UK: Portuguese Inquisition lists published

A two-volume work published in the UK will be valuable in the quest for family history information by those with Sephardic, Converso and Bnai Anousim heritage.

It is available through the Jewish Historical Society of England, which was established in 1893.

Tracing the Tribe reader Barbara Barnett sent this information as a comment to Tracing the Tribe’s post, DNA: Portuguese conversos’ genetic identity, but it is too important to leave as only a comment.

The 2008 volume is Lists of the Portuguese Inquisition, transcribed and indexed by Joy L. Oakley

— Volume I Lisbon 1540-1778
— Volume II Evora 1542–1763, and Goa 1650–1653
From Delices de L’Espagne et du Portugal (1707) by Don Juan Alvares de Colmenar.

The Register of Inquisition lists were assembled in 1784 and entitled “A Collecção das Noticias.” It was in the Library of the Dukes of Palmela and is now in the Jewish Theological Seminary Library in New York, which has kindly agreed to its publication.

The great majority of persons sentenced by the Inquisition were New Christians – descendants of the Jews of Portugal baptized in 1497, by order of Manoel I.

The book gives an unrivalled picture of the entire range of the Inquisition’s activities and is a primary source of the first importance for Jewish, Portuguese and Brazilian history and genealogy.

The lists of 16th century Autos da Fé give the numbers of persons sentenced by the Inquisition and the proportion of males and female, but only give the names of those who were burnt at the stake.

However, for the much larger number of cases in the 17th and 18th century, the name of each person is given, together with their nickname, parentage, occupation, place of origin alleged offence and sentence.

There are indices of names, nicknames, occupations and places to guide the reader.

The books – totaling 810 pages in soft-back format- include the register’s original Portuguese text together with an introduction and foreword in English.

The price for both A4 size volumes is £55 or US $110, including postage.

The JHSE site contains much information for readers interested in the Jews of England throughout history, as well as information on Sephardim. Their newsletters may be downloaded (no charge) and contain information about personalities, new publications and more. For additional information on its publications, click here.

The JHSE also sponsors events in London and at other regional branches.

In London, Dr Hilary Pomeroy (Visiting Lecturer, University College London) will speak on “Sephardi History through Sephardi Ballads: Spain, Portugal, Morocco,” on February 18. In London, meetings are held at St John’s Wood Synagogue.

See the Events calendar for more; remember to also click on “External Events” for the activities of other historical and genealogical societies and institutions.

Some material is available to members only; annual membership is £40.00. If you’d like to take a look around, do a search for your specific interests and see if that online material is of use to you, sign-up for a 24-hour pass for £7. Click here to register.

Sephardim, Crypto-Jews: Article abstracts

“The Journal of Spanish, Portuguese and Italian Crypto Jews” (JOSPIC-J) offers 10 truly fascinating articles in Volume I (Spring 2009).

Available online, in addition to the abstracts, is the entire first article and an article on three major DNA studies.

To learn more about the journal, click here. Read the entire first article – “The Secret Jews of Spain, Portugal, and Italy and Their Descendants Today: Major Issues in a Growing Field of Academic Research” – here, with an extensive bibliography.

According to author Dr. Abraham D. Lavender’s detailed article:

“Crypto-Judaic Studies is a rich field of potential research, with multi-disciplinary interests, especially as it is integrated with other areas of study. For the truly curious and open-minded, the field is unlimited.”

Read “Recent Research Articles: From Roth to DNA,” which discusses three recent articles about the growing field of Sephardic and Crypto Jewish DNA.

For many people, the consequences of the Inquisition still live today, as we will see these consequences in this and future issues of JOSPIC-J. Sociology, history, religion, and other areas of study join together to analyze and explain these consequences. Crypto Jews lived in Spain, Portugal, and Italy, and today their descendants live in a large number of countries, providing a fascinating international flavor to this area of study.

The journal is published by the School of International and Public Affairs, within the College of Arts and Sciences, at Florida International University in Miami, Florida.

If Sephardic or Crypto Jewish studies is an interest, you will want to subscribe to this journal.

