See also Abitbol) Arabic drum maker or seller  
Cabalero Caballero,Cabaliero Spanish Knight or horseman  
Cardoza Cartoso, Spanish/Port. from town in Guadalajara, Spain or Viseu, Port  
Caro   Spanish dear or beloved  
Carvalho Cabalo Portuguese Oaktree,
town in Portugal
 
Castorianos   Greek Romaniote name from Castoria  
Castro Decastro Spanish/Portuguese Jewish fortress in Leon  
Charbit Sharbit Hebrew Sceptre  
Cohen multiple combined names Hebrew Priest  
Crespin Crispin,Crispin,aven..,ben.. Spanish Spanish Curly (hair)  
Dalyan Dalven Turkish fishnets/fishpond found in Ioannina
Danon Dondon,aben..,.abendanno Spanish/Heb Judge  
Dayan   Hebrew Judge  
De Aragon Ragon. (See also Aragon) Spanish Kingdom in Spain  
De Fez Alfassi Arabic from Fez, Morocco  
De Silva Da Silva Spanish/Portuguese from the forest (Silva)
blackberry bush
 
De Soto Soto, Del Soto Spanish Swamp  
Enriquez Henriquez, Henriques Spanish Son of Henri Spanish/Portug name adopted by converso family at forced conversion
Ferreres Ferares, ben.. Spanish Blacksmith, or from towns in Majorca or Zamora  
Foinquinos Follinquinos,Foyinquinos Greco-Latin Phonecian  
Franco Franca can be seen as first name Spanish Freed (from taxes or bondage)  
Gabbay Gabai,Avin..,Cabay Hebrew In talmudic era were alms collectors, in Spain:tax collectors  
Gaguin Gagin Spanish Town in Pontevedra, Spain  
Galanos   Greek Blue-eyed  
Guedalia Guadella,Guedalha Hebrew Elevated by God  
Hakim Elhakim,Alhakim,Hkim Arabic Physician or sage  
Halfon Khalfon,Jalfon,Alfon,Halpen Arabic Replacement (like Makhlouf)  
Hamu Hammou,Hamuy Arabic Father-in-law,heat (Ham Hebr), Berber tribe  
Hasdai Hasday, Chasdai, ben .., Acday, Azday Aramaic Goodness  
Hazan Azan,Chasan,Ha-Hazan Hebrew Official,cantor  
Kampanaris   Greek Bells Romaniote name found in Ioannina, Greece
Kokkinos   Greek Red (redhead?) Romaniote name
Laredo   Spanish Town in Santander,Castile  
Levy Halevy,Levita Hebrew Levy tribe  
Lombroso   Spanish Translation of Hebrew Nehora or Eir, luminous  
Lugasi Lugashi Arabic From town of Lugas in Oviedo  
Maimon ben..,Mainonides,Mimon,Maymo Hebrew Fortunate,lucky  
Malka ben Melekh,Soberano,Ibn Rey,Reino,Malki,Abimelekh Aramean King in Aramean, From Malaga  
Malqui Malka,Almalqui,Almalki,Maleque,Malaki Spanish from Malaga  
Mandil   Arabic Apron  
Marcus Marcos Spanish plural of Marco (measuring weight)  
Medina De Medina Hebrew, Arabic State (Hebr.); town (Arab.); several in Spain  
Mizrahi see also Ben Ashurqui, De Levante, Shuraqui Hebrew Eastern  
Montefiore   Italian from Montefiore in Papal states  
Moreno ben.. Spanish Brown  
Nahon   Heb/Spanish from town of Naon in Oviedo, Spain  
Nahman ben Nahman Biblical Lord will heal or console  
Navaro Nabaro Spanish Navarre kingdom  
Obadya Obadiah, Ovadia, Abdias, etc Hebrew Servant of God  
Ohanna O'Hana, Bohana, Abuhana, Abuhenna Berber (O=son) son (O) of Hanna  
Ohayon   Berber (O=son) + Hebrew (Hayon) son (O) of Life (Hayon)  
Oiknine Waknin, Ouaknin, ben.., etc. Berber Son of Jacob  
Patish Betache (N. Africa) Hebrew Hammer In Greece, N. Africa
Perez   Biblical The grandson of Jacob  
Pereira   Portuguese Peartree Many Jews forced to convert to Chritianity took on the names of trees.
Pinto De Pinto, Pynto Spanish/Portuguese Town near Madrid;
also chick
 
Pisa   Italian Town in Italy  
Rabi Ribbi, ben.. Hebrew My Rabbi  
Rofe Ha Rofe, Roffe, Rophe, see also Del Medico Hebrew Physician  
Rosales Rozales Spanish Rosebush, from towns in Spain  
Sabah Caba Arabic Morning  
Saltiel Shaltiel, Chaltiel Hebrew Asked of G-d  
Santob Shemtob, Sentob, Sento Hebrew Good name  
Sasson Çaçon,Sassoon Hebrew Happiness  
Sebag Sabag, Assabagh, Essebagh, etc. Arabic Dyer of cloth  
Senor Senior, Bonsenyor, Ben Senor, Bonsignour Spanish Elder, Sir  
Serfati Sarfati, Zarfati, Ha-Zarfatti, Hasserfaty Hebrew Frenchman  
Sevillano   Spanish From Sevilla, Spain  
Shalom ben.. Hebrew Peace  
Shuraqui ben, Souraqi, Shouraqui; (see also Mizrahi) Arabic Easterner  
Soberano see Malka Spanish Sovereign see Malka
Silva see da Silva Spanish/Portuguese    
Sofer HaSoffer, Soffer, Sopher Hebrew Scribe, notary  
Soriano   Spanish From Soria in Spain  
Soto De Soto, Del Soto Spanish Marshland  
Tangier Tanjir, Tanzir, Tandjir Berber clay cooking pot  
Turqui El Turqui, Eturki, Atturki Arabic Turk  
Uaknin Waknin, see Oiknine Berber    
Uziel Oziel, Uzziel, Ouziel, etc. Biblical God is my Strength  
Valensi Balenci Arabic, Spain from Valencia  
Veniste Beniste, Benveniste, Spanish You came  
Verdugo Berdugo Spanish Branch (of tree)  
Vidal Vital, Vitalis, Bitales, Viton, Hayyim, etc. Latin Life  
Zadoq Sadoc, Zadoc, Acencadoque, Aben Cadoc, Sadox, etc Biblical Just  
Zafrani Ezafrani, Alzafrani, etc.   from Zafaran (in Persia)  

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