26 July 2010

New DNA Project: Puerto Rico - Mallorca - Jewish descendants

A new DNA project has been organized for Puerto Ricans. Its primary objective is to find a possible DNA signature among those with known or suspected Mallorcan/Jewish ancestry.

Mallorca or Majorca are the two spellings for the same place in the Catalan-speaking Balearic Isles, near Barcelona, Spain. In 1391, the Jews of Mallorca were forcibly converted to Catholicism, some stayed, others left. They were known as Chuetas. We'll use the Mallorca spelling for this post.

Project members will have some connection to (or combination of) Mallorcan, Puerto Rican, Jewish ancestry. All data will be analyzed along with genealogical and historical information to track the once secret immigration of Jews from Mallorca to Puerto Rico.

For more information, see the project Mallorcan_Jews_PR here at FamilyTreeDNA.com.

Seham Lewis is organizing the project. She writes:

The Spanish Inquisition forced many Jews to take on new identities and relocate to other colonies, such as Puerto Rico. However, the tribunals extended to the New World forcing many to continue hiding their faith. As a result, the Jewish presence on the island has gone virtually unknown not only to the Jewish Diaspora, but to its own Puerto Rican descendants. With this project I hope to tell their story.
This is a Y-DNA project for males only, whose direct paternal line comes from this area. Females can have a male relative test or investigate mtDNA (maternal) tests and projects.

Why is Seham so interested in this project?

She wants to bring awareness to both Puerto Ricans and Jews around the world that Jewish people have been on the island since its early settlement by the Spanish. Many Puerto Ricans still do not comprehend this piece of their history because the Inquisition tribunals were replicated in the New World.

According to Seham, Inquisition tribunals were also set up in the Americas covering the four Viceroyalties. Puerto Rico fell under the New Spain Viceroyalty which covered what is present day South and Central America (minus Brazil and the northeast region of South America which was Portuguese), and some of the Caribbean islands. [The Inquisitors and the Jews in the New World, summaries of procesos, 1500-1810, and bibliographic guide; Liebman, Seymour B.; 1976 edition. University of Miami Press].

Many Jews, she adds, seem to find this fact peculiar, which she is still trying to understand. Her family in Dorado, Puerto Rico, did not know there was a Conservative synagogue just 20 minutes away from them, let alone that there are four congregations: Conservative, Orthodox, Reform, and Chabad.

My answer to both Jewish and Puerto Rican people is “Well, why not”. When you really think about this, it makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, the Spanish were too good at “protecting” their New World and blood line from the Jews.

However they weren’t 100% successful and one can see this by the growing number of Puerto Ricans discovering or somehow sensing they have Jewish ancestry. The scarcity of documentation on Jews in Puerto Rico forces one to be creative and analyze the topic “sideways.” The genius of Bennett Greenspan’s genetic genealogy has provided one the possibility to find connections when little or no records exist.

Studies done on present-day Mallorcan Jews have shown their DNA to be relatively homogenous and unchanged from one generation to the next.

Athough Seham is not a scientist, her theory and hope is that a pattern will show itself among Puerto Ricans with Mallorcan-Jewish ancestry. Her first member is R1b1b2, and he has upgraded from 12 to 37 markers to receive more information.

Since many Puerto Ricans do not know that they may have Jewish lineage, she opened the project to include anyone who knows or suspects they have Mallorcan ancestry. "I can use the non-Puerto Rican DNA results as a sort of comparison. Maybe…," she adds.

Seham hopes to turn this research into a Master’s thesis, but the topic is raising much skepticism among Jews and Puerto Ricans. Therefore, she has to prove that Mallorcan Jews existed in Puerto Rico, and then find their descendants.

Initially, she wanted to trace the early Jewish presence in Puerto Rico, but quickly realized the enormity of such a project. While reading a late 1800s book on island resources, she saw that the author describes “the inhabitants” (put in quotations because his wording seemed to describe specimens and not people) of Puerto Rico.

He refers to the locals as Jibarros- those who live in the countryside. Every Puerto Rican knows the term Jibarro, and many understand its negative undertones. What many did not know, including myself, is that these Jibarros were said to be descendants of Mallorcan Jews, the Chuetas, AKA “the People of the Street.” I was unfamiliar with the term Chuetas. I kept telling myself it was such an ugly and odd name for a group of people because it sounded like ChuLetas, pork chops in Spanish.

I guess I found the name so horrible that I didn’t make the connection until the next day.
Suddenly, says Seham, a flood of Mallorcan references in her life appeared as if they were waiting for their cue. It is rumored that her mother’s paternal line is from Mallorca, but she is still searching for documentation. Her family surnames are among those found in Inquisition records for Mallorca: Correa, Rodriguez, Maldonado, Rivera and Escalera.

