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2 The question is often asked why Jews changed their names “so much.” Let us answer that in the words of Leon Harris (originally Hirsch), the author of a history of American Jewish families who built great department store chains like Gimbels, Nieman-Marcus and Sears.
He begins by acknowledging that Jews who altered their surnames from Nusbaum to Norman, and Rabinovitch to Robinson, have often been made the butt of jokes, and have even been characterized as betrayers of their heritage and tradition.
Of course, both Spain and France had already made forays into North America, found- ing St.
The evidence in support of this radical new narrative begins with an examination of the British colonial companies organized in England to bring settlers to North America and exploit the natural riches believed to be there.
We were taught from elementary school that the United States was created by a group of brave, white Christians drawn largely from England who ventured to these shores in search of religious freedom and the opportunity to fulfill their own destiny.
Beacon of Freemasonry: Elias Ashmole, John Skene and Early American Lodges I 73 Appendices A: Jewish Naming Practices and Most Common Surnames 1 9 1 B: Rituals and Practices of the Secret Jews of Portugal 201 C: Muslim Rituals and Beliefs 202 D: Customs and Beliefs of the Roma and Sinti 203 E: Lists of Immigrants to Virginia 1585-1700 204 F: Lists of Settlers in Massachusetts 212 G: Names from The Town & Country Social Directory, 1846-1996 216 V VI Table of Contents H: Pennsylvania Names 217 I: Maryland Names 223 J: South Carolina Names 224 K: Lists of Settlers in Early Georgia 236 Notes 230 References 267 Index 273 Preface For most Americans, the story of their nation’s origins seems safe, reliable and com- forting.
The second perplexing issue is, given an overweening Sephardic Jewish and Muslim presence in the American colonies prior to 1776, why that version of history was not the narrative promulgated to generations of Americans in their textbooks and public records?
They included Jonathan Coen (Cohen) and Cornelius Speelman (another classic Jewish name). “Many occu- pations were virtually abandoned,” he writes. Moreover, since these branches of endeavor had been the domain of Jews and Moriscos, they had become in themselves suspect. Several of those aboard Christopher Columbus’s first voyage in 1492 and famously even Columbus (Colon) himself were of Jewish ancestry. One historian of Inquisitional Spain and biographer of Christopher Columbus, Simon Wiesenthal, notes that throughout the sixteenth century the movement of the Marranos to the New World had continued,’ and that “after the expulsion of the Jews and flight of the Marrano element, it was the turn of the Moriscos to serve as scapegoats for the ills of society.” The same writer estimates that, all told, Spain lost one and one-half million people 1 2 Preface as a consequence of the “purification” of its population of Jews and Moors. What is even less frequently mentioned regarding these Spanish and French settlements and voyages is that many of the colonists and sailors were of Sephardic Jewish and Muslim Moorish descent. Augustine and exploring parts of the coastline as far north as Newfoundland, though their activities as foreign powers are given short shrift in our Anglo-centric version of the birth of America.
Preface 3 In their Dictionary of English Surnames, P. The monumental dictionary of Sephardic surnames by Guilherme Faiguenboim, Paulo Valadares and Anna Rosa Campagnano, another indispensable guide much relied upon by us in our investigations, has detailed entries under Febos, Farabo, Pharabas and even Phillips.