Tag Archives: hit a brick wall searching for ancestors

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

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Genealogy… What Do Names Tell Us? That They’re Jews?

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Names are becoming my favorite genealogy tell-all. Yes, they can and do change through the years but even the changes are telling. In today’s modern world, about once a week I hear of Jewish names that were Anglicized. Usually, it’s a radio talk show host, TV personality or otherwise famous person in the public eye. It happened a thousand years ago, and it still happens today. It’s not uncommon for people to dislike their name but it is unfortunate that when culture meets culture, a cherished surname can become one that’s continually laughed at.

One of my Dutch ancestors had the word “Jow” written after his name, and no one knows what that means. I think the Early American Dutch clerk thought he was writing “Jew.” Jood is Dutch for Jew. My husband’s great-great-grandfather was named Gedeon. In parentheses, is the word “Jeddi.” And speaking of nicknames, the word “Jew” is sort of an English nickname. Jehudi is the ancient Hebrew word for Jew. I wonder… Jehudi… Jeddi. I’m sure it was his nickname. Like Robert to Bobby or James to Jimmy. But it’s still fun to explore these things. And wonder…

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

I Can’t Picture My Ancestors in a Synagogue

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There are images ingrained in our minds and more than enough stereotypes about what our ancestors may have been like. Life was different for them. Many of them stepped into a synagogue instead of a church. They also stepped up into carriages instead of cars and huddled in front of outdoor fires instead of flipping on central heating. Today, there are Christians who uncover a secret, their ancestors were Jewish. And they embrace it. Genealogy is not religion; it studies the religious patterns of our ancestors, opening up colorful visions of history. With all the new technology at our fingertips, we collaborate with others and unveil surprises. Sometimes that means discovering that our family tree was originally made of members who practiced Judaism. 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:

Paperback:

Secret Genealogy:  https://www.createspace.com/4234160

Secret Genealogy II:  https://www.createspace.com/4235650

Secret Genealogy III:  https://www.createspace.com/4239009

eBooks and computer downloads available through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ocean

eBooks at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=Suellen+Ocean&x=3&y=12

Secret Genealogy    SecretGenealogyIIFrontCover    Hand Painted Roses Cover Sec Gen III

Genealogy: But They Went to Christian Church Every Sunday

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Amateur Genealogists find it difficult to believe that their ancestors were Jewish. They see proof that Great-great-grand-mama was enrolled in a Christian congregation and that the rest of the family continued the tradition, so there is no way she could have been Jewish. Today we have greater access to shared ancestral and historical records and with an open mind and the instinct to follow the right leads, we can look back on those traditions and see where our Jewish ancestors reached a fork in the road and took a new path to Christianity. 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:

Paperback:

Secret Genealogy:  https://www.createspace.com/4234160

Secret Genealogy II:  https://www.createspace.com/4235650

Secret Genealogy III:  https://www.createspace.com/4239009

eBooks and computer downloads available through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ocean

eBooks at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=Suellen+Ocean&x=3&y=12

Secret Genealogy  SecretGenealogyIIFrontCover  Hand Painted Roses Cover Sec Gen III

Genealogy… Who Were My Ancestors??

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Many are becoming interested in their family genealogy but become discouraged when the trail comes to an end. Who was the father or mother of this ancestor? Where did they come from? They’ve got to be out there somewhere. “Somebody help me!” is a common phrase I see all the time on the ancestry message boards. It could be that your ancestors were Jews and you just don’t quite know how to look for them. Take for example the name Barkin. I think it sounds English but it could have originally been “bar Cohen,” a Jewish name. Also take the common name Silva. Derived from Latin, Silva means forest. Silva is one of the most common surnames in Brazil. Here is an example of a Sephardic Jewish Portuguese name: Tobiau Israel da Silva.

Through the ages, people became very creative in the ways they altered their names. Many non-Jewish names become popular Jewish names but Rabbis were strict about which names a child could use. They were concerned about the practice of naming Jewish babies gentile names so set up creative ways for Jews to have both a sacred Jewish name and a name that fit within the local culture. This sacred name was what descendants could use to recognize that their ancestors were Jewish. It’s unfortunate that too often, these sacred names became lost or abandoned.

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. 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