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COHEN - Name Meaning & Origin


COHEN Surname Meaning & Origin:

The Cohen surname, common among Eastern European Jews, often indicates a family claiming descent from Aaron, brother of Moses and the first high priest, from the Hebrew kohen or kohein, meaning priest. The German surname KAPLAN is related, deriving from "chaplain" in German.

Surname Origin:


Alternate Surname Spellings:


Fun Facts About the COHEN Surname::

Some Jews, when faced with being drafted into the Russian Army, changed their surname to Cohen because members of the clergy were exempt from service.

Famous People with the COHEN Surname::

  • Ben Cohen - co-founder of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream
  • Samuel Cohen - known for inventing the W70 warhead, or neutron bomb
  • Leonard Cohen - Canadian poet, novelist and contemporary folk singer / songwriter
  • Sasha Cohen - Olympic figure skater

Genealogy Resources for the Surname COHEN:

Common Surname Search Tips
Tips and tricks for researching your COHEN ancestors online.

The Cohanim/DNA Connection
Learn how DNA can help identify whether you are a member of the Cohanim (plural of Cohen), direct descendants of Aaron, brother of Moses.

COHEN Family Genealogy Forum
Free message board is focused on descendants of Cohen ancestors around the world.

FamilySearch - COHEN Genealogy
Find records, queries, and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Cohen surname.

COHEN Surname Mailing List
Free mailing list for researchers of the Cohen surname and its variations includes subscription details and a searchable archives of past messages.

Surname Finder - COHEN Genealogy & Family Resources
Find links to free and commercial resources for the Cohen surname.

Cousin Connect - COHEN Genealogy Queries
Read or post genealogy queries for the surname Cohen, and sign up for free notification when new Cohen queries are added.

DistantCousin.com - COHEN Genealogy & Family History
Free databases and genealogy links for the last name Cohen.

MyCinnamonToast.com - COHEN Genealogy in All Regions
Centralized search results for family trees and other genealogy info on the Cohen surname.

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References: Surname Meanings & Origins

Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.

Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.

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