The Origins of the Farhi.
The first documented Farhi lived during the 13th century in Provence, France, under the protection of the Popes d'Avignon.
Ishtori HaFarhi was given or took the name Ha Farhi for his hometown Florensac near Béziers in France: Flora (flower in Spanish) became Perah in Hebrew (sweet fruit, Flower), thus "HaFarhi". The name HaFarhi became laterFarhi.
Dr Amichay Schwartz has determined the exact location of his hometown because Ishtori wrote that it was 2 hours and 32 minutes (The time between sunrise in the 2 cities) west of Jerusalem. The longitude corresponded to the Beziers area where a small village is named Florensac.
In 1306, Ishtori and his brothers were expelled from France to the Barcelona area ( Spain) . Shortly after, Ishtori travelled to Toledo, North Africa, Egypt and Palestine.
After the Spanish Inquisition, some Farhi may have moved south to North Africa but many Jewish families emigrated to the Ottoman Empire (which stretched from Austria, most Balkans countries, North Africa and the Middle East) settling in Salonika, Istanbul & Izmir. In the 15th century, Izmir was a free city that welcomed many traders from around the Mediterrenean sea.
From there, they traveled within the Ottoman Empire; north to Bulgaria & Romania, Russia, West to Tunisia and North Africa, East to Syria, Lebanon, Irak and even Iran, south to Palestine & Egypt.
The Syrian Farhi descend from Haim Farhi who lived in Tyre near Smyrna i.e. Izmir and who moved to Damascus in 1731. Later at the end of the 19th century, many Farhi families emigrated from the Ottoman Empire to several American, European and African countries. These Farhi have been described in Branches labeled by country of the first ancestor. It is quite possible to find links between these branches through the descendants of Ishori (unlikely as he did not mention any children) , his brothers or other Ottoman Farhi of the 16th to 18th century.
In the webmaster's informal discovery of the Farhi currently living (in the various cities that he visited over the last decade), it was found that unrelated persons adopted the name Farhi (for example the family from Iran and Malaysia). The Farhi from North Africa (Algeria and Morroco) represent a mystery as to their own origins.
Also, several Farhi descendants have changed the spelling of their names to maintain its phonetic pronunciation or to hide their nationality or religion. The variation of the Farhi name are: Fari, Farji, Farje, Farkic, Farchy, Farhis, Farhie and Farry.
In Hebrew, the Farhi name
was always spelled the same but not in Arabic, some spelled
it: Fe, Alef, Re, He, Ye and some without the Alef. Those
with the Alef were considered the aristocratic ones and were
most probably wealthier. The Alef pronounciation was usually
used in the Turkish language and associated with those of
Farhi : deux origines possibles.
(i) déformation du mot hébreu "pérahi" (igxt = fleuri)
(ii) déformation du mot arabe "farha" (joie).
Selon Istori Farhi (1282-1357), la premiere explication est favorisee.
Les Farhi de Damas sont originaires de Tyre dans la province de Smyrne. Néanmoins, il existe également des Farhi en Bulgarie, à Istamboul, etc.
Au Moyen Age, on les trouve à Trinquetaille, près d'Arles (France).