03 April 2011

Connecticut: 'An 800-year Sephardic Journey,' April 17

Dr. Daniel Laby will be speaking on his family's eight century journey from Aragon (Spain) to Massacusetts, for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Connecticut on Sunday, April 17.

The program starts at 1.30pm, at the Godfrey Memorial Library, 134 Newfield Street, Middletown.

Dan and I share some roots in Lerida (Lleida) in Catalunya, the same great researcher (Maria Jose Surribas) and a Persian connection. The Lerida archives provided him with a document dated 1204, while our earliest document from the same archive is dated 1353.

Dan is a great speaker and his family's story is fascinating. A few years ago, his family went on a roots trip to Spain. He presented a multi-media program on that trip to the Jewish Family Research Association (JFRA) in Israel. I was privileged to also meet his parents during the 2006 IAJGS conference in New York.

"From Aragon to Massachusetts" follows Dan's family history (Laby de la Caballeria or Cavalleria) from western Massachusetts and New York’s Lower East Side back to the Ottoman Empire and pre-Inquisition Spain.

Dan will describe how he traced his family to 13th-century Spain using both modern DNA analysis and microfilms. He shares his story because he hopes to make Sephardic Jewish genealogy more widely known.

An assistant clinical professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, Dan is also a sports vision specialist, working with the Boston Red Sox and several other professional and Olympic teams. His search for his family predates his medical practice.

For more information, click on the JGS of Connecticut website.

Dan's story is worth telling to many more family historians and genealogists, and not only because it is Sephardic story. If your JGS can convince him to speak - if he has time - it will be worth it.


  1. Stanley A. Fishler12:16 PM

    I am a Sephardic Jew. My family left Spain in the 1780's, ending up in Lithuania; left Lithuania in the 188o's coming to the U.S. The name was Fiz, then Fiz Lores (Spain); Fizler (Lithuania); Fishler (U.S.).They were Marranos/Hidden Jews. Don't know if they were foreceably baptized in 1391 or in 1492 under the Edict. Tried to find family in Spain. Couldn't connect. Any suggestions?
    Stanley A. Fishler

  2. Anonymous12:21 AM

    I have recently discovered that my supposedly pure Ashkenazi lineage may in fact have it's origin in the Portuguese Sephardic community. My wife who has Tunisian Sephardic roots is delighted. I have no idea how to proceed with this lead. Juda de Lima was living in Poznan, Poland in the 1660s though his ancestors may have originated from Ponte de Lima.
    Can anyone let me know which historic records I should consult or to which archives I should address my enquiries?
    Peter Norden