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 Genealogy – A How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry, Secret Genealogy II – Uncovering 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
I’ve been digging around in old encyclopedias again. But just for the record, they’re respectable and very well written… in their day. Correction… I respect them today and am in awe of how advanced the information was. Much of what I read in a fifty-year-old encyclopedia, is just hitting the news today. What’s funny is when I find things written that would not be written today. Not. Politically. Correct. But oh how I love it, especially this:
The men of the Basque provinces are stern and uncompromising; they are devoutly religious.
That is stereotyping and not politically correct, so we don’t do that, or we try not to. Stern, uncompromising, devoutly religious… anyone you know? That describes many people of different ethnicities and it is not an exclusive trait of men. But that said, if you’re Rh-negative, you probably know by now that the highest rates of Rh-negative blood occur in the Basque populations of France and Spain. Close to two-thirds of the Basque population carry one of the (r) negative genes.
These “stern” Basque men, may have been our ancestors. What the encyclopedia has to say about their language is even more intriguing than the personality traits a writer penned fifty-years ago. The Basque language has no relationship to any other European language, including that of Spain and France, where their homeland is today. The researcher wrote that, “It is commonly thought that Basque is derived from the language of the ancient Iberians.” Next time you’re required to check mark a box for ethnicity, select “other” and write… Ancient Iberian.
Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy – A How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry, Secret Genealogy II – Uncovering 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