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 had a dream about a new reality show where people who had suspicions that their ancestors were Crypto-Jews, went to Europe together (especially Amsterdam) and sleuthed around trying to discern if there ancestors were among those who pretended they were Christians when in reality, they were Jews trying to avoid oppressive Christian majorities. It was only a dream but hey… it was a good show. The participants were equipped with their notes and the looks on their faces showed there was competitiveness involved as well. A little bit like the television show, “The Amazing Race.”
I think I’ve had this dream, because the race to find Crypto-Jews in our family trees has gained momentum. And I’d like to think that our ancestors had something to do with that. They may not be here now but they left us clues. It may have taken us hundreds of years to look seriously at those clues but the ancestors are there in those clues. It is their faces, super-imposed on ours that I saw in the dream. It is a mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes and a conspiracy as deep as any. Our ancestors stories have been frozen in time, their bodies like those in a wax museum. But their clues bring them to life again. Our smiles are their smiles when we uncover their clues. We are working with them.
I have, on numerous occasions, felt that the ancestors watched over my shoulder as my tired eyes poured through history books, Bible concordances and Internet websites. Often, it was as if they shadowed my hands and guided me to the answers. If you suspect that a root of your Christian ancestors is a Jewish one, by all means, take up the hunt. There are a lot of us out there. It is more than just a dream.
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