The Jewish Community of Belmonte now offers a Sephardic heritage certificate

Until recently, there were only two Jewish communities which had received official recognition from the government of Portugal for the purpose of issuing Sephardic heritage certificates used for the Portuguese citizenship process:  The Comunidade Israelita de Lisboa (CIL), and the Comunidade Israelita do Porto (CIL).  Now, there is a third, called the Comunidade Judaica de Belmonte (CJB). According to an article published in January of this year by the Times of Israel, the Portuguese government requires religious entities to have been registered for a minimum of thirty years in order to qualify for state recognition.  It was difficult for me to find the official registration date of the CJB, but it appears that it was officially registered on January 5, 1989.  That would mean that the CJB is now eligible to issue certificates. The CJB now has an official website located here which includes its instructions for applying for a Sephardic certificate from the CJB, which is a prerequi

Can a person get Spanish or Portuguese citizenship based on DNA results showing Sephardic DNA?

So, you think you have Sephardic ancestry, or perhaps you even know that you have Sephardic ancestry, but you're wondering how to prove it for the purpose of acquiring citizenship in Spain or Portugal.  Obtaining documentary evidence linking every generation between you and your Sephardic ancestor may seem a daunting task, considering the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 and from Portugal in 1497. But wait!  There are commercials on TV all the time now about how taking a DNA test from this or that company can prove that you're 3% Sephardic, 28% Canadian, and 69% Martian.  Why not just take a DNA test, which will prove that you have at least some Sephardic ancestry? If only it were that easy. Unfortunately, with very few exceptions, most people cannot take a DNA test to prove that they have Sephardic ancestry.  The reason for this is that there has been so much intermarrying since the time of the expulsions that there is no such thing as a 100% "Sephardic" g

The Sephardic Jewish Origins of the Gélinas Family of New France

It is well-known that the forced conversion and expulsion of the Jews of Spain and Portugal, also known as "Sephardic Jews" (or if descended from forcible converts, "conversos," "New Christians," or "marranos") resulted in an exodus of the Jews from the Iberian peninsula.  But where did they go? Many went to France.  And, when France became a colonial power, many of their descendants ended up in North America.  One of the most discussed French-Canadian families with Spanish Jewish ancestry in recent years has been the Gélinas family, whose first Canadian colonial ancestors was Jean Gélinas, the son of Etienne Gélinas and Huguette Robert. In the proceedings of April 27, 1995, before the Cultural Commission of the National Assembly of Quebec, reported in Volume 24, No. 7 of the Journal des débats de la Commission de la culture , the future 28th Premier of Quebec, Bernard Landry, stated: "On dit, par exemple, qu'une des grandes famil

How to get an Apostille in Canada

Spain and Portugal are parties to the Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (hereinafter the "Convention").  A party to the Convention benefits from the instant recognition of the validity of official signatures on the party's domestic documents (such as a public official who issues a certified copy of a birth certificate) by other countries. So, if you were born in Australia or the United States, which are also parties to the Convention, your birth certificate can be recognized in Spain by asking your local authorities to issue an "Apostille," which is a sort of certificate issued by a Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of State, or similar official agency (or an agency to which such a ministry or department delegates its authority) that is affixed to the birth certificate, and which Spain can then use to verify that, "Yes, the foreign country that this document purports to be from is v

How I passed the DELE A2 exam by using Duolingo and watching Narcos

Preface I would like to preface this blog post with two statements. Firstly, I receive a referral fee for purchases made through Amazon as a result of following my links to their products.  That said, the items that I suggest as study resources here are ones that I used personally and would recommend regardless of whether I receive a referral fee, and indeed, some of the items mentioned in here (such as Duolingo) do not have any referral arrangement with me whatsoever. Secondly, this blog post is merely about my personal experience in studying for the DELE A2 exam.  While I may have a negative opinion of some study resources mentioned here, like the Rosetta Stone software and the Destinos series, that does not mean that other people may not benefit from it or that it does not fulfill a useful purpose.  Likewise, my method of studying may be different from yours, so what I write could be completely useless.  I encourage you to develop your own strategy for studying based on what


Hello, and welcome to my blog. Allow me to introduce myself.  I live in Canada, where I have a legal services business and also teach as a professor in a legal studies program.  Since about 2010, I have been greatly interested in genealogy.  In terms of my ancestry, I am what one would call a "Heinz 57," with ancestors from all over (not uncommon in North America).  But, about 5/8 of my ancestors can be traced back to the original settlers of New France. The reason for making this blog is that, as a result of my interest in genealogy and law, I discovered that a) I am of partial Sephardic Jewish ancestry; and b) Spain and Portugal recently passed laws (by recently, I mean 2015) allowing people with Sephardic Jewish ancestry to apply for the citizenship that their ancestors were deprived of.  In the summer of 2019, I visited Spain and lodged an application for Spanish citizenship, which was approved by a notario and, barring any unforeseen events, will be processed and ap