Imagine being arrested for not going to church. In 1480, when the Inquisition was only twelve years away, the Spanish crown decreed that heretics had about thirty days to confess their sins and convert to Christianity. Heretics were those who didn’t believe the way the church wanted them to. In those days being a heretic meant big trouble. Part of a new law called the “Edict of Grace,” encouraged friends and family to report those who refused to go with the program. If someone gave your name, you were arrested and expected to confess. As you can imagine, a medieval prison is not a pretty place, so wanting to return to their homes and families, many confessed to being heretics. It’s ghastly to think that our ancestors may have become Christians because they were tortured into it, but alas, this is one of history’s unpleasant truths.
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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