With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and all the media attention it is receiving, listen to surnames that make it to television, print and Internet media. You may hear a familiar surname in a story about the Civil War and find a link you can follow that will help you fill in your family tree or trigger thoughts that help you to uncover facts about unknown ancestry. Approximately seven thousand recorded Jews fought with the North in the Civil War and approximately three thousand recorded Jews fought for the South but there must have been many more American Civil War soldiers of Jewish ancestry than history records. Several historians record Jews in America as being very quiet about the issue of slavery and not speaking out against it, as was the case in Bergen County, New Jersey when right before the Civil War the county had a pro-slavery attitude. Jewish voters expressed it when they did not vote for Abraham Lincoln as President. And in South Carolina where large populations of Jews had settled before the Civil War, the Jewish community did not speak out against slavery, possibly due to ties to Conversos from Brazil, etc. who may have directly or indirectly provided for their livelihoods through the slaving industry. If you have several clues that lead you to suspect your ancestors were Jewish and they hail from South Carolina, you may be correct.
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 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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