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Palestinians Names and Surnames
submitted by Gamal Mustafa

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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