JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Re: Perhaps Jewish Ancestry #general

Reed <dak.reed@...>

Michael Bernet wrote:
Spelling of names was quite loose in those days. His Hebrew name may
have been Me'ir. As for his knowledge of Spanish, the overwhelming
majority of London Jews at the time were Sfardim, and he may have
learned the language >from them. And these Sfardi Jews had come from
and Stan Goodman added:
Very likely, indeed. And if his name was Me'ir, and if he was known by
the Meere surname in England, that suggests that he had no surname at
all in Holland, which would not have been unusual.
Another possibility: that it was his patronymic, and not his given
name, that was Me'ir, e.g. Ya'akov ben Me'ir, again suggesting that he
had no surname before arriving in England.
Stan's theory is likely correct and surely this very lack of an
established family name, which, if Mr Meeres were indeed >from a Spanish &
Portuguese family in Amsterdam one would certainly expect him to have, is
indicative of an Ashkenazi origin?

Other listers have either quoted >from or recommended the publication JHSE
Misc. vi, which contains both the 1695 London census information as it
pertains to Jews and the burial register of the S&P Bethahaim Velho
(1657-1733). The census does indeed list 5 families of MEERES (noting that
two of them are probably not Jewish) and in fact suggests that the
remaining three are Ashkenazim rather than Sefardim and this would seem to
tally with the lack of any MEERES burials in the S&P old cemetery.

So, how did Mr. Meeres know enough Spanish to translate? Michael Bernet is
probably spot-on in suggesting that the Ashkenazi Me'ir had had close
contact with the Spanish & Portuguese community in Amsterdam, London or
even further afield (Curacao possibly?) and thus picked up a language very
useful to his economic and social advancement within the Atlantic trading
network of the western Sephardi Diaspora.

David A Reed

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