Portuguese citizenship by the Sephardim and the genealogical study
Since 2015, the Nationality Law in Portugal provides for the right of naturalization for descendants of Sephardic Jews. In another post we've already talked about who are the sephardim and the reasons why the Portuguese government created the law of reparation, as it is known by many. Now you will know how is the genealogical proof of the link between you and your Sephardic ancestor made, a point of fundamental importance for the issuance of the certificate by the Israeli Communities of Lisbon and Porto.
The first question is to know that the family tree alone is not enough. Today, with the ease provided by sites like Family Search and MyHeritage, people are able to assemble their trees and, in some cases, find an ascendant indicated as Sephardic.
However, for the process of Portuguese citizenship by the Sephardic way, this is not enough. In these cases there are two things that need to be done: the first is to make sure that the ancestor indicated as Sephardic in the tree is in fact Sephardic. the second is prove the genealogical link between you and the ancestor.
It is important to remember that the family trees on these sites are built from collective contributions. Various individuals contribute to the inclusion and editing of information. This is great and has helped many people to discover ancestry and family lines that otherwise would not be so easily discovered.
The Israeli certificate and Portuguese citizenship
On the other hand, when we talk about a citizenship process, it is necessary to keep in mind that there are rules and requirements that must be proven and documented. In the case of Sephardic ancestry, this proof is made through the Israeli certificate issuance.
For a Sephardic Jewish descendant get this certification is need to present documents that prove generation by generation the genealogical link with the original Sephardic. The document that brings together all this proven genealogy is the genealogical study.
About this process of researching the proof of Sephardic linkage, Camila Amaral, coordinator of genealogy at Martins Castro, explains that “methodologically it is very important that all generations of a family tree are well proven”.
Still according to Camila, this proof can be given through different documentary and historical sources. “When it comes to the first generations, it is certainly birth and marriage certificates, for example. But when we go back further in time, we usually turn to other documents, other primary sources, such as those linked to the church”.
Baptism, marriage, death, Besides wills and inventories can be part of documents list that demonstrate the genealogy of that generation that one wants to prove. And in this document search there is yet another type of common source to be used: the secondary.
Reinforcing the importance of genealogical study is well documented, the coordinator of genealogy at Martins Castro reinforces that when the sources already gathered are not enough it is also possible to use articles and books. These sources, however, need to have been prepared with “a methodological and research rigor that is reliable, that is, it's not enough just the memoirs someone wrote”.
A genealogical study is then not just the tree. It involves a process of research and verification that genealogy sites today do not have. The study will even gather documents that indicate the origin of the New Christian Sephardic ancestor. Which as we said earlier, needs to be confirmed.
“When we come to the New Christian, we can turn to a number of things related to the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, as well as the list of Jews who were forced to convert in 1497. In other words, we have a series of possibilities, including news with someone recognizing and giving testimony that that person was a New Christian”, explains Camila.
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