Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Whatever happened to the descendants of America's first Jews?


This is an interesting web project from the University of North Carolina.

Particularly interesting is the segment entitled A Sephardic Story by Robert Altamont Moses.

I have always wondered whatever happened to the descendants of the Sephardic pioneers who first settled these shores. Undoubtedly, many assimilated and have become part of the melting pot that is America, but it would be interesting to find out if there are still identifiably Jewish descendants out there.

I did recently read an article which mentioned one Henry Noach a descendant of the famous American Sephardi Mordecai Manuel Noah who is active in an organization called Shavei Israel that assists "lost Jews"(Nice to see him following in his illustrious ancestor's footsteps).

I have been referred to some books that may shed more light on the subject:

The grandees: America's Sephardic elite by Stephen Birmingham

First American Jewish Families: 600 Genealogies 1654–1988 by Malcolm H. Stern

Note: I have yet to read them.

6 Comments:

At Tuesday, December 26, 2006 9:24:00 PM, Blogger Ari Kinsberg said...

intermarriage was rampant, but among all jews, not just sephardim. note that intermarriage was not always synonymous with assimilation, particularly in the fist generation and when the husband was jewish and the wife christian.

stern is a great resource, but you don't "read" it, as it is a reference work consisting of family trees of the early families. similarly, you can also check out rosenblum's "biographical dictionary of early american jewry."


from my reading notes:

On intermarriage, see Malcolm H. Stern, “Function of Geneology in American Jewish History,” Essays in American Jewish History, 79, 82-97 (“a great majority of these marriages led to identification with the Christian community” and 87% assimilated [p. 84, 85]; 15% of pre-1840 marriages were exogamous); idem, “Jewish Marriage and Intermarriage in the Federal Period (1776-1840),” AJA 19.2(Nov. 1967), 142-143 (28.7% of marriages between 1776 and 1840 were intermarriages).

 
At Tuesday, December 26, 2006 11:58:00 PM, Blogger Ha-historion said...

Ari, thanks for a very informative post.

"note that intermarriage was not always synonymous with assimilation, particularly in the fist generation and when the husband was jewish and the wife christian"

So I am assuming that products of these mixed marrriages still identified themselves as Jewish, at least in the first generation? (even though they weren't halachically Jewish).

 
At Tuesday, January 09, 2007 9:21:00 AM, Blogger Menachem Butler said...

The Spanish and Portugese synagogue in NYC has special seating for long-time family members... I think that there are still members of the Gomez family who are members of the synagogue!

 
At Sunday, June 06, 2010 7:42:00 AM, Blogger asianlion7 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At Sunday, June 06, 2010 8:00:00 AM, Blogger asianlion7 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At Sunday, June 06, 2010 8:05:00 AM, Blogger asianlion7 said...

I am a descendant of the Jewish merchant NATHAN SIMPSON who with his partner Samuel Levy owned African Slave ships.

Jewish monopoly of the media has well hidden the fact that Jews started and controlled the African Slave trade.

Nathan and Samuel wrote to Queen Anne for British rights even though I assume they were aliens to Britain. She obliged them. Here is a link to document from 1712 and my blog for which I won't apologize for my twisted humor.

http://kikesinthecupboard.blogspot.com/p/testing.html

 

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