Category Archives: Genealogy

Is Donald Trump Jewish?

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It’s an odd question to ask, “Is Donald Trump Jewish?” My son says, “Mom, you think everybody’s Jewish.” He’s right in the generality of it. Ever since I discovered that millions of Americans have hidden Jewish ancestry, I tend to look for it. It’s amazing that something so important was kept hidden. The Jews have always been proud of who they are, it was to ensure the safety of their families that Crypto-Jews hid their truths. And to receive equal rights. But they left many clues, right there, in plain sight.

First off, what’s a Crypto Jew? It’s someone who practices Judaism in secret while professing another religious faith. During the Inquisition, Jews were forced to convert to Christianity. Conversations on the ancestry message boards speak of the practice of Crypto-Jewish families sending their son or daughter to be a priest or nun in order to appear Christian.

So back to the original question. Why would I wonder if Donald Trump was Jewish? It was when I read his grandmother’s surname… Christ. I know, from my research on Crypto-Jews, that families would name their children religious names such as Jesus, Mary Magdalene, etc. to keep the authorities off their backs.

Donald Trump’s grandmother, Elisabeth Marie Christ was born in 1880 in Kallstadt, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. She’s buried in a Lutheran cemetery. It’s baffling to look for Jewish ancestry in what later became Nazi Germany. But remember that Germany was a place you could get to by taking a boat up the Rhine River from Amsterdam, where Jews fled to escape the Inquisition.

According to orthodox Judaism, Donald Trump’s mother would need to be Jewish in order for him to be officially Jewish. Elisabeth Christ was his grandmother, his father’s mother. So the answer is no, Donald Trump is not Jewish. But… the family might have an interesting time researching the Christ family lore. The truth could come as a surprise. Although they’re the “first family,” they wouldn’t be the first family to discover that their ancestors were Crypto-Jews. 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:

Secret Genealogy:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/0965114082

Secret Genealogy II:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1484053222

Secret Genealogy III:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/148407579X

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Genealogy and Middle Eastern Ancient History… What’s an Iberian?

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I’ve written a number of posts about the Iberian question. It’s an answer highly sought, especially now that DNA testing companies are telling people that they have Iberian ancestry. The problem with genealogy is that it’s not fixed, it’s fluid. So were the Iberians.

It was the ancient Greeks who gave the Iberians their name, due to the fact that they called the southwest peninsula of Europe, Iberia. The Romans called it Hispania. The Greeks probably called the people Iberians because they lived along the Ebro river. (Ebro is Latin for Iberus. Yes, the spelling is slightly different.) These Iberians are known to be the first to settle in southwest Europe.

Celtic Tribes entered the scene as invaders. As aggressive warriors are known to do, they take women. So there’s that DNA too. Today, we can look to the Basque people as the descendants of these two groups who intertwined. But then, we can go sideways and ask, what “ethnicities” made up a Celtic tribe?

If you’re not confused enough already, the geographical location of the country that today is called Georgia (north of Armenia/south of the Caucasus) was called Iberia too. These Iberians were the descendants of ancient Iranians. My research on Rh-negative blood type, reminds me that ancient Iranian Jews have a high percentage of Rh-negative as do the Basque (Iberians). So there’s that too. 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, Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees, Secret Genealogy V– Black, White and Hamite; Ancestors of Color in Our Family Trees and Secret Genealogy VI – Freemasons, Jewish Conquistadors and the Holy Family, Secret Genealogy VII – DNA, Jumping Into the Gene Pool. A High Tech Gathering of the Tribes, Available here:

Secret Genealogy:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/0965114082

Secret Genealogy II:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1484053222

Secret Genealogy III:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/148407579X

Secret Genealogy IV:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500756105

Secret Genealogy V: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HJ622DU

Secret Genealogy VI: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MY35VCP

Secret Genealogy VII:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078X5F7YP

