Tracing History: How Ashkenazic Surnames Came to Be

Ashkenazic Jews were among the last Europeans to take family names. Some German speaking Jews took last names as early as the 17th century, but the overwhelming majority of Jews lived in Eastern Europe and did not take last names until compelled to do so. The process began in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1787 and ended in Czarist Russia in 1844….

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