Here are the abstracts:

— “The Secret Jews of Spain, Portugal, and Italy and Their Descendants Today: Major Issues in a Growing Field of Academic Research”
Dr. Abraham D. Lavender

The Journal of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto Jews (JOSPIC-J) brings together in one place, for the first time in a refereed academic journal, research on the three countries whose historic Jewish communities, each predating the Inquisition for centuries, suffered directly and greatly from Inquisitions. There is no consensus on whether to use the term marranos, conversos, crypto Jews, secret Jews, hidden Jews, lost Jews, New Christians, or anusim. But, whatever the term, significant research continues in international, sociological, cultural, religious, political, historical, and other areas, and the number of books and articles is increasing. Research on crypto Jews and their descendants should be integrated more with other interdisciplinary research, a major goal of this journal.

— “The Crypto Jews of Spain and Portugal”
Dr. David M. Gitlitz

Prior to the riots of 1391, Spain’s Jewish community was the largest in Europe. By 1491, following expulsions and conversions, Spain had the largest single community of former Jews in the post-biblical history of Judaism. Depending on the definition of Jewishness applied, these conversos were arrayed along a continuous spectrum ranging from fully Jewish to fully Christian. This article analyzes four groups on this spectrum—Christians, Jews, seekers of truth, and skeptical dropouts. Brief attention is also given to Portugal which originally had less violence and less forced conversions than Spain, but which also developed a more tenacious crypto-Judaism which led to the establishment of an Inquisition in 1539.

— “The Barajas Women, Madrid 1634″
Dr. David M. Gitlitz

For the past quarter century, the author has immersed himself in Inquisition trial testimony in the archives of Spain and Mexico. The historical documents are difficult to read, but are worth extensive research, revealing fascinating and inspiring lives of unfortunate conversos. The following, based on these historical documents but with the addition of fictional narration, describes the lives of one representative family, Beatriz Álvarez and her daughter of the same name, known in 1630s Madrid as Las Barajas. It is an excerpt from a forthcoming book with the working title The Lost Minyan.

— “The Jews of Sicily and Calabria: The Italian Anusim that Nobody Knows”
Rabbi Barbara Aiello

Rabbi Barbara Aiello is the first woman rabbi and first non-orthodox rabbi in Italy, where she has served a progressive synagogue in Milan. She is currently rabbi of Ner Tamid del Sud, the first active synagogue in Calabria in 500 years. Rabbi Aiello has written extensively about her crypto-Jewish background and her efforts to uncover the hidden Jewish traditions of Calabrian Jews that date back to Inquisition times. Her work in the deep south of Italy and Sicily includes directing the Italian Jewish Cultural Center of Calabria (IjCCC), an organization dedicated to the anusim of southern Italy to help them discover and embrace their Jewish roots.

— “Crypto Judaism in New Mexico and the American Southwest”
Dr. Seth D. Kunin

Crypto Judaism in New Mexico is a highly complex phenomenon, both respecting history and modern ethnography. This paper outlines many of the significant aspects of both of these areas. It presents the historical arguments relating to the movement of conversos and descendents of conversos into New Mexico, and the aspects of the settlement of the colony that may have shaped aspects of crypto-Jewish culture as manifested in New Mexico today. The paper also touches on some of the ethnographic research relating to modern crypto Judaism, examining the forms of identity and the cultural elements out of which those fluid identities are formed. Given the significance of arguments about authenticity in relation to this community, the paper examines Neulander’s arguments in light of both empirical and ethnographic data. It suggests that when tested on that basis Neulander’s work cannot be seen as academically credible. The uniting theme of the paper is the need to eschew simple explanation in the light of a historically and ethnographically complex community.

— “The Sephardic Legacy in the Spanish Caribbean: Crypto-Jewish Settlement in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica”
Dr. Stanley M. Hordes

The Latin American and Iberian Institute of the University of New Mexico has initiated a research project to document the history of crypto-Jewish settlement on the Spanish Caribbean islands of the Greater Antilles, comprising Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and pre-British Jamaica. Based on archival research in Europe and the Americas, as well as ethnographic analysis, this study will examine the role played by the descendants of Iberian conversos in the economic, religious and cultural life of an area of Spanish America that was situated on the major trans-Atlantic shipping lanes, yet administratively remote from centers of Inquisitorial persecution. The data derived from these investigations will be of great value not only in helping to understand the socio-cultural fabric of a vital part of the Caribbean, but also in bringing to light the activities of the earliest Jewish communities in the Americas.