Although not a solid genealogical indicator of ancestry, I recalled eating Pan de Majorca, a type of morning bread or sandwich. I then found two street names with Judio in 2 different municipalities in Puerto Rico: “Cuesta de los Judios” in Yauco and “Sector Judio” in Utuado.
She insists that there must be a reason to have such names extant in those towns. She's currently investigating possible connections. In the meantime, she's hoping her DNA project will attract participants. She's also looking to develop a fund to defray testing costs.

Learn more about the project at the link above, and contact Seham for questions or more information at the project site link.

59 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:33 PM

    Shalom from puerto rico.My name is
    Orlando Jimenez I am from Puerto Rico. Its very interesting to note that even though Puerto Rico is a catholic country people have great love for Israel. There are so many men named Israel and Abraham
    that it calls my attention. Many puerto ricans also carry a star of David. I a have been very interested and done much research also on this topic concerning that we may have sephardic ancestry. THis seems logical because a study done years back revealed that at least 20% of the Spaniards did show
    jewish ancestry. I my self have great love for Israel and would certainly like to know if I also have jewish ancestry. I do have a gutt feeling. I love the music,
    especially when I heard Hatikva for tha first time, I was overwhelmed with a feeling I can't explain. I did memorize the transliteration of the lyrics. Also
    shema. I've read that many people of the mountains especially adjuntas, where I come from may have sephardic ancestry. Those surnames ending in ez. I sure hope
    this study can shed some light to all of us who can't seem to understand why we feel sort of jewish!

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    1. Anonymous3:17 PM

      I also feel I have Jewish blood running through my veins.
      The more I look into my background, the more I feel Jewish.i am 63..can one of my son's be tested? my aunts believed my Grandmother was murdered in 1928 and our inheritance was taken over by Naguabo Sugar cane company, then Fajardo and only God knows how many more have put a claim on the property in Rio Blanco.
      my Tia used to talk about the Manorah and she used to mention the word Chuetas. Most of us have Biblical names.My parents taught us to respect the Jews and never speak ill of them..My Dad used to wear white shirts and black hats..he ran errands for them. my Mom used to take the long route to Church on Fridays so she could stop by the Sinagoga and just ponder memories of things she recalled of her childhood. This brings up positive strange feelings within me...Esther Rivera Delgado

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    2. Anonymous3:12 PM

      Well Esther Rivera Delgado, we know for a fact that the Delgado surname is a Sephardic or Spanish Jewish ancestry in Hebrew it means great door, Del=door, Gado=great o puerta grande in spanish. checkout sephardic.com there you will find more, there one of your ancestor Juan Delgado Pinto also known as Moses Pinto whom was a known Sephardic Jew, so yes Delgado is a known Sephardic surname.

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  2. Anonymous9:02 PM

    Blessings! I am Carlos Morales from Puerto Rico. Two years ago I began a search for my Batista surname (from my fathers´grandfather). I´ve learned that they came from La Palma, Islas Canarias (Canary Island) in the 19th Century. I also learned that the Batista surname is Sephardic. Spain gained control of Islas Canarias in the 16th Century, so... it´s possible the Batista family in Puerto Rico is descendant of jews. Can someone bring me more information on this interesting matter?

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  3. Couldn't understand my internal quest for 'hebrew roots' until I saw where my grandparents on my mother's side (Maldonado) were from Aricebo Puerto Rico, and that there was some geneological correlation to the 'converso concept'. Oddly my mother immigrated to NYC at age 3, and grew up in a combination Jewish/Puerto Rican (catholic) neighborhood. Her original first name was Sarah. Would love more info. Thanks.

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  4. Anonymous3:06 PM

    Shalom from Puerto Rico. My name is Martin E. Romero Ramirez. My grandfather Diego Romero Pi was from the Canary Islands. I got information about that the Pi surname was registered as Jewish in the Baleares Islands on 1391.I will appreciate very much additional information concerning this.

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    1. My Mother's maiden name is also Pi. She also told us about her family coming from the Canary Islands. When visiting Barcelona I was told that the name came from those who lived close to the Piranese Mountains between Spain and France, because of the Pine trees there. When I went to France, these folks looked very much like me and my Family. On a final note my last name is Jimenez which is Sepharic Jew from the tribe of Simon...

