Re: Help with Jewish ancestors - Spain-Portugal #sephardic

Schelly Talalay Dardashti

Ellin Lukas Kahn asks about her Sephardic (Spain/Portugal) LUCAS
or MAY/MAI families who arrived in Germany around 1685.

Dear Ellin,

You need to try and find the original spellings of these names.
I have checked numerous resources and find that several names can
be variants of those you have given, LUCAS or MAY/MAI.

Have you contacted the archives in your German towns? There may
be information. Hamburg, for example, had a large Sephardic
community - also other towns.

Using Pere Bonnin's Sangre Judia (4th edition), there are possible
variants >from which LUCAS might derive, following impact of other
languages on the original:

LOQUI 1391 Mallorca - LUCA 1259 Estella Navarro - LUQUE 1575 Granada
- LUQUI 1449 Mallorca - LUQUIAL 1391 Mallorca

For MAI or MAY: more problematic as you don't know if was shortened
or was the exact name:

MAY 1570 Zaragoza - MAYA 1636 Ebora - MAYANS 1505 Barcelona -
MAYEL 1318 Tudela - MAYER 1381 Pamplona - MAYL 1284 Tudela - MAYO -
MAYOL, MAYOR -MAYR 1426 Girona - MAES 1339 Mallorca - MAIMO 1311 Girona
- MAIMON 1391 Mallorca - MAIMONA 1372 Camprodon Girona -
MAIMONELL 1258 Tudela - MAINOS 1433 Estella Navarro -
MAIRO 1270 Besalu Girona - MAJO (e.g. MAYO) 1342 Tarrega

Check the Name Engine at for more variants. I didn't
have time. However, the Name Engine only gives the name of the book
from which the name was indexed. To find out a place possibly
associated with that name, you will need to find those books and
read them for more specific information.

Also check our favorite Sephardic researcher Jeff Malka's site for additional extensive resources.

Check Jewish archival sources in Amsterdam or in Southern France
as well. The family may have left Spain through Southern France
or have gone to Amsterdam and then to Germany.

You may also want to consider doing a Y-DNA test with for these two families to see whom else they
match. Genetic matches with other families may give you additional
clues as to towns of origin. I would also advise that. In addition
to possibly providing clues as to your own family's origins, you
will be contributing to the largest Jewish comparative DNA databases,
and make it easier for others to connect in the future.

I have an excellent private researcher in Barcelona and will be
happy to put you in contact (write to me privately about that), but
without a proper original name or a hint at a place for such a common
name as MAY or MAI which may be a shortening of another name, it is
a difficult quest.

It is hard to jump back into Spain without following the trail into
Germany. Many Spanish Jews went into Portugal in 1492, where they
thought they would be safe. NOT! Only a few years later they were
given the same choice as before, convert or die or leave. Many left.
Even 100 years after the 1492 Expulsion, people found their way to
Amsterdam and then made their way deeper into Europe and Eastern

Feel free to contact me privately. I am very interested in hearing
the oral history. I understand your frustration!

with best wishes
Schelly Talalay Dardashti
Tracing the Tribe - The Jewish Genealogy Blog


Subject: Need help with Jewish ancestors >from Spain and/or Portugal
From: EllnKahn@...

...My father's ancestors (both paternal and maternal) originally
lived in either Spain or Portugal....heard the oral history several
times but am unable to find anything before my first ancestor went
to Germany about 1685. is planning a heritage trip to
Spain and Germany. ...know where ... ancestors were born and died
in Germany but ... trouble with Spain and/or Portugal. ...surnames:
LUCAS & MAY or MAI. ...where to search for towns these families may
have lived in Spain?

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