Western European - Amsterdam -- BLANKFORT - BLANKVOORT -- ABRAVANEL #sephardic

Jeff Miller

I noted with interest the recent postings and comments by Sally Bruckheimer
and Jeff Malka on the subject of Western European Sephardim and Amsterdam
records. In meeting my newly found BLANKFORT/BLANKFURT family in California
a number of years ago I came to learn of a family story to the effect that
their grandfather told his grandchildren of descent >from Don Isaac
ABRAVANEL. BLANKFORT/BLANKFURT are related to my maternal great
grandmother's family >from Lithuania. I have found some records through the
Historical Archives in Vilnius and other towns that indicate the family was
originally >from (i.e., registered in) Sirvintos (Shirvint) outside of
Vilnius. Family information, an obituary of my great grandmother, and a
record >from the Panevezys Jewish records held by the Historical Archives
indicate her maiden name as WHITEMAN/VETMANOVICH/VETMAN but searches for
records in the registers of Vilnius and Sirvintos do not find that name or
derivatives such as VAISMAN/WEISSMAN. Isaac Moses BLANKFORT came to New York
in 1880 and family information is that a related WHITEMAN went to Canada.
Supposedly a related WEISSMAN went to England, but I have not confirmed

In researching my maternal grandfather's family >from Lithuania I found a
BARBANEL/BARBANELL family connection in California, but I have not connected
this branch to my maternal great grandmother's family >from Lithuania.

In researching my BLANKFORT/BLANKFURT family on the Internet over the years
I found many names >from the Netherlands/Holland such as BLANKVOORT and
BLANKENVOORT, including some websites with a string of name variations over
hundreds of years. I have no idea whether any of these referred to Jewish
families, or whether there is any connection to my family.

In researching US Census and other records I have noted that BLANKFORT is a
unique name -- all people I have found living today are related to my
family. The family story is that the name was given to a son to avoid
conscription in the Russian army - a story we genealogists know is not to be
accepted at face value -- but the family story goes on to say that
BLANKFORT-WEISSMAN-WHITEMAN were really the same family.

In any event, I have found in Census records (but not any living descendants
thus far) a branch of BLANKFORT >from Netherlands/Holland that came to
Michigan (as noted above, my family came to New York originally). I have no
indication of a connection to my family or that the Michigan family was
Jewish. As I recall, the given name Isaac showed up in that family as well,

I'm curious on how to proceed in researching Amsterdam records for my family
and/or this "mysterious" BLANKFORT family.

Jeff Miller
Maryland, US

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