Tag: Sephardic

Sephardic roots preserved in records of Spanish Inquisition

Genie Milgrom, the author of My 15 Grandmothers, was one of numerous captivating speakers at the five-day International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Boston in August 2013. Although she was born into a Roman Catholic family of Spanish origin in Havana, Cuba, Milgrom felt an affinity for Judaism from a young age. She was five…

Uncovering Spain’s Jewish past

A statue in the Plaza Mayor or main square of Trujillo, Spain, a well-preserved old town of 10,000 inhabitants, is dedicated to its most illustrious citizen, the conquistador Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of Peru. The Pizarro family built a handsome mansion in the Plaza Mayor about 1560. Its facade is decorated with carved images of the…

The Jews of Curacao

Jewish passengers on Caribbean cruises often become excited after their ship docks at Curacao, the little stringbean-shaped isle 63 km off the coast of Venezuela, when they discover that the island is home to a Jewish community with roots that go back nearly 400 years. A rugged and hilly outcropping, Curacao is part of the…

The Canary Island inquisition

Back about 1890, Anglo-Jewish historian Lucien Wolf noted a curious fact: several of the first Jews to resettle in London after the Jews were re-admitted into England in 1655 had “hailed from a little archipelago in the East Atlantic, which had never before figured in Jewish history, and which, so far as I know, has…

Markman’s Jewish Remnants in Spain

In the town of Trujillo, Spain, home of Francisco Pizarro and other conquistadors, there is a row of shops off the main square of special interest to Jewish travelers. When I was there about ten years ago, a pharmacist pointed to a door in his shop and invited me downstairs; there, I found an archway…

Sephardic Jews in early Canada

One of the most interesting and unusual items pertaining to the Jewish history of confederate and pre-confederate Canada is a two-centuries-old diary in the custody of the National Archives of Canada. The diary belonged to Samuel Jacobs, a European merchant whose ship, the Betsy, was known to have plied the St. Lawrence carrying trade goods…