Re: Old lineages #general

Lee Jaffe

On Fri, Feb 26, 2021 at 02:53 AM, Ellen Lukas Kahn wrote:
How can one trace ancestors for whom an oral history has been handed down (without documentation) that their ancestors left Span during the inquisition?  How can one trace Jews who travelled between 1492 and 1685, the year they were first documented as living in western Germany?  That 200 year gap could be a combination of land or sea.

If you are asking this as a real-world, practical question (i.e., Is there a practical strategy for linking family turning up in German in 1685 with family reputably expelled from Spain in 1492?), I think I tried to cover that in my earlier post but I can try to be more explicit.  There seems to be a gap in the records available for a lot of Ashkenazi family lineages around 1700-1800 (based on repeated reports of lack of available records beyond those dates) that presents a significant hurdle to establishing such a link.  But we all came from someplace (or someones).   

And some of those someones are in fact well-documented.  I came across such a family tree, supported by a chain of evidence that establishes its lineage generation by generation.   I went through that family history from my purported (and eventually disproven) 4x ggmother Rachel Mayer (b.1760) back another 15 generations carefully and was skeptical but inclined to accept its authenticity.  I even deleted the tree and rebuilt in, double-checking each entry and supporting record, made some corrections, but came away satisfied that it was as accurate as I could hope for.  Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that the connection to my tree was highly suspect.  

The problem at the heart of your question (as I understand it) is joining the nearer end of that lineage to the latter end of mine (or anyone else who can't trace their trees further back than a few generations).  I was responding to the original post floating the provocative notion that most Jews can't trace their families past their grandparents.  Several responses seemed to be trying to make the case that deep family trees were fictional.    I wrote to refute both the "not past our grandparents" assertion and also take on the notion that there were no records to support "very long lineages." I had experience with such a lineage I could share, even though it wasn't mine. 

My entrance into this exchange, by way of analogy, is like reading someone claim that there are no red birds in California and I posted a photo of a Purple Finch perched on a CA 1 highway sign:  It doesn't make me an ornithologist.  And I'm not by any measure an expert in Sephardic genealogy and haven't managed to trace any of branch of my family tree back to a point where it connects to one of those "very old lineages."  But that doesn't mean the connection isn't there.  After all, it's worth repeating, we are all descended from someone and therefore belong to "very old lineages," whether on not we can document them, or even give them names.

Lee  Jaffe
Jaffe / Stein (Sztejnsapir) / Joroff (Zharov) / Schwartz (Schwarzstein/Schwarzman) / Weinblatt (Weinblot) / Braun / Malamud / Cohn / Ludwinoska/i / Rubin / Lubinski / Koshkin / Rappaport / Steel? / Brodowicz / Roterozen / Saperstein / Rutzki / Skazdubska / Zelmanow / Yos / Frank 



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