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  5. Anonymous12:39 PM

    I'm 16. My name is Sharissa Jimenez. I have no idea if i may have part Jew in myself. My uncle converted to Jewish. I started reading a book where it's main setting was in Israel. They explained a lot about how they live, their belives, language, ect. I became fascinated. I automatically gained an admiration and respect for them, felt so strongly about it. Sort of felt bonded. I'm 'Catholic' though i prefer the term religiously flexible. I believe in God, i just don't agree w/ everything they say at church, that is when i go. So i'm just curious, as i say i'm not the only Jimenez who is, if i may have some Jewish blood in me. I'd be honored if that were true.

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    1. Jimenez is a Sepharic Jewish name...google jimenez Sepharic catholic...

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  6. Anonymous8:11 AM

    Hi,
    My name is Luis and I’m Puerto Rican, I had my Y DNA tested with Family DNA and its confirm that my Y halpogroup is J1E-P58, which is consider a semitic marker and is very common in the Arabain Penisula , and I’ve also found that it’s a marker for High Priest Aaron Jews. I’ve been also told that I look Jewish.
    My family are from the Mountians of PR in San Sebastian, I’ve read stories on-line about Spaniards of Jewish decent running to the mountinas to escape prosecution. I wonder if my family are decendants of the Sephadic?

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  7. Anonymous3:39 AM

    I would like to volunteer. Look me up on facebook under Hillel Ben Yochanan. Shalom.

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  8. Soy Roser Parés Fuster, xueta y estoy interesada en el proyecto. mi email es rpfuster@gmail.com

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  9. Anonymous4:23 PM

    Hola me he mirado el tema, que es muy interesante, pero el planteamiento me parece caótico.

    Hasta finales del siglo XVIII los mallorquines no emigran, significativamente, a America y para entonces la Inquisición ya no pintaba nada.

    Efectivamente en Mallorca habia un grupo converso bien conocido, los xuetas que solo portan 15 apellidos distintos, el resto de descendientes de judios, que seguro que los hay, hace siglos que no tienen ni idea de ese origen, así que dificilmente se fueron a ningún lugar para huir de la persecución, y si lo hubieran hecho habrian practicado libremente su religión oculta, no? Cuantos portorriqueños de origen mallorquin practican el judaismo?

    En fin, que no veo que de esto pueda salir mucho en claro.

    Pero suerte

    Por otra parte he visto una enorme lista de apellidos candidatos, de los que no mas de un 10% son mallorquines.

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    1. Hello,
      Forgive me for replying in English. I think we are opposites with language. I can read Castilian but writing it takes me a long time. So I reply in English :). The 15 surnames you mentioned is a good point and a much discussed topic. There is no question that families with those specific 15 surnames, known as Xuetas, have had to keep to themselves for centuries. I do however question the omission of other surnames in the past as Xuete, for example in the late 1300s to mid 1400s in Mallorca. The Catholic Inquisition, which as you know came before the Spanish Inquisition, listed many names other than those 15. For example, my family's surname Coll. Another clarification I want to make is that the list of surnames for the project was developed by the author Pere Bonnin. In short, he stated one could possibly learn about Jewish lineage using surnames and onomastics as a tool. Many had to change their names and invented some based on their surroundings, or simply out of preference. One can't know definitively unless the person left a note behind saying I called myself Rivera because I lived near the River. Could be possible, I don't know. Sometimes, a surname can be traced to a converso with so much frequency that one should not overlook the probability of that surname stemming from Jewish lineage. I have learned and continue to learn about this subject directly from Xuetas, archives, and even the news since this blog was published. But this is what academic study is for, in my opinion: To uncover, confirm and simply discuss ideas. Thank you so much for writing :)

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  10. Anonymous9:30 PM

    Very interesting the mention of Utuado. There is a sector there that is call Judea and if you listen to roll call in school in Utuado all what you hear is Sephardic last names been called.I found out about my Jewish roots when I briefly stay with my father in Florida after college. I grew up in the island with my mother and her family.One day my mom's boyfriend call me at his house to find out how I was doing. Well my dad was livid when he found out that I may have a Palestinian as a future stepdad. My dad told me his dad was Jewish but he had to change his last name to Jimenez because the locals in Utuado could not pronounce his last name. My grandfather was fair,blonde with blue eyes and over 6 foot.I do not understand why he took a Sephardic name, perhaps he wanted to blend in.My grandmother on my father side is a Perez. My mother side has Sephardic surnames on both of her sides. When someone died, my mother's side use to cover the mirrors. But what it looks like is that my lineage comes from the male side, the fact that my greatgrandmothers lived in bohios let me believe they were Taino. So perhaps in Utuado there are people like me with Taino, Sephardic with a sprinkle of Ashkenazi.

