Tag Archives: British Mandate Palestine

Given names from British Mandate Palestine

I recently posted about the name changes published by the British Mandate of Palestine government during the years of British rule (1919-1948). One of the most interesting aspects of those name changes is that the English should reflect the official names people used when they moved to pre-state Israel (presumably verified by the government authorities), and that they were published simultaneously in English and Hebrew.

I’ve taken a selection of the many lists, and matched the unique name pairs (Hebrew and English) and put together a table with over a thousand name pairs. You can view the table below. The table starts sorted alphabetically in English, but you can sort it by Hebrew if you prefer. You can also search, and see which names match your search. If you don’t know Hebrew, you can search for one name in English, then copy the Hebrew name and paste it into the search field to see all the other English names that match the Hebrew. In general Hebrew names are more likely to have multiple English names associated with them. This is partly because there are few variant spellings in Hebrew (although there are Yiddish variants that pop up), but it is also due to how I assembled the list.

Here’s an example of searching for the Hebrew name יעקב (Jacob):

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A look at British Mandate Palestine name changes

I’ve been doing some research into name changes, and wanted to share some of the process of name changes that occurred in British Mandate Palestine (pre-state Israel, from 1919 to 1948).

If you’re interested in searching these name changes, note that these are all searchable online at the Israel Genealogy Research Association web site. Search results include the image of the English version of the name change publication, which I’ll explain below.

Name changes during the mandate were published regularly in the official government paper, called, in English, the Palestine Gazette. The paper was also published in Hebrew (as העתון הרשמי) and Arabic. While looking through files in the Israel State Archives, I came across a folder that contained many of the name change lists from 1941-1946. In the folder, you can see the original lists that were submitted for publication. This usually included the original request letter, a list of the name changes in English, and another list in Hebrew and Arabic as appropriate. Sometimes corrections were also made. Let’s go through an example.

Here is the letter submitting a list of name changes on May 11, 1942:

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