The English meaning of Nissim is Miracles. The name of a Talmud Comentator.
The name Nissim is of Hebrew origin. There are many indicators that the name Nissim may be of Jewish origin, emanating from the Jewish communities of Spain and Portugal.
When the Romans conquered the Jewish nation in 70 CE, much of the Jewish population was sent into exile throughout the Roman Empire. Many were sent to the Iberian Peninsula. The approximately 750,000 Jews living in Spain in the year 1492 were banished from the country by royal decree of Ferdinand and Isabella. The Jews of Portugal, were banished several years later. Reprieve from the banishment decrees was promised to those Jews who converted to Catholicism. Though some converted by choice, most of these New-Christian converts were called CONVERSOS or MARRANOS (a derogatory term for converts meaning pigs in Spanish), ANUSIM (meaning "coerced ones" in Hebrew) and CRYPTO-JEWS, as they secretly continued to practice the tenets of the Jewish faith.
Our research has found that the family name Nissim is cited with respect to Jews & Crypto-Jews in at least 10 bibliographical, documentary, or electronic references:
List of (mostly) Sephardic brides from the publication, "List of 7300 Names of Jewish Brides and Grooms who married in Izmir Between the Years 1883-1901 & 1918-1933". By Dov Cohen.
Dov Cohen has created an index of brides and grooms based on the organization of Ketubot (Jewish wedding contracts) from marriages within the Turkish community of Izmir. From this material we can identify the Jewish families who lived in Turkey since the Spanish expulsion in 1492 in two periods: the end of the Ottoman Empire and the beginning of the secular government of Turkish Republic. Events of these periods forced this community to emigrate to America.
A History of the Jews in Christian Spain,Volume 2, by Yitzhak Baer.
Traces the economic, social, legal and political life of the Spanish Jewish community from the 11th century re-conquest of Iberia from Muslim rule to the expulsion of 1492. Based on many years of study in the Spanish archives by a Professor from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.
History of the Sephardic Israelite Community in Chile by Moshe Nes-El. Editorial Nascimiento, Chile, 1984.
Most Jews arrived in Chile between 1934–1946, half being from Eastern Europe, 40 percent from Germany, and 10 percent were Sephardic Jews. Many Chilean Jews fled Chile in 1970 after the election of socialist Salvador Allende Gossens as president.
Sangre Judia (Jewish Blood) by Pere Bonnin. Flor de Viento, Barcelona, 2006. A list of 3,500 names used by Jews, or assigned to Jews by the Holy Office (la Santo Oficio) of Spain. The list is a result of a census of Jewish communities of Spain by the Catholic Church and as found in Inquisition records.
Pere Bonnin, a philosopher, journalist and writer from Sa Pobla (Mallorca), a descendant of converted Jews, settles with this work a debt "owed to his ancestors", in his own words. The book, written in a personal and accessible style and based on numerous sources, includes a review of basic Jewish concepts, Jewish history in Spain, and Christian Anti-Semitism. There is also a section that focuses on the reconciliation between the Church and Monarchy and the Jews, which took place in the 20th Century. In this study, Bonnin deals in depth with the issue of surnames of Jewish origin. In the prologue, the author explains the rules he followed in the phonetic transcription of surnames of Hebrew origin that are mentioned in the book. The researcher cites the Jewish origin, sometimes recognized and other times controversial, of historically prominent figures (like Cristobal Colon, Hernan Cortes, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and many others) and links between surnames of Jewish origin with some concepts in Judaism.. The book also includes an appendix with more than three thousands surnames "suspected" of being Jewish, because they appear in censuses of the Jewish communities and on the Inquisitorial lists of suspected practitioners of Judaism, as well as in other sources. In the chapter "Una historia de desencuentro", the author elaborates on surnames of Jewish origin of the royalty, nobility, artistocracy, clergy, and also of writers, educators and university teachers during the Inquisition. Special attention is given to the "Chuetas" of Mallorca, the birthplace of the author.
ETSI (a Paris-based, bilingual French-English periodical) is devoted exclusively to Sephardic genealogy and is published by the Sephardi Genealogical and Historical Society (SGHS). It was founded by Dr. Philip Abensur, and his professional genealogist wife, Laurence Abensur-Hazan. ETSI's worldwide base of authors publish articles identifying a broad spectrum of archival material of importance to the Sephardic genealogist. A useful feature of ETSI is the listing, on the back cover, of all Sephardic family names, and places of origin, cited in the articles contained in each issue
From the records of Bevis Marks, The Spanish and Portuguese Congregation of London
Bevis Marks is the Sephardic synagogue in London. It is over 300 years old and is the oldest still in use in Britain.The Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation of London has published several volumes of its records: they can be found in libraries such as the Cambridge University Library or the London Metropolitan Archive
History of the Jews in Venice, by Cecil Roth
In this work, Cecil Roth covers the long course of Italian-Jewish history extending from pre-Christian times, comprising in a degree every facet of the evolution of Jewish life in Europe. Contains a huge store of facts tracing regional variations over a period of 2000 years.
Finding Our Fathers: A Guidebook to Jewish Genealogy, by Dan Rottenberg
In this work Dan Rottenberg shows how to do a successful search for probing the memories of living relatives, by examining marriage licenses, gravestones, ship passenger lists, naturalization records, birth and death certificates, and other public documents, and by looking for clues in family traditions and customs. Supplementing the "how to" instructions is a guide to some 8,000 Jewish family names, giving the origins of the names, sources of information about each family, and the names of related families whose histories have been recorded. Other features included a country-by-country guide to tracing Jewish ancestors abroad, a list of Jewish family history books, and a guide to researching genealogy.
The Sephardic Jews of Bordeaux, by Frances Malino
Describing the tensions that existed between the Sephardic community of Bordeaux and the Ashkenazic Jews of France, the author also depicts their role in the relation of the Jews with Napoleon and the forming of the Grand Sanhedrin
Noble Families Among The Sephardic Jews, by Isaac Da Costa, Bertram Brewster, and Cecil Roth.
This book provides genealogy information about many of the more famous Sephardic families of Iberia, England and Amsterdam. It documents the assimilation, name changes and conversion of many Sephardic families in Spain, England and The Netherlands. There is a large section dealing with the genealogy of the members of Capadose and Silva families in Spain and Portugal. This reference includes genealogical tables and a translation of Da Costa’s 1850 work "Israel and the Gentiles", with chapters by Bertram Brewster on the Capadose conversion to Christianity and by Cecil Roth on their Jewish history.
Around the 12th century, surnames started to become common in Iberia. In Spain, where Arab-Jewish influence was significant, these new names retained their old original structure, so that many of the Jewish surnames were of Hebrew derivation. Others were directly related to geographical locations and were acquired due to the forced wanderings caused by exile and persecution. Other family names were a result of conversion, when the family accepted the name of their Christian sponsor. In many cases, the Portuguese Jews bear surnames of pure Iberian/Christian origin. Many names have been changed in the course of migration from country to country. In yet other cases "aliases", or totally new names, were adopted due to fear of persecution by the Inquisition.
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