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    1. My mother's maternal grand father was from Mayorca & she was born & raised in Utuado (born in 1942) her father's name was Perez. Her mother's name Jaume. All of her siblings have very indeginious features. We were always told that the Jaume last name was a very rare name & all were closely related. I thought it was just a fable. Till the few instances in which we found another Jaume in NYC all panned out to be related to us. Now i'm interested in learning more. Do you know what your Jimenez name was prior to the change? Jaume would not be a far stretch.

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    2. Anonymous9:25 AM

      Sixto it was not Jaume. I no longer recall the last name, most likely his widow will remember, but it sounded Ashkenazi in origin. That is the only thing I recall. I wish I should have paid more attention. I remember been mad at him while he was telling me, because he did not wanted my Palestinian future stepdad to call me at his house.
      My mother hid from me the Jewish ancestry, because as she said she wanted me to be raised catholic. She did however said that she liked my father grandmother because she was a sweet Jewish lady. It will be interesting if they do DNA studies in Utuado like it was done in the island for Taino DNA. The place is full of Sephardi last names.

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    3. Anonymous8:57 PM

      Hi! I am from Utuado and I used to live in Judea. I had my mtdna done and come out that I have 25.8 % Ashkenaci. My grandmother last names are Maldonado Medina. I also have Jimenez in my mother's line. E. Judith

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    4. I'm researching the Medina line from Utuado, but am having a difficult time finding anything concrete. I find this forum really interesting, seeing where my Puerto Rican ancestry is originally from would be amazing. Any information about the Medina's would be much appreciated, email amandarojas02@gmail.com

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  11. Graciela Vazquez de Schwartz11:58 AM

    I believe I may have Jewish roots through my mother's side of the family from Menorca and maybe Mallorca.I don't believe there is a connection through my father, I don't have any male relatives of my father that are living. How can I find out if my maternal side is connected to Jewish ancestors?Please let me know!

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    1. Anonymous9:01 PM

      Have your mtdna test done, that way you find out. By the way I have Vazquez fron Spain that lived in Utuado. We do not carry the last name because the male descendency choose the last name Maldonado instead of Vazquez.

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  12. Lydia Torres Soto10:33 PM

    For the past several years, I've had a strong desire to search out the possibility of Jewish ancestry. Don't know why though...nothing specifically triggered it other then it was almost something I was "drawn" to. I've read that having a strong desire and being drawn to search out these things is a strog indicator of the possibility (I'm speaking from a biblical/spiritual standpoint in this regard). Anyway, I'm from Mayaguez PR of the sephardic surname Torres. My mother was from Lares PR of the sephardic surnames Soto and Perez. I was told that many Jews settled in Lares and it's surrounding towns. Do you have any information that may help in my investigation? Thank you so very much, Lydia Torres Soto. Pls respond to my email is "arvedajael@yahoo.com". Again, thank you!!

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  13. Anonymous5:23 PM

    While I was a student at the University of Puerto Rico, I think it was in one of the Spanish courses, that converted Jews in Spain or certain parts of Spain, had the custom of celebrating Nochebuena and Christmas eating in the dinner a roasted pig. In this way they proved to their christian neighbors, that they really have truly converted, because they were eating a prohibited meat in the Jewish religion, in the day celebrated as the birth of Christ. What I found interesting when I found out that historical fact, is that in Puerto Rico contrary to other Christian nations, in Nochebuena and Christmass "lechón asado" (roasted pig) is a traditional plate in that celebration. I have always thought that that Puerto Rican custom comes from settlers that were descendants of converted jews.

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  14. Anonymous2:36 PM

    Jehovah shammah,I am original from Utuado PR and since I was a kid I was fascinated by my gran father origin, I use to love to listen his stories about my greatgranfather, original from Palmas de Mallorca, but every time i ask him about my greatgranfather life in Mallorca he said "I don't know because Papa always refused to talk about it" This make me wonder why? them when "google" arrived the first thing I searched for was my last name, and the first web site that appeared in the screen was Xuetas of Mallorca, I couldn't believed what I was reading, immediately I realized this could be the reason for his silence. I love the fact that I m not the only puertorrican searching for answers, who knows... this can be inspired for Jehovah himself, I love Jesus and I always going to be Christian but I also love Israel and I will love to know if my greatgrampa is a Jewish decendant. suerte a todos.

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  15. Dr. Ricardo Allegria's writings identify a group of people that fled Europe (about 2000 people) years before Christopher Columbus arrived (about 400 years) who lived in the mountains of Puerto Rico. Having met with Dr. Ricardo Allegria personally in his home anad discussing the theme the question remains: Why did these people flee Europe ? Our question remains open and categorized as most likely... Religeous Persicutions. Having read hundreds of articles, following biblical prophesies and documented trade routes... one must conclude: Puerto Rico surely had Messianic history (Soujourners)and articles like the passages for trade document this. Nowhere in the bible today does it say that you're going to heaven when you die, we just conclude it...

