Letter to a cousin from an Irish lunatic, descended from Court Jews

By Richard May, a.k.a., May-Tzu       ferdlilac@yahoo.com

DNA is comprised of 22 autosomal chromosomes, and 1 pair of sex chromosomes, a total of 23 pairs. I’ve learned little of genealogical significance from the autosomal-DNA tests, which theoretically allow a person to discover new cousins not in the direct paternal Y-DNA lineage or the direct maternal mitochondrial-DNA lineage. It appears that the algorithms now in use need considerable tweaking for those of Ashkenazi ancestry or admixtures of substantial Ashkenazi ancestry. The historic practice of Jewish cousin marriages or ‘inbreeding’ and the founder effect complicates estimating the degree of closeness of autosomal-DNA cousins for this population. I did learn that our German Jewish ancestors were earlier in Poland and the Ukraine, the former Galicia and also that we have an apparent 4th. cousin with Lithuanian roots. The only test I’ve made a significant discovery with was the Y-DNA 67-marker test of my Eb1b1b1 paternal Haplogroup. Eb1b1b1 is a subgroup of Eb1b1, found most commonly in northern Africa and southern Europe. Eb1b1 originated about 25,000 years ago in eastern Africa, propagating into the Mediterranean region following the Ice Age. Incidentally, our most frequent (as a percentage of the population tested) Y-DNA cousins were of Romanian origin. Yet our familial historic connection to Romania is completely unknown. The most interesting discovery was that our Ashkenazi exclusively male line of ascent was very probably originally Sephardic. This is summarized below.

The father of Ferdinand MAY(ER), b. 1812 in Nierstein, Hessen – d. 1890 in London, UK, was Isaak Wilhelm MAYER, born in ca. 1773, who was originally part of a troupe of Jewish musicians in the Hessen. He later became a merchant or trader and married into the famous DEL BANCO banking family, descended from Jewish moneylender Anselmo DEL BANCO, a.k.a., Asher MESHULLAM, d. 1532, the founder of the Jewish community of Venice. The DEL BANCO family later became the ’eminent’ WARBURG family, after moving to Warburg, Germany. If our MAYER ancestors were, indeed, the Mannheim MAYERS of the Hessen, then our ancestral line is the MAYERs of the today well-known Mayer-Laudenburg banking family. Perhaps this is why I have a deep-seated aversion to banks and the entire banking system.

Isaak Wilhelm MAYER’s father was Abraham MAYER, born in 1720s and died in Frankenthal. This was his surname, adopted when Jews were forced by local civil authorities to take surnames, because they wanted to more effectively tax them and in order to better draft them into the military. But he was born before most Ashkenazi Jews in the Hessen or elsewhere had surnames. Abraham MAYER was born with the *patronymic* name Abraham son of MAYER in translated German or Avraham ben M’EIR in transliterated Hebrew.

Abraham son of MAYER’s father’s patronymic name was Mayer son of ISAAC
in translated German or M’eir ben YITZCHAK in transliterated Hebrew, born ca. 1700. Earlier than this we have no individual patronymic names.

But Y-DNA evidence, according to our cousins, Dr. Friedman and a Mr. P. Hollander, indicates that a cluster of individuals with a certain specific Y-DNA signature, on my father’s father’s … agnate MAY(ER) line of ascent, were originally *Sephardic* Jews in Spain with the *surname* ALBAGESI or AL-BAGEZI. Sephardic Jews had surnames hundreds of years before Ashkenazi Jews typically did. It now appears highly probable on the basis of comparing known family histories of close Y-DNA genetic cousins, some of whom have surviving family oral traditions of having originally come from Spain, that our German-Jewish ‘Ashkenazi’ MAY(ER) family was originally descended from a Sephardic family with the surname ALBAGESI or AL-BAGEZI.

