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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Where Did the Name "Henwood" Come From?

Nadene Goldfoot                                              
Nadene Goldfoot
I may have surgically operated on the surname of Henwood a little too deeply, but it is an interesting name.  I find it hard to picture the significance of a wooden hen unless it was a sign used to sell eggs.  So I looked the surname up in my book, Finding Our Fathers-a guidebook to Jewish Genealogy by Dan Rottenberg, and this is what I found.

The first syllable, HEN, is a surname related to GRACIAN.  That looks like a Spanish name.  Back in 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, the Spanish Inquisition was also starting.  It was a time that Jews had to either convert or leave.  Some didn't leave for various reasons;  too old, had a business they didn't want to leave, etc.  So the decided to go through conversions in Catholicism but stay Jewish anyway.  They hid their true religion and its practices, like not eating pork, lighting candles on Friday night to start the Sabbath, and other things.  They were called the nasty word, "Marranos," which today we say Anusim.

GRACIAN was a prominent Spanish family descended from Judah ben Barsilai.  Members lived chiefly at Barcelona from the 13th through 16th centuries.  Most used the name HEN.  Jewish Encyclopedia has 14 biographies.  It is related to NASI, TRABOT.

WOOD, the 2nd syllable could be showing a union of 2 families of Hen and wood.  They are related to HAYS.
HAYS was a Dutch family that emigrated to America in early 18th century.  Jewish Encyclopedia has a family tree and numerous biographies.  Also see records of Myers, Hays and Mordecai Families from 1707 to 1913.  Related to WOOD.

Sephardi Jews from Spain were living in Holland.  Many had business there..  As a result of the Alhambra Decree and the Inquisition, many Sephardim(Spanish and Portuguese Jews) left the Iberian peninsula at the end of the 15th century and throughout the 16th century, in search of religious freedom. 

Some migrated to the newly independent Dutch provinces which welcomed the Sephardic Jews.

I've thought that possibly my ex-husband's ancestors had been Marranos who lived in Holland, but my son's DNA test results show no Ashkenazi or Sephardi DNA.  I'm not sure if I transfer his results into GedMatch some would show up under a higher magnifying or not.  Family Tree is pretty good at finding such minute things.  23 and Me found I carry 2.9% of Neanderthal genes.  I'm quite positive that Family Tree could have found some Sephardi DNA.  Come to think of it, they should have showed that as I am Ashkenazi. and the results didn't mention that, either!    Hmmm.  Well, it was a stretch.  I did trace Henwood back 13 generations from my ex-husband  to Medstead, Hamshire, England with John and Ann Henwood born 1538.   Now, where were they 46 years earlier in 1492?

Not that there is any actual connection, but Wes, my ex-husband, did move to Central America in his middle and senior years and study Spanish,  probably until his dying day there in Honduras.   .

Update: 9/7/15:    There are 8,546 Henwoods in the world.

Resource:   very interesting website

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