Mexico’s Inquisitional Coastal Jews


The coastal area of Mexico is where many Jews settled during the Inquisitional period. As the years progressed, many moved toward the cities. Descendants portray ancestors as Jews who posed as Christians. They chose highly religious surnames like “de Jesus”. They allowed their daughters to become nuns and their sons to become priests so that the family could go to him for confession, avoiding the Catholic version of confessing sins. These families were guilty of Judaizing and they could have been executed for it. History shows that thousands were. These ancestors kept their Jewish symbols hidden away, perhaps never showing them to their children. There is a long list of Converso surnames from Mexico and America’s Southwest. The descendants of these Crypto-Jews are speaking up and re-claiming their heritage and it is not always easy for them.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret GenealogyA How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry, Secret Genealogy IIUncovering the Jewish Roots of Our Christian Ancestors and Secret Genealogy III From Jewish Anglo-Saxon Tribes to New France Acadians. Available here:


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