The surname “ALBAGESI” may actually have originated as a toponym in the area around the present day village of d’Albages, in Catalonia (northeast Spain) about 120 km west of Barcelona. There is a royal Aragonese medieval reference to a Jew with the surname ALBAGESI from the year 1285 in Valencia, according to Dr. Friedman. So it is known that the surname ALBAGESI was, in fact, a Sephardic Jewish surname in medieval Spain. According to a Y-DNA cousin, the town of  d’Albages was originally founded as an Arab fortification and, hence, the surname ALBAGESI may be much older.

Some ALBAGESIs resided in Toledo, and after the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, emigrated to Amsterdam, Netherlands, perhaps after a sojourn in Portugal. Yet later our ALBAGESI ancestral line emigrated again, this time adopting the toponymic surname “HOLLANDER,” meaning one who has come from Holland, and taking it into eastern Europe, particularly Galicia (now partly in Poland and partly in the Ukraine).

Immigrant Jews with the surname HOLLANDER were especially concentrated in Krakow.
I found this significant, because a genealogist in Frankfurt, Germany has learned that before the Hessen, in the 17th. century the MAYER family was in Krakow, Galicia, according to German records.

In the late 17th. century our family emigrated from Krakow to the Hessen, specifically to Frankfurt, Frankenthal, Giessen, Hamburg, Heddernheim, Mannheim, Nierstein, and Ober-Ingelheim. In the transition from Krakow, Galicia to the Hessen to add further confusion the following additional surnames were used at various times and places: KRZEPCZYK, the transliterated Polish spelling of the German GROEBZIG, GREBSIG or GREPZIG, KREBSINGER, MAYER(all spellings), MAYERHOFER, MAYERHOEFER and MAYER-KREBSINGER!

There are two URLs below which may be of interest.

Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog: Family Tree DNA: 4 …
Oct 6, 2007 … Surnames currently represented include Abroz, Albagesi, Al-Bagezi, … Gold, Goza, Gozhanskij, Henoch, Herzlich, Hollander, Hurroz, Iberian, …
tracingthetribe.blogspot.com/…/family-tree-dna-4-sephardic-dna-groups.html – Cached

“Family Tree DNA – Iberian Ashkenaz” is a group for individuals whose Ashkenazi ancestors were originally Sephardic.

Family Tree DNA – Iberian Ashkenaz/ EEIJH
Abarbanel, Abravanel, Abroz, Albagesi, Al-Bagezi, Albom, Alfonso, Alvarez, … Herzlich, Hofmeister, Hollander, Hosse, Hubbard, Hurroz, Iberian, Iofe, Jacobi, … Wikipedia is also a reliable source for information on genetic genealogy …
www.familytreedna.com/public/IberianSurnamesofAshkenaz/ – Cached – Similar

By contrast my maternal Haplogroup W1, is a subgroup of the ‘exotic’ Haplogroup W, widespread in the Near East, Europe and southwestern Asia. It arose ca. 35,000 years ago in the Near East and later spread east to present-day Pakistan and northern India.

I wish that I had had better success tracing my Celtic(Irish or Scots-Irish) ancestry as far back into the mists of memory as my Ashkenazi ancestry. I have, however, learned that my 4th. great grandfather, Stephen McGINNIS was almost executed for ‘treason’ in the American Revolutionary War, apparently only for siding with Vermont in its attempt to obtain independence from New York State. But fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon one’s point of view, his life was spared by a pardon from the governor of New York, granted in part because he consented to execute another alleged miscreant. Stephen’s wife, known only as the “old Mrs. M’Ginnis,” was a notorious fortune teller in Shoreham, Vermont in ca. 1792. Members of the local Congregationalist church were threatened with discipline, if they continued to seek her services, which included selling food and drink to sustain those digging for buried treasure, predicted but never found. Old Mrs. M’GINNIS      and her son, John McGINNIS are mentioned in *History of the town of Shoreham, Vermont*: from the date of its charter, October 8th, 1761, to the present time (1861) by Goodhue, Josiah F., pages 144 – 146.

Also of possible genealogical interest:

McGINNIS genealogy, Crown Point, N.Y.: Hiram Porter McGinnis