Sephardic Jews and the LDS Connection: Utah History Encyclopedia Is Wrong- Joseph Smith Was Right, Orson Hyde Is of Jewish Ancestry

hydeI believe investigating the history of the Crypto and Converso Sephardic Jews has the capacity to impact how we view the history of the Church. For example, from the Utah History Encyclopedia, published by the University of Utah:

There is a popular myth that Orson Hyde was of Jewish ancestry, but careful investigation has uncovered no evidence this is true.

In contrast, an excerpt from the book by Ivan J. Barrett Joseph Smith and the Restoration:

In 1832 only a handful of Jews lived in Palestine, and those who did had no rights under Turkish rule. The roots of Zionism in the Jewish communities of Europe were barely stirring and the thought of Jews gathering at all was virtually unheard of let alone a return of the Jews to the Land of Palestine.  But from that very time on, the spiritual stirrings of the Zionist movement began in earnest. God was about to give special ‘key’ to modern prophets as he had done with ancient ones; ‘keys’ to move the nations. In 1831, only a year after the Church was organized by Joseph Smith, another young man with a prophetic call by the name of Orson Hyde, age 26, of JEWISH ANCESTRY, was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by the Prophet Joseph Smith.  When Joseph laid his hands on the head of Orson Hyde he gave him a unique blessing where in he prophesied the following: “In due time thou shalt go to Jerusalem, the land of thy fathers, and be a watchman unto the House of Israel; and by thy hands shall the Most High do a great work, which shall prepare the way and greatly facilitate the gathering of that People.”


Drawing on what we have learned about the history of the Sephardim here. The influence the Sephardim had on the world  here and here and here. Converso and Crypto Sephardic Jews found their way to North America here and here. After the Converso/Crypto Sephardim emigrated to the American Colonies, they sought peace on the frontier here. They established  closed communities here. The Sephardic Jews have unique illnesses here.  The descendants of the Sephardic Jews  changed or modified their surnames to reflect their new homeland, but occasionally they gave their children given names which reflected their Sephardic heritage  here.

I took the liberty to checking out Orson Hyde’s ancestry by looking at familysearch.org. The Hyde family maintains they have Jewish ancestry. The name clues are there. Daniel HIDE/HYDE, Orson HYDE’s g-grandfather and his wife Deborah PERRY, a known Sephardic Melungeon name, have the following children: Nehemiah, Abijah, Elihu, Eliakim, Martha, Deborah, John, Daniel and Eunice. Elihu is Orthodox Jewish. Eliakim is Hebrew Sephardic from France and North Africa.

Besides his PERRY/PEREIRA line, Orson HYDE has classic Melungeon surnames in his genealogy such as: CROW and  MILLER ancestors. Even more interesting, Orson Hyde also has FOX,  a Ashkenazi (European Jew) name.  He was married to a JOHNSON, also classic Melungeon. HYDE  also married a PRICE and LYONS, both Jewish surnames. Also I noticed cousins intermarrying;  evidence  demonstrating the typical  closed society of the Converso and Crypto Sephardic Jews. In a addition to his direct line ancestors, Orson Hyde’s related lines show scores of Sephardic and Hebrew given names.  Here is a sampling of the names I found:

ELIPHALET (Sephardic Hebrew) FOX (Ashkenazi FUCHS) 1644

BENONI ( Hebrew) FOX (Ashkenazi FUCHS) 1678

ELEAZAR (Hebrew) PERRY (Sephardic PEREIRA) 1680

AZUBAH (Hebrew) Tuttle 1683

ELIPHALET (Hebrew Sephardic )Judson 1688

ELEAZAR (Hebrew Sephardic) PERRY  (Sephardic PEREIRA) 1706

JEHIEL (Hebrew) Hawley 1712

ELDAD (Sephardic Hebrew) PERRY (Sephardic PEREIRA) 1712

ADONIJAH (Hebrew Sephardic) Maxom/Maxham 1720

AZUBAH (Hebrew) FOX (Ashkenazi FUCHS) 1722

AGUR (French/Spanish/Moorish) Judson 1725

ANNAH (Persian) Hawley 1736

ELIPHALET (Hebrew Sephardic) Burr 1739

JEPTHA  (Hebrew) Hawley 1740

ABITHER (Hebrew-Sephardic) Robinson 1750

ZADOCK (Hebrew Sephardic) Hurlbut 1755

AGUR/AGER (French/ Spanish/Moorish) Hide/Hyde 1757

ADAH/ANAH (Hebrew) Burton 1758

Sophia ZERVIAH (Hebrew) Harris 1760

OZI  (ancient Greek) Baker 1761

ABIJAH (Hebrew) Hyde 1763

TINTE (Spanish w/ racial overtones/coloring) Hyde 1769

OZIAS (Sephardic Hebrew)Jennings 1770

ELIPHALET (Hebrew Sephardic) Burr 1773

ABIJAH (Hebrew) Gandy 1791

KEZIAH (Sephardic Hebrew) Harris 1802

SALMON (Sephardic Hebrew) Jennings 1802

AMI (Sephardic) Hyde 1809

AMMI (Sephardic) Bradford Hyde  1826

ALONZO (Spanish Sephardic) Farham Jennings 1831

ALVA (Spanish Hebrew) Jennings 1833

ELAM (Persian) Burton 1839

ALONZO (Spanish Sephardic) Eugene Hyde 1846

ALONZO (Spanish Sephardic) MARTIN (Spanish) Jennings 1849

ALONZO (Spanish Sephardic) Brinkerhoff  1864

In conclusion, I believe Utah History Encyclopedia is wrong in asserting there is no evidence to show Orson Hyde had Jewish ancestry. It appears to me  the Utah History Encyclopedia authors, are unfamiliar with the broad diversity and expansive history of  the Jewish peoples. Perhaps, like many, they only know of the Ashkenazi Jews who came from Russia, Poland and Germany; looking thru a narrow scope, they only see Jewish people as “Fiddler on the Roof” Jews.

