JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Issue #128 of Genealo-J has just been published #general

Georges Graner

/Genealo-J, /publication of the Jewish Genealogical Society of France,
Issue 128, Winter 2016

Francoise Bassan-Darmon explores the history of some of her ancestors
within her paternal branch. All of them originally lived in Spain but
their fates were different. The family de Leon went to Portugal in 1492
where they were forcefully converted to Catholicism, at least in
appearance (the so-called /conversos/ or /new Christians/ NC). Roque de
Leon was born ca. 1643 in Sanbade, a small village near Bragance. But
his mother was prosecuted by the Inquisition, as crypto-Jew.Therefore,
as soon she was freed, the family fled to Bordeaux (France) where the
/Portuguese Nation/ was established and tolerated. Roque de Leon is
married in 1668 according to the catholic rite but his wife also belongs
to the same community. Then he settles in Toulouse where he becomes a
prosperous merchant. But his competitors denounce him as a crypto-Jew
and he has to flee again before the stake. He reaches Amsterdam with his
family in 1685. Now he can officialize his judaism and, after the death
of his wife, marry again in the synagogue.

Another ancestor, Balthazar Orobio de Castro, was also born in Bragance
(Portugal) in 1620 in a NC family who moves back to Spain in 1622
because this country seems slightly safer than Portugal at the time. He
studies catholic theology and medicine, becomes the physician of
important people but in 1654, the Inquisition catches him and put him in
jail for three years in terrible conditions. As soon he is free, he goes
to France, in Bayonnefirst, in Toulouse for a short time and finally
reaches Amsterdam where he dies as a Jew in 1687. It is ironic to learn
that the city of Bragance has recently named a street after Isaac (alias
Balthazar) Orobio de Castro. The plate describes his life but forgets to
mention he was a Jew.

As for the Bassan family, it was also expelled >from Spain, probably went
to Turkey, then moved successively to Venice, Amsterdam,
Hamburg,Amsterdam again and finally Paris.

Browsing through the archives of the undertaker's company Schneeberg,
Anne-Marie Fribourg was intrigued by the announcement of the death of
Charlotte Moyse (1815-1901), successively widow of Emmanuel Dreyfus and
Isaie Alexandre. This death was accompanied by several eulogies in
newspapers, quoting her as a famous organist and harmonium player.
Fribourg was able not only to find Charlotte's ancestry, mainly >from
Alsace (Reichshoffen and Hellimer) but also to follow her brilliant
career through innumerable press excerpts during 60 years She began by
playing and teaching piano but soon specialized in the harmonium and in
an instrument called /melodium/ produced by the Alexandre factory, not
related to her second husband. She also wrote several compositions for
piano, organ or harmonium. Fribourg studied also the lives of her two
husbands, both of Alsatian origin. Isaie Alexandre was the inventor and
maker of metallic pens who were very popular and replaced goose quills.
The famous writer Alexandre Dumas was enthousiastic about them and
Rossini was unable to compose his famous mass until he was given these
excellent pens.

In Issue #126 of our Journal, Bernard Lyon-Caen described the life of of
Tobias Koen (1763-1849) who was the podiatrist ofEmperor Napoleon and of
Empress Josephine. He was born in Mahlhausen (Bavaria) under the name of
Seligmann Tobias. One of the readers of this paper found that before
coming to Paris, Tobias spent the period 1787-1792 in Marseilles.
Searching in Marseilles archives, the author discovered another "artist
podiatrist" named Mayer Tobia or Tobias. It was then easy to check that
this one was the younger brother of the previous one. He was born in
1775 also in Malhausen, arrived in Marseilles in 1797 and died there in
1848. It would be interesting to discover who taught the art of podiatry
to both brothers.

Avraham Malthete found the /mohelbuch/ (register of circumcisions) of
Aron Levy, who was cantor in Epinal (Vosges) and /mohel/ between 1844
and 1863. He was born in Bischheim (Alsace) in 1806 and died in Epinal
in 1864. The texts of the /mohelbuch/ are in German but written in
ashkenaze hebrew cursive. It lists 184 circumcisions giving all the
details on the child and his family. Boys concerned come >from 26
different villages and cities, mainly pertaining to the Vosges
department : 48 >from Epinal, 54 >from Remiremont, 13 >from Le Thillot, 9
from Rambervilliers. The paper provides the detailed list of all 184
circumcisions. Among them, one can find David Emile Durkheim
(1858-1917), founder of modern sociology.

Georges Graner

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