Jewish Connections?

Forgive my recent lack of updates. School is back in session, and I found that once again, my genealogical interests had to take a back burner to career and family. Ever since I began teaching, I have found my summers to be a mad pursuit of my family tree, while the rest of the year keeps me too busy to do much research. I never totally stop or drop it altogether, but I just can’t devote as much time to it as I do during the summer. It was, for example, the summer after my first or second year teaching that I discovered I had some Scottish ancestry and devoted a lot of time and energy into uncovering different Scottish clans and celebrated all those famous ancestors I found in my tree.

I was spurred into new explorations by a comment I received from Glenn Hill on Penelope Who? — a post in which I explored the three most popular theories as to the family of origin of the wife of Captain Christopher Clark. For what it’s worth, I’m not sure I make this clear in the post I wrote, but I lean toward “Johnson” as her surname, though I admit to a curiosity about the large number of males with the given name “Bolling” in the family.

Glenn’s comment was really more of a question: had I any knowledge of Jewish connections in the family? He had heard Isabella Hart and Mark Anthony (my 8th great-grandparents, and his ancestors, too) were both Jewish. I had actually never heard this before, and I was intrigued. I teach at a Jewish high school and have a great deal of interest in Judaism as a result.

My first thought, of course, was skepticism, as I had not heard of a Jewish connection before, but I have also learned enough about genealogy to know that stories come from somewhere, and I check out new leads in the interest of being thorough. My first thought was to try Google. I did indeed find a reference (scroll down to Thomas Cooper) to Isabella Hart hailing from a Jewish trading family. The same website indicated that Mark Anthony was a Marrano. However, the website drew other conclusions about which I was skeptical — namely that Penelope was a “Bolling,” which seemed to me to be the least likely conclusion based on evidence available, excepting the preponderance of males named “Bolling” in the family in succeeding generations. Therefore, my second thought was to run it by a genealogist whom I trusted: Linda Sparks Starr. Linda is the webmaster of Colonial Virginia Connections, a site dedicated to researching the Clark/Moorman lines and allied families (including Anthony). I have learned to trust the conclusions of many contributors to her site, as they are usually more dedicated to finding evidence for conclusions than to fleshing out their family trees. Linda directed me to Arlene Anthony’s articles on her site.

Before I delve into Arlene’s conclusions, I want to back up and recount the “traditional” narrative regarding Mark Anthony’s background. There are several versions of this story that vary in the details, but this version is the one passed down into the Georgia line of the Anthony family. Marcus Antony was purportedly a merchant in Genoa, Italy. He moved to Holland in the 1600’s. When his son, later known as Mark Anthony, was old enough to leave home, it was Marcus Antony’s desire that he be educated in Italy. Apparently, Mark Anthony had other ideas and decided to run away to sea. His ship was waylaid by Barbary pirates, who kidnapped Mark Anthony and sold him into slavery in Algiers.

Mark Anthony was made to cut wood in a forest — and though I’ve never seen Algiers, I was rather under the impression it was skimpy on “forest” land. My conclusion is that either this bit of the story never happened or else it didn’t happen in Algiers. At any rate, Mark Anthony and his traveling companion, who had also been kidnapped, grabbed their moment and bashed in the head of either their guard or their master, depending on the version of the story, and escaped in a conveniently hidden boat. A British ship bound for Virginia found the two companions in their little boat and rescued them, selling them as indentured servants to pay for their voyage to America.

Nancy Vashti Anthony Jacob recounts a version of this story in her book Anthony Roots and Branches. I don’t have a copy of this book and haven’t been able to find one, but I am ever on the look out — I do know a couple of libraries within a two-hour drive from me have the book, but here we run into the fact that I have almost no time to do this sort of scouting around.

This story makes for a rollicking good read, but one must admit it sounds fanciful in the extreme. Arlene Anthony mentions in her narrative on Linda’s site that she, too had heard this tale and doubted its veracity. Arlene does not believe the family is of Italian origin, but hails from the Exeter or London Anthony clans.

