Istanbul: Jewish community records



Those with Jewish roots in Istanbul or other Turkish geographical connections will find this resource of interest, as will Sephardic researchers of surnames in many countries.

Music professor Daniel Kazez of Wittenburg University (Ohio) produced a major database of Istanbul’s Jewish community records, with the cooperation and generosity of many individuals and organizations in that community. It was online for some time until privacy complaints took it offline.

There are some 100,000 Jewish records available, including more than 35,000 marriage records (Chief Rabbinate 1887-, Ashkenazi community, 1923-, Italian Congregation 1870s-), and some 30,000 burial records for the following cemeteries: Hemdat Israel 1899-, Italian burial list 1918-, Italian Şişli Cemetery 1800s-, Kuzguncuk Cemetery 1913-, Ortaköy Cemetery 1939-, Yuksekkaldirim Synagogue 1916-.

Remember also that there has been an Ashkenazi community in the city (formerly Constantinople) since the 14th century, that a very large number of Spanish Jews were invited following the 1492 Expulsion, that Crimean Jews were resettled there, that a large Italian Jewish community existed and that Istanbul welcomed many European Jews prior to the Holocaust.

The Istanbul Jewish community provided access to these precious records to enable translation from archaic handwriting (solitreo) and alphabets, by so many volunteers, who also typed and proofread them. Generous donors also funded the microfilming of records and converting them to digital images.

Consistent with Turkish privacy laws, the database is no longer publicly searchable. However, researchers can request a records search. Write to the Istanbul Chief Rabbinate’s Office to request a search. In your email, include the following: 1) details on the person about whom you seek information (surname, given name, approximate birth year, names of parents or children) and 2) how you are related to the person about whom you seek information. Allow a week for a response.

For more information on these names, check out the searchable databases at Jeff Malka’s SephardicGen and the name search engine at Harry Stein’s Sephardim.com.

At Dan’s site (link above) see all the names in the database, organized by frequency of records for each name, ranging from 4,332 for Levi, down to only one instance for thousands of names.

The complete list of names demonstrates the diversity of the community with names from Spain, Italy, across the Mediterranean and from Europe.

Here’s a section of the most frequently mentioned surnames:


4332 LEVI, 3802 BEHAR, 2269 KOHEN, 2214 ESKENAZI, 1516 MIZRAHI, 1087 KOEN, 841 BARUH, 549 MENASE, 481 SARFATI, 479 FRANKO, 470 MITRANI, 449 KAMHI, 438 PINTO, 434 FRESKO, 432 OJALVO, 406 TOLEDO, 402 GABAY, 393 BAROKAS, 388 MESULAM, 364 PARDO, 360 ESK., 342 HASON, 341 YERUSALMI, 337 BENEZRA, 329 NAHMIAS, 324 ROMANO, 312 DANON, 308 OVADYA, 307 CIPRUT, 293 SALOM, 292 HABIB, 288 VARON, 281 GERSON, 279 PINHAS, 277 RAZON, 275 BICACI, 272 NAMER, 270 LEON, 268 RUSO, 262 ARDITI, 256 ANCEL, 255 VENTURA, 253 GERON, 251 ABUAF, 251 SABAN, 248 AMON, 242 HALFON, 240 KARAKO, 233 AZUZ, 228 ADATO, 228 ALFANDARI, 225 FARHI, 223 KASTORYANO, 220 UZIEL, 218 ELNEKAVE, 218 PAPO, 215 GALIMIDI, 215 TARAGANO, 213 ACIMAN, 209 PEREZ, 205 BERAHA, 203 KRESPI, 203 YANNI, 202 SEVI, 201 BENSASON, 195 MOLHO, 193 NASI, 188 RODRIG, 187 MALKI, 186 BAHAR, 184 ASEO, 183 AMRAM, 182 SAUL, 182 TREVES, 180 BENBASAT, 180 CUKRAN, 180 KORDOVA, 179 SASON, 177 SEVILYA, 176 NAHUM, 176 NATAN, 174 HATEM, 173 BALI, 168 SALTI, 167 KANETI, 166 ROMI, 154 MAYA, 152 KATALAN, 151 FIS, 150 MENDA, 148 KAZES, 148 YAHYA, 147 ADUT, 147 MOTOLA, 143 SURUJON, 141 KARMONA, 140 HAZAN, 139 GOLDENBERG, 138 SARANGA, 137 MATALON, 135 MEDINA, 133 FUNES, 133 NIEGO, 132 ALTARAS, 130 GRUNBERG, 130 TOVI, 129 ALMALEH, 129 ASA, 129 BABANI, 129 YAES, 127 BARZILAY, 127 ELI, 127 YOHAY, 126 MORENO, 126 RODITI, 123 HAYON, 122 KONFINO, 121 LEVY, 121 ZAKUTO, 118 CIVRE, 118 ROFE, 117 BENVENISTE, 117 KALAONRA, 117 PALACI, 117 ROZANES, 116 ALBUKREK, 116 BICACO, 116 COHEN, 116 DUENYAS, 116 PENSO, 115 HODARA, 115 KARIO, 115 POLIKAR, 114 FILIBA, 114 PALOMBO, 113 AVIGDOR, 113 MORHAYIM. …

