A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire: Revised Edition by Alexander Beider.
In 1993, Avotaynu published A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire by an unknown author, Alexander Beider. Beider, at that time, was a 29-year-old Russian expatriate living in Paris who had a doctoral degree in applied mathematics from the University of Moscow. His interest in Jewish surnames was as a hobbyist.
Today, at the age of 44, Dr. Beider is recognized as the leading authority on Jewish names from Eastern Europe by virtue of his authorship of four major works:
A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire (1993).
A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Kingdom of Poland (1996).
A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia (2004).
A Dictionary of Ashkenazic Given Names (2001).
Now Dr. Beider has published his fifth major work, the Revised Edition of A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire. It will be the definitive work on this subject for decades to come. How does it differ from the original work? It could be said that the difference is between a book written by a brilliant 29-year-old hobbyist and a 44-year-old scholar with two doctorates and an additional 15 years of research and analysis to study the subject.
The Revised Edition has:
* more than 20,000 additional surnames or variants--74,000 in total.
* a 200-page introductory portion that is the definitive work on the origin and evolution of Jewish surnames in Eastern Europe.
* an index to the more than 5,000 Russian Jewish surnames referenced in the introductory portion of the book. Their description in this portion gives greater insight into the particular surname.
* references in the Dictionary portion to the other works by Beider when the surname likely migrated from other portions of Eastern Europe to the Russian Empire.
This is in addition to the contents that existed in the original work:
* the etymology (origin) of nearly all of the 74,000 surnames.
* in which districts in Czarist Russia the surname was found (expanded based on additional research).
* within the description of a root surname, a list of all other surnames derived from the root name.
The book is published in two volumes. Volume 1 is the heart of the book. It includes the 200-page introductory portion and the dictionary itself. Volume 2 is an index to the 74,000 surnames indexed by the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System (as was the original edition).
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