I must admit to being more confused after reading Arlene’s narrative than I was before I started, and perhaps one day I’ll make a project of trying to figure it all out, but for right now, the most important information, at least to Mark Anthony descendants, is Arlene’s conclusion that the family “lived in the Low Countries (Holland, Belgium, Germany) from at least 1450 on, with several [branches of the family] emigrating to England.” Furthermore, Arlene believes that

[T]hey were probably from the Iberian countries prior to this, some possibly from Italy. They came to England for several reasons: religious … seeking freedom as evidenced in some very early wills … business … (they were part of a contract labor package negotiated by the Crown and a German company, formed to run the Royal Mint when it was consolidated into the Tower — I spent an afternoon with the Head Archivist and Librarian at the Tower of London, who was a wealth of information) and as businessmen, expanding their markets to England. The Anthony family became important about 1525 to the Royal family in several areas.

Arlene later discusses several individuals in the Anthony family who were involved in goldsmithery, quack medicine, and possibly alchemy. In an examination of the London Anthonys, Arlene found a Derrick Anthony, who was born in 1522 and apprenticed to a goldsmith at the age of 13. He travelled to Portugal, then the center of gold artisans, to learn filigree. He returned to England and was made Chief Engraver to the mint. His denization papers describe him as “dark, dirty, and Egyptian.” Arlene made enquiries, and according her findings, “the best authorities I can find tell me that this means he is either of Romany or Sephardic Jewish background.” By the way, the Roma people were commonly referred to as “gypsies,” and Sephardic Jews mostly came from the Iberian peninsula — many of them became Marranos during the Spanish Inquisition. This, then, may be the origin of Glenn’s information that Mark Anthony was a Marrano. As Arlene explains, many Marranos came to the Low Countries during the Spanish Inquisition (which fits with her dates), then later to England when Spain conquered the Lowlands.

The Exeter Anthony line begins with John Anthony, a wealthy merchant who owned the Red Lion, a galleon, among other ships. He was apparently a supporter of Oliver Cromwell. The bit I found most intriguing is that John Anthony’s son Edward, a famous goldsmith, apparently had a son named Mark, an apprenticed haberdasher, who went to Holland with his master, John Parker’s son, also named Mark (Parker). The goldsmithing connection is interesting. I have not read over Arlene’s notes to see if she made a definite connection between the Exeter Anthonys and the London Anthonys.

As I noted, however, Arlene has not pinpointed a definite connection from Mark Anthony to either the Exeter or London Anthonys, but does speculate that either family is most likely his family of origin. However, in reading of the London Anthonys, I was struck by Arlene’s description of several Anthony lines, all connected, involved in privateering. Also, Arlene found a book in her travels to London entitled Ebenezer, or the Tender Mercies of God, by William Oakley. In it, Oakley recounts being kidnapped off the coast of Land’s End, Cornwall by Corsairs and enslaved in Algeria. While in Algiers, Oakley met a man named John Anthony who was also enslaved. Along with several other men, William Oakley and John Anthony built a boat and managed to make it to Majorca. Sound familiar? This, of course, may be the origin of the pirate stories in Mark Anthony’s background. I should note that Mark’s sons (I am not sure if this is documented or not) were John and Joseph.

Arlene clearly believed that Mark “made up” the story about being kidnapped by pirates, but as you can see, it appears to have originated somewhere. In Arlene’s words, “But why all the fancy stories? Hiding something??? I don’t know, but I certainly want to know.”

Me too, Arlene.

I think it is certainly logical to assume that if Mark Anthony was a Marrano, he would hide his background, perhaps making up elaborate stories or even placing himself in events that happened to relatives, distant or close. As to his wife, Isabella Hart, aside from the fact that Hart is, indeed, the surname of some Jewish families and that Isabella’s mother was named Susannah Rush, also a Jewish given name and sometimes surname, it is not entirely improbable. Glenn is checking on her origins and has stated he will let me know his findings.

For now this will have to remain an intriguing research question — do I (and Glenn, and myriad other folks who descend from this line) have Jewish ancestry as recently as the 18th century?