The list also includes a very long list of names which appear only once or twice in the records. Here are some which appear only once (a section of the As and an ending section). The records were hard to decipher and produced various interpretations of the old handwriting and alphabets (see many names with question marks):

AADATO, AARDEAN?, ABAH LEVI, ABAH? IMANU?, ABALAFYA, ABARBANEL, ABARESE?, ABARESI, ABARGI, ABAT, ABAT LEVI, ABATA, ABATLEVI, ABAUAF, ABAUKSEK, ABAYARA, ABCHEM, ABDALLA, ABDULLA?, ABDULLARHIM, ABDURAHMAN, ABEH, ABEHAR, ABEL, ABEN COIR, ABEN HABIB, ABEN HABIP, ABEN-HABIB, ABENDAVID, ABENDAVIT, ABENHALUP, ABENI ALAR, ABENI? (ALLELU? ALBENI?), ABENI? (ZENA)?, ABENSEL, ABENSSUSAN, ABERSMUKLER, ABGIN, ABIBOCHE, ABIGADOL (AVIGDOR), ABILDA, ABINOLI, ABJANAK?, ABLAMAN, ABLU, ABN? ALU? ISAK, ABOAF?, ABOCHONEETS?, ABODARA, ABOIF, ABOLOFYA, ABOLOFYA, GIBIGILI, ABORESE, ABORESI?, ABORESSI, ABOROSI, ABOUD?, ABOUF, ABOUHAIRE, ABOUKSEK, ABOUREU, ABRAAM, ABRAHAM OF KAVALALI, ABRAM, ABRAMO, ABRAMOVIC [ABRAMOVIÇ], ABRAMOW, ABRAMOWITS, ABRASAV, ABRAVANOL, ABRAVONEL, ABRAVRYA, ABRAYA, ABRENAYA, ABREUAYA, ABREUNAEL, ABREUYA, ABREVANET, ABREVAYA?, ABREVAZA?, ABRICHAMTCHI, ABRISAMETCI, ABUAF (HALON?), ABUAFOGLU, ABUAGLEAG, ABUALAF, ABUAT, ABUB (KHAJ), ABUCI, ABUDAR, ABUH, ABUHAIR, ABUISAK CICEKOGLU, ABUIZAN, ABULHAYRE, ABUMOMY?, ABUOF, ABUOUS, ABURDARAM, ABUT?, BARISAK?, ABUTBUL, ABUZAK, ACAMI, ACAR M, ACAR [AÇAR], ACATON, ACCHIOTI, ACCO?, ACEM, ACEMI?, ACHIOTE, ACHIOTTI, ACHITUF, ACHTER, ACIBEL, ACIBIL, ACIKBAS?, ACIL ACUBEL, ACIMAL?, ACIMAN YORGI MALGOCI, ACIMAY, ACIMON, ACINAN, ACITTONE, ACLYON?, ACUBEL (LEVIN), ACUBEL / ALUBEL, ACUBEL B. …..?, ACUDUR, ACUNAN, ADALAR?, ADALMI, ADALO, ADAMAL, ADAR, ADATO HAKER, ADATO PINHAS, ADATO SEMUEL, ADATOS, ADATOZ, ADE TOLEDO, ADEFINA?, ADEM (ADONI), ADENADUT, ADENI, ADES, ADETO, ADETOLEDO …

