The meaning of names among Mediterranean Jews

Marc Eliany ©

Albala, Albalag, Albalagh
Albalia, Bally, Bali
Alba, Albou, Albo (see albuquerque) , Albino, Albeda
Beliah, Elbiliah
among other possible variations depending on the country and language of the person.

The root of the name may be balagh, bali, liah or biliah, alb

Prefixes attached to the root name such as (aben, iben, abi, avi, ben, bin, abou, a, bel ) denotes usually a relation to a person, i.e., the father of or the son of X, a place, i.e., a person from X, an occupation, i.e., a person who practices a specific occupation, a characteristic of a person, i.e., beautiful...

The prefixes al, el are equivalent to 'the' in English or the article 'le' in French.

In the Arab tradition, the prefix 'Abu' means usually 'the father of', a man is given the prefix 'abu' to identify him as the father of X. 'Abu' may also indicate a tribal affiliation. In the Hebrew tradition, the prefix ‘El ‘ is an abreviation of Elohim, Hebrew for God.

The root ‘balagh’ in Arabic refers usually to 'shoemaker.' The prefix as well as the letters 'g' and 'h' may have been omitted due to foreign languages influence.
The root ‘bali’ in Arabic refers usually to 'old' or 'ancient.' The prefix may have been omitted due to foreign languages influence.
The root ‘alb’ in Arabic refers usually to 'heart.' Alba means 'her heart' and Albou or Albo mean 'his heart.'
The root ‘beda’ in Arabic refers usually to 'white.' Albeda means 'the white.' It may lend credence to the suggestion that Albo refers to Albinos in Spanish/Protuguese (see below) and to the Hebrew reference to 'Laban' or white (see below).

Albo may be a diminutive of Albinos in Spanish and Portuguese, indicating to a physical characteristics as well as to Spanish/Portuguese origin.
Albo may be a translation to Portuguese of the Hebrew word 'Laban' i.e., white or a Biblical ancestor related to Abraham, Laban the Aramean.

Beliah and Elbiliah may be deformations of the Hebrew names Leah and Bilhah.

ALBALA DE LEVY Ana (XXes.). Chili. Poet.
ALBALA David (1886-1942). Serbia. Doctor. Zionist community leader.
ALBALAG Itshak (XIIIes.). Spain. Philosopher. translated Al-Ghazâlî, Makasid alfalasifa into Hebrew (Opinions des philosophes).

ALBALIA Baroukh ben Itshak (1077-1126). Spain. Rabbi. Judge. Versed in Greek and Arab Philosophy. Director of the Cordoba Yeshiva.
ALBALIA Itshak ben Baroukh (1035-1094). Spain. Rabbi. Astrologue. Mathematician. Communuty leader. Advisor to King Al Moutamid of Séville. Author of Mahbérèt sod hah’ibour (the Book of Additions).

BALLY Mentés (XIXes.). Turkey. Community leader. Head of the Sepharadi community of Bucarest.

BELIAH Haïm bar Abraham (1832-1919). Algeria. Rabbi.

ALBA Nissim (Miki) (XXes.). Macedonia. Colonel. Fought against the Nazi occupation in Bulgaria.
ALBOU Roger (XXes.). Algeria. Member of the Algerian resistance.
ALBO Dan (1956-). Morocco. Political scientist. Poet. Writer. Painter. Lives and works in Israel.
ALBO Yossef (1383-1444). Spanish. Rabbi. Philosopher. Doctor. Author of et médecin, Séfér hah’ikarim (The Book of Principles).

ALBÉDA Moché Ben Yah’acov (1500-1583?). Spain. Philosopher. Rabbi in Grece and Albania. Author of commentaries on the Bible and Maïmonides.



Azoulay, Hayim Yossef Shem Hagdolim (the names of the great)

AZOULAY Haïm Yossef David (Hida) (1724-1807) Chém haguédolim va’ad lahakhamim (The names of the Great Council of Sages).

Levi, J et. al. 2000        Dictionnaire biographique du monde Juif Sepharade et Mediteranean, Editions Elysee, Montreal.

Toledano, J. 1983        La saga des familles, Les juifs du Maroc et leurs noms, Editions Stavit, Tel Aviv

Laredo A. 1978           Les noms des juifs au Maroc