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  16. Anonymous8:07 PM

    this is great for i have a great love for isreal and i;ve been doing a family tree and found out that we do have jewish blood and to say i am very proud of it! my last name is perez, jimenez acevedo too! the bible say we will all be reunited i believe this. thank you.

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  17. Miguel Rosario1:59 PM

    Hello. I recently discovered my paternal grandmother final resting place in Brooklyn, NY and her gravestone has a Star of David on it. Since my relatives didn't know why the star was placed there I decided to research further and did a dna test through 23andme. To my, surprise, it came back J2a1b, wich is a marker for Ashkenazi, Sephardic Jews. Now, since this only refers to my paternal line and I still yet to have a relative of my dad to get tested to see the maternal lineage. I have an account through ancestry as well and it seems that my paternal relatives may have come from the Canary islands. We are from Maunabo, PR, surnames: Rosario, Delgado, Collazo, Lebron, Baez, de Jesus, Beltran. My email is miguel.rosario.lebron@live.com.

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  18. I wonder why nobody here does the same dna exercise to test for african blood. Surely most of our results would show to be positive. Be what you are. Having a jewish great grandfather doesn't make you jewish. Being jewish requires a lot more. Most Puerto Ricans have native american blood and/or spaniard blood. We are thankful for them, yet, that doesn't mean were native americans or spaniards. Live your own context. We should be careful not to offend people by claiming a heritage that's not ours. How do you define what's jewish anyway. There are no pure races or religions on the face of this earth. That simply does not exist. Claim to be human. Be the same as everybody else.

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    1. Hello, I do not understand what exactly has made you upset? You wrote "We should be careful not to offend people by claiming a heritage that's not ours." Please do not speak for me as I find that offensive. Why do you believe Judaism is NOT part of our Puerto Rican heritage? It isn't for many, but it certainly is for many of us. Nowhere in this blog did it state one is Jewish TODAY if results are XYZ. This DNA test only shows ancestry.
      This particular blog is specifically on Jewish DNA, not African, nor any other specification. There are many studies you can read about on FTDNA.com which delve into other aspects of Puerto Rican culture. There you can also learn how Jewish is defined.

      You should not assume one doesn't care about African, Indigenous, and European lines. I've always known those parts of myself and didn't require a DNA test. Nonetheless, I did it because I wanted to know as much as I could about my ancestry.

      In sum, I am a Puerto Rican Jew with or without DNA results; but I think its pretty "cool" to know if I come from a long line of Jews.

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  19. I know for a fact that i am a jewish puerto rican. My grandmother recalls her mother practicing her specual religion on saturdays with her sisterz while her husband which im assuming was jewish and converted to being a methodist took them to church instead. My grandmother cooked very kosher abd meats with cheeses never touched at her house. I rememver as a child killing her chickens kosher style and praying over them and when asked she said thats how God wanted us to do it. It is a shame that they had to practice in hidding because of the catholic church. My nother taught us to love and respect jews and as a child my sublings and I have always been very attracted to the religion and its ways and a paasion for wgat happened in the holocoust. We had a person do our family geneology and it stated that we are saphardic jews from Spain our last names are Lopez Lopez and Perez which are saphardic jewish last names.

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  20. Anonymous6:45 PM

    Recently, while doing DNA testing and using family finder services. I discovered distant cousins who are Sephardic or could be of Anusim background on my mother side. Found 3 potential Majorcan Jew surnames (Sanchez, Acevedo and Chacon) in a DNA group project from Puerto Rico. Doing further research. Family hails from Lares and Arecibo.

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    1. My family on my mom's side is Chacon, Acevedo, and Olaverra from aricebo too. My dad is Maldonado and Marquez. I'm a Sephardic Jew. My family converted a while back well most of them or they just acknowledged their Jewish ancestry. We all wear the star of David though.

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    2. My family is from mothers side Chacon(from Arecibo), Acevedo, Arce, lopez, Maldonado.From dads side Maldonado, Lopez, Santiago, and Marquez. My email is jasminsmakeupspot@gmail.com contact me if anything I have a lot of info on our Sephardic lineage.

