The meaning of the name Jatar

We have one of those names which defies explanation! Where in the world did the name Jatar come from?

Usually surnames are derived from occupations or places. There is certainly no occupation called Jatar, at least not in any Indian language. But it could possibly mean something in a foreign language. It is possible, as the Jatars did not originate in India.  According to our ancient origins we came from somewhere in Eastern Europe or Central Asia and who knows, maybe there was a Jatar sounding occupation around there! A now extinct craft called Jatar?

As we do not know when exactly the name Jatar (or something like it) actually formed, it is difficult to confirm this theory.

About places, there are several places which bear the name Jatar. There is Jatar Deol in West Bengal but there is no Jatar family history which can link us to that temple. So that remains a mystery. There is also a Jatar Mantar in Rajasthan. There is another link to this place here . It is a tourist attraction in a small way, but nothing connects our family to this place.  Or at least we have no knowledge of it.

There is a Jatar village in Spain as well as a whole family of Jatars in Spain (probably pronounced with the J silent) but we have no evidence that these Jatars are related to us, or that we have anything to do with the village of Jatar in Spain. If Spanish Jatars do a DNA analysis it will be easy to prove whether they are related to us, but although I did try and contact someone from that family, I did not get a response.

I am sure someone from their family would like to know if they have distant relatives in India. And perhaps they might know if one of their Jatar ancestors had ever migrated to India about a thousand years ago! To get to the crux of it, it’s difficult to find the origin of the name Jatar. Or its meaning.

We do know that the Jathars are distantly related to the Jatars. Apparently, the family branched out a few hundred years ago, according to a priest at our Kuldevata temple in Goa.

Could the origin of the name “Jatar” or “Jathar” (we don’t know which came first) have something to do with matted hair (Jata means matted hair in Maharashtra). Were our ancestors roaming sadhus with matted hair? Not just speculation as Brig. Raghunath Jatar (my uncle) mentions that his uncle Bapurao told him that the family name earlier was Jatadhar (we had a very hairy ancestor?). The name was shortened to Jatar later. Some of the Jatars changed their name later to Jathar. No one is sure of the timelines, but this must be more than a thousand years ago.

Names tend to change over the years. Maybe it was something else entirely. Not just Jatadhar. Thousands of years ago last names were not always written down. Was it really something that sounded like Jatar or was it Zatar or  Xatar?

My father Sudhir found the meaning of Jatar and send this to me. It is also a place in Iran!

Jatar (Persian: جتر‎; also known as Chatar) is a village in Sumay-ye Shomali Rural DistrictSumay-ye Beradust DistrictUrmia County, West Azerbaijan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 323, in 58 families.

If anyone reading this post has anything add, please do so in the comments!

Written by Nita Jatar Kulkarni

15 thoughts on “The meaning of the name Jatar

  1. I have only one comment apart from the fact that you written the entire history very well. So far, no one has done so.
    The main difference between JATAR and JATHAR is the difference in our gotra. Jatar gotra is Naidhruv while that of Jathars is different.


  2. My maternal grandmother (we called her Dudhai), Ramabai Khandekar from Malwa region married into the Jatar family (Balsaheb, younger brother of Bapurao) around the turn of the century 1900. One could trace Jatar paternal ancestry by looking at the Y chromosome DNA of a few distant male Jatars. If it is possible, one could also get a few male Jathars and determine the difference between the two!
    There have been some DNA analyses done in Indian populations and tracing their origins. Those labs could be approached to see if they are interested, the futility of which is questionable other the curiosity seeking the study.


  3. Bal Kaka, we have already done so a few years ago. My father did a complete dna analysis, from his father’s (YDNA) and his mother’s (MTDNA) side. And it is on that basis that I wrote the post on the ancient origins of the Jatars. We are Indo-Scythians, and originate from Eastern Europe. Or rather, the male ancestor did. We have email addresses of various people from Europe (all white) who are related to us distantly, up to a few hundred years ago. These are all white men who are East European, most of them very well placed in life. Only one Punjabi Indian called Puri came up in the list of scores of our distant relatives, and one person from China. All the rest are Europeans.
    Now whether the Jathars too do that, it is up to them as it is quite costly to get a dna analysis done.
    However, at times word of mouth is fairly reliable as in the olden days history was often passed down that way. The priest at our Kul Devait has told us that at one time both the Jatars and Jathars were related. It will be great if a Jathar did the dna analysis, but we don’t know any personally. – Nita.


  4. Very interesting. If you compare colour of skin & eyes , Jatars must be aryans from Europe.

    I would like to add info regarding origin of Dudhbhate as told by my father Anantrao Dudhbhate — it seems Dudhbhate forefathers in Tanjore ,T.N.( brahmins from Maharashtra who went to T.N. with Shahaji Raje & who speak peculiar marathi) were farmers growing rice, and the rice used to taste sweet like “dudhbhat” hence the name Dudhbhate.



  5. There is one Jathar in Belgaum, who is owner of JP Foundries (Jathar & Pandit – who is son-in-law or brother-in-law of Jathar.


  6. Thats interesting Uday, about the origin of the name. And yes, most Jatars in the family, especially those who are of the older generation are very fair in complexion, and most of them very tall. All have dark hair however. – Nita.


  7. I am Vasant Shantaram Jathar. I was staying in Matunga ( C.R) Mumbai. Now my brother is staying in the old house. My father was in oil co. I was in TATA GROUP. There were two Jatars in TATA co. But we were not knowing our relation. There are Jathars in Madhya Pradesh , Vidharbha, Konkan , Pune Karnataka …… Etc. Are Jathar & Jatar from same family? I would like to know.


    1. Hi Vasant,
      I am glad you asked this question. What I do know is that hundreds of years ago the Jatars and Jathars were the same family. There was a disagreement between brothers and one brother used the name Jatar. This happened in Goa. We were told this by the priest who has the history of the Jatars and the Jathars. It is our kuladevata near mangeshi in goa. It is called Vijaya Durga. The priest also has the name of I think jatar, but could be Jathar. We do not know exactly when the split happened, but it was possible 400 or 500 years ago. Later the Jathars too left Goa.
      I would like to test this theory by actually doing the dna analysis of a Jathar. My father has already done his dna analysis on a site called familytree dna, and american site which tests the genome. if a Jathar also did this test, we would know for certain if we are related and approximately how many years ago. – Nita.


  8. You can do the DNA test from the Family Tree DNA company and if you are genetically connected to us. The company lets you know if you match anyone in the database. – Nita.


  9. What was told to Brig Jatar by his uncle Bapurao, the same thing was told by grand mother when we were chitchating on the topics. She told the story how the name “Jathar” came into existence. My grand mother’s name was Dwarkabai Rajaram Jathar.


  10. Hello
    I’m from Morocco and our family ‘s name is jattar with arabisation we add al and i at the end of the name. Our origin is from Andalucia and our ancestors were obliged to return to Morocco before 5 centuries.


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