DNA: Tracking Jewish glassmakers

A new FamilyTreeDNA project will track glassmaking families.

Judy Simon says she has created this project because:

Glassmaking was one of the few artisan professions where Jewish artisans were not forced to convert to Christianity and join guilds in order to continue to work as glassmakers.

As a result, many of the Jewish glassmaking families retained their Jewish identity for centuries in Christian Europe.

I thought it would be interesting to see if we can trace the Y-DNA of males who know their ancestors were in glassmaking, as well as males with any of the surnames associated with glassmaking.

Glassmaking has been a Jewish art from its Mesopotamian beginnings. According to historian Samuel Kurinsky, the spread of the craft was parallel to and coincident with the Jewish diaspora.

Scholars have traced the industry over 2,000 years as it spread from the Near East to the Ottoman Empire and Europe.

Since the glassmaking secrets were kept in the family for many centuries, there were relatively few families involved in glassmaking over the years as compared with other trades.

Surnames (most of these date back to Altari and Lorrainer glassmakers) associated with glassmaking over the centuries include:

da COSTA, DAGNIA, HENNEZEL, THIETRY, THYSAC, BRISEVAL, METREVES, GLASER, VERZELLINI, BARCALUSO, BARTOLETTI, BERGAMYN, ROBLES, ROSSO, BIGO, BARTOLUSSI and PERROTTO.

Variants were adopted in English-speaking countries (e.g., BIGO -> BAGG, THIETRY -> TITTERY).

For more information, click on the Glassmaking Families DNA Project.

Consider joining the project if your paternal ancestors were in the glassmaking business or if your surname or variation is listed.

Questions? Contact Judy Simon, who is also co-administrator of the IberianAshkenaz Project.

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