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1587Are All Segals Closely Related? - Probably Not!

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  • Dave
    Sep 1, 2011
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      You might find this discussion interesting if you have some version of Segal in your family name.

      Segal is a title meaning Levite which has been attached to the family names of Jewish people with the tradition of being Levites for nearly a thousand years.

      It is not itself a surname. It is like being named John the Gun Smith, or John the Gold Smith, or John the Tin Smith, and they all later drop the word before Smith and just use the surname Smith.

      You can imagine that before surnames were common among Jewish people (about 225 years ago and before) we were all ben (son of) or bat (daughter of) someone.

      So I might be David ben Hershel Segal meaning David son of Harry the Levite.

      HaLevi also means The Levite. HaLevi is not really a surname either. I can show you family tombstones that have HaLevi on it merely as a title.

      Thus if someone says that all Segals are related the relationship may be very very distant since the Levites ultimately are legendary descendants of Levi one of the 12 sons of Jacob whose name was changed to Israel. Accordingly to the Bible, Levi lived about 3,500 years ago.

      Moses and Aaron were descendants of Levi and were Levites. The descendants of Aaron are very important Levites in that only the direct descendants of Aaron may be high priests in the temple if it is ever rebuilt. These men carry the title of Cohan.

      All Cohans are Levites but only a small group of the Levites are Cohans.

      The Levites were the priestly group but the elite Levites are the Cohanim who are the high priestly group.

      Dave Howard

      Reference: A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames From The Russian Empire by Alexander Beider.
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