List of Jewish Surnames

Serenah McKay
Jewish man

Many surnames provide clues to a family's country of origin. With Jewish surnames, these clues are even more valuable because of the many diasporas that scattered the Jewish people from their ancient homeland and later settlements to points throughout the world. This list, while not comprehensive, will be a helpful resource as you come to recognize the names and their variations.

Jewish Surnames in the United States

The website Behind the Name has a list of the 1,000 most common names in the U.S. When compared to a list of Jewish surnames on Family Education and other websites in the Where to Find More section, these emerged as some of the most common in the United States:

  • Bender
  • Benjamin
  • Berg
  • Burns
  • Cline
  • Cohen
  • David
  • Fisher orFischer
  • Fox
  • Franco
  • Glass
  • Green or Greene
  • Hahn
  • Holder
  • Jacobs
  • Kaufman
  • Klein
  • Kramer
  • Levine
  • Levy
  • Lowe
  • Mayer, Meyer or Meyers
  • Miller or Mueller
  • Moses
  • Rose
  • Roth
  • Schmidt
  • Schneider
  • Schultz
  • Schwartz
  • Simon
  • Solomon
  • Vang
  • Wallace
  • Weiss
  • Wolfe
  • Zimmerman

Ashkenazi Surnames

Jews who settled in the nations of northern and eastern Europe became known as Ashkenazi Jews. Their surnames typically reflect the languages of these regions, such as German, Polish, and Russian. Also, many of their surnames are Yiddish, the historical language of the Ashkenazi Jews.

Some examples of Ashkenazi Jewish surnames:

  • Abrams
  • Adler
  • Alter
  • Barak
  • Barkin
  • Baruch
  • Bernstein
  • Bieber
  • Birnbaum
  • Blumenthal
  • Cantor
  • Davidov
  • Diamond
  • Dreyfus
  • Dworkin
  • Edelstein
  • Eichhorn
  • Einstein
  • Engel
  • Feinstein
  • Feld
  • Fishman
  • Gelfman
  • Ginsberg
  • Glick
  • Greenberg
  • Greenspan
  • Grossman
  • Grunewald
  • Halperin
  • Hammerstein
  • Hearst
  • Hershey
  • Hirsch
  • Horowitz
  • Joffe
  • Jonas
  • Kagan
  • Kaminski
  • Kaplan
  • Katz
  • Kopel
  • Kravitz
  • Lapidus
  • Lazarus
  • Leatherman
  • Leibovitz
  • Lieberman
  • Loeb
  • Lovitz
  • Mandel
  • Morgenstern
  • Neff
  • Neufeld
  • Neuman
  • Nobel
  • Nussbaum
  • Orenstein
  • Orman
  • Osher
  • Ostrow
  • Perelman
  • Pollak
  • Pomerantz
  • Posen
  • Rabinowitz
  • Raines
  • Rappaport
  • Reiss
  • Rosenberg
  • Sagan
  • Salk
  • Sandler
  • Schenk
  • Schneider
  • Schreiber
  • Segal
  • Shell
  • Silverstein
  • Singer
  • Sokol
  • Spector
  • Steinberg
  • Susskind
  • Syms
  • Taubman
  • Teitelbaum
  • Tisch
  • Turkel
  • Vogelman
  • Wallach
  • Wasserman
  • Weingarten
  • Wexler
  • Wolper
  • Yaffee
  • Yager
  • Zaslow
  • Zuckerberg
  • Zweibel

Sephardic Surnames

Those settling in Spain, Portugal, North Africa and the Middle East became known as Sephardic Jews. Their surnames are typically of Spanish, Portuguese, or Arabic origin.

Some examples:

  • Abadi
  • Aslan
  • Azaria
  • Behar
  • Benatar
  • Cardozo
  • Durant
  • Eshkenazi
  • Falco
  • Falk
  • Fermi
  • Ferrer
  • Garson
  • Gershon
  • Ibrahim
  • Khalifa
  • Lodriguez
  • Maimon
  • Malka
  • Matos
  • Melamed
  • Merman
  • Mizrahi
  • Omar
  • Pardo
  • Paredes
  • Pinheiro
  • Pinkas
  • Pinto
  • Ribeiro
  • Rodrigue
  • Romy
  • Saad
  • Salah
  • Salomon
  • Sarfati
  • Shapiro
  • Soriano
  • Spinoza
  • Tedeschi
  • Toledano
  • Uziel
  • Yehudi
  • Zacarias

Variations on Surnames

When researching a surname, look for variations of the name as well. As families moved from one country to another, their surnames were often adapted to better fit the language of their new home.

The following surname variations are common:

  • Baron: Baronstein, Barron, Baran, Baren, Barret, Barrett
  • Fleischer: Fleischman, Fleishchmann, Fleischhacker
  • Guttman: Gutman, Gutmann, Goodman, Goodmann
  • Hirsch: Herz, Hersch, Hertz, Hertzfield, Hershfield
  • Horowitz: Horovitz, Horwitz, Hurwitz, Hurewicz, Gurvich
  • Kohen: Cohen, Cohn, Kuhn, Kohn, Cohen, Cahan -- This name may have originally referred to a line of a priest, Kohath.
  • Matus: Matusoff, Matusowitz, Matusor
  • Reznik: Reznikoff, Reznikov, Reznikof
  • Rosen: Rosenberg, Rosenburg, Rozenburg, Rozenburgh, Rosner, Rose, Rosemand
  • Schuler: Schul, Shulton, Schulerr, Schuller
  • Schur: Schorr, Schurr, Schor, Shore
  • Segal: Sagan, Shagal, Siegel, Spiegal, Segalis -- This is the name of a Levitical priest.

Where to Find More

Extensive lists of Jewish surnames can easily be found online. Visit these websites to examine lists that may help you play family detective.

  • The Avotaynu website has a "Consolidated Jewish Surname Index." To use this index, type the name you are looking for in the surname finder at the bottom of the page. The finder will give you an exhaustive list of names, places, and other pertinent information to help you discover more about the surname. Avotaynu's free website is connected to millions of databases and searches for your information in just a matter of seconds.
  • Jewish Records Indexing (JRI) has a compiled database of thousands of names. You can search for a specific surname, or search by geographic region or date range. The names on JRI came from Polish historical documents.
  • The JewishGen website provides a list of databases of Sephardic names. There are plenty here to explore, with some focusing on specific regions like the Balkans and the Caribbean.
  • Family Education has a search feature called "Last Names by Country of Origin." Visitors can select "Jewish" for an alphabetical list of hundreds of Jewish surnames. You can also click on any name to see its origin and meaning.
  • The website Behind the Names includes a list of 158 Jewish surnames. Many of the names have their country of origin listed beside them.

What Else You Should Know

Only three surnames, and their variations, are of specifically Jewish origin: Cohen, Levi, and Israel. Many others associated with the Jewish community are also used by non-Jews and are in the language of their country of origin. These names often are related to a place or occupation. In Europe, they were sometimes assigned at random by a census taker.

Finding Your Name

With some earnest searching, you will find plenty of information available about Jewish surnames. Then you can use this knowledge to uncover more of your family's story.

List of Jewish Surnames