JewishGen Talks: Roots of Jews from Ottoman Empire - Names and History
The Jews who inhabited the territory of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th-20th centuries played a major role in Jewish history and culture. Usually they are considered Sephardi. This consideration is supported by the Sephardi rite practiced by the vast majority of Ottoman Jews and by their daily use of the Judeo-Spanish language. Further analysis — based in part on the names used — reveals a very heterogeneous composition of local communities. Alongside the real Sephardim (exiles from Castile, Aragon and Portugal, as well as the “ex-Crypto-Jews” who arrived later), we find families for which one part of their ancestors have never lived on the Iberian Peninsula: descendants of Jews from different regions of Italy, "Romaniotes" who in ancient times populated this territory, Jews from French Provence, migrants from North Africa, Ashkenazim and, in the south-east of the empire, Mizrahim.