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Jarrett Ross

“Growing up I always knew my family somehow came from Spain, especially with my mother’s maiden name being Nunes Vaz. My Aunt embraced researching the Nunes Vaz family line and was able to take it back to the 16th Century in Livorno, Italy but sadly passed away from cancer in 2002. I was always curious about this and never really understood the connection to the Inquisition until I started researching my family genealogy. As I started to build my family tree I found all of these interesting Spanish names coming out of the wood-work; Lopes Dias, Robles, Henriques Pimentel, Falcao, Senior Coronel, Belmonte, Da Costa, and so many more. When I was able to trace my lineage back to Don Abraham Senior Coronel, one the most famous Jews around the time of the Inquisition I was absolutely stunned. When I started to read about Don Abraham and his massive influence in the 15th century world of Spain and his fallout with the Jewish Community from converting to Catholicism at thebehest of the King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, I finally was able to truly understand I was Anusim. After discovering an online database for the records from the Beth Haim cemetery in Amsterdam my family tree began to grow exponentially. It dawned on me that there had to be relatives of mine somewhere out there, so I decided to start looking. This too grew exponentially and reached a point where I could no longer keep contacting every relative I found because there were too many. At this point I have contacted at least 1000 different relatives of my from my Sephardic lineage and they are living all over the world. I found relatives in the U.S, Canada, South America, England, Amsterdam, Spain, Israel, New Zealand, and Australia. But as quickly as I started to find living relatives of mine I started to also discover how the Holocaust had wiped out much of my family. Name after name after name began to fill me tree with my blood relatives who were murdered by the Nazis. The only difference between my branch of the family and their branch of the family was that mine decided to move from The Netherlands to England in the 19th century, something which literally saved my family’s life. I also found descendants of survivors; some had converted to Christianity because of fear of persecution, some had changed their names, some had embraced Judaism even more, and some had made their Aliyah to Israel. While doing much of this I had decided to write a blog at Sephardicgenealogy.blogspot.com and talk about my research in a way that could help others. I update it from time to time and have quickly found myself at the center of my family, with relatives from all over the World asking me about our ancestry. In fact, I found this website through my cousin Nicole Robles (my 4th cousin once removed). It has been quite amazing how connected many of us feel even though we are so distant.”

Jarrett Ross
jpross20@gmail.com