I descend from Mark Anthony and Isabella Hart through two lines (my 4th great-grandparents were second cousins):

Dana Michelle Swier
+ Patti Jo Cunningham
++ Udell Oliver Cunningham
+++ Herman Cunningham
++++ Amos Blakey Cunningham
+++++ Mary Ann Penelope Anthony

As Mary Ann Penelope Anthony’s parents were second cousins, I will trace first her father, then her mother to Mark Anthony and Isabella Hart:

++++++ Matthew Jouett Williams Anthony
+++++++ Micajah Anthony
++++++++ Joseph Anthony (Jr.)
+++++++++ Joseph Anthony
++++++++++ Mark Anthony and Isabella Hart

++++++ Ann Blakey Roberts
+++++++ Elizabeth Blakey
++++++++ Agnes Anthony
+++++++++ Joseph Anthony
++++++++++ Mark Anthony and Isabella Hart

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19 thoughts on “Jewish Connections?”

  1. Hi there

    Well I just got an research request into the Jewish Archives in Richmond VA, to see if there really is proof of Isabella Hart being recorded as Jewish. I get one hour free, and then it is $25 per hour. I want to track this one down for sure, if possible. Donald Yates told me that he received confirmation of this info from these archives, but could not give me details, so I am not sure if his info was correct.

    The next question if this one is a positive, will be to see if the children continued to be openly Jewish, and if then my direct female ancestor on this line, Mary Menges Anthony was openly Jewish, or Quaker ! If she was openly Jewish, that makes me officially Jewish , what fun !

    I have looked at the Anthony Y-DNA project, at FamilyTreeDNA, and they are trying to make the connection between the RI Anthony`s and the Virginia ones, which if they connect, will take us back to the Mad Doctor Anthony and his family , in London. So far they have only 5 Anthony males in the study, and they need many more to get an accurate idea of a link for sure.

    So, another question on Isabella Hart`s parents?? Who would be likely to have been her Mother, if not Suzanna Rush ?

    Glenn Hill

  2. Hi Dana

    I did get a reply from the Virginia Temple archives. They had no record of Isabella Hart being Jewish. But they said that any record of her would pre-date the founding of the Temple, and so this dose not prove she was not of Jewish ancestry.

    Glenn

  3. Hi Dana

    I just ordered a copy of “Four and Twenty Fiddlers” which recounts the story of the secret Jewish musicians in the court of Henry VIII. These musicians included several + Anthony`s, including a couple of Mark`s and John`s. When I get through it I will tell you which ones might connect with the ones that Arlene researched in her travels.

    The author of this book was able to fill in a lot of information about where they came from, and their descendants.

    If we find a genetic connection with the R.I. Anthony`s, ( Mad Doc Anthony`s family ), then indeed our family may in turn connect with the Anthony’s in this research. And they may still be connected, even if the R.I. Anthonys are a more distant part of the family.

    I will let you know what I find out !

    Glenn Hill

  4. I see that the Clayton Genealogical Library in Houston has two copies of Anthony Roots and Branches by Nancy Jacobs. I must admit I haven’t been down to look at them yet. Norm

  5. Hi… I haven’t touched this subject for many years, as i had several eye problems, however, I just ran into your website. I have an interesting Ancestry column from the Cincinnati Enquirer, (circa 1906) filed away in one of about 30 large cartons of Anthony material, most collected in England , that states that Mark sailed between NJ and VA trading horses and goods in the late 1600s. Check into this with a connection to the Ashfields of NJ and Mark Anthony in England at that period. Arlene

  6. Hi there Dana! And Hello to Arlene Anthony as well !

    Arlene, I would love to correspond with you about the Anthony research you have done !!

    I found records of an Antonius Mosyes, who entered Cambridge to take Church of England priest orders, about 20 years after the other Antonius Mosyes, ( aka John Anthony the Sackbut player) died in Henry the VIII`s prison. I wonder if it was his son or grandson ?? He was one of the first to do so, after the Catholic Church was shut out of England.

    I have been busy finding lots of suspected crypto Jewish families in my ancestry, including the group who apparently knew each other in England, and then settled in Virginia, ( Anthony`s, Clark`s, etc).

    I have found the Chandler family who were connected to the Lupo family, ( also musicians in Henry VIII`s court) and I personally believe the the “Widow Lupo ” who married a Chandler, was Elizabeth Bassano. the Bassano and Lupo families were also in the court musicians consort, along with several Anthony`s, in Henry VIII`s court.

