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Palestinians Names and Surnames
 
submitted by Gamal Mustafa
27.02.2012

When (what year) did Palestinians started using fixed surnames and why? Was it before Ottomans, during Ottonmans, British or post British?

As I undertand, Arabs did not use fixed surnames. Arabs with a common given name were often distinguished by a patronym, meaning that a father’s name was used in addition to a given name. For example, Mustafa the son of Ibrahim was called Mustafa Ibrahim or Mustafa ibn [son of] Ibrahim. If this was not enough to distinctly identify a person, a nickname was used. Such nicknames described a person in some way, such as a physical characteristic, occupation, or place of origin. An Arab named Mustafa ibn Ibrahim might also be called Ibrahim the copper merchant or Ibrahim red-beard. These nicknames were not permanent or inherited. They changed from one generation to the next. Fixed surnames often developed from these patronyms and nicknames.

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