YOHAY? YOHAZ?, YOHAZ?, YOHEY, YOL, YOLAD, YOLAK, YOLAP, YOLMAN, YOM LEVI, YONATAN?, YONAYOF, YONCOLGU?, YONNEZ?, YOOFA?, YORDAN, YORGANC OGLU / YORGANCOGLU, YORGANCIOGLU, YORGI MALGOCI, YORGOF?, YORKIN?, YOROHON, YOSEFOVIC, YOSEFOWITZ, YOSELEVIC, YOTAN, YOUR?, YOURKOVITZKI, YOZEF, YSAYA, YSRAEL, YUCAEM?, YUCAER, YUCEL?, YUDA? EZRA?, YUDELZON, YUDIT, YUFAN, YUGSAG, YUKARDI, YUKBATTI, YUKCU?, YUKEN, YUKLEKIN KALMAN, YUKSEKYILDIZ, YULA?(HASON), YULBAHAR, YULCU, YULER SEN, YULNIHAL, YULSEN, YUMER, YUMMIT TALAROWITZ, YUMUSTAS, YUNA?, YUNAY, YUNCEK?, YUNCI, YUNER, YUNIS KABAZ?, GUMUS MAKAZ?, YUNLU, YUNUS, YUNUSOF, YURIDA, YURKOVESKAYA, YURUK?, YUSELBERG, YUSUF, YUZUGULER?, YVASSMER?, YVNER, ZABAR?, ZABARO, ZABES?, ZABIT, ZABRANESKY, ZABUAN, ZABURI?, ZACCOUM, ZACHAROFF, ZAFERA, ZAFFIRA, ZAFIRA, ZAGARI, ZAGUTO, ZAHAHIYE, ZAHAR, ZAHARI, ZAHAROF, ZAHARYA LAZARI?, ZAHNAN?, ZAHURI?, ZAHUTO, ZAKALON, ZAKAT? TAKAT?, ZAKHAIM, ZAKMITZ, ZAKODA, ZAKOVALOF, ZAKUTO (DE), ZAKUTO LEVI, ZAKUYTO, ZALIA?, ZALMAN (FANRA)?, ZALMEN, ZALUNA?, ZALVISA, ZAMBAKA, ZAMBUKO, ZAMLOF, ZAMLOKA?, ZANANA, ZANARRO, ZANBOKA, ZANDLER, ZANDOKABO?, ZANDOKADO?, ZANGURSKI, ZANONO, ZANUNU, ZAPDIDISVILI, ZAPOZ, ZAPOZ?, ZARA, NARDEA, ZARAGANO, ZARAO, ZARCHIN, ZARKO (ALPDOGRUL?), ZARKON (SAULYA), ZARKOZ, ZAROCH, ZAROF, ZARY?, ZASKEWITSCH, ZASKIOVIC [ZASKIOVIÇ], ZAVARRO (YALDIZLI?), …

Additionally, there is an alphabetical list of given names.



Readers may find the spellings difficult to understand. Note that C=SH (CIPRUT=SHIPRUT), that Y=I (YSAYA=ISAYA), and other common variants, such as ABEN=BEN. Some individuals with very Hebrew surnames may have adopted more Turkish-sounding names.

Do check the complete list of names at the first link above.

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