Welcome! If you suspect you have Jewish ancestry, and want to explore it, you have come to the right website!
As DNA ancestry testing has become increasingly popular, more and more people are finding Jewish ancestry in their ancestry pie chart. Some people know they have Jewish ancestry and others are surprised to discover they have Jewish ancestry. When you discover you have Jewish ancestry, from an ancestry DNA testing company, you have Hidden Jewish Ancestry!
Other people suspect they have Jewish ancestry. Perhaps a grandmother made a comment that put a question into their head, or there were family whispers about Jewish ancestry, or maybe it's just an intuition.
This website is all about exploring Hidden Jewish ancestry. Whether you found out you have Jewish ancestry from a test or suspect you have Jewish ancestry from something a relative said. Whatever your reasons are, I am here to help you unravel the mystery of your Hidden Jewish ancestry. Crypto-Jewish genealogy will offer you answers.
Jewish persecution, in both the Christian and Muslim world, over the centuries, resulted in people converting to Christianity and Islam. In some cases, people were forcibly converted, in other cases, people chose to convert. In either case, people converted in a world that persecuted Jews. Converts often did their best to keep their Jewish ancestry hidden. It was often a matter of life and death. Hiding Jewish ancestry was incredibly important.
These conversions took place in the 1st century AD and continued right the way through the 20th century. And in each of those 20 centuries, converts and their subsequent descendants hid their Jewish ancestry. Centuries of hiding Jewish ancestry has lead to quite a few people with Hidden Jewish Ancestry.
Here is a good example. Madeleine Albright, the recently deceased and famed diplomat, discovered she was Jewish at age 59 in a Washington Post Article. Her parents, Josef and Anna Korbel, were both Jewish and both converted to Catholicism in 1941 to avoid anti-Jewish persecution in Czechoslovakia. They did not tell their children they were Jewish. Three of Madeleines’ Albrights grandparents perished in Nazi death camps. All of this was hidden from Madeline. When people hid their Jewish ancestry, they hid it.
I have heard people being critical of this story. How is it possible that Madeleine did not know she was Jewish? Oh, it's possible! Her parents did not want her to know, and if this family story is like the family story of so many others, they did a good job keeping the big secret... a secret.
A classmate of mine, who associated with my very Jewish crowd of friends, discovered his mother was Jewish late in life. His mother developed a form of breast cancer most often associated with Jewish women. Only then did the story come out. At the age of 45 my friend discovered his mother was Jewish. His mother and father, when they married, decided to keep the moms Jewish heritage from their children. My friend was born in 1964! He spent years associating with a group of Jewish friends and had no clue he himself was a Jew.
That happened in the suburbs of Washington, DC in the 1980's. You can imagine the lengths people went to hide Jewish ancestry when the local townspeople were burning Jews alive in 17th century Switzerland?
When people converted, by force or by choice, and moved into either Christian or Islamic cultures, Jewish ancestry became a dangerous secret. Husbands did not tell wives , wives did not tell husbands, and parents almost never told their children.
Simply put, if you discover you have Jewish ancestry through DNA testing, and you did not know about it, one of your ancestors hid their Jewish ancestry. It became "Hidden Jewish Ancestry". And it likely stayed hidden Jewish ancestry until your ancestry report arrived in your email inbox. Or a relative let the cat out of the bag.
In 1977, when I began exploring my families’ Jewish ancestry, my grandfather, Paul Winkler, told me to stop. He said, “What you are doing is dangerous and will bring trouble to our family.” In his lifetime, in Rural Ohio, being Jewish was dangerous and could result in a cross being burned in your front yard. In 1930's Ohio, Christians would and did burn a Jewish shopkeepers store or house, or both, just because the owner was Jewish. Our Jewish ancestry had been hidden and my grandfather wanted it to stay hidden. Needless to say, he was not going to help me unearth our story.
If you discover you have hidden Jewish ancestry, researching your Jewish ancestry is tricky. Your ancestors buried the story. They changed names, countries, and religions to conceal Jewish ancestry. The story may have been buried long ago and digging it up may be a challenge.
But, it can be done. Through Crypto Jewish Genealogical research you can get answers. Many of us with Hidden Jewish Ancestry have discovered the truth of our origins. Usually unraveling the mystery, one step at a time. There is a way to do it, and, this website aims to make your process easier.
Though I was strongly discouraged from looking into my families Jewish past, it did not stop me. I kept digging and researching. I discovered an amazing story. A story that helped me make sense to me. I could not be happier that I took the plunge and explored my hidden Jewish ancestry.
If you are on a computer, at the left of your screen, you will see tabs. If you are on a mobile device, you will see three lines at the top of your screen. The first four are there to help you get started on your journey. After that, you will find region tabs. I had to break the Jewish world into regions. And then the regions into sub-regions. If your family is from Spain, you should click Southern Europe and then click the tab that says Spain. If your family is from Northern Europe, click on that tab, and it will take you a list of Northern European countries.
There are a lot of countries that need to be added to these menus! I am adding to this website every day. Please excuse me, this site is very much under construction. But check back. I am adding information as fast as I can. Information I hope will help you explore your Hidden Jewish Ancestry.
In addition to the tabs that will take you to your families country of origin, I write articles on the subject of Crypto-Jews. You will find those below in the article section. Hopefully you will find them interesting and you may learn more about the Crypto-Judaic phenomena.
I owe everything I know to two people. I am so indebted to them, I really do not have words big enough or strong enough express my gratitude. Their tireless work laid the ground work that made my work in Crypto-Judaism possible.
As I have said, I had a religious re-assignment fairly early in life. I went from no religion to practicing Jew before I left high school. Despite getting a degree in Jewish history, my families story never made any sense. I went to a school that taught traditional Jewish history. My family were a pack of Crypto-Jews(hidden Jews) and traditional Jewish history does not cover the Crypto-Jews experience. My family history was a mystery until I came across the work of Donald Yates and Genie Milgrom.
I found Donald Yates books first, "Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America", "The Early Jews and Muslims of England and Wales", and "When Scotland was Jewish". These books opened my eyes to the world of Crypto-Judaism.
Reading these books led me to the incomprehensible research of Genie Milgrom. And Her books "How I Found My 15 Grandmothers" and "Recipes of My 15 Grandmothers". Genie Milgrom is the queen of Sephardic Jewish research. She has spent countless hours piecing together the tattered remnants of Spanish Jewish history in an effort to make what would otherwise be incomprehensible, comprehensible.
I met both of these incredible human beings first through their work, and then as real life human beings. Donald has been a constant source of guidance and encouragement. Genie has laid open her archives which has made my research possible. They have offered their time, their knowledge, and their friendship. I can never thank them enough. Ever.
Early in Christian Europe, Jews were prevented from proselytizing, meaning it was illegal for Jews to bring Christians or Pagans into the Jewish faith. In time, even encouraging Christian's interest in Judaism became a crime. It was called Judaising. I am warning you in advance, I am a full blown unrepentant Judaizer. I openly encourage people who have been lost to the Jewish people to return to the Jewish people.
I am equally thrilled to help people who are happy with their religious affiliation and just want to know about their Hidden Jewish Ancestry!
Everyone is welcome!