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Unread 12-29-2011, 10:53 PM   #1
Goyam Gold
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Am I a Jew?

Without going into the long and short of it I want to know if I'm a Jew.

All of my family is from the Azore Islands of Portugal. Every one of my great grandparents seemed to have moved over to the islands in the late 1850's. I do know for a fact that my mother's great grandmother was born in a small town called Belmonte and that her husband, my mother's great grandfather was from the island of Sao Miguel.

My grandfather's family history is really sketchy although I know for a fact he was born in Lisbon before moving to the island of Flores in the Azores in the early 1920's.

I am asking this because I heard there was a population of Jews in Belmonte that goes back a long time.

How do I research this properly?
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Unread 12-29-2011, 11:33 PM   #2
noahidelaws
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It's all about the maternity, your matrilineal origin. If your mother's mother's mother etc. can be proven Jewish all the way back, then you're Jewish. If not, not.
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Unread 01-01-2012, 01:51 AM   #3
Goyam Gold
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Thank you for your reply. I'm not able to ask many relatives because most are no longer living. They also came from a older way of life without many records.

When a Jew does family research what resources do they use?

Well, that's a nice response. I'm glad to see that this site is no no different than any of the myriad of the other forums on the www.

I've gotts to know...What in my post told you that I was Torah True?.....

Last edited by Goyam Gold; 01-05-2012 at 06:12 PM.
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Unread 04-19-2017, 11:57 PM   #4
ezrahoerster
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By halakha (Rabbinic Jewish Law) a Jew is someone whose mother is Jewish, or who completed a conversion with an Orthodox beit din (religious court).

Three examples:

Someone who has a Jewish mother and a Jewish father is Jewish.
Someone who has a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father is Jewish.
Someone who has a non-Jewish mother and a Jewish father is not Jewish, unless he/she completes a conversion with an Orthodox beit din.
Someone who has both a non-Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father is not Jewish, unless he/she completes a conversion with an Orthodox beit din.

So in order to determine whether or not you are Jewish, you need to ignore your paternal lineage and worry solely on the maternal lineage, ie, family history through you mother (and subsequently her mother, and her mother, and so on).

Most online genealogy databases have Jewish records. However, the best way to prove Jewish identity is by finding documents that prove their Jewishness - either marriage documents (ketubot), graves, or personal letters. The reason is because a lot of non-Jewish genealogical websites draw information from non-Orthodox sources, and so not everyone found in a "Jewish collection" will be Jewish.

A good place to start would be here: http://www.jewishgen.org/

The fact is, Sephardi heritage is much harder to trace than Ashkenazi, because for the most part Sephardim have been fairly close knit and assimilation was not as common in history past (save the marranos and other Catholic converts during the Spanish Inquisition).

One thing I must note is that if an ancestor converted to another religion besides Judaism, they are still considered 100% Jewish. Once a Jew, always a Jew.

Good luck in your search.
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