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  21. Anonymous8:18 PM

    Hello, God bless you..
    I am puerto Rican from Puerto Rican parents. My parents raised me in the respect of God ever since I was born. I still serve the Lord and my husband and I have been raising our teenagers in the temple of the Lord God. All their lives. I found this article and it's interesting because first, my mom is from Caguas, she looks polish. My husband is Puerto Rican and his ancestors are Spanish from Spain..Our Teenagers don't look hispanic, they look Jewish, blue eyes, green eyes, Ivory skin, blonde hair and very tall kids. I had spoken to my mom about my teens genes and she confirmed to me that her great granfather is white greek & part jewish..thats why she looks more American than Puerto Rican. I am glad that I found someone like you to do these discoveries..I would like more info. about your project. By the way our last name is Torres-Alvarado, my mom is Rodriguez, and yes its has Jewish descent..I have my ancestry.com family tree project done and I was very surprised to see that my tribe is Benjamin and part Judah. No wonder I get up at 2am or 3 am to pray to Yahweh, Jeshua. Thanks for your sacrifice.
    Shalom and God bless you.

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  22. Nancy Cuevas Guzman8:52 PM

    Hello,

    My name is Nancy Cuevas Guzman and my parents were born in Lares, Puerto Rico. My mother's family has a tradition of being Jewish by way of Curacao. Curacao, a Dutch Carribbean island near Venuzuela was a Sephardic Jewish Colony established by The Netherlands during the slave trade. It was the final destination of the terrible and notorious "Middle Passage".

    I also the felt stirrings of a Jewish soul within me and in 2006 by a strange twist of fate I found myself in Israel....a series of "accidents". I studied in Orthodox Jewish seminary and took on the lifestyle. I lived in Israel for 2.9 very traumatic years.

    I am a blond, blue-eyed, fair-skinned woman and even I found Israel to be the most racist place on Earth. Israel is a rough neighborhood, a cruel place but I learned about religion and spirituality in a new way that has deeply affected me.

    Ashkenazim, (European Jewry), in genearl, including the Rabbinical Authorities, do not accept the "Ben Anousim"...aka..."The Forced Ones"...aka..."Marranos", or those whose ancestors escaped the Inquisition. Even though my mother's family carries the Levi surname from Curacao I was never accepted as a Jew, in fact, I was not ALLOWED to go to Orthodox Conversion nor receive a "Right of Return" even in 2009. In fact, I am sorry to say that I was even beaten and abused by Orthodox Jews. It is a very frustrating and racist Israel...a word to the wise.

    I have seen Latinos so enthusiastically embrace their new-found Jewish identity...to the point that they became angry Zionists! Yet dispite this political stance...all along they were murmered about behind the back by the Ashkenasi Jewry. Don't confuse religion and politics and be aware that sadly they do overlap in Israel. Although I still keep Shabbat, study Torah and go to synagogue services I do not close my eyes to the harsh realities of "The State of Israel" nor dismiss it with an emotional "Hallaluyah".

    My story has been published since 2008 and recently again, complete with typos on a blog site popular with Jews: http://lukeford.net/blog/?p=38359

    I had the pleasure of associating with Miquel Segura, the only Mallorquin to my knowledge who ever won the "Right of Return". I moved to Mallorca after living in Israel and Miquel lived about 7 minutes away from me. He is from the original Chuetas. I often heard "chismes" whispered in the cafes of my town in Puerto Pollensa, Mallorca. My father's family is also said to be from Mallorca by tradition.

    The problem faced by Puerto Ricans trying to prove their ancestory is not only racism but the fact that PRs did not keep good records. I have since pulled records from Curacao and from The Hague in an attempt to complete the circle...along with DNA...I'm still working on it in 2012!



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    1. Hi Nancy,
      I'm sorry to hear about your bad experience in Israel. The Rabbinate recently stated all Xuetes have right of return. Mr. Segura was featured as one who took the opportunity to do aliyah.
      Just in case, this study never (nor will be) intended to determine if a tester is Jewish. Only a method to see if one has lineage, whether recently, or 1000s of years ago.

      The problems between the Sefardim and Ashkenazim go back centuries. I do not think its good to generalize about the Ashkenazim; Israel is a diverse country as you know from living there. I never excuse violence and any that occurs should not be blamed on an entire group. Perhaps you needed to do more research before relocating to another country, whether Israel or Spain.
      Thank you,
      Sam

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    2. Hi Nancy,
      I am researching my paternal grandfather's family from Lares. His name was Arturo Quinones Levy. I have had no luck in finding any trace of his birth or baptism in Lares or surrounding towns.

      Do you have any suggestions?

      Edmundo Quinones Colon (edq2@hotmail.com)

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  23. Anonymous9:42 AM

    I am also curious and would also be willing to do DNA testing. My mother is from Arecibo PR and her last names are Gonzalez Chacon and my dad is from San Sebastian and his last names are Quiles Vega. My email is curlylita@yahoo.com

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    1. My mom is Chacon and Olavarria from Arecibo

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  24. Daniel Davd6:42 PM

    My last name is David.There are a couple of hundred families in the Coamo area with
    that last name. am I Jewish.?

