Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Monday, July 28, 2014

IAJGS Conference -- Day One (for me)

The International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies Conference starts for me on Monday morning at 4:40 am as I get ready to go on the FrontRunner Train from Provo to Salt Lake City. Actually, this process goes extremely well and I am able to use the WiFi on the train to work during the trip to Salt Lake. This is much better than sitting in traffic on the Freeway. Also, no parking problems or cost. Double benefit.

The first class of the day is my friend, Daniel Horowitz, from His presentation is entitled, "The Jews who left Spain and their genealogy." Now, why am I here. I frequently do Latin American and Spanish research. I also speak Spanish fluently. That alone is enough to be here. Here is a description of Daniel's presentation from the IAJGS website:
Since the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem in the year 70 d.e.c., Jews have moved all across the world chased by the enemy. In every place they were forced to embrace local customs and behave according to other people laws. This was not different for Jews expelled from Spain in 1492. This lecture will take us on a virtual journey in time and space looking at Jewish names and how they changed as Jews moved from place to place. Come and learn the origin of your relatives’ last names, the reasons for these names and in many cases, the trips and clues they can provide for your family research.
 This is a very good review of Jewish surnames and the history of the Jews in Spain. Here is one question, why would you want to know this information assuming your family did not come from Spain? Or were Jewish? The answer to this question is not simple. As I have said many times before, genealogy is genealogy. There is always the possibility that something I learn will help with the research I have in some entirely seemingly unrelated area.

Back to Daniel's presentation. Very interesting to find out the number of Jewish surnames of the crews of the three ships taken by Columbus to America. It is interesting, as Daniel points out, that Columbus left Spain exactly at the time the Jews were ordered out of Spain by the Spanish rulers. The story of the movement of the Jews is shown by the changing surnames as they moved from country to country.

Take a lesson from this. Showing the history of Jewish surnames is similar to the same history of surnames in general throughout Europe and elsewhere. This is important history to understanding early genealogy. It is interesting to see the earliest dates that surnames began to be used or were mandated by the ruler or rulers in any given country. See Wikipedia: Family name for an introduction and some links. For Jewish surnames see How the Jews Got Their Last Names see also Wikipedia: Jewish surname.

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