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What Is a "Jewish Name"?

Some people use CJSI to determine if a surname is Jewish. The fact that you find a surname in this index does not necessarily mean that a given surname is Jewish. This occurs for three major reasons:

  1. Jews and non-Jews share surnames. The third most common Jewish surname in the United States (after Cohen and Levy) is Miller. Clearly Miller is both non-Jewish and Jewish.

  2. Intermarriage and conversion. The fact that the surname McKenney appears in CJSI does not mean necessarily that Jews bore this name. One source , the Family Tree of the Jewish People, is a database of family trees developed by Jewish genealogists. But these trees would also include non-Jewish branches of families.

  3. Nature of database. Some of the databases named are predominantly Jewish but do contain non-Jewish individuals. An example is the Russian Consular Records database of people who transacted business with the czarist consulates in the United States.



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