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  25. Anonymous12:36 PM

    I'm from PR from the Mountain area and my Y DNA is J1c3d L222- which is classified as semitic.

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  26. Anonymous11:16 PM

    Hi, my name is Marcos Rodriguez, from Puerto Rican parents born in Lares, P.R. Found this discussion really cool! Yet a bit about the term Jewish which simply means from the tribe of Judah. How about all the other lost tribes dispersed and that have lost their identity all together throughout time. This is to imply the study yet may applify itself. Yet it also infers you may not be from Jewish ancestry but may have an ancestry from the House of Israel. For some mysterious reason am inclined to perceive that in these end times God is calling and drawing out those that are of the House of Israel (be them Jews or any other tribal origin) to have a deeper sense of understanding of who they are within our Judeo-Christian tradition and heritage. Hey,am game, lets do some dna! marcos.rodguez@gmail.com Thank you Sam, its a wonderful blog and good luck with your Masters Thesis!

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  27. Anonymous10:34 AM

    HI, IS LAST NAMES WITH MELERO AND ZAMOTT HAVE A JEWISH
    ANCESTRY LINE/

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  28. Anonymous10:08 PM

    Where do I get the DNA test done? My ancestors were from Barcelona. My mother's sur name, I have been told is of Jewish origin. Can you please send me information in this regard? Thanks.

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  29. I would love to finally put this chapter to rest. Growing up, my grandmother (named Anna) would prep the meats she bought by cutting the fat off and then putting salt around the meat. When I asked her why she did that, she responded, to remove the blood. We were part of the Catholic Church at the time but on Saturdays she would have me read from the Old Testament. I never made a connection until I grew older. In the military, I went to Spain and thought that it would be great to research my family tree. I found out that in Majorca, Spain there were Jews that had migrated to Puerto Rico during the Diaspora. I thought to myself, this cannot be. It started making sense why we did things that I thought was Puerto Rican culture which in reality is Jewish Culture. Even growing up in Brooklyn, NY we went to a Jewish home for Passover. I had an Aunt who lived in the mountainous area of Puerto Rico (Jibarro) while the rest of us lived in the city. It was so deep into mountains of Puerto Rico that the roads we took did not have anything on sides and if you weren't careful, your car can go over the side. There was no lights were she lived and she had a farm with lots of animals. Now, I attend a Synagogue in Wilmington, NC and I'm very active. We had a Rabbi come from Peru (Rolando Paz) who also lived in an area where people stood within themselves and practiced Shabbat (Sabbath) and found out he was Jewish. So if I'm of Jewish decent as all the above evidence seems to lead in that direction, I would love to volunteer for this project. I love Puerto Rico and I love Yisrael. Let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous9:49 PM

      Hi, Nancy,

      You are a match on my FTDNA FamilyFinder autosomal DNA test (4th cousin). I would like you to join our yahoo group
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PRGENEALOGY-NW which concentrates on genealogy in northwest PR, especially San Sebastian and Lares. Several people in my group match you as well and we are all discussing possible Jewish ancestry.

      Delete
  30. Hello, my surname is Munoz. My father always told us his ancestors were from Barcelona. His fathers name was Gomez, but he kept his mothers name for certain reasons. My mothers surname was Rodriguez Santiago, Pineiro. My mother used to cover mirrors when someone passed. My sister remembers her lighting candles in the weekend. I was born in Aguadilla and my husband is from Utuado. They are fair skin with green and blue eyes. Recently my husband announced to us as a family, that it was time to leave. When we asked him where, he said Israel. We all looked at each other because my daughter and I have known we were of Jewish descent for a long time. We have been celebrating the Jewish Holidays for over 12 years since we came from Puerto Rico to Florida. I started to fill out the paper from NefeshB Nefesh and the Jewish Agency for Israel to make Aliyah, but they ask for proof of Judaism. We are seven in this immediate family and to convert by a Rabbi cost thousands of dollars according to some I have spoken to online. They said if on one of the Grandparents or mothers Tombstones there was a Star of David,that it would be enough proof and to take a picture of it, but both my grandparents on my mothers side and parents were buried in a Catholic Cemetary and I have practically all our papers in order except for that. Only one question for the YDNA test. Can my grandson who is 10 on my mothers side be tested for the YDNA. I have already been tested for the MTDNA.,and am waiting results. My husbands mothers was tested and her migration map shows her direct line came from The part on the map that is marked (N) or Israel., but she is related to Mallorcan Jews according to her last name. My e-mail is Yovannakis@aol.com Thank you so much for doing this for the Puerto Ricans. We are a family that the majority believe in God and would be proud to call ourselves Jewish, being that we are his chosen people.

