During the years 1585–1604, two mighty world empires, Spain and England, engaged in a conflict which was never formally declared as war. During this conflict, England gained the upper hand and went on to defeat the great Spanish Armada. England then strengthened her navy and sought to secure the safety of the Atlantic passage to the Americas. In 1604, England and Spain negotiated a treaty. England renounced it’s high seas piracy, and both empires agreed to cease military campaigns in France, Spanish Netherlands, and Ireland. The price of war was heavy as the treasuries of both countries were severely weakened.
With the threat of Spain conquering England; the Sephardic Jews, Conversos and Crypto-Jews in the Netherlands and England panicked. Taking a similar path of those who were trapped in Spain and Portugal then fleeing to South America; some English and Dutch Sephardic Jews sought to evade possible Spanish rule, by escaping to North America and a small number to then Dutch controlled Brazil. Over the next 400 years thousands of openly practicing Sepharidic Jews, Converso/ Crypto Jews, and Moriscoes (Moors) migrated to Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Cuba, Costa Rica, Mexico and what would later become the US and Canada.
“The displaced Jews, like so many tiny floating seeds from a milkweed pod, landed on fertile ground in Holland, France, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and England, where they grew into the Protestant Reformation.”- Elizabeth Caldwell Hirschman and Donald N. Yates
Elizabeth C. Hirschman, Ph.D at Rutgers University, and Donald N. Yates, Ph.D., owner and founder of DNA Testing Systems, have written a fascinating book entitled When Scotland Was Jewish: DNA Evidence, Archeology, Analysis of Migrations, and Public and Family Records Show Twelfth Century Semitic Roots. In chapter Ten The Religions of Scotland: Did Presbyterianism Have Crypto-Jewish Origins, Hirschman and Yates reveal the evolution from Catholicism to Protestantism as influenced by the Sephardim.
It is from the Sephardic Jews that the ethnic slur of Wandering Jew was coined. The tale is told of the Wandering Jew, who was sentenced to wander as punishment for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I, however choose to view my Sephardic Jewish ancestors as amazing survivors in a hostile world. As the Jews meandered, searching for a place they could safely practice their religion, it was if they were caught in a revolving door as they gained converts and lost members to Islam and Christianly. This is why Hebrew DNA is often difficult to find, as it has been largely unstable through the centuries (here).
On Festival days, processions were led by the clergy, who paraded into the city square. Behind the clergy marches the penitents who were dressed in Sanbenitos (yellow sacks painted with devils and flames), wearing pointed hats of shame and walking barefoot. The condemned Marranos followed. Some were carried in cages, for the injuries from the torture chambers left them deformed and immobile. Those who could walk held lit green candles. The sentences were read, and the condemned were marched out beyond the city gates to the quemadero, the place where the stakes were prepared for the auto de fe. The actual death by fire was carried out by secular law, for after the judgement was passed by the church, the condemned were turned over to the secular law enforcers. The justification of death by fire came from John 15:6. Armed with this Biblical passage, the collective population turned the act of faith into a macabre spectacle.
Hundreds of people came to watch and window seats around the square could be bought for a high price. Hordes of people threw rotten tomatoes and eggs at the victims, spat at them and shouted obscenities as they passed. Priests beseeched them to recant, crying, “Receive the sign of the cross which ye have denied and lost.” If the condemned Marranos recanted and embraced Christianity, they were granted death by strangulation before being consigned to the flames. Few recanted. Most of the men, women, and children bravely walked to the stakes and were tied there. It was considered an honor for an esteemed member of the nobility to light one of the pyres. But often, as the flames roared up, the Marranos would lift their faces to the darkening sky and recite, “Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheenu, Adonai Ehad” then die as marytrs. -Jane Francis Amler
In order to understand the Sephardic Jews and the LDS Connection you must first understand the History of the Sephardim. If you read no more of this post, please take from this one tidbit of knowledge: The Sephardic Jews are a Diaspora people who originated in the Iberia/Spain. A handsome proud people, the Sephardic Jews are often, but not always, tall in height, have piercing blue eyes, dark or light in complexion, with dark brown or dark red hair. In a nutshell the Sephardic Jews are not your “Fiddler on the Roof” Jews. Please see here for Part I
Last summer I had the honor of speaking at Sunstone Symposium along with my research partner Marylee Mitchum. Our topic was on Sephardic Jews. I would like to share with you, dear friends, important information with exciting new research that is currently being done in genealogy and Sephardic Studies. In the upcoming weeks, I will reveal the information we shared at Sunstone. I will teach you the knowledge to search for and possible locate hidden Sephardic Jews in your heritage. Lets get started.