    An interesting footnote on the Chandlers and the land grants they claimed in Virginia! The land grant given to Elizabeth Lupo and her second husband Chandler, which included the grant she inherited from her deceased Lupo husband, was latter, in the late 1700` or early 1800`s, apparently the beginnings of the first Jewish Cemetery in Virginia. Now the question is if there was a family connection to this cemetary being established, and perhaps that first corner of the cemetery, which was on the Chandler/beupo grant, was where Elizabeth Lupo / Chandler and her husband were buried ? Nice to have the parents or grandparents to be buried in the proper way, even though outwardly the family was Christian ??

    I also have found that even if Penelope Johnson is not a Bolling, I still have two other lines of decent from the Bollings & Flemings from Pocahontas. There are some who think that the Bolling name is an English version of a Jewish one, by the way. But this I do not know for sure.

    A couple of questions have occurred to me!!

    What was the connection to Mark Anthony and the Flemings ? Apparently Mark was indentured to a Fleming ? Was this a friendly arrangement, between folks who knew each other ?

    And where did the name Menges come from , as in Mary Menges Anthony ? Menges appears to be a Jewish name, or is in many cases a Jewish one. It would be an interesting middle name for a proper young Quaker woman ?? And I do not think that it is a very usual English name. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? It may be important information for me, as i would like to establish my direct masterliner connection to my Jewish ancestors, in order to be recognized as being Jewish in decent from my Mothers line. Mary Menges is my 5th Grandmother, or just 6 generations back. I also have just four generations back an Elizabeth Gunn, who I also believe to have been from a crypto Jewish family .

    Happy Jewish New Year, La`Shanna Tova !

    Glenn mtglen@laserharps.com

  7. Hi Dana,

    Just wanted to stick in my $.02. Personally, I’ve always believed that the Mark Anthony/captured-by-pirates story was a load of codswallop that has been embellished beyond belief over the years.

    Still makes for a good tale though!

  8. Also, Dana, I wanted to say that Isabella Hart’s mother was NOT Susannah Rush. I’ve corresponded with several of her descendants over the last few years and there’s quite a bit of irritation among them that researchers keep trying to shoehorn Isabella into their family when she just doesn’t fit (for one thing, the Susannah Rush and John Hart family always lived in Pennsylvania, never in Virginia where Isabella is said to have been born and raised).

  9. There seems to be a age old argument that Penelope Bolling
    was a daughter of John Bolling Pochahantus line.
    Extracted from the Barbados Returns Census Tax Records
    Barbados Archives,

    Ye Inhabitants In Ye Parish Christchurch 1679.
    Henry Boling
    Francis Clark
    Christopher Clark
    Roger Clark
    Thomas Clark.

    1680 Christchurch Parish.
    Henry Bouline
    Henry Bouline
    Edward Clark
    Christopher Clark
    Francis Clark
    Margaret Clark.
    1680 St Micheal Parish
    Anthony Anthony
    Henry Clark
    George Clark.

    1680 St Phillips Parish.
    Thomas Bolling
    John Clark
    Thomas Clark

    1680 St Lucy Parish.
    John Bowling
    Andrew Clark
    William Clarke
    Samuel Bollen.

    168o
    Thomas Leery…

    1721 Currituct NC.
    Thomas Leery
    John Clark
    Martin Boling.

    1714 NC Beaufort Perquimans Currituct
    Marten Boulen
    John Clark
    John Clark
    Pastoquant 1791
    Micajah Clark

    Hyde NC 1715
    John Clark

    1719 Currituct
    Joseph Bowring
    Maten Boling
    1718 Currituct
    Merten Bowlin
    Joseph Bowring.
    1717Chown
    Thomas Clark.,
    For the namimg patterns it shows the children and Grandchildrens names came from these Clarks and Bolling from Barbados to NC to VA.
    Bolling Clark a son of Christopher Clark and Penolope Bolling.
    Bolling Anthony grandson of Christpher Clark and Penelope Bolling

  10. The names Lucretia Massey/Massie and Penelope Cooper/Ashley Cooper/Massie have produced the most puzzling thing in my family tree. As to a Jewish connection, I ran across a book. I don’t know how credible it is but it seems to be well researched. You may be interested, especially in these 2 pages. Footnote 8 is a puzzler but I haven’t decided to buy the book yet to see what is there. (This is not the complete book.)