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  31. Hello again, You asked for our surnames. On my mothers side are Rodriguez, Santiago, Pineiro, My mothers sister married a Guzman. Her brother married a Soler, and the others were Rodriguez as well. My fathers name was Munoz from his mother and Gomez from his father. My husband is Rivera Rosado from his father and Andujar Maldonado from his mother. He is an only child. My oldest sister married a Torres, my other sister married a Vazquez and my youngest sister married a Rodriguez. My son married a Rodriguez as well and my other daughter married a Ramos. Those are Mallorcan names. My e-mail is Yovannakis@aol.com
    Thank you

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  32. Anonymous2:22 PM

    Hi my name is Orfa Roman. Let me start by saying that when I was 16 years old, I was walking down a street in New York and I heard a voice say to me, "You belong here". When I looked up I saw that the words on the building read, "Yeshiva". I didn't know what a Yeshiva was. So many times in my life, people have asked me if I was Jewish. My brother has the same experience and his reply, jokingly, was, "Yeah, I'm David Riverawitz". About 20 years ago God did something in my heart, that I referred to as Him giving me a Jewish heart, but He referred to as a heart of covenant. So now more than ever people continue to ask if I am Jewish. My mother is from the mountainous area of Utuado. The last names in my maternal line are Zeda, Reyes, Maldonado, and Perez. Thank you so much for your work. It can help ask questions that so many of us have.

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  33. Anonymous3:18 PM

    how can I get a Dna test about jewish ancestry? please send me a message

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  34. Anonymous3:16 PM

    Shalom, My Name is Raquel Torres Ortiz can anybody help me find more info as of my lastname. Thank you

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  35. Anonymous8:25 AM

    My name is Paul Marrero. I am LDS. I am searching for truth also. Thank you.

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  36. I would love to get tested for the research. My mom is Chacon, Olavarria, Arce, Acevedo. My dad is Maldonado, Santiago, Santiago, Marquez. Both from Puerto Rico and we were told that we are Sephardic. I did found out my mother's side moved to Puerto Rico in the 1500's during the inquisition and my dad's side moved to Puerto Rico around the 18 and 1900's. My email is jasminsmakeupspot@gmail.com. most of my family on my moms side started converting a couple of years ago.

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  37. Anonymous6:59 PM

    Hello my grandfather was lopez hernandez and my grandmother gonzalez rivera we are from san sebastian Itoo feel a great love to Israel my name is ana

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  38. Anonymous6:55 PM

    My great great grandparents were from spain my grandfather was lopez hernandez and my grandmother was gonzalez rivera my mother was born in san sebastian my grandfather had a farm in mago

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  39. Anonymous12:11 PM

    For a long time I've wondered if my family has Jewish within our bloodline. When I look at my brother he looks jewish. My surname is Delgado. My mother's side of the family is from Juncos, P.R.

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  40. Hi, my name is Edward My last names are Nieves (changed from Lopez) Torres Maldonado Garcia. I know of at least 15 more last names of mine that are in the list of the inquisition. My mom would call me "mi nino de chuda" (as yehuda)with 'the chet' sound she would kiss the door right were the mezuzah should be and as I started asking I was told that our family (great aunt)was jewish but although it was great it took so much to hide it that I should not 'rock the boat'. Long story short I was able to do a 'Return' and I am sorry to hear that some people have had it hard to return but there are also people out there wanting to,help. Iam at ur service. Anusim1@yahoo understand that I can help as much I can with genealogy but as far as religion goes I am a true jew not a mesianic person so I will be happy to help to the ones that want to learn and not play the two religions at once kind a deal.

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  41. Anonymous11:44 AM

    My family comes from Spain and have been in Puerto Rico for many, many, many, years... Surname Delvalle on my Father's side. On my Grandmother's side (mom's mom) name Irrizarres... also from Spain. I'm a convert to Judaism and would love to know! All the women in our family have dark hair dark eyes and all the boys have light hair and light eyes.

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  42. Please email me at juliecorpflt7@yahoo.com, with more info on dna testing on our male side. As many others I have found our grandparents name on Sephardic surname list done by reseachers who found names of Jews of Spain during the inquisition. And would love to find out more about the Jews of Mayaguez,Puerto Rico. Valles-Garcia was my Grandfather and Aldea was my Grandmother surname. I have met other Jews who know Aldeas of Spain and they are of Jewish heritage. Would love to have one of my brothers tested to find out exact lineage.

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