— “The Jewish and Crypto-Jewish Participation in the Age of Discovery”
Dr. Barry L. Stiefel

The following article is on the Jewish and crypto-Jewish participation in the age of discovery, from the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries. Though relatively small in number compared to their Catholic and Protestant counterparts, the Jews and Crypto Jews played a pivotal role in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas as financiers, scientists, and explorers. Not only did they contribute to the prosperity of the empires that they lived under (even when the respective monarch did not show the same kindness to those of Jewish extraction), but also to the perpetuation of crypto-Jewish and Sephardic Jewish life and culture wherever they ventured.

— “Jews, Catholics, and Converts: Reassessing the Resilience of Convivencia in Fifteenth Century Plasencia, Spain”
Dr. Robert L. Martinez

A systematic reappraisal of fifteenth century Jewish and Christian convivencia, or coexistence, is long overdue because within it resides a hidden history of cooperation among Old Christians, conversos, and Jews. Utilizing a historiographical lens to evaluate interfaith relations in several Castilian and Aragonese communities, one finds a broader range of communal outcomes than is traditionally acknowledged. New findings pertaining to the cohesive collaboration and intertwined relations of Jews, conversos, and Old Christians in the Extremaduran city of Plasencia refute the long-held assumption that Jews and Christians were routinely segregated from one another and corrects the misguided belief that the converso Santa María family persecuted former co-religionists. This study reveals the previously unknown strategic partnership of the converso Santa María and Old Christian Carvajal family in Plasencia and it’s role in maintaining medieval norms of interreligious cooperation.


— “Catholic, Jewish, and Crypto Jewish in the 1600s: The Geographic and Spiritual Peregrinations of Pacheco de Leon in Spain, Italy, and Mexico”
Dr. Matthew Warshawsky

Due to his knowledge of Judaism and his influence among Judaizers in Mexico City, Juan Pacheco de León (Salomón Machorro) was a prize catch among conversos arrested in 1642 for crypto-Jewish heresy. Yet his name is less well known than those of more famous crypto Jews in Latin America, including Luis de Carvajal the Younger, Tomás Treviño de Sobremonte, and Francisco Maldonado de Silva. This essay rescues Juan de León from such relative anonymity by exploring the interrelated questions of why the Inquisition prosecuted him so painstakingly, what his case teaches us about crypto Judaism in colonial Mexico and the ordeal its practitioners suffered at the hands of the Inquisition, and why he did not achieve fame more proportional to the gravity of his trial. In order to answer these questions, it examines how León differed from other Inquisitorial victims due to his biography, knowledge of Judaism, and personality.

— “Cecil Roth’s Disrupted Love Affair With the Secret Jews of Italy: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants”
Dr. Abraham D. Lavender

Cecil Roth’s 1932 book A History of the Marranos popularized the term “marrano,” and increased knowledge about the secret Jews of Portugal and Spain, and also discussed secret Jews in Europe and the Americas. But, the secret Jews of southern Italy were mostly neglected. Roth corrected this omission in 1946 in The History of the Jews of Italy, discussing the secret Jews in Sicily, the Kingdom of Naples, and Sardinia. Cecil Roth and his wife, Irene, who was also his constant research companion for forty-two years, expressed strong emotional attractions for Italy and had planned to retire there before their plans were disrupted by World War II and the Holocaust.

— “Recent Research Articles: From Roth to DNA”

Many historical research resources have been used to study crypto Jews. But, especially since the 1990s, DNA research also has been able to add more information to crypto-Judaic studies. DNA research frequently cannot provide definitive answers about a specific individual’s possible secret Jewish ancestry, but it can provide insightful information about history. There are many articles on Sephardic DNA, but this brief report describes three recent reach projects about crypto-Jewish DNA, including the research project from Iberia which documents that about 20% of all Hispanic males (mostly Christian today) whose ancestors came from Spain or Portugal have a Jewish genetic ancestry.

Learn more about the journal and subscriptions. Single issues are $10 (+$4 p&h), while annual subscriptions for individuals are only $10 (+$4 p&h). International subscriptions are $6 for postage and handling.

Iran: Nashim’s issue on Iranian Jewish women

The new edition (number 18) of Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies and Gender Issues is devoted to Iranian Jewish women.

