Tag Archives: African American Jews

Genealogy: Clues for Finding Hidden Ancestry


After Spain and Portugal’s Inquisitions, Jews who forcibly became “New Christians” and “Crypto-Jews,” formed themselves into tightly-knit groups of “friends” and family, making it understandable that once you get to your family tree you should see other Jewish names. Watch for the point when they began Anglicizing their names. Look for even the slightest change of spelling and especially any surname change. In the 1700 and 1800s, cousins sometimes married. This could be a clue; Jewish families wanted their children to marry other Jews. No doubt, there were situations where the young couple may have been unaware that they were Jewish, yet both sets of parents knew.

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/Secret-Genealogy-Volume-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114082

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

Secret Genealogy III: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-III-Jewish-Anglo-Saxon-Acadians/dp/148407579X

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Secret Genealogy