The original of ‘The Tbethi Synodal Records’ (the 12th-17th centuries) was discovered by George Qhazbegi in the Tbethi church in 1874. The records are studied and published in 1977 by Georgian scholar Thina Enuqidze, where one can find out many old Georgian surnames; therefore we prepared their electronic-alphabetic version.
The Tbethi church, where the records were made, is situated in Shavshethi, one of the historical regions of south-western Georgia. The Tbethi synodals have preserved rich genealogical material of historic interest. There are 348 family names and 21 place-names in the text. The names refer largely to Shavshethi, partly to Klarjethi and Atchara. An interesting regularity is observable in the formation of surnames. The most widespread in the text are those ending in – dze, followed by – eth and – shvili; of rare occurrence are names ending in – ur-i, - el-i, - ul-i, - pkha, - ia, - na, - shi, - aki, - isa, - tki.
Most of the names mentioned in the records belong to the lower strata – mainly immediate producers, as often indicated by their surnames, e. g. Mephutkridze form ‘mephutkre’ (bee-keeper), Mtchedlidze from ‘mtchedeli’ (smith), etc. In a number of cases the trade of representatives of lower secular and ecclesiastical strata (smith, tailor, goldsmith, deacon and priest) is directly indicated.