I propose instead,  Joseph Smith was correct in declaring Orson Hyde’s Jewish ancestry. The surnames in his line, and related lines, reflect  Sephardic and Ashkenazi heritage. I assert, as a descendant, of not only the Ashkenazi, but also the Sephardim; Hyde’s lineage qualified him to be the One, to fulfill the prayer of promise, to dedicate the land of Israel, for the gathering and return of the Jews to Israel the land of their forefathers.

UPDATE: Orson Hyde is a Messenger descendant thru Sarah Messenger (1644) daughter of Andrew Messenger (1615).

 

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About JA Benson

Joanna entered the world as a BYU baby. Continuing family tradition, she graduated BYU with a degree in Elementary Education and taught for several years. Growing up in Salt Lake County, her favorite childhood hobbies were visiting cemeteries and eavesdropping on adult conversations. Her ancestral DNA is multi-ethnic and she is Mormon pioneer stock on every familial line. Joanna resides in the Southeastern USA with her five children ranging in age from 8 to 24. Her husband passed away in 2009. She is an avid reader and a student of history. Her current intellectual obsession is Sephardic Jewish history, influence and genealogy. She served as a board member for her local chapter of Families with Children from China. She is the author of “DNA Mormons?” Summer Sunstone 2007 http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2007/04/dna-mormons/ and “Becoming Hong Mei`s Mother” in the Winter Sunstone 2009 http://theredbrickstore.com/sunstone/becoming-hong-meis-mother/.

39 thoughts on “Sephardic Jews and the LDS Connection: Utah History Encyclopedia Is Wrong- Joseph Smith Was Right, Orson Hyde Is of Jewish Ancestry

  1. Good stuff Joanna. I’ve always felt that we have a too-narrow perception of Jewish roots. A group of people forced to move because of persecution as much as the Jews have been forced to move must have inter-mixed with a lot of different groups over the centuries.

    This also applies to the 10 tribes, who have probably inter-mixed with different groups worldwide, but that’s another story entirely.

  2. Exactly Geoff. It has always been tough to be Jewish. It is by God’s hand they were not hunted into extinction. It is interesting to read about the Jews in England and in USA. What persecution was not able to do, tolerance was able to finish off the Jewish faith of many families. It is hard to be a practicing Jew. They really need the support of the community to keep Kosher. I stand in great amazement of those family lines who have been able to keep their faith alive for centuries.

    I think the movie ‘Fiddler on the Roof is accurate in showing members of the same family taking different paths and forced to move because of their beliefs. Fiddler on the Roof is a fictional story, but it is accurate in depicting the scattering of the Jews. When we watched it for Hanukkah, it was a good teaching tool. I found myself weeping ( I am not a crier) at the end.

    In the last year, our family tried to keep the holidays, the Sabbath once a month, and at those times keep Kosher. It has been tough. Going to synagogue on Saturday and then church on Sunday was too much. In the beginning, my teenagers would complain because their LDS friends called their mother (me) weird. When I slacked off a bit, they missed the Jewish Sabbath and would complain that they wanted to observe Jewish Sabbath. We have enjoyed including a few members of our ward in on our holidays. Now they are proud they get to celebrate additional holidays and I am not so weird anymore, but they are not happy about 2 hours of Synagogue and 3 hours of Sunday worship in a weekend. It is too bad, cause I enjoy Rabbi Ken’s sermons.

  3. I’d take Joseph Smith’s ablities as prophet in revelation (churchwide or on an individual basis as was the case here) over the editors of the encylopedia anyday.

    Thanks for another wonderful history lesson. I appreciate all of your work on this subject.

  4. Definitely Joyce, I think the authors of the Orson Hyde article were so eager to debunk Joseph, they did not really research Jewish history or they would have seen evidence in front of their own eyes. It is good (at least to me) to know the how it happened behind the doctrine. It is nay-sayers like Helen Radkey who quote the UHE article to give themselves credibility.

    This work took me almost 10 years and about 8 of it was floundering around in the dark. I hope to concentrate on my family lines soon. The best gift to me was getting us diagnosed with FMF and having treatment available.

    Thanks Ben.

  5. It’s far more common to have at least some Jewish heritage than most people think. I discovered a few years ago, for example, that I am a direct descendent of a mideval Safardic Jew. I bet just about everybody can find a Jewish ancestor somewhere in their family tree.

  6. JDD- Thank for commenting. How did you find your Sephardic Jew? What clues did you have to know they were Sephardic? I ask these simple questions as I embark on my journey to find the people of my DNA test.

    Jared-What a dumb mistake :) ( hides head in embarrassment). I fixed it. Thanks for pointing it out. The Native Americans have a belief if you do not make mistakes, you are perfect and will die soon. I am happy to say I will be live a loooong time.

  7. Joanna, do you think they wanted to debunk the Orson Hyde story because they might have had some anti-semitic leanings?

