Azerbaijan Personal Names

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Understanding customs used in surnames and given names can help you identify your ancestors in records. Learn to recognize name variations and see clues in names.

Online Tools[edit | edit source]

Surnames[edit | edit source]

  • Traditional Azeri surnames usually end with "-lı", "-lu", (Turkic for 'with' or 'belonging to'), "-oğlu", "-qızı" (Turkic for 'son of' and 'daughter of'), "-zade" (Persian for 'born of').
  • Azerbaijanis of Iranian descent traditionally use suffixes such as '-pour' or '-zadeh', meaning 'born of' with their father's name. It is, however, more usual for them to use the name of the city in which their ancestors lived (e.g. Tabrizpour for those from Tabriz) or their occupation (e.g. Damirchizadeh for blacksmiths).
  • Also, due to it being a part of the Russian Empire, many last names carry Slavic endings of "-ov" for men and "-ova" for women.[1]
  • Highly influenced by Russian naming customs, as use of surnames in Azerbaijan started in the 1900s with the Russian Empire; many surnames end with suffixes -ов (-ov), -ев (-yev) meaning "belonging to".
  • Before Russian rule, Azerbaijanis were known usually by their respective clan or tribal names, but Stalinist rule speeded up arbitrary Russification of these surnames. For example, if brothers Ali, Hasan and Huseyn were children of same father, their children were surnamed respectively Aliyev, Hasanov and Huseynov, which can cause problems in pedigree research.

Clan surnames[edit | edit source]

Certain surnames derives from clan names of old nobility such as Safavi, Bakikhanov and others. Most of these were already adopted by nobility in early stages of Russian Empire domination in Caucasus. Older surnames also have suffix -ski like Shikhlynski or Hajinsky. Others mostly incorporate noble titles like bey or khan with addition of suffixes like -ov or -li (for instance, Rustamkhanli or Amirkhanov).

Profession surnames[edit | edit source]

Such surnames were historically derived from profession of progenitor of family. For example, Sarkarov would mean that progenitor of family was a tax collector.

Toponymic surnames[edit | edit source]

This type of surnames are made up with person's birthplace. For example, Seyid Azim Shirvani was born in Shirvan.

Suffixes[edit | edit source]

Besides -ov and -yev, there are other surname suffixes: -li4, -zadeh, -soy and -gil. Adopted from Slavic naming customs, -ov/-yev is gender specific suffix (for females, these would be -ova/-yeva. However, rest are unisex. Least popular and relatively new suffixes are -soy and -gil. Patronymic names can also be converted into surnames. For example, if desired, Ali Huseyn oghlu (meaning Huseyn's son Ali) can be converted into full name like Ali Huseynoghlu but his descendants will carry surname Huseynoghlu as well, even if their father is not named Huseyn.

Suffixless surnames[edit | edit source]

Much like Turkish names Azerbaijani law also accepts suffixless surnames, exceptions are surnames including noble titles like Agha, Khan or Bey.

Specific cases[edit | edit source]

Children born out of wedlock can still bear surnames of their biological parents even if they are not married, they have same rights as any other children. If father is not known, any children will carry their matrineal surname.

Given Names[edit | edit source]

  • Azerbaijani names include names with Turkish, Germanic, Slavic, Persian, Arabic and Caucasian origin.
  • There are several published onomastic dictionaries in Azerbaijani including more than 15,000 names. However, there are officially recorded 180,000 different names in registrar of Ministry of Justice.
  • Names are mostly gender specific. However, new females names could be invented by adding -a to a male name (for example, male name Ilham could easily be converted into a female name Ilhama).
  • Unlike Turkish names, Azeri name are limited by law to one name per child. However, there are compound names like Mammadhasan (made of Mammad and Hasan) or Aliakber (made of Ali and Akber).

References[edit | edit source]

Main source: "Azerbaijani name", in Wikipedia,, accessed 11 March 2021.

  1. "Surnames by country", in Wikipedia,, accessed 11 March 29021.