The following is a copy of a news release on the PRNewswire about a new website NameYourRoots.com, which helps descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jews persecuted during the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions and who were forced to convert or managed to escape to the Americas to find their roots, free of charge:
“TEL-AVIV, Israel, April 16, 2012 — /PRNewswire/ —
They were scattered across the globe more than 500 years ago and went to great lengths to hide their true identities, but now, thanks to a new website powered by an online database, descendants of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews whose ancestors were forced to convert or be exiled during the Spanish & Portuguese Inquisitions, might be able to trace their heritage.
Today, the descendants of these Jews, also known as Marranos, Conversos, crypto-Jews, Chuetas, Anusim and New Christians, constitute significant numbers in Spain, Portugal, Latin America,Brazil and the Southwest US. Although many of them have little or no knowledge of their past, the number of their descendants who are discovering their family history is steadily growing in these regions.
NameYourRoots endeavors to inform about their ancestry and genealogy and to provide them with an array of tools to facilitate their personal journey of discovery and learning about their past.
The newly launched NameYourRoots.com website enables anyone with a Spanish or Portuguese surname to begin their research by looking up in the records of the origins of their maternal and paternal surnames; site visitors receive a personalized and printable report about their family names. The report, which is provided free of charge and in a choice of 3 languages (English, Spanish or Portuguese), includes search results from hundreds of bibliographical, documentary and digitized records and sources where the surname is cited with respect to Jews and crypto-Jews. When available, the report also cites locations where registries of Sephardic or Christianized Jewish families with the surname have been traced, and other interesting facts.
The personalized family name report as well as the multi-media content available to users at NameYourRoots.com is the product of ongoing research aimed at maintaining a unique and extensive database. Visitors to the website can now also view the first in a series of documentary films which is entitled “What’s in a Name” and that describes the background of the project. The website also provides much information and many external links to other organizations working with these people.
Working in conjunction with other international organizations active in the historical fields and backed by private donations, NameYourRoots strives to inform, educate, facilitate and assist anyone to discover their past.