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Wondering about my mother’s maiden name.

LMK if this isn’t the right sub to ask this question in, It’d also be nice if you could direct me to the right one.


My family (from both sides) are bulgarian jews, which are generally considered to be sephardic jews, well not all of them but the most of them are considered to be. AFAIK at the best time of the Jewish community in bulgaria the Ashkenazis were aboyt 10% of the whole community and because they were a much smaller part they kind of got absorbed into the sephardic community. I’ve been told that Ashkenazis from eastern Europe have been moving there due to the ottomans who ruled the land at the time were treating the jews pretty good, at least better than most European countries.

Recently I’ve been very interested in jewish history, and especially the one of my own family in bulgaria. I tried searching in Google the origins of both of my parent’s surnames My father’s- Mashiah (משיח) My mother’s- Melamedov(a) (מלמד/ובה) When My mother made her Aliyah in 97′ they made her drop the Slavic suffix ‘ova’ so she stayed with melamed.

So anyways, I couldn’t find anything really about my fathers surname ‘Mashiah’ , and it’s really a bummer because this is a really interesting surname, and although I’m not religious in the slightest, it’s really interesting to know where the name comes from. But I don’t really question the fact that it’s probably of sephardic origin because it does have the sound to it.

About my mother maiden name ‘melamed/ov/a’ , I thought the same until I tried searching a bit in Google about it as well (couldn’t say I found much, but a bit more than I could find about my fathers.) I found that there are a lot of ashkenazis with the same surname – Melamed, Melamdov/ich. And couldn’t find anything really about any sephardic people named Melamed. I always new that Melamed is someone that taught the children Torah and talmud and these stuff, but after some research I found out that a Melamed is exclusively taught children in the Ashkenazi “Cheyder” (חיידר, חדר, I’m not really sure how to spell it in English). After thinking about it with my mother she did say that it could make some sense, because before moving to Sofia in the 20th century, she could recall that the Melamed/ov side of her family had lived in Northern bulgaria, near the border with Romania (which is considered to be pretty much ashkenazi) and in general if an ashkenai from eastern europe were to migrate to bulgaria he would come through the northern part of bulgaria. Furthermore, I couldn’t find neither Melamed nor Melamedov in any of the Spanish/Portuguese residency lists which state the surnames of those who are eligible for residency in those countries to the expulsion from Spain in 1492.

That is really confusing because we were always considered to be fully sephardic, but couldnt really find too much about this. BTW the maiden name of my mother’s mother was Isaakov/a which also sounds ashkenazi, but again, as far as we knew, they were supposedly sephardic as well, but again all of the Isaakov’s I could finds were ashkenazis. Couldn’t find this name as well in the spanish/Portuguese name lists.

If someone knows anything about this and can help/educate me it would be great! Thanks in advance!

submitted by /u/B3waR3_S
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Source: Reditt

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