  8. I don’t think so Joyce. Jews who are upset about the baptism of the dead, love to use their quote. Here is a link to the article. http://www.media.utah.edu/UHE/h/HYDE,ORSON.html

    Here is a link to an article about the authors. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynn_M._Hilton

    It is curious as Hilton’s first wife was Jewish. They appear to be devout LDS. Perhaps she is like some Ashkenazi who were unaware of Sephardic Jews. This is not as likely now. Ten years ago or so, I checked with a Jewish genealogist in New England, who was confident my Messinger/Messenger lines could not have been Jewish as the Ashkenazi did not have surnames. The Sephardim and Mizarahi instead, have had surnames for hundreds of years.

    They appear to be devout LDS. Perhaps they had more faith in their knowledge than in a prophet. This should be a lesson for all of us. God knows all, and just because something does not square with our knowledge, does not make it not so.

  9. I would note that some Latter-day Saints who have addressed this subject in recent years have stated that Hyde’s ancestry cannot be confirmed.

    “Some authors have suggested that Elder Hyde was of Jewish lineage. This cannot be confirmed. One of his descendants, Myrtle Stevens Hyde, studied this question carefully and wrote, with reference to Elder Hyde’s book Ein Ruf aus der WÃste: ‘In recent years, this book has been translated back into English. In it Orson wrote of himself (English typescript, page 81): ‘I am not a Jew, neither am I a son of a Jew; but I am a friend of the Jews.’ Sister Hyde’s extensive genealogical research on their common ancestry led to the conclusion that ‘Orson Hyde’s alleged Jewish progenitors [would be] based on a statement so broad as to fit vast millions of earth’s people.’ She succinctly phrased her response to the question, ‘Was Orson Hyde a Jew?’ ‘We don’t know.’” Russell M. Nelson, “Orson Hyde,” in _Heroes of the Restoration_ (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997), 45.

    In her 2000 biography of Hyde, Orson Hyde: The Olive Branch of Israel (available on google books), Myrtle Stevens Hyde wrote that “[n]o evidence of Jewish ancestry has been found” (489-91).

  10. Hi Justin thanks for stopping by to comment.

    Joseph Smith said, “In due time thou shalt go to Jerusalem, the land of thy fathers,” in the blessing he gave Orson Hyde. Joseph spoke as a prophet while giving a very important blessing that did come true. SIster Hyde is correct about millions of people are the descendants of Jews. This has been the point of my series. Some folks just have more Jewish ancestry than others. I have shown you all how it happened.

    A better way to phrase the question “Was Orson a Jew?”

    “No” He was a Christian Latter-day Saint, but his ancestors were Jewish, because Joseph Smith said it was so while speaking as a prophet of God”.

    As far as what Orson said, his statement could be interpreted as classic Converso.

    “I am not a Jew (true enough),

    neither am I a son of a Jew” (true enough) How about great grandmother/father etc…?

    Also “friend of the Jews” would be classic Converso terminology.

  11. My husband is descended from the brother of Orson Hyde’s wife, Mary Ann Price (William Price, for whom Price, Utah was named). I have researched the family. She was an immigrant from Herefordshire, England, and I seriously doubt that she had Sephardic heritage. This is very interesting, though–my grandfather was Jewish and I am always interested how people hide their heritage. I didn’t discover that he was Jewish until I was in my 20s and was doing genealogical research. The family had changed their surname to one less Semitic-sounding following social persecution in New York City in the early 40s, and moved to Los Angeles. The interesting thing is that my father–whose name was changed when he was 15–never told my mom about the change until I discovered it, and they first met and began dating when he was 17. No anti-semitism in my family, and my mom was as excited as I was with the discovery. This has been going on for a long, long time!

  12. While there are Jewish people with all of the last names you mentioned, the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of “Johnson”s, “Perry”s, and so on are not Jewish. As for them having weird – or Biblical – names – a lot of Americans in the 1600s and 1700s had names that would sound very strange today. The name “Israel”, for example, was a commonly used first name for non-Jewish Americans (George Bush has plenty of “Israel”s in his family tree, non Jewish).

    While there were definitely Sephardic Jews in the U.S. in the 1600s, they had fairly obviously Sephardic or Spanish names – just tracing back to people with Anglo names like “Hyde” or “Martin”, or odd first names like “Elam”, doesn’t really prove anything.

  13. KT Welcome and thanks for your comments. Your Price may have been PEREZ. Please see http://www.millennialstar.org/part-iv-lds-and-the-sephardic-connection-western-europe/ for a small history of the Converso/Crypto Jews in England.

    Remember approximately a half a million people people, both Jewish and Moorish, left Spain prior to 1492 and as much as 2-3 hundred years later. These people were gifted in business, navigation, crafts, philosophy and religion, science, mathematics etc… The English Sephardic Jews were wise to keep their Jewish religion a secret. England did not persecute the Jews, but rather had a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy. Look at my first post notice our DNA test and pioneer surname list. http://www.millennialstar.org/rising-out-of-obscurity-sephardic-jews-and-the-lds-connection/

    Most of my people are “passing” they changed/ altered their names to blend into their host country. They did this as a means of survival. Sephardic descendatns have been so afraid of the Inquisition happening again. The Inquistion began in the 1300′s and went on until the early 1800′s. This kind of horror etches into one’s DNA memory.

