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Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America


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 Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America

Americans have learned in elementary school that their country was founded by a group of brave, white, largely British Christians. Modern reinterpretations recognize the contributions of African and indigenous Americans, but the basic premise has persisted. This groundbreaking study fundamentally challenges the traditional national storyline by postulating that many of the initial colonists were actually of Sephardic Jewish and Muslim Moorish ancestry. Supporting references include historical writings, ship manifests, wills, land grants, DNA test results, genealogies, and settler lists that provide for the first time the Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic, and Jewish origins of more than 5,000 surnames, the majority widely assumed to be British. By documenting the widespread presence of Jews and Muslims in prominent economic, political, financial and social positions in all of the original colonies, this innovative work offers a fresh perspective on the early American experience.

Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-6462-3
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-7864-8906-0
34 photos & illustrations, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
291pp. softcover (7 x 10) 2012

Table of Contents

Preface      1
Introduction      4

1. Mapmakers, Privateers and Promoters      7
2. Sephardim in the New World      25
3. Virginia: First--and Not So English--Colony      45
4. Massachusetts: Pilgrims, Puritans, Jews and Moors      60
5. New York Colony: Dutch, British and Jewish      83
6. Pennsylvania: Quakers and Other Friends      104
7. Maryland: Catholic in Her Tastes      123
8. Huguenot South Carolina      140
9. Georgia, the Last Colony      159
10. Beacon of Freemasonry: Elias Ashmole, John Skene and Early American Lodges      173

A: Jewish Naming Practices and Most Common Surnames      191
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
H: Pennsylvania Names      217
I: Maryland Names      223
J: South Carolina Names      224
K: Lists of Settlers in Early Georgia      236

Notes      250
References      267
Index      273

Reader's Review

"Nothing Short of Amazing"

A few years ago, I retired from a career as a police detective. Sadly, in retirement, I became a junkie. Yes, I freely admit I've been a genealogy junkie for a number of years now. Recently, my insatiable habit has been fed by a newly discovered connection, that of the books authored by two stalwart researchers Elizabeth Hirschman and Donald Panther-Yates. First, there was When Scotland was Jewish. And now, I've just finished my first read through of their latest endeavor, Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America.

As a person addicted to family history, I know I share a frustration with like minded souls in that I've not had the time or means to run down every lead or theory that I'd developed while gazing at family trees, naming patterns, ports of emigration, and maps of migration. Suddenly, I've found two fellow travelers, Hirschman and Yates, who have not only done light years worth of investigation for me, they have actually validated many of the theories I'd developed on my own.

When Scotland was Jewish was an eye opening sojourn through the lands of many of my European forefathers. Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America, on the other hand, has brought it all closer to home. It is nothing short of amazing.

I completed my first read through in two sittings and found so many families I recognized from my own amateurish sifting, including: Van Cortland, Van Rensselaer, Abrahamsen, Coffin (Cohen), Giles, Gardner, Van Sandt, Ash, Moore, Yeamans, Davis, Swan, and Vann. The list is almost endless. If you are like me, an obsessed archaeologist, rooting around in your past, Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America is your book. I can only hope the next offering of these two authors is as enlightening!

--George Collord Mount Shasta, California

About the Authors
Elizabeth Caldwell Hirschman is a professor of marketing at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She has written widely on genealogy and ethnic identity. Donald N. Yates is an American genealogist, author, and principal investigator at a DNA testing company in Phoenix, Arizona. He has published popular and scholarly works in cultural and ethnic studies, history and population genetics.

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