Nashim provides an international, interdisciplinary academic forum in Jewish women’s and gender studies. Each issue is theme-oriented, produced in consultation with a distinguished feminist scholar, and includes articles on literature, text studies, anthropology, archeology, theology, contemporary thought, sociology, the arts, and more.

It was great to see some familiar names in the list, such as Farideh Dayanim Goldin as consulting editor and author, and anthropologist Judith L. Goldstein.

Judith and I have known each other since she did her PhD research in Iran on the women of Yazd. She stayed with us in Teheran when she wasn’t in Yazd, and we meet in New York when I visit.

The journal is available online but only if you are a member of the Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) (receive a 15% discount off the regular subscription price), or access it through your library. Non-members can view each article below for $13.50 per article. See the link for more information.

Here’s some of what’s in this issue:

— Introduction, by Farideh Dayanim Goldin, who also served as consulting editor on this issue.

— Iranian Jewish Women: Domesticating Religion and Appropriating Zoroastrian Religion in Ritual Life, by Saba Soomekh

–Individual Redemption and Family Commitment: The Influence of Mass Immigrationto Israel on the Crypto-Jewish Women of Mashhad: Hilda Nissimi

— The Tear Jar, by Judith L. Goldstein

— The Ghosts of Our Mothers: From Oral Tradition to Written Words -A History and Critique of Jewish Women Writers of Iranian Heritage: Farideh Dayanim Goldin

— The Chador as a Symbol of Fear during Khomeini’s Insurrection: Karen L. Pliskin

— Esther-The Jewish Queen of Persia: Drora Oren

There are five reviewed books and a call for papers for future issues ( Nashim 21 – Women in the Responsa Literature; and Nashim 23 – Jewish Women and Their Bodies).

Calling Galitzianers: Newsletter material sought

Are you a Galitzianer?

If your research takes you back to this Austro-Hungarian area which became Poland and is now in Ukraine, learn about the resources at Gesher Galicia, the special interest group that focuses on this geographic area.

Tracing the Tribe often writes about the area, the group and its activities as our FINK family comes from Skalat and Suchostaw.

Gesher Galicia also has an informative newsletter, The Galitzianer. Managing editor Janice Sellers is now looking for material to be published in future issues (from February 2010 on). It is published in February, April, July and November.

Material includes articles, graphics. Submitted material may be original or previously published, as long as it is relevant to the area and genealogical research.

Have you visited the area? Write about your experience. Researched extensively? Tell others how you did it. Photos are also useful, both recent and historical. Other welcome material includes articles, charts, lists, book reviews.

In short, the newsletter welcomes all material that touches on Jewish family history in the communities that were part of Galicia (a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) is sought.

Click here to see contents from past issues. Back issues are available to members only for US$4 per copy (paper) or US$2 per copy (electronic). That’s another reason to join Gesher Galicia.

You don’t have to be a Gesher Galicia member to submit material for the journal. But if your family comes from this area, you should join the group to learn more about it.

The deadline for the February issue is January 15, 2010. Write to The Galitizianer’s managing editor Janice Sellers if you have material to submit.

Judaica Librarianship: Genealogy article, Issue 15

Judaica Librarianship is a publication for – as its name indicates – Jewish librarians and those who work with Jewish libraries and collections.

Volume 15 should appear in a few weeks or so.

Tracing the Tribe notes Beth Dwoskin’s article, “Genealogy in the Jewish Library: An Update.”

Other articles of interest:

A “Mind-Boggling” Implication: The Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament, and the Definition of a Work, by David Conners.

The Bibliothèque Medem: Eighty Years Serving Yiddish Culture, by Gilles Rozier.

Roger S. Kohn reviews “Hebrew Manuscripts in the Vatican Library,” ed. by Benjamin Richler

Yaffa Weisman reviews “Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia,” ed. by Paula E. Hyman, Dalia Ofer

James P. Rosenbloom reviews “The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe,” ed. by Gershon Hundert

Faith Jones reviews “Women” and “Yiddish” in the Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd edition, Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik, editors.

Judaica Librarianship is the scholarly peer review annual of the Association of Jewish Libraries, exploring issues of relevance to Judaica library collections and Judaica librarians. AJL members receive it as a benefit.

Learn more about the AJL, and see the table of contents for past issues here.