    As for your grandfather. Thank you for telling your story. This is exactly what happens. Your grandfather may have been silenced by anti-Semitism or the Holocaust in his day. I have a dear friend who is a CANTOR. He noticed crypto heritage in his family. His last name, of course is a no-brainer. He had this conversation with his father.
    Cantor friend, “Dad are we Jewish”?
    Cantor Dad, “We don’t look Jewish”.
    His father would not say yes or no, he just keep it ambiguous. Conversos’ want to let the secret die with them, and they do not tell.

  14. Dave, Thanks for your comments. Please go back and see:
    For more information please see:

    Our pioneer names and DNA. THe rest of the posts explain how this happened
    part 1- http://www.millennialstar.org/rising-out-of-obscurity-sephardic-jews-and-the-lds-connection/

    What happened in Spain
    part 2- http://www.millennialstar.org/part-ii-sephardic-jews-and-the-lds-connection-a-history-of-the-sephardim-in-spain/

    Some went to Turkey
    part 3- http://www.millennialstar.org/ew/

    Some went to Western Europe
    part 4- http://www.millennialstar.org/part-iv-lds-and-the-sephardic-connection-western-europe/

    Sephardic Influences
    part 5- http://www.millennialstar.org/part-v-lds-and-the-sephardic-connection-seeding-the-protestant-reformation/

    England and Spain were at war. The Western Europe Converso and Crypto Jews fled even farther west in fear of Spain
    part 6- http://www.millennialstar.org/part-vi-lds-and-the-sephardic-connection-braving-the-new-world-the-lost-colony-of-roanoke/
    part 7- http://www.millennialstar.org/part-vii-sephardic-jews-and-the-lds-connection-the-first-thanksgiving-or-sukkoth-in-america/

    Some Sephardic Jews were part of the tri-isolate communities in America
    part 8- http://www.millennialstar.org/part-viii-sephardic-jews-and-the-lds-connection-what-the-heck-is-a-melungeon/

    Sephardic descendants preferred to be out on the wilderness
    part 9- http://www.millennialstar.org/part-ix-sephardic-jews-and-the-lds-connection-the-great-melungeon-migration/

    Sephardim altered or adapted their surnames, but often kept a few Sephardic given names
    part 10- http://www.millennialstar.org/part-x-sephardic-jews-and-the-lds-connection-sephardic-names-and-what-to-look-for/

    Sephardic Jews had unique illnesses:
    http://www.millennialstar.org/family-history-can-save-your-life/

    Evidence of Orson Hyde’s Jewish ancestry using the Hirschman model
    http://www.millennialstar.org/sephardic-jews-and-the-lds-connection-utah-history-encyclopedia-is-wrong-joseph-smith-was-right-orson-hyde-is-of-jewish-ancestry/

    We are all gathered
    http://www.millennialstar.org/sephardic-jews-and-the-lds-connection-the-gathering/

    please see Harry Stein’s website archived by Harvard University at http://www.sephardim.com/ :

    PERRY is PEREIRE and all it’s variants
    MARTIN is MARTIN with a spanish accent and all it’s variants such as MARTINEZ or MARTINS

    Often Non-Jews married Convero or Crypto Jews and would get “converted” to Crypto lifestyle. Always look to the mother’s side.

    While there were definitely Sephardic Jews in the U.S. in the 1600s, they had fairly obviously Sephardic or Spanish names – just tracing back to people with Anglo names like “Hyde” or “Martin”, or odd first names like “Elam”, doesn’t really prove anything.

    Dave I agree, but did you read my other posts? Names are just one evidence. We are looking at the big picture. Names like Carlos in a English Protestant family is highly suspect as is Mordaci, Carmi and Eleazar. You have to stand back and look at the whole forest, not just a tree here or there. DNA and Jewish diseases are two other evidences. please see:
    http://www.millennialstar.org/family-history-can-save-your-life/ Joseph’s blessing to Orson Hyde, for me, is also big evidence. Joseph Fielding Smith’s quote, for me, is also evidence.

    As for George Bush, do not discount his possible Crypto Heritage. The BUSH family lines run into my radical Messenger/Messinger family lines. There was a openly Jewish family named BUSH during the Revolutionary War. I do not know if it is the same BUSH family.

    Since you have brought up famous people. I have run into ( not trying to find) famous far-flung cousins while researching my lines: Harry S Truman, Barack Obama, Dick Cheney, George W and George HW Bush, Rutherford B Hayes, Brad Pitt, Robert Duvall, Gordon B Hinckley ( he has an Uncle Alonzo) :), Boyd K Packer, Dallin Oaks, Osmond family, Ezra Taft Benson, William W Phelps, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, Harold B Lee, Howard W Hunter and Orson Hyde.

    I am just showing M* readers HOW it all happened. You might not have encountered these ideas before as Crypto Jewish Studies is a new field of study.

  15. I think you can add Hugh B. Brown and N. Eldon Tanner to your list of far-flung cousins. .

    BTW, this post was listed Tuesday in the Mormontimes.com “Today in the Bloggernacle – containing the best of what we’ve seen from the world of LDS-oriented blog sites”

  16. Wow thanks Jim :) I did not know we made it to the big time. Thanks for the heads up. Consider Hugh B Brown and N. Eldon Tanner added.

  17. Richard, you’ll find that the revelations received by most readers and bloggers are irreconcilable with much of what is at your website. Of course, to discover the truth when revelations collide we must resort to mixed martial arts.