    When Scotland was Jewish: . . . , By Elizabeth C. Hirschman, Donald Neal Yates, Google Books. http://books.google.com/books?id=Op3cC6_UNnQC&pg=PA92&dq=Anthony%2BAshley%2BCooper,+Lucretia&hl=en&sa=X&ei=32-aUfzOG4-O9AT1o4CQAQ&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAjgK#v=onepage&q=Anthony%2BAshley%2BCooper%2C%20Lucretia&f=false

  11. Hi Dana !

    It has been a few years since I have posted here, and I am still wondering who Mark Anthony really was. Some new questions come to mind to me , to ask.
    #1) If he was born in Genoa Italy, did he speak Italian, and if he did not know english, how was he able to communicate with the ship captain who took him to America? Perhaps his fellow captive was English speaking?

    #2) On the other hand, if he was a pirate, then how did he end up needing to be sold into indentured slavery, to pay for his passage to Virginia? Maybe it did not pay well enough ?

    There were indeed Barbary Coast Pirates operating in the English Channel, and all over the area, capturing anyone they could to enslave them. He also could have , as a hidden Jew, been a Barbary Coast Pirate himself, as there were Jewish Pirates to be sure.

    #3) Maybe he is the same person in the book “Ebenezer, or the Tender Mercies of God, by William Oakley. “, John Anthony, rather than Mark Anthony ? But why the tale about being born in Genoa, or being sent to school there ? And if he was actually called John Anthony, does that match up with a son of the Derrick Anthony family from the London Goldsmith family ?

    So far I have not see any real information form the Anthony Y-DNA study. The administrator does not reply to emails, and there is no name attached to most of the samples listed, so one can not get any information as to which samples are from the R.I./London Anthony`s, and which are from the Mark Anthony /Virginia line.

    1. I hear you, Glenn. I think he is most likely going to remain a frustrating dead end. For whatever reason, this fanciful story has grown up around him. I think the best we can hope for is that over time, Anthony descendents participate in DNA testing outside of the one you mentioned, such as Ancestry DNA or 23 and Me, and perhaps then we can figure some things out.

  12. 29 Dec 2016. I hope this thread is still active. I am an Anthony-Hart descendant. I had occasion to compare notes with another distant family relation based on YDNA comparisons in GEDmatch.com about a year ago. We were looking for connectors in the primary Overton/Howerton family line, since this particular Overton name/branch shifted from Howerton in late 1700s Virginia causing mass confusion in genealogy records. When we finally identified the connector, we noticed that both of us had ancestry in the Anthony line as well. He had more skill than I at retrieving DNA data in GEDmatch and prepared a listing of Anthony DNA relations. I took to the time to identify most of them. The listing included descendants from both the Virginia Anthonys and the Rhode Island Anthonys. The Rhode Island group clearly is documented as descended from Derrick Anthony in London, while the Virginia line of Mark Anthony lacks documented connections. Our DNA connection, however, demonstrates that the Rhode Island line and the Virginia line are related, back to London. If you wish to pursue this further, please contact me. Thanks.

    1. Hello
      I came across your post on Dana Huff’s blog regarding the Anthony family genealogy. I am descended from Mark Anthony, via his son Luke who had a daughter Mary who married John Perkins.
      I did the Ancestry DNA test, which showed 3% Iberian Peninsula; the website shows the “Iberian” area to extend from the Atlantic to northern Italy and northern Africa. So Mark Anthony’s Genoese origins sound plausible to me.
      Also, people travelled a lot more than we tend to give them credit for…
      Best regards
      P Corbett

  13. 28 December 2016. Lyn Overton again. I neglected to mention that I have been receiving DNA match data from from Ancestry DNA and FTDNA, matching me to Hispanic people in New Mexico. My ancestry is almost totally northern European (British-German-Scandinavian). The only way I could have Hispanic relatives is through the presumed Spanish-Jewish ancestry of converso Mary Anthony and Isabella Hart. it seems that many Spanish conversos went to Mexico after the expulsions from Spain in 1492, and then moved northward into what is now New Mexico about 1610. I have at least 10 different surname/DNA connections near Santa Fe (Montoya, Rodrigues, Garcia, etc.).

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