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AMSALLAM Origin of surname


Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name.

Amsalem could be a toponymic (derived from a geographic name of a town, city, region or country). Surnames that are based on place names do not always testify to direct origin from that place, but may indicate an indirect relation between the name-bearer or his ancestors and the place, such as birth place, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives. This surname is associated with the town of Amsellam, in the Casablanca region of Morocco, and also on the femimine form of the Berber name of the Oran suburb Tansalmet, which is Amsallem. Another possible source is the Arabic term Amsallam, which means "obedient/submissive (to God)", found as a Jewish name in Morocco and Algeria, and frequently used as a synonym for Jew. However, Amsalem and similar family names could have their origin in the Hebrew "Am Shalem" ("a perfect/united people") or "Am Shalom" ("a people of peace"). Amsalem is documented as a Jewish family name in Morocco since the 16th century.
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Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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