  18. I am 64, college graduate, knew a lot of Holocaust survivors. I was raised Lutheran, however, had a big interest in religious history. Started attending Reform Jewish Temples, gravitated to Orthodox and Chabad – and ran straight into the Sephardim. Basically, I hung out with the Sephardim and the Kabbalists, which are pretty close. I also play piano and organ, so back in college, dated Mormon guys, and played organ in the Mormon Temple.

    I know a lot about the inner sanctum of the Kabbalaists and Sephardim – and when some very nice Missionaries from LDS showed, up, we got to talking – they told me about the history of the Church, and no doubt in my mind, LDS comes from the Sephardim and Kabbalists.

    I’m not talking about Madonna and her antics at the Kabbalah center – I know quite a few Kabbalist Rabbis. LDS is founded on Kabbalist mysticism. The Sephardim were the keepers of the secrets of the universe – they got separated from the tribes, went wandering around – ended up in New York. When they told me about the breastplates -I knew we were talking about the Temple Priests. There is a difference between the Tempe Priests and the Rabbis. The Temple Priests wore silver breastplates – when Solomon’s temple was destroyed, the Priests grabbed whatever they could and ran.

    There’s a longer history in a book called “The Other 1492″ about how the Sephardim were expelled from Spain on the day Columbus set sail. There were rumors that his ships carried the Sephardim to the New World.

    There is a cross-cultural ideology with the early Lutherans as well -and some speculation that Luther was Sephardim.

    If you were Jewish in the old world, and even in the new world, it was never a good idea to tell your children you were Jewish – because the kids would spread the word around. So they changed their names and lied. Many joined Christian churches and just lied. Very common.

    Joseph Smith’s father was a merchant. That’s about all I had to hear. Anyone ever read Merchant of Venice? The Merchant was Sephardim. They were hated because they kept to themselves and kept their gold in secret vaults. Even as far as WWII, there were rumors that Hitler was going all over North Africa looking for hidden gold.

    I think it’s entirely fascinating -

  19. How can all the prophecies of a latter-day restoration of the tribes of Israel be accomplished unless revelation is given to IDENTIFY who is truly of Israel, and among Israel who is of the various tribes.

  20. Being “Jewish” is a whole ‘nother ball game. The only way to understand being “Jewish” is to spend some time at Chabad or the Kabbalah Center – or just wander over to the local Jewish Community Center and take a class. You are also welcome in Reform Temple – if you show up in Conservative Temple, you’ll feel a little mystified. When, and if, you ever figure out what it is to be “Jewish” – you won’t have any more questions.

  21. Hi Shari,

    The Sephardim are an interesting subject aren’t they!!? I am also fond of the Kabbalah teachings. Rabbi Kurtzweil is my favorite Kabbalist. You are right about the Sephardim and the Kabbalah. In Medieval times, the oral Kabbalist traditions were organized by Sephardic Rabbis in North Spain, Southern France, and Northern Africa. Later, the Sephardic Jews, who were expert printers, printed the Kabbalah teachings, along with editions of King James Bible. The Kabbalah has been with humankind since the days of Adam and Eve so in my mind, all truth is derived from the Kabbalah.

    I have read extensively on Christopher Columbus/Colon. He certainly is suspicious as a Crypto Jew. Portuguese researchers have put forth the theory Columbus/Colon was a Crytpo/Converso Jew named Salvador Fernandes Zarco. This Zarco was the illegitimate son of a Jewish woman and a Portuguese royal. Zarco was an experienced navigator and sailor. See: http://www.dightonrock.com/columbus_was_100_portuguese.htm

    Joseph Smith’s father was more of a poor farmer. I think Joseph’s family was most likely the unchurched lost Sephardim, commonly found in New England. What I find telling is the names of his siblings: Don Carlos and Sophronia. What are Spanish names found in a supposably English Protestant family? A family with a distant memory of the glory days of Spain, is who. :) Joseph’s wife Emma’s family was most likely Crypto-Jewish.

    Along with the weekly LDS Sunday services and frequent Temple sessions; I enjoy attending the Reform Jewish services at Congregation Micah in Brentwood, Tennessee. I think of myself as a Christian/Latter-Day Saint with Sephardic ancestors.

    Shalom, thanks for visiting and for your comments.

  22. Richard- I don’t know about everyone else, but my son’s patriarchal blessing tells him he is a literal descendant of Judah from the Royal House of David :)

  23. Patriarchal blessings make sense as a means to identify true Israel. The church was restored among the Gentiles, but the Book of Mormon predicts a latter-day SHIFT from Gentile to Israel. (3 Nephi 16:7–13) Thus, it makes sense that before that shift the identification of Israel would begin. It was claimed that Smith was a pure Ephriamite. But I can believe that he also had the blood of Judah.

  24. Joseph Fielding Smith also (besides me) agrees with you:

    “The Lord said He would scatter Israel among the Gentile nations, and by doing so he would bless the Gentile nations with the blood of Abraham. Today we are preaching the gospel in the world and we are gathering out, according to the revelations given to Isaiah, Jeremiah, and and the other prophets, the scattered sheep of the House of Israel. These scattered sheep are coming forth mixed with Gentile blood from their Gentile forefathers. Under all the circumstances it is very possible that the majority, almost without exception, of those who come into the Church in this dispensation have the blood of two or more of the tribes of Israel as well as the blood of the Gentiles. Joseph Fielding Smith Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 volumes, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-66, 3:63″

  25. I am related to the Deborah Perry that was mentioned. I have been trying to find out if my family once had the name Pereira or were sephardic jews. Do you know for sure that Deborah is from a Perry/Pereira line? Or any advice on how I can find further information?

