Register of the Genealogical Tables of Arab Tribes and Families


Heinrich Ferdinand Wüstenfeld (1808–99) was a German Orientalist who specialized in Arab history and literature. He studied at the universities of Göttingen and Berlin, and he taught at Göttingen from 1842 until 1890. Presented here is a register that explains and contextualizes Wüstenfeld’s Genealogische Tabellen der arabischen Stämme und Familien (Genealogical tables of Arab tribes and families), also presented in the World Digital Library. The work is organized alphabetically and provides geographical and historical notes, including anecdotes and the genealogy of historical figures, such as the Prophet Muhammad and his companions. The notes follow Wüstenfeld’s division of the Arabs into Yemeni tribes, known in traditional Arabic sources as the Qahtanites or the “Pure Arabs,” and Ismaili tribes, known as the Adnanites or the “Arabized Arabs.” He writes in the preamble that the study of genealogy was very important to Arabs, “ranking together with poetry and astronomy for those beginning a scientific occupation.” Wüstenfeld is known for producing a number of the most important editions of classical Arabic texts, such as Ibn Hisham al-Ansari’s sirah (biography of the Prophet), Yaqut al-Hamawi’s Mu'jam al-Buldan (The dictionary of countries), and Ibn Qutaybah’s Kitab al-maʿarif (Book of knowledge). The latter book was one of the many Arabic sources Wüstenfeld used to draw up his tables and compile his notes.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Otto Zeller, Osnabrück, Germany

Title in Original Language

Register zu den Genealogische Tabellen der arabischen Stämme und Familien

Type of Item

Physical Description

476 pages : genealogy register ; 23 centimeters


  • Reprint of the 1853 edition


  1. Georg-August University of Göttingen, Seminar for Arabic and Islamic Science, “Heinrich Ferdinand Wüstenfeld.”

Last updated: May 31, 2016