JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Migrating from Portugal to Belarus #general

David Goldman

Greetings everyone. I was looking at something very interesting on Geni
regarding the "trail" of migration of the famous Charlap rabbinical family
of Jerusalem. This may relate to part of my ancestry as well, who originated
near Grodno in Dabrowa Byalistocka. In reconstructing the history of this family
line it is instructive what it involved in terms of distance and of moving >from a
purely Sephardic existence to a purely Ashkenazi one.

The tree names trace the origins back >from Vawkavysk (Volkovisk) in Belarus
not far >from Byalistock and Grodno in the 19th century which was preceded by
the town in the Byalistock region called Tykocin due west in the 17th and
possibly 18th century.
The 16th century saw the ancestors move to Tykocin >from Salonika, two
generations earlier >from Imola, near Venice Italy, all the way across
Greece, Albania and the Aegean Sea inland near Bologna, and two generations
earlier in Alexandria Egypt, which is where they traveled to >from Lisbon,
Portugal where they had lived long before the Expulsion >from Spain in 1492.
Some of the family had spread around back to Spain, and some to Italy from
Portugal after the expulsion >from Portugal.

I realize this scenario is not necessarily demonstrative of what happened to
my own family >from Dabrowa, however it definitely sheds light onto the whole
issue of migration of perhaps many Jews, and could be a scenario for my own
and others' Belarus ancestors (rather than as Ashkenazi Jews >from Germany).
Looking at the map, just the distance >from Salonika to Tykocin through the
Balkans, Hungary, Austria, Germany across all of Poland is a huge distance
of about 2000 miles. One of the Charlap-Ibn Yahya ancestors was born in
Salonika and then died in Tykocin!

Can any erudite Jewishgenners shed some light on this type of story? What
would have prompted a family to have moved in one lifetime a distance of
2000 miles over land northward in the late 1500s >from the comfort of the
port of Ottoman Salonika to the cold areas of what was then the Christian
Polish-Lithuanian empire? I can imagine that they had originally left Lisbon
for Alexandria Egypt before crossing over to Imola and then to Salonika.
David Goldman

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