  26. Hi Perry,
    I just noticed your comment. I do not know for sure if your PERRY ancestor was Jewish, Sephardic genealogists have made the assumption that PERRY was once PEREIRA. Sephardic Jews successfully hid their past to secure their lives and futures. I suggest DNA tests, look for Sephardic names and clues and family tales to get a clearer picture.

  27. Wow. Where do I begin? I’m a member of the church, from Israel. Was born and raised there. My Jewish background is Ashkenazi, but I grew up in a town which is overwhelmingly Sefardic-Mizrahi. One of my best friends is from an old Sefardic family in London with strong connections to Bevis Marks.
    To be blunt, your list of evidences is flimsy.
    The surnames are not Sefardic, they are overwhelmingly English. Fox, in its many variations, for example, is a typical Germanic surname. Where do you think Ashkenazi Jews got it from? It can be Jewish, but nothing requires it to be Jewish. There is a famous Israeli comedian, Avi Kushnir. When I first visited Ukraine, I saw something about a guy with the surname Kushnir. I commented to my soon-to-be wife that he must be Jewish. She was rather surprised, saying that Kushnir is a classic Cossack surname, not a Jewish one. My point is that Jews have used most surnames. Doesn’t make the surname Jewish. Could you provide solid evidence that Perry, Allen and Price are Jewish surnames? I’ve also noticed a tendency to equate Sefardic Jews with Conversos.
    The list of given names seems arbitrary and inaccurate. On what grounds have you assigned those names to different groups?
    Why would a person be wary of giving his children biblical names, but choose a surname that means he is hiding something?
    If you want to know why Joseph’s brother was named Don Carlos (which makes as much sense as an Englishman naming a son Sir Richard), you need look no further than the year of his birth.

  28. “My husband is descended from the brother of Orson Hyde’s wife, Mary Ann Price (William Price, for whom Price, Utah was named). I have researched the family. She was an immigrant from Herefordshire, England, and I seriously doubt that she had Sephardic heritage.”

    Herefordshire is right next to an area begininng with W, which is where Price (Ap Rhys) comes from.

  29. Welcome Allen and thank you for stopping by to comment and join in the discussion.

    “Evidences are flimsy” “Could you provide solid evidence…”

    As I have discussed in earlier posts, the Crypto Jews were masters at hiding their identity. After leaving Spain from the 1300-1700′s thousands of Jews changed their names by Anglicizing or assuming a completely different name. This does not make for strong irrefutable evidence, but all are clues to origin. I spoke with Todd Knowles, the head of Jewish Genealogy at the LDS Family history LIbrary, and brought in my lists of names, he agreed they were Sephardic. He did tell me I would not be able to go back any further than we already had, the Crypto Jews were so very good at covering their tracks. So if you are looking for strong evidences. I cannot help you. These are just clues, to help others in their family history searches.

    ‘Even in Amsterdam Sephardic Jews used aliases in business, if only to protect relatives and business associates who had remained behind in Iberia. Some people even assumed several pseudonyms’ The Jews of Spain: THe History of the Sephardic experience by Jane Gerber page 198-199

    “I grew up in a town which is overwhelmingly Sefardic-Mizrahi.”

    The Sephardi you are acquainted with are the Sephardim of the East. When the Jews left Spain and Portugal many of them went to the Ottoman Empire where they were welcomed. Living in the East provided these Sephardi with the luxury of worshipping openly. The Western Sephardim maintained a Crypto/Converso state to safe guard their lives, families, and fortunes. Over time the West and the East became very different in practice and custom. When the Ottoman Empire collapsed and then especially after the end of WW II, the differences were quite noticeable.

    See:part 3- http://www.millennialstar.org/ew/

    “I’ve also noticed a tendency to equate Sephardic Jews with Conversos.”

    Yes, this is who we are talking about. Many other Sephardic Jews landed in the West.

    See: http://www.millennialstar.org/part-iv-lds-and-the-sephardic-connection-western-europe/

    “My husband is descended from the brother of Orson Hyde’s wife, Mary Ann Price (William Price, for whom Price, Utah was named). I have researched the family. She was an immigrant from Herefordshire, England, and I seriously doubt that she had Sephardic heritage.”

    A Crypto Jewish presence was in England, because England, compared to other countries was lenient to the Jews, as long as they kept their observances and identity under wraps.

    ‘When ben Israel arrived in 1655, the illegal Jewish presence in England was already several centuries old. Legally, Jews had been barred since there expulsion in 1290, but, as elsewhere on the Continent, Portuguese New Christian merchants had established a small secretly organized presence in the 1500s.’ -Gerber pg. 202

    Dr Elizabeth Hirshman and Donald Yates believe the first Crypto-Jews were Jews who did not leave England in 1290. They assert some of the English Jews, who had come there by way of France; in order to protect their fortunes, pretended to convert to Catholicism. This isn’t too big of a stretch, since history appears to have repeated itself.

    In the book “The Jews of Georgian England: 1714-1830, by Todd M Endelman, he discusses how English free society broke down Jewish identity, and dismantled their religion.

    “The list of given names seems arbitrary and inaccurate. On what grounds have you assigned those names to different groups?”

