JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Turkish Ashkenazi family? #general

Victoria Reed <researchtoldot@...>

I haven't posted in ages - but I have an unusual story my brother
just shared with me and I'd appreciate any input >from Genners.

My brother just returned >from a trip to Turkey. He said that people
kept thinking he was Turkish. He walked into a store in Istanbul and
was conversing in Chinese with his Chinese girlfriend and noticed that
he was getting some funny looks.

The proprietor of the store came right up to him, took a good look at
his face and said, "You're Jewish, right? Well - your family was
originally >from this region."

My brother was shocked, and the fellow continued, "Do you have
ancestors or family relatives who looked Asian?" Well, this flabberghasted
my brother, because our cousin, the former DA of San Bernadino, was
often mistaken for Chinese or Mexican, and I own a photograph of perhaps
a great-great grandfather (we've never been sure) taken sometime in the
middle of the nineteenth century, whose eyes have a decidely Asian appearance.

In addition, I was in New York this weekend and got to see my first
cousin's son, who is now thirty. I was struck by his family resemblance
to my brother and one of my sons, and recounted my brother's Turkey story.
He said to me that he had forgotten this incident, but that when he was
young and moved to Texas, some of the kids didn't want to play ball with
him because they thought he was Korean and didn't speak English.

So - what do you think? We're Ashkenazi, >from Zolkiew back to about
1800 or so (I have the Zolkiew birth/marriage/death spreadsheet) and it
turned out the store owner who spoke to my brother was a Sephardic Jew
whose family had lived in Istanbul for many generations (and he is
apparently related to one of the Seattle clans).

I've tried googling the history of the Jewish community in Turkey,
and have come up with some information, but this sure makes me think
about Arthur Koestler's theory ...

Thanks, all!

Victoria Fisch (formerly surnamed Reed - I've gone back to
my maiden name)
Folsom, CA


RABINOWITZ: Kiev, St. Petersburg
ZEDLER/SIDLER/SIEDLER, COHEN: Ostrow M., Zambrow, Pennsylvania

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