Abraham Lincoln’s Jewish Roots

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is interested in their namesake’s Jewish ancestry. Do a Google Search and you’ll get numerous hits under “Abraham Lincoln Jewish Ancestry.” They can all be traced back to the work of Rutgers University professor Elizabeth C. Hirschman, who published her findings in The Melungeons:  The Last Lost Tribe in America in 2005 (Mercer University Press). Melungeons.com immediately reported the news in an article on Abraham Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks, in March 2005.

Actually, the revelation goes back to Abraham Lincoln’s own lifetime. In 1909 a book was written by Isaac Markens titled Abraham Lincoln and the Jews. In it is the germ of the controversy. Rabbi Isaac Wise of Cincinnati wrote in 1865, “Abraham Lincoln believed himself to be bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. He supposed himself to be of Hebrew parentage, he said so in my presence, and indeed he possessed the common features of the Hebrew race both in countenance and features.”

Abraham Lincoln and the Jews

Sketch of young Lincoln shows typical Sephardic Jewish looks:  dark features, bony skull, lanky build, big nose, craggy brow.

Lincoln’s son Robert later denied the admission of Hebrew ancestry. He told Markens that he had “never before heard that his father supposed he had any Jewish ancestry.” Markens dismissed the exchange between Lincoln and the rabbi as a “pleasantry.”

Pleasantry or not, the rumor seems to reflect historical truth. “The Lincoln material in my book traces his family’s arrival from England into the New Hingham Colony in Massachusetts and their migration down to the Appalachian area,” Elizabeth Hirschman told the curator of the Lincoln Collection, James M. Cornelius, who contacted her in September. “I use genealogies, marriage practices, wills and cemetery inscriptions to build the case for his Jewish–and likely Sephardic–ancestry.”

Now that Lincoln is beginning to be seen as having Jewish ancestry, what about his status as a Melungeon? That has now slipped into jeopardy, it seems. Jewish and Melungeon ancestry go hand in glove, except in the eyes of those who don’t believe Melungeons are a distinct ethnic group at all. They are opposed to finding any unwanted ethnicity in people claiming to be Melungeon. We predict Lincoln’s Jewishness will rapidly be disposed of by these devotees of the received standard version of American history.


  Comments: 8

  1. I am one of those who do not believe that Tom Lincoln was Abraham Lincoln’s biological father. I believe that his mother, Nancy Hanks, had had an affair with a Jewish man in whose home she worked as a maid, and became pregnant. At that time, the man who had impregnated her was a Jewish businessman who contacted a friend of his to make arrangements for Nancy to acquire a “husband” who would provide a legal name for the baby when it arrived. Furthermore, I believe that Nancy, on her death bed, TOLD her very young son Abraham (probably by the time he was between l2 and 14 years of age) that TOM LINCOLN was NOT his biological father and that his real father was a very successful business man in whose home she had worked as a maid. Whether she knew the man was Jewish I don’t know–but if she knew he was and thought young Abe should know that, who knows? My own opinion is that she DID. And all one need do is just look at the many, many pictures of Lincoln available and see that he definitely looks JEWISH and he had the brains and ambition to PROVE IT!

    • To this day, the town where Namcy was impregnated, still believes that her employer was Lincoln’s father (Abraham Enloe/Enlow). If you see pictures of another son of Enloe, he has same unusual stature, possibly Marfan syndrome. A.A. Springs/Springstein believed he was the father, and bequeathed Lincoln quite a bit of land, as his assumption was that Lincoln was his son. We only know what they want us to know. Lincoln’s tomb is heavily guarded.

    • This sounds a bit…”Supremacist” at the end 😒🤔

  2. I can’t remember if I’ve already emailed you but just in case I haven’t……..I am personally of the opinion that Nancy Hanks had an “affair” with the man who headed the family where she was hired as a
    servant. Unless I’m mistaken, the man’s last name was Enroe and he was a successful business man. Eventually, the man’s wife who must have become aware that her husband was involved with Nancy
    Hanks demanded that Nancy leave their home. Her husband had a friend in the U.S. Congress and he contacted the man to make some provisions for Nancy (who was pregnant with Abe Lincoln) which he did. Abraham Lincoln never–as far as I know–dropped any hint that he knew the truth about his own paternal origins but I feel certain that Nancy told him the truth when he was a young boy. I also think Nancy told Lincoln who his REAL father was and what kind of a person he was so Lincoln knew that his father was a successful “somebody?” That also explains why Lincoln wasn’t intimidated by his humble social position. And ultimately he was not afraid to run for the highest office in the land and pursued it until he finally WON!

  3. I find this fascinating about Lincoln being Jewish. Any more light you can share on this matter would be of great interest to me.

    Thanks for your research.

    • It was quite a scandal in his day and there were numerous newspaper articles written about it. Elizabeth Hirschman was the first to revive it in the modern era. I would say crypto-Jewish or Jewish ancestry. Nobody practiced Judaism in his immediate circle.

    • Barbara H Brown

      My study says he was Jewish on the Herrick side of a grandparent.

  4. Beatrice Bustard

    Abe’s Sephardic ancestry came through his mother and from her father who was a planter name of Fauntleroy. Lucey Hanks was the daughter of Fauntleroy’s plantation overseer.

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