    These are names on Hirshman and Yates’s DNA and family lists. For example:
    http://www.melungeons.com/articles/melungeondnaproject.htm#Surname%20Index

    Also variations of name found on Sephardic genealogy lists such as
    http://www.sephardim.com/search.shtml
    http://www.sefardies.org/genealogy/search.php?mylastname=fox&myfirstname=&mybool=AND&search=Search
    http://www.sephardicgen.com/

    Also I belong to Harry Stein’s Sephardic Genealogy Group. This has given me a great education on what to look for. Names also came from group discussion.

    “Why would a person be wary of giving his children biblical names, but choose a surname that means he is hiding something?”
    Please see:

    http://www.millennialstar.org/part-viii-sephardic-jews-and-the-lds-connection-what-the-heck-is-a-melungeon/
    http://www.millennialstar.org/part-ix-sephardic-jews-and-the-lds-connection-the-great-melungeon-migration/
    http://www.millennialstar.org/part-x-sephardic-jews-and-the-lds-connection-sephardic-names-and-what-to-look-for/

    “If you want to know why Joseph’s brother was named Don Carlos (which makes as much sense as an Englishman naming a son Sir Richard), you need look no further than the year of his birth.”
    I do not know why Spain leaving South America would have anymore bearing on Don Carlos’ name than my theories. I doubt that kind of information made it to the frontier settlements in North America.

  30. “As I have discussed in earlier posts, the Crypto Jews were masters at hiding their identity. After leaving Spain from the 1300-1700′s thousands of Jews changed their names by Anglicizing or assuming a completely different name. This does not make for strong irrefutable evidence, but all are clues to origin. I spoke with Todd Knowles, the head of Jewish Genealogy at the LDS Family history LIbrary, and brought in my lists of names, he agreed they were Sephardic. He did tell me I would not be able to go back any further than we already had, the Crypto Jews were so very good at covering their tracks. So if you are looking for strong evidences. I cannot help you. These are just clues, to help others in their family history searches.”

    If they were so amazing at hiding names that you can’t even point to a solid case of a Converso Perreira becoming a Perry, then how do you even know in order to make the claim?

    “The Sephardi you are acquainted with are the Sephardim of the East. When the Jews left Spain and Portugal many of them went to the Ottoman Empire where they were welcomed. Living in the East provided these Sephardi with the luxury of worshipping openly. The Western Sephardim maintained a Crypto/Converso state to safe guard their lives, families, and fortunes. Over time the West and the East became very different in practice and custom. When the Ottoman Empire collapsed and then especially after the end of WW II, the differences were quite noticeable.”

    Actually, I know both. Perhaps you’ve missed where I wrote that one of my best friends is from an old Sephardic family of London. Even in Israel itself there are Sephardim from the Western diaspora, just as a great deal of the Eastern diaspora dropped their converso identity as soon as they hit North Africa and the Ottoman Empire. Not all Western Sephardim were Conversos, nor did they seek to blend into the local environment.

    “These are names on Hirshman and Yates’s DNA and family lists. For example”

    So, aribtrary and inaccurate it is.

    “Please see:”

    I read those. You don’t explain why people would be careful notto give children biblical names, but would use a surname which is a dead give-away that something is being hidden.

    “I do not know why Spain leaving South America would have anymore bearing on Don Carlos’ name than my theories. I doubt that kind of information made it to the frontier settlements in North America.”

    I’m sure a secret Converso connection is far more likely than the big, world-famous news of the restoration of the Infante Don Carlos in 1814 and his marriage in 1816.

  31. Allen,

    ‘If they were so amazing at hiding names that you can’t even point to a solid case of a Converso Perreira becoming a Perry, then how do you even know in order to make the claim?”

    In regards to the PERRY surname, I am reporting on the DNA and family history research of others. Please see:
    http://www.melungeons.com/articles/melungeondnaproject.htm

    then click on PERRY:

    http://www.melungeons.com/articles/melungeondnaproject.htm#Perry%A0

    See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pereira_(surname)

    “Perhaps you’ve missed where I wrote that one of my best friends is from an old Sephardic family of London”

    I did not miss this fact, but how old? 1500′s earlier or later. DId they come directly from Spain/Portugal? DId the family go to the Ottoman Empire and then back West? Did the family go into Crypto status at some point or were they fortunate enough to land directly in somewhere like Amsterdam before England? Anecdotal evidence. You are right when you assert Sephardi are a diverse group. So many different scenarios has created this diversity. It was because of the Sephardi’s flexibility that they survived either in Crypto status or openly practicing.

    ‘Even in Israel itself there are Sephardim from the Western diaspora, just as a great deal of the Eastern diaspora dropped their converso identity as soon as they hit North Africa and the Ottoman Empire.’ Agree. You have just proven my point. Crypto status has been a survival style for centuries. Queen Esther was a kind of Crypto Jew, wasn’t she?

    ‘Not all Western Sephardim were Conversos, nor did they seek to blend into the local environment.’ Agree. Amsterdam, Hamburg and London had congregations. My series of posts is for the individuals whose ancestors who lost their Jewish identity, and are seeking help with clues to help find their ancestors.

    ‘So, aribtrary and inaccurate it is.’
    Your opinion.

    “You don’t explain why people would be careful not to give children biblical names, but would use a surname which is a dead give-away that something is being hidden.”

    ‘In Colonial America, the Converso/Crypto Sephardic Jews, finally felt safely out of the reach of the terrifying clutches of the Inquisition. They were free to practice what vestiges they had left of their religion. Many parents sought to give their children names which reflected their true heritage.’
    From the first sentence: http://www.millennialstar.org/part-x-sephardic-jews-and-the-lds-connection-sephardic-names-and-what-to-look-for/ Please see Hirschman and Yates for further information.

    ‘I’m sure a secret Converso connection is far more likely than the big, world-famous news of the restoration of the Infante Don Carlos in 1814 and his marriage in 1816.’ Why not? Why would Protestants in New England even care about such news ( even if they had heard about it)?

  32. “In regards to the PERRY surname, I am reporting on the DNA and family history research of others. Please see:
    http://www.melungeons.com/articles/melungeondnaproject.htm

    More unsupported assertions. Sigh. Is there any evidence beyond a similar surname? It is like asserting that Johnsons is actually a common Ukrainian surname, since they have Ivanyuk, which means the same thing. Can you point to a solid case of a Sefardic Perreira becoming a Perry?

    “Anecdotal evidence.”

    You claimed that I am only familiar with Eastern Sefardic Jews. I stated that I am familiar with Western ones as well. Of course it is going to be anecdotal evidence.

    “I did not miss this fact, but how old? 1500′s earlier or later. DId they come directly from Spain/Portugal? DId the family go to the Ottoman Empire and then back West? Did the family go into Crypto status at some point or were they fortunate enough to land directly in somewhere like Amsterdam before England? Anecdotal evidence. You are right when you assert Sephardi are a diverse group. So many different scenarios has created this diversity. It was because of the Sephardi’s flexibility that they survived either in Crypto status or openly practicing.”

    In London? Since the 17th century. Other family connections were there earlier, some came later. Some were from the east, most were from Amsterdam, some were Anusim, most had left in the Expulsion.
    What you are proposing fits a romanticised pattern, rather than any historical one. Anusim didn’t give up their Iberian identity in an attempt to blend into the background.
    They couldn’t very well hide their background, but what they did was to join together and keep to themselves as much as possible. They also knew how to act Catholic, but Protestants were a whole new kettle of fish. They didn’t know how to keep inconspicuous. Also, surnames were rarely changed to anything but Spanish ones. As soon as they were on safe ground, Anusim tended to practice Judaism openly.

    “Your opinion.”

    It at least is a considered one. Who decided that Abither is Moorish, and Zadock Sefardic?

    “Why not? Why would Protestants in New England even care about such news ( even if they had heard about it)?”

    It was in all the papers, and Don Carlos was a symbol of triumph over brute force and oppression.

  33. I’ve read a few things about jews coming to America and claiming to be a quaker (as a cover up.) Does anyone have any information about that?

  34. Hi Perry,

    I have not heard about Crypto Jews as Quakers, but Dr Abraham Lavender wrote a book about Huguenots and Crypto Jews. I have not read it, but have heard good things about it. See:
    http://www.peterlang.com/download/datasheet/42425/datasheet_61136.pdf

    Try joining Harry Stein’s yahoo group email is: [email protected]

    Donald Yate’s DNA company might have info on the PERRY line. http://dnaconsultants.com/Detailed/36.html

    Also Family Tree DNA: http://www.familytreedna.com/
    Family Tree has a test that breaks down haplo groups to find individual family lines. I have not tried this, but have heard good things from those who have.

  35. Allen,

    Welcome to the world genealogy! It is often murky. I did not make all of this up. What I have done is, report on what the experts say. Try Harry Stein’s yahoo group, Jeff Malka’s site: http://www.sephardicgen.com , and Hirschman and Yates’ books.

    Here is a story from ‘Society of Crypto Jews’ whose past president was Dr. Abraham Lavender see:
    http://cryptojews.com/my-jewish-story/

    Zado(c)k see: http://www.sephardim.com/namelist.shtml?mode=form&from=Z&to=Z&Search=Search

    Thank you for pointing out Abither, it is probably Hebrew Sephardic. Sorry I must have been tired. I have corrected it in the post. See http://www.sephardim.com/namelist.shtml?mode=form&from=A&to=A&Search=Search

    “What you are proposing fits a romanticized pattern, rather than any historical one. Anusim didn’t give up their Iberian identity in an attempt to blend into the background.”
    -Once again I am reporting what the experts say. Also you know the Sephardi who endured and stayed strong or returned. We are talking about the ones who blended in and never returned. THey did this to stay alive. THe ones you knew, were very brave, or lucky to have lived where they did.

    For example, a dear LDS friend of mine from Peru,had grandparents who lit candles on Friday, prepared special Friday meals, practiced kosher somewhat, but never told their children the significance of their “Friday NIght Supper Family Traditions”. Perhaps her grandparents did not know the significance of what they were doing. They denied they were Jewish, when questioned.

    I have another friend whose last name is Cantor. HIs parents have denied their entire life that their ancestors were Jewish, yet they also had kosher practices.

    I grew up in an LDS family where we did not eat pork, my mother broke eggs in a separate dish as not to “contaminate” whatever dish she was preparing with a possible blood spot. SHe scrubbed and drained the blood out of meat. When I told my mother she was practicing kosher, she did not believe me, this was just “clean food prep” in her parents home.

    Some lost Sephardi descendants, with clues, can trace their ancestors, like my friend from Peru. Others like myself, probably will not find them, according to Todd Knowles. MIracles happen, and that is what we have hope for. I am thankful for the knowledge we do have, without it, I would have died from FMF-Amyloidosis. Because of my searching I found the answers, and the treatment for not only myself, but two of my children, and others.

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