Monthly Archives: April 2019

Genealogy… Jewish, Jewish, Jewish… and Our Christian Ancestors Never Knew?


It wasn’t until I was researching Jewish genealogy for my father-in-law that I began to see a pattern in my matriarchal line. Never had I suspected that my Banta/Bonte ancestors were Jewish, there was never any reason to. We weren’t Jewish. It was never brought up. I should have suspected something. Growing up with only a Southern and Mid-Western identity, should have been a red flag. But when you’re sixteen, who cares? Except for the occasional What are we Mommy? so that I could chime in when my friends recited their ethnic backgrounds, it didn’t matter.

Once I was on the trail to uncover the truth about my ancient ancestry, I was pleased to see the surname Bonte on the list of Jews asked to leave Spain. Great lead. These same ancestors changed their surname to Jacobse and were known to use Jacobs. Jacobse, Jacobs and Jacobi are all Hebrew names. Even Epke, which my very ancient ancestor went by, I believe means Jacob. And the surname Leeuw was used as well. Leeuw and all its variations are Dutch for “Lion,” which is what medieval Jews were required to use when they signed documents. I was so astonished by these findings, I became obsessed with uncovering the truth behind many an American surname.

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, Secret Genealogy III From Jewish Anglo-Saxon Tribes to New France Acadians, Available here:

Secret Genealogy:

Secret Genealogy II:

Secret Genealogy III:

Black Genealogy… Looking at three African tribes that make up the Hamites


Noah’s son Ham is believed to be the progenitor of the Hamites, an ethnic group in North-East Africa. The Hamites descend from the Himyarite Kingdom (ancient Yemen) and blended with other African tribes, including the Hottentot, Bantu and the Masai. Let’s look at those three groups:


The Dutch called them Hottentot, they called themselves Khoi-Khoin. Stop me here why don’t you? I look for ancient Jewish ancestral clues. Khoin? Any relation to Cohen? Anyway, glancing at my old encyclopedia, it states that the Hottentot are the result of “early intermingling of semi-Hamite negroids” with bushwomen “perhaps” from Somaliland. “Racial purity has been affected by Boer and Bantu contact.” (The Boer were the descendants of the Dutch settlers. “Contact” is putting it mildly.) Further reading I see the expression, “half-breed” and further down the encyclopedia entry grows more confusing but this jumps out, “and at first called Bastaards, are of Dutch-Hottentot descent.” The Hottentot are described as being, “weak-limbed, brownish-yellow, long-headed, 5 ft 3 ins., with pointed chins and matted hair…”

Bantu” means “the people” and is used to define numerous African tribes with a variety of dialects. My old encyclopedia states that most of the black people “living in equatorial and southern Africa (except the Pigmies) belong to the great Bantu family. It is believed that originally the Bantus lived in Eastern Africa and at some later period pushed their way south and west.” Taking a look at my globe I see that the Bantu people could have come from the Holy Land thus making them Bani-Israel, Children of Israel. According to the same Grolier Encyclopedia, the languages of black Africans fall into five major groups: Bushman, Bantu, Sudanic, Hamitic and Semitic. The Bantu group has 400 languages.

Wikipedia describes the Masai as a “Nilotic ethnic group.” Nilotic means they are associated with the Nile River. Wikipedia says that they inhabit “northern, central and southern Kenya and northern Tanzania.” My old encyclopedia describes the Masai as having a “predatory temperament” due to “Hamitic contact.” Many were removed to a reservation and many reside in East Africa, Masailand. They are described as, “sinewy, round-headed, thin-lipped people, with Caucasoid nose…”

The “intermingling” of these tribal people with the Dutch, gave nature a vast genetic pool from which to draw. Resulting in… us.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IIUncovering the Jewish Roots of Our Christian Ancestors. Available here:

and Secret Genealogy V – Black, White and Hamite; Ancestors of Color in Our Family TreesAvailable here:

The History of Hot, Black Egyptians


You’ve come to read my post about hot, black Egyptians, only to find that I’m making Biblical references? Yes, of course. I’m going to reference Noah from the book of Genesis. He had a son named Ham, whom the Bible tells us is the progenitor of the Ethiopians and the North African nations. If you have North African ancestry or your Iberian ancestry traces back to North Africa, and if the Biblical reference is true, you descend from Noah’s son Ham. The ancient Biblical name for Egypt is Ham and it means hot or black. I see no reason why someone can’t be both hot and black but I need not digress.

Ham is referenced in Psalms 105 and 106. My old encyclopedia informs me that the wording in these passages confirms that another name for Egypt is indeed Ham. But another entry in the same encyclopedia states that, “Their relationship to the ancient Egyptians is still undecided.” Using the Bible to uncover the origins of our ancient ancestry is intriguing. There is much to explore.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy V – Black, White and Hamite; Ancestors of Color in Our Family TreesAvailable here: