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Jamaika - Jamajka
Created by Administrator Account in 1/23/2011 6:33:45 AM


I would like to get more information about my family name Jamaika (jewish family) that was given to mine grand grand fathers in warsaw polin

According to Alexander Beider's Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Kingdom of Poland, the name was spelled JAMAJKA by Poles, although spelling of surnames was inconsistent and you certainly may see it spelled JAMAIKA. That would be no at all unusual, since I and J were often used interchangeably in Polish spelling until the 20th century.

Beider says he found the name borne only by Jews in the Warsaw area, and it comes from the Polish word jamajka, which means "Jamaica rum" -- in other words, it comes from the name of the Caribbean island called Jamaica in English. Most likely an ancestor was a merchant who sold Jamaica rum, or perhaps this was a nickname for an ancestor who was especially fond of drinking Jamaica rum.

Apparently there is no one now living in Poland by this name. This is not surprising, because the name was probably borne only Jews, and obviously, the Holocaust wiped out or drastically reduced the numbers of Jewish families bearing any specific name.

I do not have any information on others with this name, but you might want to post this name on the PolishOrigins Surnames Database. This database has not been up and running all that long, but it's already got a respectable list of names. It might be an easy way to make contact with others researching the same name.

If you have not already done so, you should also check the Consolidated Jewish Surname Index. The CJSI shows this name appears Beider's book on Jewish surnames from the Kingdom of Poland, as I already mentioned, but it also appears in Jewish Records-Indexing Poland. If you have not already used these resources, it is possible you may learn more there.

That's about all I can tell you. I hope it is some help, and I wish you the best of luck in all you do!

William F. "Fred" Hoffman




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