Middle Eastern Roots: Matching Genealogical Research with Our DNA

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By now, Americans are getting a sense of  Middle Eastern politics after Colonial powers created new nations in the early 1900s. Plenty of Americans, including this one, were opposed to the desert wars and still are. For good reasons. As are many Europeans. Enough with Colonialism. The answer to whether the desert people wanted to be like Europeans is found in their resistance both yesterday and today. There are many cultures, many different languages and religions and they did not and still don’t mix it up. They stayed within their own communities and to a good extent, still do. Although the movie, “Queen of the Desert,” starring Nicole Kidman, was a Hollywood style movie, her portrayal of Gertrude Bell and her exploration of the Middle East, allowed the viewer to see a hint of the diversity that existed before the first world war. That diversity still exists. Western civilization’s roots are in the Middle East. Those of us who love genealogy are having fun matching our research with the findings of our DNA tests. Especially Gedmatch and their “calculators.” Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy VII – DNA, Jumping Into the Gene Pool. A High Tech Gathering of the Tribes. Available here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078X5F7YP

Those Elusive Jewish Ancestors, Let the Iberian Truth Prevail

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Those of you who’ve read my books, know that I write about uncovering ancient Jewish ancestry. You’ve read about my researching my father-in-law’s Jewish ancestry and how I stumbled onto clues that my ancestors were also Jews. But I could not prove it. There were so many clues but nothing was concrete. Even though seeing their surname on a list of Jews asked to leave Spain during the Spanish Inquisition was more proof, it didn’t mean it was my ancestors. They could have shared the same name. But today, when I decided to look at my 23andMe composition chart and see what changes they’d made, I saw this:

“You most likely had a fourth-great-grandparent, fifth-great-grandparent, sixth-great-grandparent, or seventh-great- (or greater) grandparent who was 100% Spanish & Portuguese. This person was likely born between 1680 and 1770.”

The descendants of the former Jews of Spain and Portugal are called Sephardim. The DNA testing companies are getting better at finding not just Ashkenazic Jewish ancestry but Sephardic too. Finding Spanish & Portuguese ancestry does not prove 100% that my ancestors were Jews. But their surname, Bonte is on the list of Jews asked to leave Spain. Maybe the next time that I check, there will be more DNA discoveries. Keep digging away at those Iberian clues. Sooner or later, the truth will prevail.

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:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/0965114082

Secret Genealogy II:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1484053222

Secret Genealogy III:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/148407579X

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

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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:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/0965114082

Secret Genealogy II:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1484053222

Secret Genealogy III:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/148407579X

The History of Hot, Black Egyptians

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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:

https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-Hamite-Ancestors-Family/dp/153518972X

Curious About Whether You Have Jewish Ancestry? Their History is Fascinating

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The history of the Jewish people is fascinating. While reading, “The Weight of Ink” by Rachel Kadish, I came across ancient Jewish history that I’ve always wondered about. Masada. Having heard a lot about Masada, I looked it up in a Bible concordance and it isn’t listed. What an oversight. It’s an old Bible, having both Old and New Testaments, but that doesn’t matter, it should be listed in that concordance. A Biblical concordance lists important names and histories. In 2008, almost 722,000 people visited Masada, making it the most popular Israeli tourist site that year. That’s an important Holy Land location.

Masada is a mountaintop where Jews got trapped by the Romans. These quotes from “The Weight of Ink,” tell us all we need to know.

“… choose death with honor,” the guide recited, “and do the kindest thing we can for ourselves, our wives, and our children, while it is still possible to show ourselves any kindness.” Each man, Eliezer urged, must kill his family. ..”

“order to be determined by lot, the men would slaughter one another. The final man standing would kill himself—but only after setting fire to the food stores so that the Romans would be denied that prize. Only one food storeroom and water cistern would be left intact, to mock the Romans with its bounty. Let the Romans find the food and the brimming cistern, and the bodies tenderly laid in a row.”

“Jews had chosen death, rather than slavery to the Romans and their gods.”

“And Josephus knew because two Jewish women, one old and one young, hid in a cave with some children during the killing. In their cowardice they were caught and made slaves by the Romans, and the women told their story to Josephus [Flavius].”

“They were traitors. But they did at least the good of keeping the story alive.”

My thanks to author Rachel Kadish for using her historical fiction to tell the history of the Jewish people.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret GenealogyA How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry. Available here: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-Volume-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114082